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BMO Financial Group

June 12, 2015 06:00 ET

BMO Wealth Management Index Finds New Brunswickers Have Lowest Level of Debt in the Country

- National index ranks residents of each province on who is most successful at managing their wealth according to a variety of criteria

- New Brunswick residents have, on average, $69k of debt

- Opportunities exist for them to improve by working with a professional to ensure effectiveness of their financial plan and prioritizing saving for retirement

FREDERICTON, NEW BRUNSWICK--(Marketwired - June 12, 2015) - BMO Wealth Management today launched a first-of-its-kind national Wealth Index, which provides a snapshot of Canadians' financial situation and measures their ability to manage their wealth.

The inaugural BMO Wealth Management Index ranks residents of each province, out of a score of 100, on which residents are most successful in managing their wealth. This is determined by looking at a variety of criteria, including: having, reviewing and maintaining a financial plan; household debts and assets; retirement savings; having insurance in place; estate planning components; rainy day savings; and the sustainability of their current financial situation. The Index is unique among financial measures because it considers more than just "balance sheets" (i.e. how much money Canadians have).

With a score of 58.9, New Brunswick placed last among the provinces; the national average score was 69.3. New Brunswick residents scored highest in the following areas:

  • New Brunswick residents have the lowest level of debt across the country, with an average amount of $69,000 (lower than the national average amount of debt of $99,700)
  • Reviewing their financial plan frequently or annually (69 per cent)

The categories in which they scored lowest included:

  • Having a financial strategy (68 per cent do, which is lower than the national average of 81 per cent)
  • Having a financial plan (only 42 per cent)
  • Working with a financial professional to develop a financial plan (72 per cent have not)
  • Having a will or critical illness insurance policy (just 31 per cent and 30 per cent have one, respectively)

"It's encouraging to see that New Brunswick residents have the lowest amount of debt among the provinces," said Rick Thomson, Vice President and Market Leader, Atlantic Canada, BMO Private Banking, a part of BMO Wealth Management. "However, they have some work to do in financial planning and ensuring the effectiveness of their plans. The concept of wealth is multi-dimensional and consists of more than what appears on your balance sheet. It's also about adjusting to unexpected changes in your life and environment - whether positive or negative - and having a financial plan is essential to being able to do that."

New Brunswick Not Confident About Financial Preparedness

In addition to questions to determine the Index rankings, New Brunswick residents were asked about how prepared they are to deal with significant life changes, such as getting married, the birth of a child, job loss, retirement etc.:

  • Forty-five per cent are confident that they would be prepared financially
  • Twenty-eight per cent are not very confident that they would be prepared financially
  • Fourteen per cent are not at all confident that they would be prepared financially

"It's concerning that fewer than half of New Brunswick residents believe they can take on a major change successfully," said Betsey Chung, Chief Marketing Officer, Canadian Banking & Wealth Management, BMO Financial Group. "Life events and market changes are often catalysts for people to reconsider their approach to wealth management. We're here to help clients turn these changes into opportunities - whether it's a fresh start, a new endeavour or a chance to give back."

BMO Wealth Management recently launched a multi-faceted ad campaign that is appearing across all customer experience platforms and webpages. The campaign tells the stories of clients going through significant life changes - newly single, aging parents, kids returning after university and changing market conditions, to name a few - and showcases how BMO Wealth Management can help clients turn those changes into opportunities for greater financial success and peace of mind.

BMO Wealth Management Index - Provincial Breakdown

Province Index Score
National 69.3
Saskatchewan 72.9
Quebec 71.1
Alberta 70.6
Newfoundland & Labrador 70.4
Nova Scotia 70.0
Ontario 69.2
Manitoba 68.4
PEI 66.7
B.C. 66.3
New Brunswick 58.9

BMO Wealth Management Index - Key National Findings:

  • Canadians scored well on having a financial strategy (81 per cent) and ensuring their loved ones were financially secure by having a life insurance policy (66 per cent)
  • Opportunities exist for them to improve by working with a professional to ensure the effectiveness of their financial plan (66 per cent have not used a professional) and prioritizing saving for retirement (65 per cent do not do so)
  • When Canadians were asked about how they would fare financially in the event of a major life event (such as getting married, the birth of a child, loss of a job, etc.), 62 per cent are confident that they would be prepared financially, 21 per cent are not very confident and 10 per cent are not at all confident

Survey results cited in this report are from online interviews with a random sample of 1,403 Canadians, 18 years of age and over, conducted between April 10th and 13th, 2015.

As a guideline, a probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to ± 2.6%, 19 times out of 20. Results have been weighted using the latest census data to be representative of Canadians as a whole.

For more information on BMO Wealth Management, please visit www.bmo.com/main/wealth-management.

Get the latest BMO press releases via Twitter by following @BMOmedia.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services provider based in North America. With total assets of approximately $633 billion as of April 30, 2015, and more than 47,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

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