How Age Affects Your Debt

Senga Bailey
August 18, 2023

Everyone has some sort of debt – whether it’s a home loan, car loan, credit card balance, or student loans. These debts all add up and can sometimes be a source of stress. But have you ever wondered what’s considered a normal amount of debt for your age?

Let’s take a look at the average debt for each age group in Canada. We’ll also discuss the main reasons why Canadians’ debt is increasing.

Debt Levels by Age in Canada

Remember, having debt is normal. Most Canadians are paying off something, like a car or student loan, even if their credit score is excellent.

According to Statistics Canada’s survey, here’s how much debt people in different age groups had on average in 2019:

  • Under 35 years: $69,500
  • 35 to 44 years: $105,100
  • 45 to 54 years: $130,100
  • 55 to 64 years: $80,600
  • Over 65 years: $49,900

These numbers are for individuals, not families. They include different kinds of debts like mortgages, credit cards, student loans, car loans, and others.

Why is Debt Increasing in Canada?

Lately, consumer debt in Canada, especially credit card debt, has been growing. In fact, average credit card spending went up by 17.5% in early 2022 compared to the year before. Young people like Gen Z and Millennials are mainly responsible for this increase.


Inflation has been causing the prices of everyday items to go up. So, Canadians have been spending more money every month. But wages haven’t increased at the same rate as inflation. As a result, people are using their credit cards more to pay for everyday things.

Desire to Travel

People have been eager to travel again since COVID restrictions started to lift. As a result, they’re spending more on their credit cards, which increases their debt.

Higher Interest Rates

The Bank of Canada raised interest rates in 2022 to control inflation. Because of this, the interest rates on credit cards also increased. So, if you don’t pay off your credit card balance every month, you’ll now have to pay more in interest, which adds to your debt.

How to Manage Your Debt

Even though it’s difficult to avoid debt because of high interest rates and inflation, it’s important to manage your debt carefully.

Having a budget and sticking to it can help you become debt-free. Look for ways to save money every month, try to pay off your high-interest credit card debt as soon as possible, and think about ways to earn extra money to put towards your debt.