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Homeowners Indicate They Are More Comfortable With Debt Than Their Parents Were, Manulife Bank Of Canada Survey Shows

TSX/NYSE/PSE: MFC SEHK:945 

  • Homeowners in their fifties are almost five times as likely to say they are more comfortable with debt than their parents.
  • Those whose parents taught them a lot about debt management are twice as likely to report their debt is in good or great shape
  • Eight in 10 homeowners indicate being or becoming debt-free among top financial priorities.
  • Almost half of homeowners surveyed would consider themselves to be debt-free even if they have mortgage debt outstanding.

WATERLOO, ON, June 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ - Four in 10 homeowners (39 per cent) indicate they're more comfortable with debt compared to their parents, versus just one in eight (13 per cent) who feel they're less comfortable.  The perceived gap in comfort level was greatest among homeowners in their fifties, who were five times more likely to indicate a greater degree of comfort than their parents, compared to those in their twenties and thirties, who were only twice as likely.

The survey suggests that homeowners are also becoming more comfortable discussing debt within the household, with three in 10 (28 per cent) indicating they communicate more than their parents, compared to just eight per cent who feel they communicate less.  Once again, homeowners in their fifties were most likely to feel they differ from their parents.  This group was five times as likely to feel they're better communicators than their parents, compared to those in their twenties, who were only slightly more likely.

"Canadians are becoming increasingly comfortable with taking on debt and discussing that debt with those close to them," says Jason Daly, VP Product, Marketing & Business Development, Manulife Bank of Canada. "This could be a result of our current low interest rate environment, which makes debt management seem less intimidating than it was in the '80s and 90's, when rates were much higher."

The question of "what is debt?" also appears to be in flux.  While almost half (45 per cent) of homeowners surveyed would consider themselves to be debt-free even if they have mortgage debt outstanding, this varies significantly by age group.  Fully two thirds of homeowners in their twenties (68 per cent) don't appear to include their mortgage when they think about their debt, compared to 60 per cent of those in their 30's, 48 per cent of those in their 40's and just 29 per cent of those in their 50's.

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