As many Canadian couples gear up for a Valentine’s Day date next week, differing opinions about spending may be causing conflict, a new survey suggests.
About one-third of Canadian couples (32 per cent) say spending is often a source of disruption in their relationship, according to a report from BMO’s Real Financial Progress Index released Thursday.
Thirty-five per cent of partnered respondents said they believe their significant other spends too much money.
If you’ve hidden shopping bags, the survey findings prove you’re not alone. Thirty-six of the respondents admitted they are not always truthful with their partners about their spending and finances.
While financial differences proved to be a source of tension for many, the survey still found that the majority of Canadian couples are compatible in terms of financial planning, with 82 per cent saying they share similar financial goals. Two-thirds of couples also said they share equal responsibility for initiating discussion about household finances.
“Many couples continue to underestimate the emotional implications involved with money; this can lead to miscommunication, disappointment and conflict,” said Gayle Ramsay, head of everyday banking at BMO, in a press release.
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“Relationship compatibility should… include understanding your partner’s financial goals, spending habits, existing debt and financial obligations,” Ramsay said.
Nearly half of Canadians (48 per cent) admitted to spending more money than they know they should. When evaluating finances, 47 per cent of partnered respondents said they would be most concerned about their significant other’s mortgage debt, followed by credit card debt (38 per cent), credit score (33 per cent) and differences in income (26 per cent).
The BMO survey also found that responses were different based on generation, with generation Z (ages 18-24) and millennial couples (ages 25-34) most likely to share financial responsibilities equally.
However, over half of partnered Gen Z’s (52 per cent) said they believe their partner spends too much money. Forty-two per cent in that group admitted they sometimes lie to their partner about their finances, which the survey noted is more than any other generation.
“It is important to communicate your financial expectations early and frequently in order to build a financial future together,” Ramsay said.
The BMO survey was conducted by Ipsos among 2,500 adults in Canada from January 2 to 19, 2024. This survey has a credibility interval of +/- 2.4 per cent 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all Canadian adults 18+ been surveyed.
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