TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 03/29/13 -- To celebrate the beginning of spring, BMO Bank of Montreal encourages Canadians to give their personal finances a thorough cleaning to weed out unnecessary expenses and cultivate a plan to lower their household debt.
"Spring is a time for renewal and preparing for the upcoming months," said Su McVey, Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Now that the demands of the holidays are behind us and tax season will soon be coming to a close as well, Canadians should take the time and assess their current financial situation to ensure they're still on track to meet their short- and long-term financial goals."
Ms. McVey added that reviewing your priorities regularly is a necessary part of keeping your financial house in order year-round and will help you to build a more secure future.
BMO recommends Canadians review the following areas to tidy up their financial house this spring:
Review the household budget: Reviewing your budget on a regular basis will ensure that it coincides with your priorities and identifies possible areas to scale back. According to the BMO Psychology of Spending report, Canadians spend an average of $310 a month on items they want but do not need and believe they could save over two-thirds of this amount if they made an effort to limit their spending. Using a budgeting tool such as BMO MoneyLogic is a no-cost, easy ways to track your expenses daily.
Reassess short and long-term savings goals: While it's important to stay on top of household expenses, it's equally important to sustain your short- and long-term savings goals, such as contributing to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). To help Canadians continue to build their savings, BMO is offering a 2.25 per cent interest rate on net new deposits to a BMO TFSA Savings Account - the highest rate currently offered by a major financial institution in Canada - in effect from Jan 1st, 2013 until April 30th, 2013. For more information, please visit here.
Revisit overall debt repayment plan: Have another look at your debt repayment plan and, where possible, consolidate higher interest debt. By paying off higher interest debt with a single payment through a lower rate product, such as BMO's Personal Line of Credit, you can significantly reduce interest costs and pay down debt faster.
For instance, some department store credit cards can have interest rates as high as 29 per cent. For every $1,000 in balance carried on your department store credit card, you could save up to $230 each year by using a line of credit instead (based on an interest rate of Prime plus 3 per cent). In addition, BMO's Preferred Rate MasterCard offers a low 11.9 per cent interest rate option ($20 annual fee).
About BMO Financial Group
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $542 billion as at January 31, 2013, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.
Erin Marranca, Toronto
Valerie Doucet, Montreal
Laurie Grant, Vancouver
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