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March 06, 2012 09:00 ET

BMO Financial Group Launches the BMO Retirement Institute in the U.S.

Releases Inaugural Report "Single in Retirement"

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS and TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 6, 2012) - BMO Financial Group today announced the expansion of the BMO Retirement Institute into the United States. The BMO Retirement Institute provides thought-provoking insight and financial strategies for Americans planning for, or currently in, their retirement years.

"With BMO Financial Group's recent growth in the U.S., we thought it was an ideal time to bring the BMO Retirement Institute into the country," said Tina Di Vito, Head, BMO Retirement Institute. "We look forward to sharing our insights in this important market, and assisting Boomers in making a smooth transition into retirement."

The BMO Retirement Institute will examine a variety of topics related to retirement and issue comprehensive reports on the financial and non-financial aspects of this milestone. Its inaugural report, Single in Retirement, was released today.

"BMO is recognized around the globe for their excellence in programming, products and services and for their commitment to define great customer experience," noted Kenneth Krei, executive vice president, BMO Private Bank. "The similarities in the Canadian and U.S. marketplaces offer a unique opportunity to expand the reach of the BMO Retirement Institute to better serve all of our clients."

BMO Retirement Institute Report: Single in Retirement

The odds of being single at some point during retirement are high. In fact, 43 per cent of Americans aged 65 years and older are single due to divorce, having never married, or the death of a partner.(1)

Outlined in the report are a unique set of financial, emotional, and planning challenges for those who are "Suddenly Single" (unexpectedly widowed or divorced) or "Ever Single" (never married) in retirement. These include:

Planning for retirement

The report notes that, as the cost of living for singles is 40 to 50 per cent higher than for married individuals, singles are at greater risk of not having enough saved for retirement.(2)

The report found that married couples are more likely than their Ever Single counterparts to have a financial plan, to receive help in preparing their plan, and to have a more up-to-date financial plan.(3)

Building and Sustaining Wealth

During their working years, singles must devote a larger share of their income to basic living expenses, which leaves a smaller share for savings. Once retired, both singles and couples may be affected by the constantly rising costs of living and a retirement that could easily last 30 years. This reality is likely to place a greater burden on singles, who face these challenges alone. With only one source of income and no one to share the costs, it's no wonder singles have a more difficult time building and sustaining wealth than their coupled counterparts.

Understanding Income and Expenses

According to the report, it is crucial for singles to make sure their retirement plan properly balances income and expenses. Factors like Social Security, employer sponsored retirement plans and survivor benefits can dramatically impact a single retiree's income. The report notes that Suddenly Singles face a disadvantage when it comes to expenses, because while their income will drop, many of their expenses will stay the same.

Changes in Housing Needs

The report explains that housing for a single retiree can pose challenges, whether it is the expense of maintaining a household or the fact that many Ever Singles are renters and do not have a house to sell to fund their retirement nest egg. According to the report, many single retirees are exploring unconventional housing options, like communal living or taking on a roommate.

Social and Emotional Well-Being

The transition from working to not working can be tough on seniors. Feelings of identity loss and loneliness are normal for all retirees, but it is even more stressful when they have to go through it alone.

The Need for a Comprehensive Health Strategy

Single retirees may have a greater need to plan for the probability of health care expenses, given their lack of extra financial resources and the personal care a spouse can provide.

"Singles face a number of unique challenges as they prepare for retirement," stated Ms. Di Vito. "However, whether it be related to savings, housing or health, the key to successfully facing retirement alone is getting an early start on planning and seeking out the help and advice of others when needed."

To access the report or for more information about the BMO Retirement Institute please visit: https://www4.harrisbank.com/Investments+and+Retirement+Planning/Retirement+Planning/Retirement+Research.

Sources:
(1) 2011 U.S. Census Bureau
(2) 2009 American Academy of Actuaries
(3) BMO Retirement Institute Survey, conducted by Harris Decima, January 2012

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 $477 billion as at October 31, 2011, and more than 47,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions. BMO Harris Bank(sm) is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC.

BMO and BMO Financial Group are trade names used by Bank of Montreal.

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