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BMO Wealth Management launches Canada’s First National Wealth Index

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BMO Wealth Management has launched a first-of-its-kind national Wealth Index, which provides a snapshot of Canadians' financial situations and measures their ability to manage their wealth.

The inaugural BMO Wealth Management Index ranks residents of each province out of a score of 100 on who is most successful in managing their wealth. This is determined by looking at a variety of criteria, including: having, reviewing and maintaining a financial plan; household debts and assets; retirement savings; having insurance in place; estate planning components; rainy day savings; and the sustainability of their current financial situation. The Index is unique among financial measures because it considers more than just "balance sheets" (i.e. how much money Canadians have).
With a score of 72.9, residents of Saskatchewan had the highest score among the provinces. They were followed by those in:

• Quebec (second place with a score of 71.1)
• Alberta (third with a score of 70.6)
• Newfoundland & Labrador (fourth with a score of 70.4)

The national average score was 69.3. Canadians generally scored highest in the following areas:

• Having a financial strategy (81 per cent do)
• Having a life insurance plan in place (66 per cent do)

The categories in which they had the lowest scores included:

• Ensuring the efficacy of their financial plan (67 per cent have not used a professional to draft their plan)
• Prioritizing their retirement savings (65 per cent do not consider this a top priority)
• Having critical illness or disability insurance (only 35 per cent and 39 per cent respectively have such insurance)

"BMO Wealth Management launched this Index to gauge Canadians' financial situations and identify where there is room for improvement," says Betsey Chung, Chief Marketing Officer, Canadian Banking & Wealth Management, BMO Financial Group. "We believe that the concept of wealth is multidimensional. Effectively managing wealth is about more than just the state of your balance sheet, it's also how you adjust to changes in your life and in the world around you – capitalizing on opportunities as they arise while securing your financial future."

In addition to questions to determine the Index rankings, Canadians were asked about how prepared they are to deal with significant life changes, such as getting married, the birth of a child, job loss, etc:

• Sixty-two per cent are confident that they would be prepared financially
• Twenty-one per cent are not very confident that they would be prepared financially
• Ten per cent are not at all confident that they would be prepared financially

"It's encouraging that almost two thirds of Canadians believe they can take on a major change successfully," said Ms. Chung. "Life events and market changes are often catalysts for people to reconsider their approach to wealth management. We're here to help clients turn these changes into opportunities – whether it's a fresh start, a new endeavour or a chance to give back."

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