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BMO Rainy Day Survey: Canadians Average $35,237 in Emergency Savings, But Many Don't Have Enough to Last One Month

- The majority has under $10,000 set aside for a financial emergency

- A quarter of Canadians have one month or less in savings

- Report reveals variances for regions and income levels



TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 8, 2014) - According to the Annual BMO Rainy Day Survey released today, Canadians have an average $35,237 in rainy day savings, up $1,080 from last year. However, the report revealed one-in-four Canadians has enough saved to weather a financial emergency for only one month or shorter.

The survey, conducted by Pollara, asked Canadians how prepared they are in the event of a job loss, change in financial situation, or to cover unexpected medical expenses, home and car repairs.

The percentage of Canadians that have enough savings to only cover one month or fewer has climbed to 27 per cent since 2012 - up 8 percentage points.

  • For those who have one month or fewer in savings, the average fund is only $2,051
  • 47 per cent have enough savings to cover three months or fewer; up 7 percentage points
  • Three-in-ten Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque or spending more than they earn

"Two-thirds of Canadians have relied on their savings to help deal with unpredictable financial emergencies," said Christine Canning, Head of Everyday Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. "In order to avoid taking on an unmanageable amount of debt, the ideal emergency savings fund should be equal to three to six months of your income."

Ms. Canning advised that emergency funds can be placed in a savings or investment vehicle with easy access and a high level of principal stability. These include money market mutual funds, high interest savings accounts and Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs). Ms. Canning noted that BMO offers the BMO Smart Saver Account - a high interest savings account that allows for unlimited deposits and transfers into the account.

In addition, the survey found:

  • The majority of Canadians (52 per cent) have less than $10,000 in emergency savings, with 41 per cent holding under $5,000
  • One in five (19 per cent) has less than $1,000
  • 29 per cent have between $10,000 - $49,999, while 19 per cent have over $50,000
  • Those with an annual income under $50,000 are most likely to have savings under $1,000
  • A quarter of those with an annual income over $100,000 have under $5,000 in savings
Income
Emergency Savings Canada Under $50K $50K - 100K $100K +
Under $1,000 19 % 34 % 16 % 6 %
$1,000 to $4,999 22 % 26 % 21 % 18 %
$5,000-$9,999 11 % 12 % 14 % 6 %
$10,000 - $49,000 29 % 20 % 30 % 37 %
$50,000 or more 19 % 9 % 19 % 33 %

Emergency Savings by Region

  • Quebecers account for the highest percentage (40 per cent) of those with a savings fund of $10,000 - $49,999, while Ontario has the lowest at 22 per cent
  • BC represents the province with the highest percentage (23 per cent) of residents holding over $50,000 in savings, while Quebec is the lowest (13 per cent)
  • BC residents have the highest average rainy day fund at $43,818.15, $8,581.36 above the national average
Region
Emergency Savings ATL QC ON MB/SK AB BC
Under $1,000 20 % 13 % 21 % 24 % 20 % 20 %
$1,000 to $4,999 25 % 22 % 23 % 22 % 21 % 19 %
$5,000-$9,999 12 % 11 % 13 % 8 % 11 % 9 %
$10,000 - $49,000 23 % 40 % 22 % 25 % 31 % 30 %
$50,000 or more 20 % 13 % 21 % 21 % 17 % 23 %
Average $ 33,132.66 $ 18,557.87 $ 43,762.52 $ 27,811.52 $ 35,676.35 $ 43,818.15

The BMO Rainy Day Survey which was conducted by Pollara between August 5th and August 7th, 2014, with an online sample of 1,001 adult Canadians. Data has been weighted using the latest Canadian census information to be representative in terms of age, gender and region. The margin of error for a probability sample size of 1,001 is ± 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services organization based in North America. The bank offers a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers. BMO Financial Group had total assets exceeding $586 billion and approximately 47,000 employees at July 31, 2014.

Media Contacts:
Kathleen Savage, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
kathleen.savage@bmo.com

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

Internet: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia