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News Releases

BMO Private Bank: Women Confident They Can Manage Their Finances

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Nov 12, 2014) -

  • Seventy percent of women are confident they could maintain their current lifestyle should they get divorced or have their spouse pass away or become incapacitated
  • A majority are fine with the possibility of being single in retirement, though 28 percent are concerned about running out of money
  • A majority of women do not have key estate planning documents in place

A new national study released today by BMO Private Bank has found that American women are confident in their ability to manage their finances and are not concerned about "going it alone" in the event something were to happen to their spouse.

The study found that, in the event they get divorced or that their spouse died or became incapacitated:

  • Eighty-eight percent of women reported that they would be able to manage their household finances effectively.
  • Seventy-one percent believed they would be able to maintain their current standard of living.
  • Fifty-six percent stated they "would be fine" being single in retirement. However, 28 percent are concerned that they may end up homeless or broke in retirement.

"While no one wants to have to think about divorce, a medical emergency or the death of a spouse, it's encouraging to know that America's women are feeling pretty confident about their ability to go it alone financially should something happen to their partner," said Mary Jo Herseth, National Head of Banking, BMO Private Bank.

Ms. Herseth noted that women across the country are becoming more empowered and are controlling a growing percentage of the nation's wealth. The study found that an overwhelming 85 percent of women currently manage household finances or share responsibility equally with their spouse -- a clear indication that women are getting increasingly engaged on financial matters.

Many Women Lack Key Estate Planning Documents

However, despite these positive findings regarding the financial confidence of women, the study also found that many do not have key estate planning documents in place, potentially putting themselves and their families at risk should something happen to them:

  • Fifty-eight percent do not have a Will
  • Sixty-two percent do not have a Living Will
  • Sixty-eight percent do not have a Power of Attorney.

"Estate planning is an important component of your overall financial plan, regardless of your gender," stated Ms. Herseth. "Having a Power of Attorney and Will in place can save family and loved ones, who are already grieving, a significant amount of stress and complication."

Ms. Herseth noted that, regardless of marital or parental status or level of wealth, having a Will is an essential part of estate planning that allows individuals to design how their assets should be distributed. A Will also allows parents of minors to choose a guardian who will take car e of their young children.

Further, she noted that a Power of Attorney is important because it provides for the proper management of property, financial affairs and healthcare during people's lifetime should they become mentally or physically incapable, or have to be absent for an extended period of time. Not planning for this contingency can potentially have disastrous financial and personal implications, not only for the individuals themselves, but also for their family and loved ones as well.

For an in-depth look at ways women can be better prepared for several types of life transitions, read BMO Private Bank's report A Women's Guide to Financial Readiness - Being Prepared for the Unexpected.

Results cited above are from an online survey conducted between September 1st and 4th, 2014, by Pollara. Interviews were conducted with 1,209 adults across the USA (609 women), selected at random from an online research panel. A probability sample of this size would be accurate to ± 2.8%, 19 times out of 20.

BMO Private Bank is a brand name used in the United States by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. Not all products and services are available in every state and/or location.

For further information:

Media Contacts:
Carey Allen
(480) 558-6383

Sophie Cikovsky
(415) 732-7800