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Consumers bullish on debt

Canadians’ overall resolve to reduce debt isn’t translating into results, according to the 2013 PwC Consumer Lending Survey.

“With the average Canadian debt sitting at more than 160 percent of disposable income, the current trend is unsustainable — both for consumers and the banks who lend to them,” says John MacKinlay, national financial services consulting leader at PwC.

While debt levels may be high, so is consumer confidence, says PwC. Despite a turbulent market since the 2008 recession, 55 percent of Canadians feel that the economy will remain steady or grow this year, up from 48 percent in 2012. Consumers are also optimistic regarding their incomes — nearly half (46 percent) feel that their incomes will increase over the next five years, suggesting that consumers feel more comfortable carrying a heavier debt load than they would have in tougher times. ◊