More than half of people living in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are on the verge of not being able to pay their bills.
A new report released by MNP Consumer Debt Sentiment on Wednesday shows that 64 per cent of people in the province are now living within $200 a month of not being able to pay their bills and debt.
Some of the highlights for Saskatchewan and Manitoba include:
- Thirty-four per cent of people say they already don’t make enough to cover their bills, which is a hike of 17 points since February and the largest jump of the country.
- Fifty-seven per cent of people are concerned about their current level of debt, which is a jump of 14 points since February.
- Fifty-nine per cent of people say they regret the amount of debt they’ve taken on, which is a rise of 15 points since February.
- Forty-one per cent now say they are concerned that an increase in interest rates could move them towards bankruptcy. That number is up 16 points since the February 2016 survey.
Ian Schofield with MNP said the results are a clear indication that the majority are starting to feel the effects of the oil price plunge and not just those who were laid off.
“Laid-off oil workers and their families aren’t the only ones hurting now. The slowdown effects have trickled-down to everyone from retailers, to restaurants and virtually every business,” he said in a press release.
“Over 60 per cent indicated that they have less than $200 of ‘wiggle room’ before they would be unable to pay their bills. That’s a huge portion of people who are tremendously vulnerable to any kind of economic shock like an emergency, a divorce, a health issue or an increase in interest rates.”
Despite the anxiety around debt, over-spending remains a reality. Forty-three per cent of parents in Saskatchewan and Manitoba said they spent more than budgeted on back-to-school shopping for their kids, thirty-eight per cent ‘agree’ they spent over budget on recreation or vacations during the summer.
“Many are spending themselves into devastation, relying on cheap credit to subsidize their income and fund their lifestyles during the downturn. Worse yet, some are taking out payday loans. Those who are living on credit should seek professional help now. It’s not sustainable especially if and when interest rates rise. One of the biggest mistakes people make is waiting until the point of devastation before getting help,” said Schofield.