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BMO Financial Planning Week Study: Canadians Spend More Time Thinking About Money than Love or Leisure

BMO Financial Planning Week Study: Canadians Spend More Time Thinking About Money than Love or Leisure

- Almost two-thirds identify personal finances as the top issue on their minds

- Twenty-two per cent focus on vacation planning and other leisure pursuits; 14 per cent focus on their love life

- Fifty-nine per cent have a financial plan, down five per cent from last year

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 11/18/13 -- To mark Financial Planning Week and Financial Literacy Month, BMO Financial Group today issued the results of a study which found that finances dominate the thoughts of Canadians.

According to the study, 63 per cent of Canadians say they spend more time thinking about finances than other aspects of their life, including:

--  Planning leisure activities such as their next vacation, shopping plans
    and deciding what movies and television shows to watch (18 per cent). 
--  Pondering the ups and downs of their love life (14 per cent). 

Of note, even though Canadians are thinking about money, the percentage of individuals with a financial plan is actually down compared to last year (59 per cent versus 64 per cent in 2012).

A financial plan outlines personal and financial goals and the steps needed to achieve them. Goals can include saving and investing, purchasing a home, continued education, leaving a legacy, having adequate insurance, starting a small business, career change, saving for a child's education and planning for retirement.

"It's understandable that money matters tend to dominate the minds of Canadians given that our finances are so intertwined with other areas, including family and how we spend our free time," said Caroline Dabu, Vice President and Head, BMO Wealth Planning Group. "If people want to reduce the time they spend thinking about dollars and cents and be more secure about their overall financial situation, they should consider working with a professional to develop a financial plan. Identifying what you're saving for and how you're going to get there can provide great peace of mind and free up more of your time to attend to other aspects of your life."

According to the study, Canadians who have a financial plan see value in having one; 82 per cent said having a financial plan helped them achieve their financial goals and 69 per cent said that they wish they had created one sooner.

The Barriers to Financial Planning

The study also examined the reasons why a significant number of Canadians still do not have a financial plan. Reasons cited include:

--  Do not have enough money to warrant a financial plan (37 per cent) 
--  Never thought of doing a financial plan (29 per cent) 
--  Do not know how to start the process (28 per cent) 
--  Not sure what a financial plan involves (19 per cent) 

"The earlier you start a financial plan, the sooner you'll feel in control of your finances and start progressing towards your short-term goals such as being able to afford a winter vacation, mid-term goals such as the purchase of a home, or long-term goals such as retirement," concluded Ms. Dabu.

BMO offers the following tips on how to get started with financial planning:

Examine your future: Consider the things you want to achieve and your desired financial situation in five, ten or even twenty years. Make a list of these lifestyle goals, objectives and milestones.

Collect the facts: Assess your current financial situation, noting your assets, liabilities, income and spending habits.

Seek expert advice: Consult a financial professional to develop a financial plan based on your short- and long-term goals. A financial professional can help you make the right decisions about managing your finances today to ensure you achieve your financial goals in the future.

BMO introduced the Create a Winning Plan contest this year, offering Canadians a chance to win $5,000 when they create a financial plan with BMO. For more information on the contest and BMO Financial Planning, please visit

Regional Breakdown:

                                                                   % who say
                          % who think                                  their
             % who think        about  % who think                 financial
                   about      leisure  about their                  plan has
                finances   activities    love life               helped them
               more than    more than    more than                   achieve
                   other        other        other     % with a        their
              aspects of   aspects of   aspects of    financial    financial
Region              life         life         life         plan        goals
National              63           18           14           59           82
Atlantic              68           17           11           61           85
Quebec                55           20           17           57           85
Ontario               69           18           11           62           78
Prairies              62           19           14           50           81
Alberta               59           22           14           59           80
B.C.                  62           16           19           62           90

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

The online survey was conducted by Pollara with a random sample of 1,007 Canadians 18 years of age and over, between October 24th and 29th, 2013. Contacts: Media contacts: Amanda Robinson, Toronto 416-867-3996

Valerie Doucet, Montreal 514-877-8224

Laurie Grant, Vancouver 604-665-7596

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