A new poll shows a majority of Albertans are one economic shock away from being unable to pay their bills each month.
58% of those surveyed say if their income dropped by $200 per month, they wouldn’t be able to pay their bills. That’s an increase of 18 points since February.
The new MNP Consumer Debt Sentiment Survey also shows 58% of Albertans are concern about their current debt level. That’s up 11 points since February. 35% say they don’t make enough to cover their bills, an increase of 14 points. And almost 40% are concerned rising interest rates could push them toward bankruptcy, up 9 points.
Alberta’s consumer debt level is the highest in the country. Donna Carson with MNP says given the downturn, it’s not surprising that Albertans are concerned about their finances. What is surprising is the number who say they are already living on the edge of a financial crisis. She says there is tremendous vulnerability to any kind of economic shock–job loss, emergency, divorce, even a reduction in overtime or bonus pay or an increase in interest rates.
Despite the anxiety, over-spending continues in the province. 43% of parents say they went over-budget on back-to-school shopping for kids. 33% say they spent more than budgeted on recreation or vacations during the summer.