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Four Bits of Personal Finance News Canadians Can Be Thankful For

10/07/2014 12:40 EDT | Updated 12/07/2014 05:59 EST
Lisa Peardon via Getty Images

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you might notice that I often write about ways Canadians can avoid debt. I do this because there are some serious concerns about household debt in Canada -- Statistics Canada says that the average Canadian owes about $1.63 for every dollar they earn.

When you see trends of credit card overuse (Equifax says the average Canadian family owes $20,759 without factoring in mortgages) and compare them with unemployment (August saw a record private-sector loss of nearly 112,000 jobs), it's easy to see why financial advisors and counsellors promote smart spending and the concept of living within your means. If you are falling behind on credit card payments or you're only making minimum monthly payments, you could be in trouble.

But all is not lost.

As families put the final touches on their Thanksgiving plans, looking forward to sitting down with loved ones and celebrating the good in their lives, I thought it would a great time to point out some things that are good about personal finances in Canada.

Here are four bits of personal finance news we should be thankful for:

We are paying our debts - Credit bureau Equifax recently reported that the delinquency rate -- the amount of bills which are 90 days past due -- is falling. The rate fell to 1.11 per cent, the lowest it's been since 2008 when the "Great Recession" began. Equifax also pointed out that consumer bankruptcies declined by five per cent over the last 12 months.

We are worth a lot - Sure, household debt might be sky-high, but household net worth is climbing as well. Environics Analytics recently reported that the average net worth of Canadian households has reached new highs of $442,130, an eight per cent rise from the previous year. Real estate and investment values played a huge role in the increases.

We will earn more - Robert Half recently released the 2015 Salary Guides, showing that Canadian starting salaries for professional occupations are projected to increase an average of 3.7 per cent next year. The fields with the largest increases will be technology (5.2 per cent), creative and marketing (3.9 per cent), and accounting and finance (3.4 per cent).

We are confident - Despite the less-than-encouraging job numbers, Canadians are feeling pretty good about their finances. The Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index shows that more than 70 per cent of Canadians feel their job is at least somewhat secure -- the highest job confidence rates in three years. This is good for consumer confidence which, in turn, is good for the greater economy.

So, it's not all bad news. Every cloud has a silver lining, and so too does the personal finance section of your newspaper. But remember, just because you see the sun poking through the clouds, doesn't mean you shouldn't pack an umbrella.

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