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BMO Financial Group

October 31, 2013 15:31 ET

BMO Releases 30 Tips for 30 Days During Financial Literacy Month

BMO is 'Making Money Make Sense' for Canadians by Providing a Tip for Each Day in November

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 31, 2013) - To mark Financial Literacy Month in Canada, BMO Financial Group is releasing a financial tip for each day of the month during November. Part of 'Making Money Make Sense', BMO's tips are designed to help individuals and families gain a better understanding of their finances, save money and manage day-to-day finances more effectively.

"We recognize the importance of promoting financial literacy across North America and applaud the efforts of the federal government," said L. Jacques Ménard, Chairman of BMO Nesbitt Burns and Financial Literacy Task Force Vice-Chair. "BMO strives to help our customers and Canadians gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions at all stages of their lives, and we're confident that Financial Literacy Month will have a positive, long-term impact on the overall financial knowledge and skills of Canadians."

BMO's 30 Tips for 30 Days in November:

Tip #1: Understand your needs and look for an investment advisor who takes an interest in your specific life situation to help you meet your financial goals.

Tip #2: Open a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) as early as possible and making regular contributions will ensure financial stability during retirement.

Tip #3: Investing in an RRSP is a great way to save for retirement in a tax-efficient manner. No tax is paid on investment growth in an RRSP so investments compound far more quickly than they would if invested outside of an RRSP.

Tip #4: Familiarize yourself with the wide range of investments that can be held in an RRSP, including bonds, equities, exchange traded funds (ETFs), guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) and mutual funds.

Tip #5: Spousal RRSPs can be an effective income-splitting strategy to help defer taxes right away and reduce overall taxes in retirement.

Tip #6: Invest in a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) to save thousands of dollars in taxes over the long term and to help you grow your savings faster.

Tip #7: Diversify your portfolio by including a mix of investments spread across several sectors to reduce volatility without lowering expected returns.

Tip #8: Consider preferred shares as an investment choice in today's low interest rate environment. They are a hybrid of equities and bonds and offer guaranteed fixed dividends with stable share prices and predictable distributions.

Tip #9: Create a comprehensive household budget and revisit it often to help keep your overall finances in check.

Tip #10: Track your day-to-day spending habits and take advantage of rewards programs to make the most out of every dollar spent.

Tip #11: This holiday season, encourage friends and family to contribute to your child's RESP to help pay for his or her education.

Tip #12: Donate securities to benefit from tax savings while supporting a cause that you believe in.

Tip #13: Ensure you are covered with travel medical insurance to avoid financial risk before going on vacation.

Tip #14: Use a combination of a credit card, debit card and cash for added security, convenience and flexibility when travelling to or shopping in the U.S.

Tip #15: Take advantage of credit cards that offer affordable emergency medical and travel insurance to save money and have peace of mind when you travel out-of-country.

Tip #16: Students should pay off credit card balances in full each month and take advantage of rewards and discounts associated with their student-specific credit card to save money.

Tip #17: When planning for a new home, housing costs - including mortgage payments, utilities and taxes - should not take up more than one-third of your total household income. If you can land safely within these parameters, then homeownership is an affordable and realistic option.

Tip #18: Under the federal government's Home Buyer's Plan, use your RRSP to help make a down payment on your first home.

Tip #19: Use the tax refund generated from your RRSP contribution to pay down your mortgage.

Tip #20: Before getting married, have an open dialogue about your current finances including your respective saving and spending habits. The "financial talk" will help with the transition from "my money" to "our money."

Tip #21: Establish a realistic budget for your wedding day and identify ways to minimize costs.

Tip #22: Re-visit your financial situation and budget accordingly when "expecting" a new addition to the family.

Tip #23: Save for your child's education by investing monthly Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) cheques in a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

Tip #24: Create a payment schedule, which includes spaced-out payments and planned financial commitments, to manage day-to-day finances.

Tip #25: Use trusted online financial tools and resources to make smart financial decisions and set yourself up for financial success.

Tip #26: Pay yourself first and put 10 per cent of your income into a high-interest savings account to boost your savings potential.

Tip #27: Bring your lunch to work and put the dollars you save towards retirement.

Tip #28: Include an emergency fund in your financial plan to help ensure you are prepared for unforeseen expenses and to avoid incurring high interest debt.

Tip #29: Consolidate high-interest debt into a line of credit to save on interest costs and become debt-free sooner.

Tip #30: Small business owners should implement year-end tax strategies that will reduce costs and help save money.

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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