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BMO Psychology of Investing Report: Canadians Letting Emotion Get in the Way of Smart Investing

- Forty per cent say emotions play a role when making investing decisions

- Two-thirds are not in total control of their emotions when investing

- Majority of Canadians have invested on impulse

- Anticipation, trust and fear are the most common emotions felt by investors

- BMO: Informed decision-making critical to reaching financial milestones

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 28, 2012) - Canadians are an emotional bunch with their investments. According to the BMO Psychology of Investing Report - the second in a series of reports that examine the mindset of Canadians when dealing with personal finances - two in five Canadians (40 per cent) say that emotions play a role in their investing decisions.

The report, produced by Pollara, also revealed the following:

  • Nearly 60 per cent of Canadians say they have invested on impulse at least once.
  • Two-thirds report they have not been in total control of their emotions when investing.
  • Anticipation, trust and fear are the most intense emotions that Canadians feel when deciding how to invest.
  • Only 16 per cent are very familiar with the actual investments they hold in their portfolios.

"While we're only human, wise investing means more than simply following your heart," said Serge Pépin, Vice President, Investment Strategy, BMO Asset Management Inc. "It's critical not only to take the time to understand the market environment before making any financial moves, but also to ensure you're in the right frame of mind to make such decisions."

Mr. Pépin added that reading the business pages of newspapers and magazines, doing research online and seeking advice from financial professionals can help to ensure an informed investment decision-making process.

Canadians Lack Confidence When Investing

The report also found that many Canadians are unaware of how to make an investment and lack the confidence to do so. Additionally, many are not even sure of their current holdings.

  • Forty-four per cent of Canadians say that they are not confident when investing.
  • Only one-quarter do careful and extensive research before making investment decisions.
  • More than one-third (35 per cent) are not familiar with the companies in which they have invested.

Do Canadians Feel They Are Investing Enough?

Forty-one per cent of Canadian investors do not believe they are investing enough. The top barriers indentified include:

  • The vast majority (90 per cent) feel they have not saved enough to warrant investing.
  • Eighty-three per cent want to pay off their debt before investing.
  • In addition, fear of losing what they invest (79 per cent), feeling that investing is too complicated (76 per cent) and not knowing who to turn to for advice (64 per cent) were all identified as barriers.

"These barriers are completely understandable," said Mr. Pépin. "For Canadians who are unsure about investing, a good first step is to meet with a financial professional. Such a professional can help identify your investing goals and the funds you have available, and then work with you to develop a financial plan that can help you invest for life's key milestones - such as parenthood, the purchase of a home and retirement."

As part of its ongoing commitment to 'Making Money Make Sense,' BMO has introduced various tools to help Canadians stay on top of their personal finances, including BMO by Appointment, BMO MoneyLogic, BMO SmartSteps, BMO SmartSteps for Parents and BMO SmartSteps for Business. Additionally, BMO recently launched a Financial Planning Website which enables Canadians to determine what steps to take today to reach their financial goals with confidence. It features a full range of online tools, including a Retirement Savings Calculator, Major Purchase Calculator, Education Savings Calculator, Cash Flow Worksheet and a Net Worth Worksheet.

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The survey results cited in the BMO Psychology of Investing Report are from online interviews with a random sample of 1,000 Canadians 18 years of age and older, conducted between November 6th and November 8th, 2012. 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.

For further information:
Media Contacts:
Amanda Robinson, Toronto
(416) 867-3996

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596