Canadian Among World's Richest but Debts

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Canadians among world’s richest but debts

‘anything but sustainable’

Michael Babad

The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Sep. 24 2014, 9:15 AM EDT

Last updated Wednesday, Sep. 24 2014, 9:54 AM EDT

Wealth and debt

A European financial services giant ranks Canadians among the world’s richest, but warns their

personal finances have to change.

According to the fifth global wealth study released this week by Allianz, Canada ranks No. 8, or

one spot up from the last report, by net per-capita financial assets.

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That figure is €65,900, or just shy of $94,000.

From No. 1 down, Canada ranks behind Switzerland, the United States, Belgium, Netherlands,

Japan, Sweden and Taiwan, and ahead of Singapore and Britain.

By the end of last year, Allianz said, North America accounted for almost 45 per cent of global

gross financial assets. Together, Canadians and American held assets valued at €51.8-trillion,

though the U.S. represented the bulk of that.

Stock market gains, the company added, were the prime reason.

“All in all, the gross financial assets of U.S. households were a good 23 per cent up on their precrisis level, more than making up for the asset slump of 2008 – the most dramatic in post-war

history,” according to the report.

“Canada’s private households are in an even better position: Their gross asset base has expanded

by around 34 per cent since the end of 2007.”

There’s a caveat there, however, one that has oft dogged Canadians: Their elevated debt burden.

“Canadians still not appear to have achieved a turnaround as far as their debt situation is

concerned,” Allianz said.

“Although financial assets made a relatively speedy recovery in the aftermath of the crisis,

achieving annual growth averaging 8.1 per cent per annum...