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December 11, 2013
Majority of retirees are in debt, CIBC poll says

In traditional thinking, the first step to retirement was to pay off all your debts and mortgage.  Then, with the combination of retirement savings, pensions and government benefits, one could retire with a degree of comfort.

Not anymore.

According to a CIBC poll conducted by Harris/Decima, 59 per cent of all retired Canadians say they are carrying debt.  More alarming, 19 per cent of retirees say their debt load has increased over the past 12 months.  Another 36 per cent say their debt has remained unchanged over the past year.

While today’s historically low interest rates offer an opportunity to reduce debt loads more quickly, they also offer the temptation to assume more debt — which can be risky when living on a fixed income.

“With today’s low interest rates, there is an opportunity for retired Canadians to review their monthly cash flow and make progress in paying down their debt,” says CIBC Executive Vice-President of Retail Distribution and Channel Strategy Christina Kramer.  “Cash flow is a major component of retirement planning.  Even a small reduction to your debt load can make a big difference in your monthly cash flow.”

With so many seniors in debt, the potential rise of interest rates could have a significant impact on the retired population, the CIBC executive warns.

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