It appears debt continues to be a heavy burden for many across Alberta.
That's according to the latest Consumer Debt Index from MNP which looked at how Albertans are currently managing their finances and debt.
"Almost half of Albertans aren't confident that they will be able to cover their next year's expenses without going into further debt," said Insolvency Trustee with MNP Vicky Samuels. "Another thing we're seeing is 35 per cent of Albertans feel the pandemic worsened their debt or created more debt burden for either themselves or a family member."
Despite the concern, the report showed that 25 per cent of respondents were unable to pay their monthly bills and debt repayments which is down six per cent.
Roughly one-third said they plan to spend more than normal as they re-engage with the economy on things like travel, dining, and entertainment.
"Many Albertans appear to be eager to return to shopping, restaurants, and travelling to spend as a way to celebrate the pandemic wind down," added Donna Carson with MNP. "For others, the pandemic brought about financial damage that will likely linger for many years even as income returns and they try to cope with new debts they may have accumulated."
While the temptation to spend is prevalent for many, Samuels warns there is still some uncertainty for the future.
"We're also seeing from the survey (that) four out of 10 are concerned that if the interest rates go up, they will be in financial trouble. Just advising that as provinces open up, be cautious about spending. Individuals that didn't have a lot of savings prior to the pandemic may be vulnerable now."
The report showed that homeowners with an outstanding mortgage may be the most at risk with one-third of Alberta homeowners saying they are "house poor," meaning they don’t have much left over after paying bills related to their home.
About three-quarters of a million Alberta homeowners are susceptible to financial disruptions such as an interest rate increase or change to their job situation.
The best piece of advice Samuels offers is to seek professional financial help from insolvency trustees before it's too late.