New Grads Have Great Expectations

    Nearly two-thirds of students optimistic about future plans despite
    economic downturn

    TORONTO, Sept. 4 /CNW/ - A slowdown in the economy has not dampened the
spirits of students who have recently graduated or are set to graduate from a
Canadian university or college in the next 12 to 24 months, according to a
national survey from BMO Bank of Montreal.

    The results of the survey, conducted by Harris/Decima, indicate:

    -   Nearly two-thirds of students, 62 per cent, say current economic
        conditions will have either a positive impact or no impact on their
        post-graduation plans;
    -   Seventy-four per cent believe they/their family will be better off or
        the same financially in one year's time;

    "It's encouraging to see the optimistic outlook of Canadian
post-secondary graduates," said Sid Chopra, Vice President, BMO Bank of
Montreal. "The survey results show that students feel positive about their
future regardless of the economic climate. They are confident there will be a
high demand for qualified graduates - particularly in the education and
technology sectors."

    Looking Ahead: Financial Priorities

    The majority of respondents recognize the importance of reducing their
debt and planning for the future.

    According to the survey:

    -   Seven in ten, 71 per cent, say a financial priority is to pay off
        their student loans;
    -   Six in ten, 62 per cent, indicate that saving for a down payment for
        a house or condo is a financial priority;
    -   More than half of respondents, 58 per cent, anticipate being ready to
        buy their first home in three to eight years.

    "Given the average age of a first-time homeowner in Canada is 33 and the
average post-secondary graduate is 22 years old, buying a home three to eight
years after graduating is an ambitious goal, but certainly attainable," said
Chopra. "To make it a reality, students need to be diligent about managing
their finances, and they need to start saving early."
    Although optimistic about their financial future, 43 per cent of this
generation of graduates believe they will not be ready to retire until they
are at least 65 years old.
    "Increasingly Canadians are staying in the workforce beyond the age of
65, but there is an opportunity for those starting their careers to decrease
that time horizon, if they start working at it now," adds Chopra. "BMO has
financial advisors who can help map out a financial plan to help students
reach their short and long-term goals."

    Managing Finances

    Along with a positive outlook, post-secondary students are confident
about managing their finances, although many believe the variety of savings
and investment options is overwhelming and should be more straightforward.

    According to the survey:

    -   Ninety-one per cent of respondents consider themselves average or
        above average when it comes to money management skills;
    -   About two-thirds of respondents, 64 per cent, say that choosing what
        to save and invest in should be easier;
    -   Six in ten, 61 per cent, say that the variety of savings and
        investment choices are intimidating.

    Along with providing planning advice for post-secondary students, BMO
Bank of Montreal offers special financial programs for current students
including, free student banking, a student line of credit and the BMO SPC
Mosaik MasterCard. BMO is the only bank that offers graduates one year of free
banking after graduation.
    The Harris/Decima online poll was conducted from July 31 to August 7,
2008 and is based on a sample of 1,005 post secondary students and recent
grads, coast-to-coast.

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jodi Salem, Toronto,, (416) 867-3996; Ronald Monet,
Montréal,, (514) 877-1101; Internet:

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