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BMO Annual Rainy Day Survey: More Canadians Feel Financially Prepared in 2012

- Two-thirds feel prepared to handle their financial obligations in the event of a change in job status, change in financial situation, or unforeseen financial emergency

- More than half have more than three months of savings; 49 per cent have access to more than $5,000

- However, one-quarter would be unable to survive financially for more than three months on their rainy day fund



TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 5, 2012) - According to the 2nd Annual BMO Rainy Day Survey released today, more Canadians feel prepared to handle a financial emergency in 2012 compared to last year; however, 25 per cent would not be able to last longer than three months on their contingency savings.

The annual survey, conducted by Pollara, asked Canadians how prepared they are in the event of a change in job status, change in financial situation or unforeseen financial emergency. The survey also asked what sources of contingency savings they had available to them, and how long they could weather challenging times.

The poll revealed:

  • Two-thirds (66 per cent) of Canadians feel prepared to weather a financial emergency this year, compared to 40 per cent in 2011
  • More than half (54 per cent) of Canadians have more than three months of savings available; and almost half (49 per cent) have access to more than $5,000 if needed
  • However, one-third (32 per cent) feel unprepared to weather a financial downturn, and one-in-five (19 per cent) would deplete their savings in less than a month

"Being prepared for fluctuations in income or unexpected expenses requires an ongoing assessment of expenses and other spending habits," said Su McVey, Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal. "The general rule of thumb is to have an emergency fund set aside that is equal to three to six months of your income in a high-interest savings account, such as the BMO Smart Saver Account, to use for unexpected household expenses, along with avoiding the withdrawal of funds from other important investment plans, such as your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)."

According to BMO Economics, the personal savings rate in Canada currently lies near historic lows at 2.9 per cent. By comparison, the rate climbed as high as 7 per cent during the height of the latest recession, and reached over 20 per cent in the early 1980s.

Storing the Rainy Day Fund

  • Canadians spread their contingency savings over a number of accounts, with nearly half (45 per cent) holding their funds in a savings account; 29 per cent use a high-interest savings account
  • Additionally, 42 per cent hold their savings in investments outside of a registered plan, while 40 per cent use a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

BMO offers the BMO Smart Saver Account: a high interest savings account that allows for unlimited deposits and transfers into the account; one free debit transfer each month whether self-serve or staff-assisted via online, ABM, in-branch or phone; and free access to BMO MoneyLogic™ – an online personal financial management tool to help track everyday expenses.

Fall-Back Plan

The poll also asked what the fall back plan would be for Canadians who find themselves without a source of income or finances for six months, and revealed:

  • Canadians are most likely to rely on financial support from family or friends (45 per cent), followed by relying on the sale of assets (39 per cent), a line of credit (28 per cent) or RRSPs (26 per cent)

Financial Preparedness by Region and Gender

  • Those in Alberta are the most prepared to handle a financial 'rainy day' (79 per cent); those in Quebec face the greatest challenge, with only 44 per cent claiming to be prepared
  • Canadian men are more prepared financially than women (71 per cent versus 61 per cent respectively)
Region Gender
Canada ATL QC ON MB/SK AB BC Men Women
Feel "Prepared" 66% 74% 44% 72% 70% 79% 71% 71% 61%

Financial Preparedness by Demographic - Age and Income

  • While higher income Canadians are better positioned to weather a rainy day, even among households earning more than $100,000 a year, 25 per cent feel unprepared for a financial emergency and one-third (31 per cent) would be unable to survive over three months off their rainy day fund
Age Annual Household Income
Canada 18 to 29 30 to 39 40 to 49 50 to 64 65+ Under $50,000 $50,000 to $99,999 $100,000 or more
Feel "Prepared" 66% 64% 60% 56% 68% 86% 58% 66% 75%

For more information about how BMO can help make saving more affordable, stop by a BMO branch today or click here.

As part of its ongoing commitment to 'Making Money Make Sense', since 2009, BMO has introduced various tools to help Canadians effectively manage of their personal finances, including BMO MoneyLogic, BMO by Appointment, BMO SmartSteps, BMO SmartSteps for Parents, BMO SmartSteps for Business and BMO SmartSteps for Homeowners.

The Pollara online survey was completed between August 2 and August 6, 2012, with a sample of 1000 Canadians. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to ± 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $542 billion as at July 31, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

Media Contacts:
Jessica Park, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
jessica1.park@bmo.com

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224
valerie.doucet@bmo.com

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596
laurie.grant@bmo.com

Internet: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia