chequebook balance

Photo: Adam Burke/Flickr

Is mortgage debt just a fact of life among Canadians? According to a new report from Manulife Bank, 45 per cent of Canadian homeowners surveyed would consider themselves to be debt-free even if they still had to pay off their mortgage.

But debt perceptions differed greatly between demographics. Among the homeowners between the ages of 20 and 59 surveyed, 68 per cent of respondents in their twenties don’t include their mortgage when they consider their debt. That’s more than the 60 per cent of those in their 30s that said the same, 48 per cent of those in their 40s and just 29 per cent of those in their 50s with the same idea.

“This may reflect a difference in focus,” said Jason Daly, VP Product, Marketing & Business Development, Manulife Bank of Canada, in the news release.

“Younger homeowners are more likely to carry higher-interest consumer debt, which they’d be smart to focus on paying down. However those in their 40s and 50s may have already tackled their consumer debt and are becoming more focused on paying off their mortgage before retirement.”

Generally, younger folks don’t feel like they’re that much more comfortable with being in the red than their parents’ generation. According to the survey, 28 per cent of homeowners in the twenties said they’re more comfortable with debt than their parents’ generation, the lowest amount. It’s a big difference from the 47 per of homeowners in their fifties that said they’re more comfortable with debt than their parents’ generation.

Canadians increasing comfort with taking on debt “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 90s,” according to Daly.

Interestingly, only 25 per cent of respondents said their parents taught them a lot about debt management.

Manulife surveyed 2,374 Canadian homeowners in all provinces with household income of more than $50,000. For more details about the responses, check out the charts below:

Debt Manulife Canadians

Manulife Debt Mortgage

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