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BMO Bank of Montreal

February 09, 2012 08:00 ET

BMO Retirement Tips of the Day: Save More for Retirement by Paying Down Credit Card Debt and Taking Advantage of Employee Benefits

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 9, 2012) - As the February 29th deadline approaches to make a contribution to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and as part of its ongoing commitment to improving financial literacy, BMO Financial Group will be providing daily retirement tips during the month of February from BMO Retirement Institute Head Tina Di Vito's new book 52 Ways To Wreck Your Retirement…And How To Rescue It.

Tip Number Seventeen:

Be wary of using credit cards as a long-term loan solution

An easy way to wreck your retirement is to incur interest charges on credit card balances. To minimize interest costs and maximize savings, understand the rates and fees associated with your credit card, such as interest charges, annual fees, cash advance fees and foreign exchange charges, and effectively manage your purchases and payments. Also, take advantage of rewards programs offered in conjunction with your credit card.

Avoid charging items that you can't afford to pay off quickly as monthly interest charges can end up costing you a lot more than the original price of the item. Instead, save for the item beforehand and pay off the balance/charge by the due date to avoid additional charges.

Tip Number Eighteen:

Take advantage of employee benefits and save more money for retirement

Do not make the mistake of thinking you are alone in saving for retirement. Many employers offer registered pension plans such as a Defined Contribution pension plan (DC), Defined Benefit pension plan (DB) or a group RRSP, that match employee contributions. This is essentially free money that can easily double the amount of pension savings you accumulate.

Also, take full advantage of employee benefits such as insurance programs, dental and health care coverage, stock purchase plans, employee assistance programs and employee discounts. These are services that you do not have to pay for yourself and they will end up helping you save more money that you can allocate to your retirement or use to pay off debts.

For more information on retirement: www.bmo.com/retirement.

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