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Canadians may think the recession is over, but they do not appear to be shifting their spending back to pre-recession levels. A new poll to be released today by advertising agency Bensimon Byrne shows consumers are still very cautious about spending money, partly because they have built up so much personal debt. While the vast majority think the economy will be better a year from now, 78 per cent said they are currently spending much less than they did a few years ago. About half of those surveyed said they think they'll have to delay retirement because of their financial situation, and 60 per cent say they'll put any extra spending money into paying down debt, rather than investing or making a major purchase. "Despite increased optimism about the economy, large personal debt will severely limit Canadians' ability to return to pre-recession spending levels," said Bensimon Byrne president Jack Bensimon.

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