Banks can do a Better Job of Helping Canadians Understand their Personal Finances

    TORONTO, Sept. 24 /CNW/ - Canadians say financial institutions need to do
a better job of helping them understand their personal finances, according to
a national survey by BMO Financial Group.
    The BMO Financial Pulse survey, conducted by Harris/Decima indicates:

    -   Four in ten survey respondents, 41 per cent, believe financial
        institutions make money matters more complicated.

    "While the survey showed a large number of Canadians turn to banks for
information or advice, there is a huge opportunity for financial institutions
to improve on helping people make sense of their money," said Dr. Sherry
Cooper, Chief Economist, BMO Financial Group, and author of the best selling
book The New Retirement: How It Will Change Our Future.

    Financial planning and preparedness is in the details

    The survey findings indicate Canadians have a good grasp of financial
concepts, but don't necessarily understand how everyday financial decisions
can impact their financial plans and preparedness.

    -   More than half, 53 per cent, think they need to have a certain income
        level to warrant a professionally prepared financial plan;
    -   Nine in ten Canadians, 94 per cent, could correctly define mutual
        funds and 91 per cent could define income trusts;
    -   Only 50 per cent of Canadians understand the concept of compound
    -   More than three-quarters of Canadians, 77 per cent, do not understand
        that the credit card interest rates on outstanding balances and
        cash advances are the same.

    "Most Canadians say they have an average level of knowledge when it comes
to money matters," said Dr. Cooper. "However with recent market volatility and
the expanding global financial crisis, it is imperative that Canadian
financial institutions do a better job in helping Canadians understand their
personal finances."

    Canadians want to know more about money matters

    Depending on how Canadians view their level of financial knowledge, and
depending on their stage in life, the money matters they wish they knew more
about are different.
    Respondents who believe they have average or below average knowledge of
financial matters say they are most concerned about debt reduction and
managing monthly debt.
    Canadians who said they have above average and average knowledge of
financial matters wish they knew more about investment strategies and
minimizing taxes.
    More young families than Boomers want to know about saving for their
child's education, but more Boomers than young families want to know about
investment strategies.

    About the Survey

    The Harris/Decima poll, commissioned by BMO Financial Group, was
conducted from September 2 to 8, 2008 and based on a randomly selected sample
of 1,000 Canadian adults. Data were collected using Harris/Decima's
proprietary online panel. Data have been weighted to ensure the sample is
representative of the gender, age, and regional profile of the Canadian

For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Deborah Rowe, Toronto,, (416) 867-3996; Lucie Gosselin, Montreal,, (514) 877-1101; Laurie Grant, Vancouver,, (604) 665-7596, Internet:

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