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REPEAT-BMO Study: RRSP Deadline Causing Canadians Stress

- First RRSP study of the year finds 60 per cent of Canadians feel anxious as they try to find money to contribute to their RRSPs

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 01/12/13 -- With the March 1st deadline for contributing to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) fast approaching, a BMO Financial Group study reveals that the annual deadline causes many Canadians stress as they scramble to find the money to make a contribution. However, the study shows that the majority of Canadians say they would feel less stressed if they switched their approach and made smaller contributions throughout the year.

According to the study, while three-quarters of Canadians with an RRSP have already made or plan to make a contribution to their RRSP before the deadline, 60 per cent admit that the deadline causes them stress.

This may be related to the fact that almost half (49 per cent) rely on making a lump sum contribution to their RRSP at the end of each year, rather than investing smaller amounts on a regular basis throughout the year.

The Advantages of a Continuous Savings Plan

When asked further about their views on contributing to an RRSP, more than half (54 per cent) of Canadians said they would feel less stressed if they used a Continuous Savings Plan (CSP) to make smaller regular RRSP contributions throughout the year.

A CSP regularly and automatically withdraws a specific amount of money from an individual's bank account and invests it directly into his or her RRSP. A CSP eases the cost of investing away from one annual deposit, and helps to increase savings. For example, mutual funds fluctuate in value based on market conditions, so by investing the same amount in a fund each month, an investor can buy more fund units when the cost is lower. This can reduce the average price per unit an investor pays over the long term.

When informed about the benefits of a CSP, two-thirds of Canadians said they would be more likely to use a CSP in the future.

"Uneasiness around the RRSP deadline is understandable when Canadians have other financial priorities to manage, including paying down household debt," said Marlena Pospiech, Senior Manager, BMO Wealth Planning Group, BMO Financial Group. "Yet, there are ways to manage and eliminate that stress. For example, opening a Continuous Savings Plan alleviates the worry about having to come up with a large lump-sum RRSP contribution as the deadline looms."

BMO offers the following tips to help Canadians take the stress out of RRSP season:

Take advantage of special offers: Look for any special offers designed to incent you to open a CSP. For example, until March 1st, 2013, if you set up and maintain a new BMO mutual fund CSP for 12 months, you will receive a one-time 15 per cent bonus on your first month's contribution (up to a maximum of $150).

Invest "bonus" money: If you come into some money through a tax refund, work bonus or inheritance, consider contributing this unexpected income or sudden financial windfall directly into your RRSP as an investment in your future.

Take advantage of tax benefits: The money you contribute to an RRSP is deductible from your total income (within certain limits). For most people, contributing to an RRSP means paying less tax and can potentially result in a tax refund.

Seek out help: Speak to a financial professional who can help you set up a financial plan that includes a retirement component, including a CSP, and review your investments regularly. They can also advise whether it makes sense for you to take out an RRSP loan, such as through a BMO RRSP Readiline Account line of credit.

For more information on Continuous Savings Plans, please visit www.bmo.com/csp.

Get the latest BMO press releases via Twitter by following @BMOmedia.

The survey results cited in this release are from online interviews with a random sample of 1,000 Canadians 18 years of age and older, conducted between November 23rd and November 27th, 2012. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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