Our relationship with money is changing
The past three years brought global realities down to the personal level. Now millions of people have reassessed their priorities with newfound clarity. As we move forward and the sense of urgency passes, our relationship with money, in many ways, will have changed.
“We’re listening. Clear information and advice are at the heart of making money make sense at BMO.”
Relationship Manager, BMO Bank of Montreal
As life unfolds, we all make financial choices to meet specific goals – borrowing to buy a home, for instance, or allocating savings for a family trip or a child’s education. Over the past decade, such decisions were too often made without reference to the bigger picture. The appeal of immediate answers took precedence over the merits of a balanced, long-term strategy.
The economic downturn changed all that – or accelerated a shift in thinking. Today people want a holistic view of their personal finances. They’re more aware of how individual decisions are part of a total life cycle in which each step depends on all the others. There exists a balance between controlling spending, growing savings, borrowing smartly and investing wisely. And at every stage, we need to feel that we’re reasonably protected against risk.
As the economy slowly regains momentum, people are examining how they manage their money and asking tougher questions of themselves. Equally, they believe that financial institutions have a responsibility to understand their situation, offer straightforward advice and lead the way forward.
Faced with a daily barrage of unfiltered information, customers are seeking meaningful conversations and insights. They expect an institution to educate and offer counsel and advice, providing rules of thumb on the right levels of debt and savings. They want a financial coach who’ll keep them on their game year in, year out.
Above all, people want an institution to practice what it preaches by presenting options with a broad and balanced perspective. Bankers cannot simply be sellers of investment products or the gatekeepers of credit. They must be trusted allies whose advice looks beyond a moment in the market, or the wish to make a sale, to always put the customer’s interest first.
As people’s relationship with money changes, their relationship with financial institutions has to change as well.
More Smart Steps
BMO introduced SmartSteps to Canadians to provide them with ways to save money quickly, become debt-free faster and better manage their spending. Building on the program’s success, we followed up in 2010 with SmartSteps for Business, SmartSteps for Investing and SmartSteps for Students, as well as Harris Helpful Steps in our U.S. markets.
Customers tell us they want to better understand their finances and be more active in managing their money. With MoneyLogic, the new personal financial management tool from BMO, they can easily view, track and manage their spending and savings online. They can also use the free tool to prepare personal budgets and set savings goals.