It’s fair to say that Canada’s banks enjoy a good measure of respect among the citizenry at large. Why? Well, aside from occupying Bay Street rather than Wall Street, they offer security and services quite unlike those of many of their international contemporaries. Case in point: Bank of Montreal (BMO), which is right now advertising a terrific new program called Money Logic – a one-stop shop for online personal money management.
Programs like Money Logic assist in strengthening financial literacy among the populace big time. It is a free resource available to all BMO customers, and it is quite remarkable. Through it, individuals and families can manage their finances in smart, easy ways. Money Logic is a totally automated way to track and analyze all accounts – from banking and savings to credit cards (Mastercard) and loans. You can consolidate your transactions, set your savings goals and spending budgets, and track your spending habits at will. Indeed, Money Logic’s user-friendly, step-by-step online guide can make just about anybody master of their personal financial universe.
I took a quick tour of the program and noted how thorough and detailed it is. Not to mention, it can be customized to meet specific needs. Most interesting to me are the spending analysis and budgeting tools. You can quickly identify your spending patterns right down to those daily Starbucks’ expenditures, and you can set realistic budgets that keep you on track through notifications of your spending on everything from bills, utilities and entertainment, to transportation, food, dining and more. Color-coded progress bars and percentage figures tell you at a glance where you are at with the budget and savings goals you set.
Provision of the Money Logic program reflects BMO’s market savvy. Just last week the bank reported through a survey that more Canadians are embracing financial planning after the recent recession caught so many unprepared. According to the BMO poll, more than one-half (56 per cent) of 1,002 respondents had a financial plan in place at the end of 2010, compared to 34 per cent one year earlier, and 25 per cent the year before that.
"People have recognized that it's more important than ever to stay on top of finances," said Caroline Dabu, vice-president of retirement and financial planning strategy at BMO Financial Group. She added it is a common misconception that creating a financial plan requires a lot of financial knowledge. "It's all about taking small steps, putting the first pieces into place and having a clear financial picture.”
She might also have said that BMO’s Money Logic tools are available to make anyone’s financial picture clearer, because they meet and exceed the fundamentals of sound personal financial management and planning. They help define short-term and long-term savings goals; monitor daily cash flow and asset allocation; and set the stage for contingency plans in the event of unforeseen outcomes, like a job loss or illness.
Money Logic clearly shows that BMO is using its head.
Speaking of which, great minds think alike. At a time when BMO is promoting its Money Logic program, Credit Canada is in the marketplace promoting our new Financial Coaching Series. This program offers the last word on personal money management inasmuch as it includes comprehensive money management techniques but goes beyond all other programs to address deep-seated psychological issues, which are most often the root cause of money problems among the gainfully employed. The coaching series provides face-to -face and ongoing online interaction with an expert, personal money coach. You can read more about it by checking out this blog’s archives.
Of course, for more than four decades, Credit Canada has provided personal financial planning services in some form or another to consumers. Today, we salute organizations such as BMO for stepping up the plate with us.