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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, William Schmarzo, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, JP Morgenthal

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BMO Household Savings Report: Canadians Plan to Boost Annual Savings in 2013 to Nearly $10,000

- Report shows Canadian savers on average managed to save approximately $9,200 in 2012

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 02/04/13 -- According to the new BMO Household Savings Report released today, Canadians planning to save in 2013 are aiming to put away an average of $9,859 in order to meet their goals - an increase of nearly $600 over last year, or approximately 7 per cent.

While debt levels continue to receive much attention, the report, conducted by Pollara, shows a brighter side of the personal finance ledger.

The report reveals the various different investment vehicles that Canadian savers plan to use to reach their savings goals:


--  The majority of Canadians are using a Registered Retirement Savings Plan
    (RRSP) or a chequing account (63 per cent and 57 per cent respectively) 
--  Half (49 per cent) use a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA)  
--  One-third (29 per cent) are using a high-interest savings account 
--  Another quarter (25 per cent) are stashing their savings in Guaranteed
    Investment Certificates (GICs)

"It's encouraging to see Canadians are planning to maintain or increase their personal savings this year, particularly as we look to balance increasing debt loads and turn around decreasing rates of savings," said Ernie Johannson, Senior Vice President, Personal Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. "While it's important to pay down debt - particularly high-interest debt - it's essential that households build themselves a financial cushion as well, whether it be for retirement or other goals."

Ms. Johannson noted that balancing the need to pay down debt while still saving can be a challenge, and it's important for Canadians to seek the advice of a professional and create a financial plan that can address both priorities. BMO offers the BMO Smart Saver Account: a high interest savings account that allows for unlimited deposits and transfers into and out of the account and free access to BMO MoneyLogic(TM) - an online personal financial management tool to help track everyday expenses. Currently the BMO Smart Saver account offers a 1.2 per cent interest rate - the highest rate offered among Canada's major financial institutions for a full-service savings account without minimum balance requirements.

Personal Savings By Region and Gender


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Planned                                                                     
 Savings                                                                    
 for 2013                           Region                        Gender    
                ------------------------------------------------------------
          Canada    ATL     QC      ON  MB/SK      AB      BC     Men  Women
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
          $9,859 $6,698 $5,477 $10,465 $9,702 $18,035 $11,109 $11,631 $8,091
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Cautious Optimism"

However, the poll shows the optimism is tempered by the fact that only half (48 per cent) say they are saving enough to meet their goals, with high expenses (71 per cent), low income (65 per cent), and debt repayment (52 per cent) cited as the top barriers to increased savings.

According to BMO Economics, the personal savings rate in Canada, calculated by Statistics Canada, currently lies near historic lows at 3.9 per cent. By comparison, the rate climbed above 6 per cent during the height of the latest recession, and reached almost 20 per cent in the early 1980s.

The report also identified the most common savings goals in 2013 among Canadians:


--  Retirement savings and emergency savings tied for second (42 per cent
    respectively) on the priority list in 2013 
--  Nearly one-third of Canadians (29 per cent) are putting aside money for
    home renovations in 2013, while one-in-five will be saving towards the
    purchase of a new vehicle (20 per cent)  
--  Education savings are on the priority list for 19 per cent of Canadians,
    followed by the purchase of a new home (15 per cent)  
--  However, vacations and the purchase of luxury items, entertainment and
    hobbies topped the list, with 66 per cent of Canadians putting cash away
    for these types of purchases 

"It is sometimes difficult to balance financial priorities and responsibilities with spending on items and experiences we enjoy," noted Ms. Johannson. "However, given the economic realities, it is key that we don't let the nice-to-dos overshadow our must-dos. Having a balanced savings approach allows us to live for today while saving for our future goals."

To help Canadians continue to build their savings, BMO is offering a 2.25 per cent interest rate on net new deposits to a BMO TFSA Savings Account - the highest rate currently offered by a major financial institution in Canada - until April 30th, 2013.

For more information about how BMO can help make saving more affordable, stop by a BMO branch today or click here.

As part of its ongoing commitment to 'Making Money Make Sense', since 2009, BMO has introduced various tools to help Canadians effectively manage of their personal finances, including BMO MoneyLogic, BMO by Appointment, BMO SmartSteps, BMO SmartSteps for Parents, BMO SmartSteps for Business and BMO SmartSteps for Homeowners.

The BMO Household Savings Report was conducted via Pollara online survey between January 10th and 15th, 2013, with a sample of 1000 Canadians. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20. Data has been weighted by region, gender, and age, based on the most recent Census figures, so that it is representative of all adult Canadians.

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 $525 billion as at October 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.

Contacts:
Media Contacts:
Matt Duffin, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
[email protected]

Ronald Monet, Montreal
(514) 877-1873
[email protected]

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596
[email protected]

Internet: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia

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