Balance sheets: Canadian vs. U.S. households

Balance sheets: Canadian vs. U.S. households

Graphs show just how much more Canadians borrow


The latest Allianz Global Wealth Report has some of the most interesting comparisons of Canadian vs. American balance sheets we’ve seen in a while.

Overall, the insurance and asset management firm ranked Canadians the 8th richest in the world in terms of net per capital financial assets, behind Switzerland, the U.S.,  Belgium, Netherlands, Japan, Sweden and Taiwan. We’d be higher on that list if it weren’t for our debt levels, Allianz suggests.

“Although financial assets made a relatively speedy recovery in the aftermath of the crisis, achieving annual growth averaging 8.1 per cent per annum over the past five years, the financial situation of Canadian households is anything but sustainable,” the report reads.

“Macroeconomic shocks like rising interest rates, a labour market slump or falling house prices could pose a serious threat to the solvency of highly-indebted households.

These graphs from the same report just how insatiable Canadians’ appetite for debt is, especially when compared to the U.S.

debt debt2

It’s also interesting to compare our overall portfolio asset mix relative to our U.S. counterparts. We have more of our money sunk into bank deposits and insurance and less in securities than our neighbours to the south.