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BMO Study: Financial Plans Are Critical in Helping Face Life's Major Milestones

- Eighty-five per cent of Canadians are confident that their financial plan will help them achieve financial goals such as buying a home, having children and saving for retirement

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 11/16/12 -- With the start of Financial Planning Week days away, BMO Financial Group today released a study which found that Canadians understand the value of a financial plan - especially for tackling life's major milestones.

According to the study, 85 per cent of Canadians with a financial plan are confident that their plan will help them achieve their financial goals; most believe it is essential for being prepared for major milestones. The report shows that:

--  Eighty-six per cent of Canadians believe a financial plan is critical
    when saving for and buying a home. 
--  Eighty-two per cent report that a financial plan is important for
    raising children and saving for their education. 
--  Ninety-two per cent believe a financial plan plays a critical role in
    helping them realize their ideal retirement lifestyle. 

"The key to achieving your financial goals tomorrow is creating a plan that starts today," said Marlena Pospiech, Senior Manager of Enterprise Wealth Planning, BMO Financial Group. "Whether you are saving for a house, a family or a well-earned retirement, a personalized financial plan will help you achieve your short and long-term goals."

How often should Canadians review their financial plan?

The study also found that 44 per cent of those with a plan review it a few times a year, while more than one-quarter (28 per cent) go over it monthly. Nineteen per cent conduct an annual review.

"It's critical to review your financial plan on a regular basis - once a year or when a major life event occurs," added Ms. Pospiech. "A financial professional can help you understand your options, offer checkpoints to follow your progress, adjust your plan as your circumstances change, and work with you to ensure you stay on track for success."

BMO Financial Planning Website offers a variety of tools and resources

To help Canadians, BMO launched a new financial planning website at bmo.com/confidence. This interactive site allows Canadians to understand better how financial planning sets them on the right path to achieving their goals. It features a full range of online tools to help Canadians get started:

--  Financial Planning Video: Explore the four steps that can help you get a
    clear financial outlook for the days and years ahead. 
--  First Appointment Checklist: A list of items that would be helpful for
    you to prepare prior to your first appointment with your financial
    professional. 
--  Retirement Savings Calculator: Allows you to see how much money you will
    need for retirement and determine if you are on track to finance your
    ideal retirement lifestyle. 
--  Major Purchase Calculator: Helps you prepare for big expenses such as a
    house or cottage by assessing if you have the right savings strategy. 
--  Education Savings Calculator: Allows you to see how much money you will
    need for your child's education and if you are on track. 
--  Cash Flow Worksheet: Will help you outline your cash flow, where you are
    spending your income, which expenses are necessary and where you could
    potentially start to save more money to achieve your goals more quickly.
--  Net Worth Worksheet: Allows you to compare what you currently own
    (assets) and what you currently owe (liabilities) to give you a better
    understanding of your finances and how you can reach your future goals. 
--  A Retirement Story: See how working with a Financial Planner can help
    you feel more confident today and in the future through the development
    of a customized plan to help you achieve your goals - both financial and
    personal.  

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

--  What does your future look like? Consider the things you want to achieve
    and your desired financial situation in 5, 10 or even 20 years. Make a
    list of these lifestyle goals, objectives and milestones. 
--  Collect the facts: Assess your current financial situation. Gather
    information about your assets, liabilities, income, and spending habits.
--  Seek expert advice: Consult a financial professional to develop a
    financial plan based on your unique desired lifestyle goals and
    objectives. A financial professional can help you make the right
    decisions about managing your money now to achieve your financial goals
    in the future. 

For more information on BMO Financial Planning: www.bmo.com/confidence.

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

The online survey was conducted by Pollara with a random sample of 1,000 Canadians 18 years of age and over, between September 6-10, 2012.

Contacts:
Media contacts:
Amanda Robinson, Toronto
416-867-3996
[email protected]

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
514-877-8224
[email protected]

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
604-665-7596
[email protected]

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