SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Xenia von Wedel, Peter Silva, Glenn Rossman, Ava Smith, Elizabeth White

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Financial Literacy Month-BMO's Tip of the Day: Use Your RRSP to Help Make the Down Payment on Your First Home

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 11/04/12 -- To mark Financial Literacy Month, BMO Financial Group is releasing a series of financial tips throughout November. As part of 'Making Money Make Sense' and BMO SmartSteps, the tips are designed to help individuals and families save and manage their day-to-day finances more effectively.

BMO's Tip of the Day: Use your RRSP to help make the down payment on your first home.

The down payment is a lump sum you are required to contribute to your home's purchase price. Depending on the amount, a mortgage is classified as either "conventional" (a down payment of 20 per cent or more) or "high ratio" (a down payment of less than 20 per cent requiring default insurance).

One way to come up with a bigger down payment is by using your RRSP savings, under the federal government's Home Buyer's Plan (HBP). As a first-time homebuyer, you may be eligible to make a tax-free withdrawal of up to $25,000 from your RRSP; if your spouse qualifies, he or she may do the same, for a combined total of $50,000.

You are required to repay your HBP withdrawal into your RRSP within a period of no more than 15 years. Although you can repay your HBP earlier, the deadline for your first minimum annual repayment is two years and 60 days after the year in which you made your HBP withdrawal. The minimum annual repayment is equal to 1/15 of your original HBP balance and if you repay at least the minimum each year, there will be no tax payable.

"If you are able to provide a bigger down payment, it's a significant way of helping you pay less interest over the life of your mortgage. Also, with a down payment of at least 20 per cent, you avoid paying mortgage default insurance," said Laura Parsons, Mortgage Expert, BMO Bank of Montreal.

Ms. Parsons added that Canadians should be considering the benefits of choosing a shorter amortization as a way to decrease total interest costs and to begin building home equity sooner.

BMO Financial Literacy Month Tips

November 1: Maximizing TFSA investments annually over 20 years can save nearly $30,000 in taxes.

November 2: Utilize Rewards to Squeeze the Most Value Out of Every Dollar You Spend this Holiday Season.

November 3: Choose an Investment Advisor Who Is Right For You and Will Help You Meet Your Financial Goals.

For more on financial literacy, Canadians can visit the Government of Canada's Financial Literacy Month website, as well as BMO's Financial Literacy online resource.

CFEE works to promote and assist the enhanced economic capability of Canadians. To learn more, visit www.CFEE.org.

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.

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