Canadians Feeling Anxious About Money Matters, Says BMO's Dr. Sherry Cooper

    Two-thirds of young families say they should have a better handle on
    personal finances

    TORONTO, Aug. 6 /CNW/ - Canadians worry about their personal finances and
are unfamiliar with a range of money matters, according to a national survey
by BMO Financial Group. The study, conducted by Harris/Decima, also indicates
there is an opportunity for the financial services industry to play a more
integral role in helping Canadians better understand the financial landscape.

    The survey findings indicate:

    -   Nearly half of Canadians, 46 per cent, feel anxious when they think
        about money matters;
    -   More than half of those polled, 53 per cent, believe they should be
        better able to manage their money;
    -   Two-in-three young families, 66 per cent, said they should have a
        better handle on their personal finances;
    -   Respondents with household incomes greater than $100,000 are not
        immune to feelings of anxiety; one-third, 35 per cent, said they have
        lost sleep worrying about money matters.

    "These findings tell us that Canadians are uncomfortable with their
personal finances," said Dr. Sherry Cooper, Chief Economist, BMO Financial
Group, author of the best selling book The New Retirement: How It Will Change
Our Future. "This discomfort shows itself in their anxiety about financial
matters and about having enough money in retirement."
    When asked about their key financial fears, not having enough money to
retire comfortably was, by far, Canadians' most cited concern. Other concerns

    -   Four-in-ten, 43 per cent, cited not having enough money to retire
    -   One-in-five, 20 per cent, said spending beyond their means;
    -   Thirteen per cent are concerned they don't enjoy money while they've
        got it;
    -   Only 12 per cent worry they will outlive their money.

    Speaking the language of money

    Part of the fear and anxiety Canadians have about money stems from not
having enough knowledge and confidence in dealing with money matters.
    The survey indicates a large majority of Canadians haven't fully mastered
speaking the language of money. Although one-quarter feels completely fluent
in financial matters, a large majority, 71 per cent, admit they can get by,
but sometimes need help.
    Half of poll respondents, 51 per cent, said that financial institutions
make money matters more complicated.
    "The fact that people are anxious about money shows there's a need for
more clarity," said Dr. Cooper. "There is a real opportunity for financial
institutions to help Canadians better understand money matters which can ease
some of these anxieties."

    Canadians clam up when discussing personal finances

    When it comes to hot topics, the survey findings show the subject of
money is too hot to handle for most Canadians.

    According to the survey:

    -   Nearly half, 46 per cent, of Canadians are least comfortable talking
        about money;
    -   One-in-five, 20 per cent, is least comfortable talking politics;
    -   One-third, 34 per cent, is least comfortable discussing religion.

    For example, only four-in-ten of those polled would divulge to friends and
family how much debt they have or how much they earn.
    But reluctance to disclose information about their personal finances
doesn't mean Canadians clam up on other traditionally hush-hush topics. The
survey also revealed:

    -   Six-in-ten Canadians will talk openly about their love life;
    -   The majority of Canadians, 65 per cent, would tell how much they
    -   Seven-in-ten would disclose how much they paid for their house;
    -   More than three-quarters, 78 per cent, would tell who they voted for
        in the last election.

    Honesty and openness prevail in partnerships

    The one area where open dialogue about money prevails is in Canadians'
personal relationships: nine in ten know how much money their spouse or
partner makes. Of note, there are no gender differences on this measure - men
and women equally know how much their spouse or partner earns.
    Similarly, nearly all married/common-law Canadians, 89 per cent, discuss
their personal purchases with each other, though men are twice as likely to
discuss a personal purchase greater than $1,000.
    When asked about discussing money matters with their kids:

    -   Three-quarters, 76 per cent, of Canadian parents talk about money
        with their children;
    -   Eight-in-ten Canadian moms, 81 per cent, undertake these discussions
        compared with 71 per cent of Canadian dads.

    "Helping kids to understand money and make sensible financial decisions
today and in the future is a great opportunity for parents, educators and
financial institutions," said Dr. Cooper.

    About the Survey

    The Harris/Decima poll, commissioned by BMO Financial Group, was
conducted from June 17 to 25, 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 population.

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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