REPEAT-BMO Wealth Institute Report: Financial Repercussions From Unforeseen Life Events Causing Canadians to Lose Sleep

REPEAT-BMO Wealth Institute Report: Financial Repercussions From Unforeseen 
Life Events Causing Canadians to Lose Sleep 
- Almost two-thirds of Canadians feel largely unprepared financially
to deal with the unexpected 
- Eighty-four per cent believe they would face a major financial hit
in the event of disability 
- Three-quarters fear the financial impact of divorce or death of a
- BMO recommends that Canadians stress-test their financial plans
against unforeseen events 
TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 05/15/13 -- While a financial
plan can help Canadians achieve their goals, a new report by the BMO
Wealth Institute reveals that very few Canadians with a financial
plan have considered how unforeseen events such as a disability, the
death of a spouse or partner, or divorce could affect their lifestyle
and financial situation. 
The report, The Biggest Life Events That Can Derail Your Financial
Plan, outlines the top potential unforeseen life events that keep
Canadians awake at night due to anxiety of not having enough money to
cope with them:  

--  Eighty-four per cent believe that they would face a major financial hit
    in the event of disability. 
--  Three-quarters of Canadians feel that the death of a spouse or a
    separation/divorce would negatively impact their financial situation. 
--  Close to 60 per cent feel financially unprepared to deal with major life
    events such as retirement, declining health of a partner/spouse or the
    death of a partner/spouse.

The report found that men are more likely than women to worry about
having enough money for retirement (33 per cent vs. 23 per cent) and
loss of employment (19 per cent vs. 13 per cent), while women worry
more about their health or the health of their partner/spouse (24 per
cent vs. 21 per cent). 
"A financial plan can be very helpful in ensuring you are
well-prepared for life's milestones such as buying a house, saving
for a child's education, and retirement," said Chris Buttigieg,
Senior Manager, Wealth Planning Strategy, BMO Financial Group.
"However, one of the biggest mistakes individuals make is not
stress-testing that plan against unforeseen events that can cause
financial derailments. By working with a financial professional who
understands the
 potential impact of life events such as job loss or
disability, Canadians can develop a more practical and proactive plan
that provides greater peace of mind." 
Proactive Planning and Professional Advice Go Hand in Hand 
The report also examines several situations that can derail a
financial plan, and highlights a variety of strategies to help
individuals and families implement changes that can put them in a
more secure financial position: 
Disability or Illness: Loss of income, drawing down on savings, and
medical costs over and above what is covered by a family's group plan
or by government-funded health programs can quickly add up and become
a financial burden on a spouse or family. According to the study,
half of Canadians (49 per cent) would count on government disability
benefits even though support is limited. Instead, the BMO Wealth
Institute believes Canadians should: 

--  Set up an emergency fund to cover costs during a short-term disability. 
--  Accumulate funds in a tax-free savings account (TFSA) for future needs. 
--  Consider disability insurance, income replacement insurance, long-term
    care insurance, and critical illness insurance to reduce the impact on

Death: Premature death of a spouse or partner can have a large
financial impact on an individual. To fund the resulting shortfall,
the report found that many would turn to personal insurance (50 per
cent), the government (49 per cent), employer group insurance (43 per
cent) and personal savings (42 per cent). But as savings are used up,
long-term financial goals are sacrificed. To help prepare, Canadians

--  Review beneficiary designations, wills and power of attorneys, and re-
    examine their financial plan. 
--  Buy term insurance to cover risks that have a short time period (such as
    remaining mortgage, education fund for children, or income replacement).
--  Consider permanent insurance to cover longer-term needs and build up
    savings on a tax-deferred basis.

Separation or Divorce: The key to financial survival through the
often difficult process of obtaining a divorce is to have your
financial house in order. The study revealed that 70 per cent of
Canadians would be unprepared financially to withstand a separation
or divorce, with 57 per cent relying on personal savings to support
their new lifestyle. To help Canadians recalibrate from a divorce or
separation they should: 

--  Review and update their financial plan. 
--  Update beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, employee
    group insurance, RRSPs and TFSAs. 
--  Seek legal advice on will and power of attorney and adjust as necessary.
--  Switch jointly-owned assets to single ownership. 
--  Determine if new or additional insurance coverage is necessary. 
--  Update credit and eliminate joint responsibilities or guarantees.

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. 
To view a copy of the full report, please visit: 
Get the latest BMO press releases via Twitter by following @BMOmedia. 
Survey results cited in this release are from online interviews with
a random sample of 800 Canadians 18 years of age and over, conducted
between March 15th and March 19th, 2013. A probability sample of this
size would be accurate to +/- 4.3%, 19 times out of 20.
Media contacts:
Amanda Robinson, Toronto
Valerie Doucet, Montreal
Laurie Grant, Vancouver
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