Canadian Seniors Struggling with Debt & Homeownership

Whether your life has been lived on a straightforward path or you’ve encountered several twists, turns, or bumps in the road, there is one thing we can all agree on: life is expensive. In life, it can be argued that the biggest purchases we ever make are real estate-related.

While some are lucky enough to afford multiple properties, some struggle to fund the one and only roof they have. According to a new released study by HomEquityBank, a large percentage of Canadians 65+ have trouble affording homeownership.

Research indicates that 91% of those over the age of 65 say staying in their home is “important,” but only 78% have savings or investments at their disposal to help fund homeownership. Even more concerning is that 40% of those polled claim to have less than $100,000 put away.

Explained HomEquityBank in a press release: “The results of the national study outline increasingly troubling trends: as Canada’s population ages, the ability to retain and maintain a home is progressively compromised by record household debt levels, modest long-term savings, the decline of defined-benefit pensions and extended life expectancies.”

This study also looked into what seniors are banking on, financially. For instance, 77% note that the Canadian Pension Plan is “their primary expected source of income.” What’s more, 73% will financially depend on Old Age Security in the future. Beyond the Canadian Pension Plan and Old Age Security, 57% have RRSPs at their disposal, a work pension (48%) and savings accounts (48%).

As it relates to mortgages, 15% of seniors still have to contend with one. Other debts being held include car loans (17%), unsecured lines of credit (30%) and a home equity line of credit (10%).

“It’s not all doom and gloom. Canadians are privileged to be living in a country of relatively strong and stable fiscal health,” commented Steven Ranson, President and CEO of HomEquity Bank. “We must use this type of data as a foundation for launching an informed, national conversation with Canadian seniors. We can’t rely on a status quo approach. Collectively, we will have to think about finances, home ownership and debt in new, strategic ways to ensure seniors can plan for a stable, worry-free retirement.”

-Adam Grant

On a recent episode of “theZoomer,” host Marissa Semkiw and a panel of real estate and décor experts – including Barry Lebow, Karen Pivnick and Jessica Richardson – offered insight and advice about home downsizing. You can watch that episode below.