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A new survey says most Canadians plan to make big changes to their finances in 2014.

c-George/Getty Images/iStockphoto

With the bills from all that holiday spending crying out for attention these days, many Canadians are suffering a major debt hangover.

But good intentions prevail.

A new survey from Equifax Canada indicates that 85 per cent of those polled say they plan to make significant financial changes this year.

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Paying down debt – 38 per cent – and saving more money – 37 per cent – are at the top of the list, according to the report.

Other priorities include investing in RRSPs, TSFAs or RESPs – 24 per cent – and spending more on needs than wants – 23 per cent.

"At this time of year, many people are certainly suffering from a case of the credit card blues," Equifax Canada's vice-president of personal solutions, Tim Ashby, said in a news release Monday.

"To get over it, we're encouraging people to take ownership of their financial fitness. They should pay down high-interest credit card debt first, follow a household budget and check their credit report and score at least once a year."

A majority of respondents said they are concerned over growing debt levels – 62 per cent – and the same proportion said they consider themselves to be financially fit and follow a monthly household budget.

As to credit score, 45 per cent in the poll said they know what it is. But only 25 per cent of those surveyed said they check their credit score annually.

"How people perceive themselves and the reality of their situation can often be very different," said Mr. Ashby.

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"We know the real number of Canadians who actually check their credit score and it's about one in ten. Many people also say they follow a household budget, but for most it's simply not the case."

Other findings:

· Men are more likely to consider themselves financially fit: 66 per cent compared with 58 per cent of women.

· Women are more apt to say they stick to a monthly household budget: 67 per cent versus 57 per cent for men.

· Canadians aged 55 and over are the most likely to consider themselves financially fit: 78 per cent.

The survey by Leger Marketing of 1,500 Canadians aged 18 and over was conducted online between Jan. 6 and Jan. 9, based on Leger's online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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