27 Jan 2014

Equifax Survey Indicates Financial Fitness Top Priority for most Canadians

TORONTO, January 27, 2014 – Taking stock after the holidays, 85 per cent of Canadians say they plan to make significant financial changes in 2014 with paying down debt and saving more money as their top priorities.

“At this time of year, many people are certainly suffering from a case of the credit card blues,” said Tim Ashby, Vice President Personal Solutions at Equifax Canada.  “To get over it, we’re encouraging people to take ownership of their financial fitness.  They should pay down high-interest credit card debt first, follow a household budget and check their credit report and score at least once per year.”

Leger Marketing conducted the survey on behalf of Equifax at a time when most people would be receiving credit card statements tracking their holiday spending. The top two priorities were paying down their debt (38%) and saving more money (37%). Others mentioned that they plan to invest in RRSPs, TFSAs, or RESPs (24%), while others plan to spend more on their needs instead of their wants (23%).

Despite growing concern Canadians are taking on too much household debt, an equal proportion of survey respondents said they consider themselves to be financially fit and follow a monthly household budget (62% each). Many also said they know what their credit score is (45%). Those surveyed, however, were less likely to say they check their credit score annually (25%).

“How people perceive themselves and the reality of their situation can often be very different,” added Ashby, as a cautionary note.  “We know the real number of Canadians who actually check their credit score and it’s about one in ten.  Many people also say they follow a household budget, but for most it’s simply not the case.”

Men are more likely to consider themselves to be financially fit (66% vs. 58% women), while women are more likely to say they follow a monthly household budget (67% vs. 57% men).  Canadians 55+ are the most likely to consider themselves to be financially fit (78%).

The survey of 1,500 Canadians 18+ was completed online between January 6 and January 9, 2014 using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb.  A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

To learn more about credit monitoring, visit www.equifax.ca.