Skip navigation
Navigation skipped

News Releases

BMO Wealth Management Study: Canadian Retirees Spend an Average of $2,400 a Month on Expenses

- Housing is identified as the single largest monthly expense

- Fifty-five per cent have splurged ($10,000 or more) on one item

- Retired Canadians' biggest surprise about retirement? Not having enough time to do everything they would like

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 25, 2015) - BMO Financial Group today released a study examining life in retirement for Canadians, including how retirees spend their money and time.

The study found that retired Canadians spend, on average, $2,400 per month ($28,800 per year). Housing accounts for the single largest monthly expense (an average of $668). Other expenses include, on average:

  • $581 for living expenses such as bills, clothing and transportation
  • $442 for food, including groceries and eating out
  • $282 for travel
  • $167 for entertainment
  • $151 for medical expenses

According to the study, 55 per cent of Canadians have spent large amounts (roughly $10,000 or more) on single items in retirement. The most expensive ways retired Canadians have spent their money include:

  • Purchasing a new vehicle (41 per cent)
  • Undertaking a major renovation to their home (22 per cent)
  • Giving a large sum to family members (11 per cent)

"Many retirees have been saving for retirement for decades so it's important that, once they reach this life event, they use their saved income effectively. It's clear that there are a myriad of expenses - and splurges - that could deplete your nest egg," said Robert Armstrong, Vice President, BMO Global Asset Management. "It's critical that Canadians who are approaching retirement have a retirement income planning strategy in place to minimize anxiety and hardship during their golden years."

To help Canadians save for retirement and grow their wealth, BMO Investments Inc. introduced BMO SelectTrust™ Portfolios and BMO ETF Portfolios. The Portfolios are a suite of professionally managed fund solutions built to avoid the lows of volatile markets and target a maximum potential return for a given level of risk. Each program offers six risk-differentiated investor profiles, including: fixed income, income, conservative, balanced, growth and equity growth.

Canadian Retirees Keep Busy

The study also asked retired Canadians what surprised them most when they made the transition to this life stage. The top responses were:

  • Not having enough time in the day to do everything they would like (37 per cent)
  • Savings are not as sufficient as they thought (25 per cent)
  • Spending less money than they thought they would (25 per cent)
  • Traveling less than they thought would (23 per cent)
  • Spending more money than they thought (21 per cent)
  • Seeing friends and family more than they thought (21 per cent)
  • Experiencing an onset of declining health sooner than expected (21 per cent)

Two thirds of retired Canadians spend their time with friends and family. Sixty per cent pursue hobbies, 49 per cent travel and 29 per cent volunteer or do board work.

"It's important to give thought to the type of lifestyle you want in retirement, including where you want to live, how you want to spend your time and with whom. If you have a spouse, it's critical to discuss your plans with him or her to ensure there are no surprises when you reach this life stage. Having a good idea of what your ideal retirement lifestyle looks like can help you create a customized financial plan that will ensure you have the savings necessary to do everything you'd like in your later years," added Mr. Armstrong.

Regional Breakdown:

Region Average amount spent on expenses per month/year Top monthly expense % who made a large purchase ($10,000 or more) after retirement % most popular large purchase is a new vehicle % surprised that they do not have enough time in retirement
National $2,400/ $28,800 Housing 55 41 37
Atlantic $1,975/ $23,700 Bills, clothing, transportation 56 43 39
Quebec $2,214/ $26,568 Housing 59 47 44
Ontario $2,534/ $30,408 Housing 48 30 36
Alberta $2,648/ $31,776 Bills, clothing, transportation 66 50 30
B.C. $2,073/ $24,876 Housing 56 50 36

For more information on saving for retirement, please visit

Get the latest BMO press releases via Twitter by following @BMOmedia.

The survey was conducted by Pollara with an online sample of 1,300 Canadians, including 800 non-retirees aged 18-64 and 500 retirees of any age. The survey was conducted from November 12 to November 17, 2014.

BMO Mutual Funds are offered by BMO Investments Inc., a financial services firm and separate legal entity from Bank of Montreal.

Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus of the mutual fund before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.

BMO Global Asset Management comprises BMO Asset Management Inc., BMO Investments Inc., BMO Asset Management Corp. and BMO's specialized investment management firms.

®/™ is a registered trade-mark/trades-mark of Bank of Montreal, used under licence.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services provider based in North America. With total assets of approximately $633 billion as of April 30, 2015, and more than 47,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

For further information:
Media contacts:
Jessica Bonin, Toronto

Valerie Doucet, Montreal