Maclean’s magazine had a small section on our average debts that was quite interesting. And, according to Statistics Canada, the average person in debt isn’t an unemployed renter in their 20s.
Some of the information is quite eye-opening:
In total debts, BC and Alberta run neck and neck for a record we really don’t want to have: BC averages $155,000 in debt per family while it’s $157,000 in Alberta. Only Ontario is close at $125,000.
Don’t think high income earners are always savers. We’ve talked before that the more income you earn, the less likely it is that you’ll live on a budget or are careful about your spending: 57% of the total consumer debt in the country is owed by people who make more than $100,000. But they’re a tiny group in the population! Ah, but they’ve got the income to pay the big mortgage, car, and credit card payments. No, not to pay them off, just the payments each month assuming there isn’t a hiccup in their earnings.
What’s strange is that people who have the most debt claim that they are the most financially literate. Is that backwards or what?
45% say they’re very financially literate owing over $250,000
35% respond the same way owing $150, 000 to $250,000
One sad fact is something we talked about before. It’s the 65 and older age group who still average $66,000 of debt.
The age group of 45 to 64 has $103,000 of debt. So, in the highest earning years of our 40s and 50s we manage to pay off only $37,000 of debt? Any family in the 40 to 50 age group likely has their kids moved out and still can’t save OR pay off debts? That’s cause for concern and sad.
In a US survey done by the Consumer Federation of America, along with Primerica, the average respondent admitted they had made at least one financial mistake averaging $23,000. THAT is one expensive lesson, and for many people not something they’ll recover from for decades.