BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group

April 15, 2015 06:30 ET

BMO New Canadians Study: Immigrants Come to Canada With an Average of $47,000 in Savings

- After the initial costs of getting settled, immigrants have less than half of their savings left

- Priorities: More than half use their remaining nest egg to save for retirement; two thirds send money back home to friends and family

- Forty-six per cent reported choosing Canada because it is a safe place to live

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 15, 2015) - According to a study issued today by BMO Wealth Management, immigrants arrive in Canada with an average of $47,000 in savings to help them get settled in their new country, while 19 per cent come with no savings at all.

The study is the first in a series, Making the Financial Transition, which examines a variety of financial issues related to New Canadians (those who have moved to Canada fewer than 10 years ago).

The inaugural study also revealed that, after all initial expenses associated with getting settled, immigrants are left with an average of $20,000 and use their remaining money to save for the following:

  • Retirement (53 per cent)
  • Children's education (49 per cent)
  • A large purchase like a home or car (44 per cent)
  • A trip (36 per cent)

Additionally, two thirds send a portion of their money (an average of $2,300) back home to friends or family, with one-fifth doing so monthly (17 per cent) and one-quarter a few times a year (24 per cent).

"It can be incredibly stressful, financially and otherwise, to pick up, move to another country and begin the process of creating a new life for yourself. It's great to see that New Canadians do have a bit of a nest egg remaining," said Julie Barker-Merz, President, BMO InvestorLine. "What will be critical is ensuring they make their remaining money work for them by acquainting themselves with the basics of saving and investing in their new environment. Do some online research, read the papers and seek out the help of a financial professional."

Ms. Barker-Merz noted that financial institutions have an important role to play in helping New Canadians manage their finances. Immigrants face a number of challenges when arriving in Canada, including not being familiar with the financial system, and language barriers. Last year, BMO InvestorLine launched Traditional and Simplified Chinese-language websites for its Self-Directed and adviceDirect services, offering clients account management services and the ability to execute trades in Chinese.

Why Canada?

According to the study, there are many reasons why people choose to immigrate to Canada. These include:

  • To be safe (46 per cent)
  • To live in a different country (42 per cent)
  • To get a better job (38 per cent)
  • To improve their education (36 per cent)
  • To have access to better government programs (33 per cent)

On a positive note, two thirds of immigrants (67 per cent) feel their standard of living has improved since coming to Canada, with 27 per cent saying it has improved greatly.

"Compared to other G8 countries, Canada has the highest proportion of foreign-born residents. This is not a coincidence. People from around the world often choose Canada as a place to raise a family or start a career because of the opportunities available to newcomers," said Ms. Barker-Merz.

Finally, the survey found that one fifth of immigrants have come to Canada with an older relative (22 per cent with parents and 20 per cent with aunts or uncles) and one third arrive in the country with at least one child (37 per cent).

Regional Breakdown:

Region Average $
amount brought
to Canada
Average $
amount left
after move
% Saving
% Who send
money back to
% Who moved
to Canada
to be safe
National 47,070 20,277 53 66 46
Quebec 36,527 7,388 46 57 37
Ontario 51,847 27,579 59 68 57
Alberta 28,784 9,800 52 64 38
B.C. 86,270 35,500 56 69 49

The survey was conducted by Pollara between February 4th and February 19th, 2015 with an online sample of 507 people who have immigrated to Canada in the past 10 years. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is ± 4.4%, 19 times out of 20.

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About BMO InvestorLine

BMO InvestorLine is an online investing service that provides clients with two ways to invest online. Clients can choose from BMO InvestorLine's top ranked Self-Directed service that provides tools to help investors make independent decisions on how to invest. BMO InvestorLine's other service, adviceDirect™ provides investors with online advice and investment recommendations for their portfolios. Clients have access to trading, quotes and account information 24 hours a day through a website. BMO InvestorLine also provides users with third party research, along with leading edge tools that are informative and easy to use. As an all-in-one investment source, it is a constantly evolving, cost-efficient platform that is fully compatible with tablets.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services organization based in North America. The bank offers a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers. BMO Financial Group had total assets of approximately $672 billion and more than 47,000 employees at January 31, 2015.

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