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

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TORONTO — 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 annual CIBC poll says 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.

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

The bank says 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.

The poll also found the top financial concerns of Canadians for the next 12 months include inflation, the rising costs of goods and slow economic growth.

Carissa Lucreziano, vice-president of CIBC Financial and Investment Advice, says it’s understandable Canadians are concerned about the economy given the challenges of 2020.

She says the best buffer is to be prepared with a plan to meet financial goals that can be adjusted when circumstances change.

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