Sands & Associates, BC’s largest firm of licensed Trustees in bankruptcy and consumer proposal administrators, today released results of a study offering insight into BC’s soaring consumer debt levels. As part of the second annual BC Consumer Debt Study, the 2013 report profiles trends and key information regarding the non-mortgage debt of British Columbians, specifically focused on markets throughout Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
The study by Sands & Associates is the only BC-specific study to gather and analyze responses from more than 1,000 debtors throughout the province to better understand the factors pushing the population towards insolvency.
The 2013 BC Consumer Debt Study was conducted as a comparative look at consumer debt levels, causes of insolvency, and financial outlooks across three different generations of British Columbia’s in-debt population. Study participants included debtors aged 30 and under (“Youth Generation”); debtors between the ages of 31 and 54 (“Mid-Life/Sandwich Generation”); and debtors aged 55 and older (“Pre-Retirement and Retirement Generation”).
Results from the 2013 BC Consumer Debt Study highlighted the following trends:
- An equal number of men and women struggle with debt – but the amount of debt increases drastically after the age of 40.
- BC consumers ages 31-54 hold the largest proportion of debt loads in the province.
- Overextension of credit and unexpected expenses were the leading financial contributor to consumer debt.
- 46.6% of 31-54 year olds attempted to remedy their situation by working longer hours or an extra job before seeking help from a licensed Trustee.
- Nearly 50% of Youth Debtors (widely criticized as entitled and self-indulgent) noted that they are holding off on major life events and would even consider a move out of province if it meant better earning opportunities to improve their financial situation.
Blair Mantin, VP of Sands & Associates adds, “There are greater issues at play here. While BC undoubtedly has a higher cost of living and earning opportunities that can’t compete with Alberta – consumers are falling short. They are missing essential financial life skills to manage their credit and save. This study shows that even after credit reaches unmanageable levels, most attempt to remedy the issue themselves – often pushing them closer to insolvency.”
Mantin advises those struggling with debt to speak with a Trustee for a free and confidential assessment of their available options. To determine your financial risk, simply calculate total non-mortgage debt and divide it by your monthly income (after tax, cash take-home pay). If debts are more than five times the monthly income, you are considered at-risk.
About Sands & Associates:
Sands & Associates is British Columbia’s largest firm of licensed Proposal Administrators and Bankruptcy Trustees focused exclusively on personal and small-business insolvency services. Operating from 11 offices in the Lower Mainland, Sands & Associates uses a non-judgmental, empathetic approach to helping resolve financial difficulties.