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BMO Real Financial Progress Index Reveals More Than a Third of Women Are Spending Less This Holiday Season

Financial Confidence Among Americans Remains Nearly Flat from the Beginning of 2021

CHICAGO, Nov. 18, 2021 /CNW/ - With the biggest consumer holidays of the year only weeks away, the BMO Real Financial Progress Index revealed that more than a third of American women plan to spend less this holiday season than in recent years, driven by less savings and a decline in financial confidence and security among women. These findings are from the latest BMO Real Financial Progress Index, which sampled U.S. adults aged 18+ from Oct. 7-29.

Overall, the data revealed that American women will spend less during the 2021 holiday season.

  • 37% of women plan to spend less this holiday season than previous years, and only 13% said they'd be spending more.
  • 33% of women have saved less for holiday shopping this year than previous years, while only 23% of men have saved less this year than previous years.

Contributing to this change in holiday spending, American women are nearly 20% less likely this quarter versus last quarter to feel they are making real financial progress. Among men, 57% believe they are making real financial progress, while just 39% of women feel the same.

  • Women also feel less confident (73%) than men (86%) about their financial situation.
  • 54% of men feel more financially secure than a year ago, but only 41% of women feel more secure.

"The pandemic has widened the gender gap around financial confidence and wellness, and in turn, is impacting the holiday spending power of women," said Erminia (Ernie) Johannson, Group Head, North American Personal and Business Banking, BMO Financial Group. "As we recover from the pandemic, women should find trusted friends and advisors with whom they can discuss their financial concerns and from whom they can learn about different approaches to money management so that they can regain financial confidence – even as their financial situation continually changes. At BMO, we're committed to the real financial progress of every woman. We've established programs like BMO Women in Business to provide the tools, resources and education needed to empower women to meaningfully build their financial future."

New Year's Resolutions 

Looking to 2022, women are planning to take more control of their finances to build their financial momentum and confidence. In 2021, 62% of women wished they set financial goals for themselves (vs 52% of men), however many are planning to do so in the New Year.

When asked about financial New Year's resolutions:

  • 47% of women want to save more than in previous years
  • 42% of women want to set and stick to a budget
  • 45% of women say their top financial goal is to pay off debt

U.S. Financial Confidence Remains Flat

Consistent with what the Index has shown throughout the year, around half (48%) of Americans agree that they're making Real Financial Progress - up two points from the beginning of the year. Confidence in one's current financial situation has also remained steady with 79% feeling somewhat or very confident in their current situation.

BMO offers the following tips to help make real financial progress in 2022:

  • Talk about money with trusted individuals – friends, family, a banker or financial advisor. A banker can suggest programs and tools based on an individual's unique goals and financial situation.
  • Before the start of the new year, set and reevaluate financial goals (such as saving for retirement, paying off debt, building an emergency fund or starting an investment portfolio). Check in on your progress at least quarterly throughout the year and adjust if needed.
  • Take advantage of your bank's money management and digital banking tools, lending programs and educational resources. For example, BMO's Total Look gives customers a convenient, single view of all their financial accounts to help track financial progress.

About the BMO Real Financial Progress Index

Launched in February 2021, the BMO Real Financial Progress Index is an indicator of how consumers feel about their personal finances and whether they are making financial progress. The index aims to spark dialogue that will help consumers reach their financial goals and to humanize a topic that causes anxiety for many – money.

The research detailed in this document was conducted by Ipsos in the United States from Oct. 7-29, 2021. A sample of n=3,401 U.S. adults ages 18+ were collected. Quotas and weighting were used to ensure the sample's composition reflects that of the U.S. population according to census parameters.

For more information on how BMO's products and services can help consumers make real financial progress, visit

About BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through more than 500 branches and fee-free access to over 40,000 ATMs across the United States. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the United States. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, visit the company fact sheet. Accounts are subject to approval. BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a highly diversified financial services provider with total assets of CDN$971 billion as of July 31, 2021.

SOURCE BMO Harris Bank

For further information: Laura Micheli, 312-810-4157