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Canadians plan to increase amount set aside for savings: BMO poll

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TORONTO - A new study from Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO) suggests that Canadians plan to increase how much money they set aside as savings this year.

The bank says that respondents to a Pollara online poll this month were, on average, aiming to set aside $9,635 in 2014.

That's up from an average of $8,764 in the last year's BMO Household Savings Report.

Meanwhile, the poll found that in 2013 more people were already focused on saving. Only 17 per cent of respondents said they had not added to their savings during the year compared with 28 per cent who saved nothing in 2012.

The most common barriers to meeting savings goals included insufficient income (69 per cent), followed by high expenses (67 per cent) and management of debt (50 per cent).

The top three reasons for saving among those surveyed were vacations, emergency funds and retirement.

"Canadians appear to be setting their savings sights higher in 2014, which is encouraging," said Christine Canning, head of everyday banking at BMO.

"However, it's apparent that various factors such as high expenses and debt, could prevent them from meeting their savings goals," Canning said.

"With these barriers in mind, we advise those who are falling short to take simple steps, such as putting aside smaller amounts in a separate account and using automatic payments in order to get started."

The Pollara survey was completed Jan. 10-14 with an online sample of 1,002 Canadians. The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

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