BMO Financial Group
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BMO Financial Group
BMO Bank of Montreal

BMO Bank of Montreal

August 07, 2013 06:00 ET

BMO Annual Rainy Day Survey: Majority of Canadians Have Less Than $10,000 Set Aside in Emergency Savings

- Half of Canadians have the equivalent of three months of expenses set aside

- However, one-quarter are living paycheque to paycheque

- Ideal emergency savings fund should be equal to at least three months of income

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug. 7, 2013) - According to the 3rd Annual BMO Rainy Day Survey released today, while two-thirds (66 per cent) feel prepared financially to handle a 'rainy day', the majority (51 per cent) have less than $10,000 in savings to cover unexpected expenses, and another one in five (17 per cent) have less than $1,000.

The annual survey, conducted by Pollara, asked Canadians how prepared they are in the event of a change in job status, change in financial situation or unforeseen financial emergency and revealed:

  • 17 per cent have less than $1,000 in savings to draw upon in the event of an emergency, while another 20 per cent have up to $5,000
  • 14 per cent have between $5,000 - $9,999 set aside in emergency savings
  • Nearly one-in-five Canadians (18 per cent) have set aside $50,000 or more for a 'rainy day'

In addition, the survey found:

  • Half (51 per cent) of Canadians have the equivalent of three months of expenses set aside, down 3 points from 2012, while 43 per cent have less than three months; an increase of 3 points
  • One-quarter (23 per cent) say they are living paycheque to paycheque
  • Two-thirds (68 per cent) have had to dip into their rainy day fund in the past, with car repairs (25 per cent), job loss (21 per cent), and home repairs (20 per cent) being the most common reasons

"Financial emergencies, such as a broken furnace or major car repairs, can crop up at any time and, without some form of financial cushion, can potentially cause households to take on more debt than is necessary," said Janet Peddigrew, Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal. "The ideal emergency savings fund should be equal to three to six months of your income."

Ms. Peddigrew added that when deciding where to put your cash reserve, one of the safest routes is to place emergency funds in a savings or investment vehicle with easy access and a high level of principal stability. These include money market mutual funds, high interest savings accounts and Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA).

Ms. Peddigrew noted that BMO offers the BMO Smart Saver Account - a high interest savings account that allows for unlimited deposits and transfers into the account, and free access to BMO MoneyLogic™ - an online personal financial management tool to help track everyday spending and savings.

Financial Preparedness by Region and Gender

  • Those in the Prairies feel the most prepared to handle a financial 'rainy day' (74 per cent), while those in Atlantic Canada face the greatest challenge, with 60 per cent claiming to be prepared, down 14 points from 2012
  • Those over the age of 65 are the most likely to feel prepared (84 per cent), while those between the ages of 35-44 are the least likely (59 per cent)
  • Among those with a six-figure annual household income, one-in-four (23 per cent) do not feel prepared for a financial emergency, and one-in-three (33 per cent) would be unable to last more than three months off their savings
Emergency Savings Canada Region Income
ATL QC ON MB/SK AB BC Men Women
Under $1,000 17% 21 % 18 % 18 % 10 % 14 % 16 % 17 % 16 %
$1,000 to $4,999 20% 28 % 21 % 18 % 14 % 18 % 19 % 17 % 21 %
$5,000-$9,999 14% 10 % 16 % 11 % 21 % 14 % 18 % 12 % 16 %
$10,000 - $49,000 31% 28 % 26 % 34 % 33 % 37 % 29 % 32 % 31 %
$50,000 or more 18% 13 % 19 % 21 % 21 % 17 % 19 % 24 % 13 %
Emergency Savings Canada Income
Under $50K $50K - 100K $100K +
Under $1,000 17% 33 % 8 % 8 %
$1,000 to $4,999 20% 23 % 22 % 7 %
$5,000-$9,999 14% 16 % 15 % 10 %
$10,000 - $49,000 31% 21 % 35 % 42 %
$50,000 or more 18% 8 % 20 % 34 %

The Pollara online survey was completed between July 26th and July 30th, 2013, with a sample of 1,000 Canadians. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to ± 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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 $555 billion as at April 30, 2013, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

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