Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Seniors tops in gaining new debt

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TORONTO -- It seems as if Canadians may be heeding the repeated warnings about loading on debt -- unless they're a senior.

A study released Wednesday by TD Bank found although last year Canadian household-debt levels grew at their slowest pace since 2003, debt accumulation by those aged 65 and over is markedly up.

Using statistics from Ipsos Reid's Canadian Financial Monitor, which surveyed about 12,000 households, the report found seniors on average gained more than $6,000 in new debt, or 15 per cent more in 2012 than the previous year.

Most of this came from consumer spending, even though the overall assets of those 65 and over changed little.

Although seniors on average still had the lowest levels of debt compared to other age groups at $47,549, the report warned against gaining so much debt so quickly.

"The updated figures add credence to the recent theme that Canadians are entering retirement more indebted than ever," it said.

TD says seniors living in Ontario, Alberta and Quebec had the highest rates of debt accumulation in 2012, compared with their counterparts in the Atlantic region, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, who paid down debt.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 14, 2013 A18

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