Debt burdening Manitobans, but 27% are feeling better about it, data shows

New numbers show Manitobans are struggling to keep up with their bills, but they’re not as stressed about it.

The latest consumer debt index from accounting firm MNP Ltd. finds that between Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 27 per cent of people feel better about their current debt situation compared to last year.

Tanya Reynolds, senior vice-president and licensed insolvency trustee with MNP, said a lot of that has to do with the prospect of interest rate cuts in the coming months.

“You don’t think a per cent or two is going to have a huge impact in that monthly payment, but when you really look at it, it really does,” she said, adding that increases can see some with an extra $100 or even $400-plus tag onto payments.

“Any kind of relief from that is going to make people a little bit more hopeful,” she said.

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However, that relief won’t come right away, and won’t come to everyone.

“It could just be a little bit too little, too late. What we’re seeing is if somebody’s already had to renew their mortgage at those high interest rates, if they’re looked into that rate, they’re not going to see the benefit,” Reynolds said.

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The index shows six in 10 people are concerned about their ability to repay their debts, with 24 per cent of families are not able to scrub away the red ink at all.

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“We’re still trying to rebound a bit since the pandemic. I mean, we can say it was four years ago, but it’s certainly had a huge impact on everyone’s finances,” she said, the index adding three in 10 are still recovering from pandemic impacts.

Others are within $200 of not being able to pay debts as they become due, Reynolds said.

But, she said, there are ways to try and climb out of the hole.

“Whether that’s looking at your budget — really closing closely — and determining if there’s some places you can cut back on. Is there some room in your in your schedule that might allow you to seek additional employment?” she said.

“Just making those few little changes may not have a huge impact, but might be just enough to kind of get you through.”

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The expert said not to let shame or guilt get in the way of asking for financial help.

“What’s most important, I think for most people, is to recognize you’re not alone. Making the call is just simply a call to get some information and perhaps just getting some tips on how you might be able to improve things going forward,” she said.

MNP said its licensed insolvency trustees offer free consultations across the country.

To book a consultation, call 1-877-204-8543, or go to

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New report says 7/10 Manitobans worried about interest rates going up again

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