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More Canadians Are Debt-free In 2012: RBC Poll

On average, Canadians carry $13,141 in personal debt

TORONTO, Oct. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - A year later, more Canadians have no personal (non-mortgage) debt (26 per cent in 2012, up from 22 per cent in 2011), according to the 2 nd Annual RBC Debt Poll. On average, Canadians carry $13,141 in personal debt, up $84 from a year ago, with Ontarians carrying the most debt ($15,361) and Quebecers with the least ($10,171).

While four-in-ten Canadians (40 per cent) describe themselves as " comfortable" with their current personal debt level (compared to 45 per cent in 2011), one-in-three Canadians (34 per cent) admit their debt level causes them anxiety (compared to 32 per cent in 2011).

"Many Canadians have some level of comfort with their personal debt, but the very personal nature of carrying debt can often stir up mixed emotions," explained Richard Goyder, vice-president of personal lending, RBC. "It's encouraging that the results show more Canadians have become debt-free over the past year and that those who still have debt want to do more to reduce it."

The RBC Debt Poll found that just over half of Canadians (51 per cent, compared to 49 per cent in 2011) say it is more important to pay down debt than save and invest for the future right now. Four-in-ten (41 per cent, down from 44 per cent in 2011) place an equal importance on saving and investing, as well as paying down debt. Meanwhile, a minority of Canadians (eight per cent) think now is the time to save and invest for the future, rather than pay down debt.

Similar to a year ago, caution around adding to their debt load has led some Canadians to delay or cancel purchases or plans, such as taking a vacation (26 per cent, compared to 24 per cent in 2011) and buying a big ticket item (19 per cent, compared to 20 per cent in 2011).

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