In Canada, Debt, Money

What is the average non-mortgage debt of Canadians?

This Canadian debt post only deals with NON-MORTGAGE DEBT.

If you are interested in MORTGAGE debt versus net worth, you can check out my post on that here: What is the average net worth of a Canadian WITHOUT their house?

Again, these are also AVERAGE debt numbers.

They may not add up perfectly, but it gives you a rough idea of what debt Canadians hold, how much at each age range and in what categories.

Also, where there are blanks, it may not be that they have $0 in debt, it could be insufficient or unreliable data that cannot be published.

All numbers from StatsCan.


If we look at the percentages:

Then if we split all that out by age into a pie chart, you can see a trend forming:


Some observations

Student loans stay pretty steady even until the end

It could be people going back to school for graduate degrees or to do something else, and I am not sure how they did the survey, but could some of the seniors be paying off student loans for other people such as their children or grandchildren, and calling it “student debt”?

Would be interesting to know.

The line of credit balloons near the end!

OMG. It goes up from 16% to 63% of average debt held!

Even credit cards (a smaller amount) are the highest averages in the last age rage over 65.

I wonder if people are supplementing their lifestyles with lines of credit / credit cards.


This is the debt breakdown by province now:

If you want to look at the chart of provincial debt by age:

At a first glance, it looks like Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario are pretty high across the board.

The lowest, are New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Nova Scotia, just at a rough glance.

Each of the individual provinces with their own breakdown

Note: Some parts where you see zeroes or blanks it may not be that the average is necessarily $0 in all the cases, but that the data was not there, or too shaky to be published, as per StatsCan ….

P.E.I. also had very little usable data, so they look very uneven and only show Car loans..

Small observations

  • The bigger provinces, get into debt early, and in large amounts quickly
  • The smaller provinces, do not get into debt (or so it seems, who knows, the data is not 100% there as per StatsCan), but the debt they do take on is Car loan debt, less student loans, or lines of credit
  • I find that a lot of the lines of credit increase as the age group increases — one possibility for this is that they are consolidating credit card or other debts into a line of a credit rather than keeping the credit card balance

Now for the non-mortgage debt average big cities

Note: Québec City had no data to speak of (no stats, unreliable data), so they are blank and I couldn’t create a graph for them.

Some observations:

Again, the biggest provinces – Ontario and B.C. get into debt early, and deep, even aside from mortgage-related debt.

I would not be surprised if people borrowed money on credit cards and lines of credit to make the down payment on their homes, because if you look at my post where I split out the net worth of someone’s house versus their liquid assets, these provinces also take on a lot of mortgage debt early on in their lives.

Read: What is the average net worth of a Canadian WITHOUT their house?

Again, lines of credit really increase in these cities as well because again, I am sure as people get older, they move credit card debt off into lines of credit to pay less in interest. Credit cards gouge you from 20% – 30% in interest rates, and a line of credit even at 10% is a dream.

Montréal, Toronto and Calgary have student loans in the comeback years, after the initial degree.

Again, I am guessing this is due to people going back to school and getting loans to get a better job.

What do you think? Thoughts? Other trends you see?


Can’t get enough? I have all of my Canadian Net Worth Series posts here.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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