Repaying Debt Is Canadians’ #1 Financial Priority In 2023: CIBC Poll

Canadian currency on a table. (CNW Group/Unifor)

CIBC’s annual Financial Priorities poll finds that repaying debt is the number one goal for Canadians in 2023 (18 per cent), while inflation (65 per cent), rising interest rates (30 per cent), and recessionary fears (24 per cent) top the list of financial concerns.

The poll also finds that overall sentiment towards finances has weakened in the last year with 55 per cent of Canadians indicating they need to get a better handle on their financial situation this year and one in four people saying they have taken on more debt in the last 12 months.

“The current economic environment has, understandably, prompted Canadians to re-assess their financial priorities for 2023,” said Carissa Lucreziano, Vice-President, CIBC Financial and Investment Advice. “When things feel uncertain, it’s important for people to focus on what is in their sphere of control. A financial professional can help Canadians plan for the unexpected and feel confident when faced with challenges in the year ahead.”

While the majority (73 per cent) of Canadians are worried about the possibility of a recession next year, most (62 per cent) feel financially prepared for the unexpected and 59 per cent believe their financial situation is secure enough to withstand a recession.

“Whether you’re on track to meet your financial goals in 2023 or you’re worried about what the future may hold, we recommend seeking the guidance of a financial expert who can help implement a plan to help you achieve your ambitions this year,” added Lucreziano.

Additional findings from the 2022 December Financial Priorities poll:

  • Other top priorities for 2023 include keeping up with bills (17 per cent) and growing investments (14 per cent).
  • Common secondary financial goals for 2023 include saving as much as possible (25 per cent), avoiding taking on more debt (24 per cent), saving for a vacation (21 per cent), and reducing discretionary spending (18 per cent).
  • Top reasons for taking on more debt include increased cost of living (47 per cent), day-to-day expenses beyond monthly income (34 per cent), unexpected financial emergencies (16 per cent), higher cost of borrowing (16 per cent) and home repairs (14 per cent).
  • 68 per cent of Canadians believe the uncertainty of the current environment makes it difficult to plan.
  • Among those currently employed, 40 per cent are concerned about their job security given the present economic environment.
  • 80 per cent report not having had a goal planning discussion with their financial advisor in the last year.
Upcoming virtual event

CIBC is hosting Smart Advice virtual events (in English and French) on January 26th featuring CIBC leading economists, Benjamin Tal and Karyne Charbonneau, sharing insights on what to expect from the economy in 2023. Get your questions answered live and learn what you need to prepare for the year ahead.


This Maru Public Opinion survey was undertaken between December 12 and December 19, 2022 by the sample and data experts at Maru/Blue and involved 1,523 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada online panelists. For comparison purposes


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