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Average Emergency Savings Fund up 18 per cent From 2014; One Quarter Living Paycheque to Paycheque: BMO Rainy Day Survey

- Canadians have an average $41,694 in emergency savings

- Job loss, medical expenses and major car repairs among top emergency concerns

- 30 per cent of Canadians concerned about personal financial standing

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 1, 2015) - According to the Annual BMO Rainy Day Survey released today, Canadians have an average of $41,694 in emergency savings - up $6,457 from last year. However, one quarter (24 per cent) say they are living paycheque to paycheque with hardly anything set aside for a financial emergency.

The survey, conducted by Pollara, revealed that while the overall average has increased, over half (56 per cent) of Canadians say they have under $10,000 in available emergency funds:

  • 44 per cent say they have under $5000 in emergency savings, with 21 per cent having less than $1000
  • Three in ten (29 per cent) say their savings would only last one month or less
  • One quarter say they have enough to last them over a year

Canadians classified medical expenses (72 per cent), job loss (71 per cent), major car repairs (61 per cent) and unexpected home repairs (59 per cent) as the top emergency concerns.

The survey also revealed how a lack of emergency savings has impacted Canadians, with nearly half (46 per cent) stating they experienced increased debt:

Lack of current or previous emergency fund has caused: Percentage of Canadians Affected:
Increased debt 46 %
Increased stress when an emergency occurs 60 %
Feelings of stress and lack of financial stability, even when not immediately faced with emergency 49 %
Limited options, time and/or flexibility to handle an emergency 47 %
Delaying goals to deal with financial setbacks 58 %
Guilt for having no emergency funds available 46 %

"An emergency fund represents more than just a cushion - it provides peace of mind and helps reduce the risk of increased debt when faced with a financial emergency," said Christine Canning, Head of Everyday Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Having the resources to handle unexpected expenses helps to keep the impact contained to that time period, avoiding further financial obstacles."

Canadian's View of their Finances

Recent talk of whether Canada has entered or is heading for an economic recession has caused 30 per cent of Canadians to feel concerned about their personal financial standing. In addition:

  • Four in ten (39 per cent) have started to look for ways to cut back their spending
  • 28 per cent are re-examining their finances
  • One quarter (26 per cent) want to increase their emergency fund
  • 20 per cent are delaying major purchases until the economy seems more stable

Emergency Savings by Region 2015

Emergency Savings Region
Under $1,000 25 % 17 % 22 % 21 % 16 % 23 %
$1,000 to $4,999 29 % 29 % 18 % 14 % 26 % 27 %
$5,000-$9,999 11 % 14 % 12 % 5 % 13 % 15 %
$10,000 - $49,000 27 % 25 % 27 % 30 % 22 % 14 %
$50,000 or more 8 % 16 % 21 % 31 % 22 % 21 %
Average $20,152 $24,671 $41,088 $67,605 $40,341 $70,364

Ms. Canning added that the ideal emergency savings fund should be equal to three to six months of your income. She noted that BMO Bank of Montreal offers a first-of-its-kind savings account designed to help Canadians save more by rewarding them with bonus interest for making recurring monthly savings contributions.

The BMO Savings Builder Account offers Canadians an industry-leading rate of 1.5 per cent when they increase their savings by $200 or more each month.

Survey results cited in this report are from online interviews with a random sample of 1,002 Canadians 18 years of age and over, conducted by Pollara between August 17th and August 18th, 2015. As a guideline, a probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to ± 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. Results have been weighted using the latest census data to be representative of all adult Canadians.

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 $672 billion as of July 31, 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:
Kathleen Savage, Toronto
(416) 867-3996

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224
Twitter: @BMOmedia