Nearly All Canadians Feel Investment Anxiety, BMO Study Shows

BMO InvestorLine ‘psychology of investing’ study reveals 97 per cent of Canadians feel investment anxiety

  • Nearly half of Canadians fear financial loss and one third are concerned about how market volatility will affect their investments
  • 90 per cent are confused about investing while only 10 per cent say nothing confuses them
  • Many are confused when looking for the right investment option that will yield the best return and suits their level of risk tolerance

Toronto, ON (Aug. 11, 2015) – BMO InvestorLine, a part of BMO Wealth Management, today released the results of its latest study which examines the psychology of investing.

The study found nearly all Canadian investors (97 per cent) feel anxiety when thinking about their investments. When thinking of investing and making investment decisions, Canadians are most worried about:

  • Fear of financial loss (47 per cent overall; 43 per cent for men and 50 per cent for women).
  • Not receiving a ‘good’ return on their investments (40 per cent overall; 39 per cent for men and 41 per cent for women).
  • How market volatility will affect their investments (33 per cent overall; 29 per cent for men and 37 per cent for women).
  • Selecting the ‘right’ investments (32 per cent overall; 32 per cent for men and 31 per cent for women).

“Investing is personal so it’s not surprising to see that a majority of Canadians are not only financially but emotionally involved in their investments,” said Julie Barker-Merz, President, BMO InvestorLine, a part of BMO Wealth Management. “Given recent market volatility, fear of financial loss is an understandable concern.”

Canadians are Confused about Investing

Along with investment anxiety, the study revealed Canadians are generally confused about investing (90 per cent) – only 10 per cent overall (12 per cent for men and 8 per cent for women) say nothing puzzles them about investing.

The top areas of investing that created the most confusion are:

  • Finding an investment that will yield the best return with minimal risk (38 per cent overall; 37 per cent for men and 39 per cent for women).
  • Which investment option will best suit their risk tolerance and life stage (25 per cent overall; 20 per cent for men and 30 per cent for women).
  • Knowing when to change their investment mix (23 for both men and women, respectively) and deciding with whom to entrust their money (23 per cent overall; 25 per cent for men and 21 per cent for women).

“The confusion that exists among 90 per cent of Canadian investors likely contributes to their investment anxiety,” said Ms. Barker-Merz.

Ms. Barker-Merz noted that BMO InvestorLine has introduced adviceDirect, an online investing service aimed to help Canadians navigate the investing process. “adviceDirect acts as a co-pilot providing personalized investment advice, quantitative market analysis and support tools to help investors clear any investing confusion so they can confidently manage their own investments and take control of their portfolio to meet their financial goals.”

Regional Breakdown

Region % overall with investment anxiety % overall with fear of financial loss % overall anxious how market volatility will affect their investments % overall that are confused about finding an investment that will yield best return with minimal risk
National 97 47 33 38
Atlantic 98 42 28 39
Quebec 97 47 21 35
Ontario 96 47 33 37
Prairies 98 55 40 43
Alberta 96 48 46 45
B.C. 99 46 44 39


Survey results are from interviews with an online sample of 1,004 Canadians who have an investment portfolio. The study was conducted between July 13th and 14th, 2015. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO InvestorLine

BMO InvestorLine is an online investing service that provides clients with two ways to invest online. Clients can choose from BMO InvestorLine’s top ranked Self-Directed service that provides tools to help investors make independent decisions on how to invest. BMO InvestorLine’s other service, adviceDirect™ provides investors with online advice and investment recommendations for their portfolios. Clients have access to trading, quotes and account information 24 hours a day through a website. BMO InvestorLine also provides users with third party research, along with leading edge tools that are informative and easy to use. As an all-in-one investment source, it is a constantly evolving, cost-efficient platform that is fully compatible with tablets.

BMO InvestorLine Inc. and BMO Ligne D’action Inc. provide this commentary to clients for informational purposes only. The information contained herein is based on sources that we believe to be reliable, but is not guaranteed by us, may be incomplete or may change without notice. The comments included in this document are general in nature, and professional advice regarding an individual’s particular position should be obtained.

BMO InvestorLine Inc. is a member of BMO Financial Group.

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® Registered trade-mark of Bank of Montreal, used under licence. BMO InvestorLine Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of Montreal Holdings Inc. Member – Canadian Investor Protection Fund and Member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.

SOURCE: BMO Financial Group

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