A new report shows nearly half of Atlantic Canadians are not confident they can cover living expenses this year without increasing debt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MNP Consumer Debt Index report, conducted by Ipsos on behalf of MNP LTD, has found 47 per cent of Atlantic Canadians are not confident they can cover living expenses for the next year, which is an 11 per cent jump from September.
Tina Powell, a local licensed insolvency trustee with MNP LTD, said the pandemic has accelerated debt issues that had existed prior to COVID-19.
"We're already seeing the serious financial impact this had on Atlantic Canadians, as almost half are concerned about covering basic expenses," said Powell. "Unexpected expenses are one of the biggest causes of financial hardship."
The report found 31 per cent of Atlantic Canadians said they are confident in their ability to cope with life-changing events without increasing their debt burden, while roughly one in five feel confident in their ability to cope with the loss of employment.
Powell says low interest rates are also providing a false sense of comfort and security that could put residents in a debt trap.
She recommends people develop a budget, make a list of their debts and figure what they can pay each month to pay down their debt.