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July 28, 2014 07:55 ET

Living to 100? BMO Report Outlines What You Need To Know

- By 2061, there will be more than 78 thousand centenarians living in Canada

- Greatest concern among Canadians when thinking about living to 100 is losing their mental abilities

- Three-quarters feel that health/medical costs will have the biggest financial impact on their senior years

- Canadians expect to spend an average of $5,391 a year on out-of-pocket medical costs after the age of 65

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 28, 2014) - The BMO Wealth Institute will be releasing a new report on Wednesday, which examines the views of Canadians on various aspects of aging. The report, Living to 100: The four keys to longevity, outlines essential factors that Canadians should consider as they approach the possibility of living longer lives.

The report notes that, in 1970, average life expectancy at birth in Canada was 69 years for males and 76 for females. By 2011, it had increased to 79.3 years for males and 83.6 for females. Today, according to Statistics Canada, there are over 5.3 million people in Canada aged 65 or older, accounting for about 15.3 per cent of the total population. By 2061, it is estimated that there will be more than 78,000 centenarians living in Canada.

"It's clear there is a major demographic shift happening in our country. As Canadians' longevity continues to improve, they should account for the health and financial issues that come with the possibility of living a longer life," said Chris Buttigieg, Senior Manager, Wealth Planning Strategy, BMO Financial Group. "It's also important to evaluate both your physical and your mental status so that you can identify what changes in your lifestyle are required to mitigate longevity risk. Ensuring that your finances are in order and that you have a strong social network in place are key to living a long and happy life."

Mr. Buttigieg added that it is essential that Canadians take a holistic approach and develop a comprehensive strategy that will help them maintain or improve their health and well-being, personal life and finances as they age.

According to the report, four aspects must be considered to age healthily, confidently, and happily:

Financial factors: The importance of being financially secure increases with age and with the accumulation of personal assets. One element of financial security is making sure that future health-care costs are considered in retirement savings. The report examines the expenses Canadians felt would most impact their senior years - 74 per cent cited it was medical and health-related costs, followed by food, clothing and other day-to-day essentials (57 per cent). The report also states that Canadians expect to spend an average of $5,391 per year on out-of-pocket medical costs after the age of 65.

"Looking to the future means looking at your retirement income needs and retirement lifestyle goals. Since regular employment income won't be part of the equation, it's critical to speak with a financial professional who will work with you to develop a financial plan and help you identify what you need to do to sustain financial security in your golden years," said Mr. Buttigieg.

The body: The report notes that maintaining proper health is essential to living a long life and to helping minimize health-related costs. The report looks at the ways in which Canadians choose to keep their bodies healthy, which include eating well (55 per cent), exercising (47 per cent) and visiting their doctor regularly (43 per cent). Following through with these choices can play a large part in ensuring a long and healthy life.

The mind: Mental alertness is fundamental to living the best possible life. The report finds that the greatest concern among Canadians when thinking about living to 100 is losing their mental abilities (56 per cent), followed by relying on others to take care of them (47 per cent) and losing loved ones (46 per cent). Engaging in activities that sharpen cognitive skills - such as reading or brain teasers - will help to keep the brain active into old age.

Social factors: Participating in social activities can also play a part in longevity. In retirement, 66 per cent of Canadians plan to spend more time on hobbies, while one-quarter will start a new part-time job and 19 per cent will learn a new language. The report also examines the factors that Canadians believe are most important for enjoying an ideal lifestyle in old age. The top factor is also social in nature - staying in contact with family and having a support network (27 per cent). This was followed by being financially secure (25 per cent) and having fun/doing enjoyable activities (22 per cent). Pursuing a part-time job is one way to bring in income while also increasing social interaction.

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About the BMO Wealth Institute

The BMO Wealth Institute provides insights and strategies around wealth planning and financial decisions. The Institute's team of professionals have deep expertise around all aspects of wealth planning including retirement, estate, tax and insurance.

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 $582 billion and more than 45,500 employees at April 30, 2014.

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