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Fewer Canadians feeling confident about their personal finances: poll

Two-thirds of Canadians say they are entering the new year feeling positive about being able to reach their financial goals. That’s down from 76 per cent last year.

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Canadians' confidence in being able to meet current financial goals is slipping, says a new poll.

Two-thirds of Canadians – 65 per cent – said they are entering the new year feeling positive about being able to reach their financial goals, according to an annual poll conducted for CIBC.

That's down from 76 per cent who said the same thing last year, the lowest percentage in 5 years.

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And among the least confident this year are Canadians in the 45-to-54 age bracket, says the Neilsen poll. Only 58 per cent of them expressed confidence about reaching their financial goals, down from 77 per cent last year.

In comparison, 75 per cent of Canadians aged 25 to 44 were optimistic about reaching their financial goals, relatively unchanged from 76 per cent a year ago.

A second question asked those polled if they feel positive about their current financial situation and – again – the 45-to-54-year-olds were among the least optimistic: 58 per cent voiced confidence, down from 73 per cent a year earlier.

That compares with 69 per cent in the 25-to-34 age group, up from 68 per cent.

The single biggest concern for Canadian consumers is paying down debt, according to a separate recent CIBC poll.

"The decline in confidence among boomers is the most significant we've seen in five years," Christina Kramer, CIBC executive vice-president of retail and business banking, said.

"As each year goes by and boomers increasingly focus on debt reduction as an immediate priority, they also get closer to retirement without a long term plan in place that will deliver the retirement they are looking for."

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"We are seeing a real conflict among Canadians close to retirement, who are trying to balance their short term need to reduce debt with the longer term goal to save for the retirement they want," Ms. Kramer said.

"As Canadians approach traditional retirement age it can be a challenge to keep focused on both, and that can impact their overall confidence in their future finances."

The poll results also indicate a wide spread across the country.

In Alberta for example, 77 per cent said they are optimistic about reaching their financial goals, down from 84 per cent, while only 50 per cent of Quebec respondents expressed confidence, a big decline from 68 per cent a year earlier.

The results are based on a sample of 1,014 Canadians interviewed between Nov. 13 and Nov. 17, 2014. A sample of this size has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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