“There is no doubt that client education should be the cornerstone of any mortgage broker's marketing plan. Sometimes we forget to reach out to our existing clients in favour of 'educating' the clients we are currently working with,” Jackson Middleton of Kilted Media wrote on MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “This is where having an up to date blog comes in handy! A post on debt reduction on your personal blog would be very timely about now.”
The comment followed news that Canadians are increasingly focusing on paying down their own debt as a top priority for their financial management.
CIBC’s yearly poll on consumer financial priorities has revealed that, for the fifth year in a row, paying down debt continues to be Canadians’ top financial concern.
"Not only have Canadians told us debt repayment is their number one financial priority for five years running, for 2015 we see an even greater number of Canadians focused on better managing debt in the year ahead," Christina Kramer, executive vice president of retail and business banking for CIBC said. "While it is encouraging that paying down debt is important to Canadians, it is also important not to lose sight of longer term goals like retirement planning."
And not only is paying down debt the top concern – more Canadians are viewing it as such.
22 per cent of those polled said debt repayment is their top financial priority for 2015, up from 16 per cent a year ago. This is good news for brokers who wish to educate home buyers on the importance of paying down their mortgages.
“That's why I help my clients not only get into a mortgage … I also spend the time to educate them on how to get out of one,” one commenter said on MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “The referrals you get from this simple tactic are unbelievable.”
The poll also found that debt repayment is becoming increasingly important to Canadians who are nearing retirement age, with 31 per cent of those aged 45-54 saying debt repayment is their top priority.
"We've seen debt repayment close to doubling in importance for age groups that would typically be in their peak retirement savings years, but it is important that they don't put off retirement planning indefinitely," Kramer said. "The good news is that by getting advice and taking small steps now, you can still focus on your retirement savings at the same time as you tackle your debt."
One industry player is advising brokers to not only focus on helping clients with debt management, but to write about it as well.