Canadian $100 bills are counted in Toronto, Feb. 2, 2016. A new survey says paying down debt is the No. 1 financial goal of Canadians heading into the new year, with many saying they took on more debt this year to cover day-to-day expenses and make up for a loss of income.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy

Canadian $100 bills are counted in Toronto, Feb. 2, 2016. A new survey says paying down debt is the No. 1 financial goal of Canadians heading into the new year, with many saying they took on more debt this year to cover day-to-day expenses and make up for a loss of income.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy

Paying down debt No. 1 financial goal of Canadians for 2021: Poll

43 per cent see finances negatively impacted by pandemic

TORONTO — Paying down debt is the No. 1 financial priority of Canadians heading into the new year, according to a new survey that found many people took on more debt this year to cover day-to-day expenses and make up for lost income.

The annual CIBC online poll said tackling debt has remained unchanged as the top financial priority for the past 11 years, despite many Canadians grappling this year with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis.

About 43 per cent of those surveyed said their personal finances have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, and half of those say it will take more than 12 months to get back on track.

The survey found the second financial priority of Canadians for 2021 is simply “keeping up with bills and getting by.”

Meanwhile, the biggest financial concerns of Canadians for the next 12 months include inflation, the rising costs of goods and slow economic growth, CIBC said.

The bank said optimism for the year ahead has declined compared with previous years, with 24 per cent of Canadians believing their financial situation will improve in 2021, down from 32 per cent in 2019.

Carissa Lucreziano, vice-president of CIBC Financial and Investment Advice, said it’s understandable Canadians are concerned about the economy given the difficulties many people faced in 2020.

“Canadians have faced so many challenges this year,” she said in a statement. “If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we don’t always know what’s coming next and the best buffer for the unexpected is to be prepared with a plan and be open to adjusting it when circumstances change.”

According to the polling industry’s generally accepted standards, online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 30, 2020.

CoronavirusFinances

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Many students and staff at St. Joseph High School are in COVID-19 quarantine. (File photo by JeffAdvocate staff)
St. Joseph High School students return to at-home learning today

Majority of students under COVID-19 quarantine

President Donald Trump speaks with reporters as he walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. Trump is en route to his Mar-a-Lago Florida Resort. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Supreme Court ends Trump emoluments lawsuits

Outcome leaves no judicial opinions on the books

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Military to support vaccination efforts in northern Ontario Indigenous communities

Canadian Armed Forces to support vaccine efforts in 32 communities of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s first case

By March a series of measures fundamentally altered how many Canadians live

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A Shell logo is seen at a petrol station in London on January 20, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Kirsty Wigglesworth
Shell buys European electric car charging firm ubitricity

Experts say easier access to charging facilities key to successful rollout of electric vehicles

FILE— In this Feb. 23, 2019, file photo, Vashti Cunningham poses for photographers after winning the women’s high jump final at the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships in New York. Cunningham is one of the athletes who will be competing in the American Track League, which opens a four-week-long series on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021 in an indoor setting at the University of Arkansas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez. File)
Back on track: Competing, not cash, lures big names to meet

American Track League begins a four-week indoor series at the University of Arkansas

Eugene Levy, left, and his son Dan Levy accept the Best Comedy Series Award for ‘“Schitt’s Creek” at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on Sunday, March 13, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Dan Levy to make ‘Saturday Night Live’ hosting debut on Feb. 6

‘Schitt’s Creek’ co-creator to host show

Toronto Maple Leafs' Alexander Kerfoot, centre, tries to get the puck past Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom, right, as Noah Hanifin looks on during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Morgan Reilly’s three assists lifts Maple Leafs to 3-2 win over Flames

Leafs 3 Flames 2 CALGARY — Morgan Reilly’s three assists helped the… Continue reading

Green Bay Packers' Adrian Amos (31) reacts after intercepting a pass intended for Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Mike Evans during the second half of the NFC championship NFL football game in Green Bay, Wis., Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Road warriors: Bucs win 31-26 at Green Bay, reach Super Bowl

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ road… Continue reading

People arrive to be tested for COVID-19 at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, January 24, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Too soon to know if Canada’s COVID-19 case decline will continue, Tam says

MONTREAL — It’s still too soon to know whether the recent downward… Continue reading

Most Read