stressed young couple worries about their finances

For the 10th consecutive year, debt repayment is the top financial priority for Canadians, according to a recent poll commissioned by CIBC. 

Paying down debt was the highest priority for 21% of respondents, followed by keeping up with bills (18%), growing investments or wealth (13%), saving for a vacation (8%) and saving for retirement (8%). 

Focused on getting out of the red, more than two-thirds of respondents (71%) said they held back from borrowing money in 2019.

Most respondents were more concerned about paying down debt than building up savings. Over three quarters (78%) said they feel it’s better to pay off debt, while 33% were worried about the consequences debt repayment would have on their savings.

Only 32% of Canadians said they felt confident about their financial situation, down from 41% in last year’s survey.

Additionally, the survey found that 71% of Canadians were worried about the rising costs of household goods. More than half of respondents (55%) were concerned about a potential recession in 2020. Other concerns included the low Canadian dollar (30%), low wages and a lack of growth (29%) and household debt (26%). 

Maru/Blue executed the poll for CIBC, surveying 1,515 randomly selected Canadians from Dec. 6 to Dec. 8, 2019. A probability sample of this size has a margin of error within plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.