‘Dr. Debt’ Warns Canadians to Get Financial Houses in Order

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Scott Hannah says low borrowing costs and rising home prices have lured Canadians into a debt trap they may not escape if looming economic threats materialize, Bloomberg News reported. Hannah, president of the Credit Counselling Society, is seeing an influx of clients as higher financing costs begin to bite and people find it harder to manage. Phone calls were up 5.3 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, while online chats increased 40 percent. He says with debt loads at a record and little in the way of savings to fall back on, Canadians may be “caught off guard” if housing markets cool significantly or North American Free Trade Agreement talks go sideways. “We’ve been in a perfect storm for a number of years” where low interest rates encourage borrowing and discourage saving, Hannah, 60, said by phone from the Vancouver suburb of New Westminster. “People have been lulled into a false sense of security.” Hannah’s organization can help people set up a debt management program or find a licensed insolvency trustee. Read more.