Before popping the big question, Canadians may want to double-check their credit history and bank statements. According to a recent poll by TD Canada Trust, how you manage your finances may determine whether or not you land the love of your life.
A staggering 77% of Canadians claimed that they wouldn’t commit to someone who had excessive debt or a history of poor financial management, according to the TD Canada Trust Valentine’s Day poll.
The poll, which surveyed a total of 1,379 Canadian adults currently or recently in a committed relationship, found that 29% say they would date but never marry someone who couldn’t successfully manage their money, and 37% say they wouldn’t date someone at all if they proved to be financially insecure.
While each respondent was left to define the terms “financial security” and “excessive debt” for themselves, the findings of the poll suggest Canadian desire stability. With the current state of the market and economy, this is not surprising.
The real question is, though, how many of us start a relationship with a credit check? Eleven percent of Canadians indicated that they had recently been in a relationship with a financially unstable partner and would avoid another one, but most people may not think of finances from the get go.
As Shawnette Fraser, manager, customer experience, TD Canada Trust, pointed out, “There is nothing romantic about money and it’s not why people get together.”
Fraser did say, however, that planning and open communication is key to the longevity of an existing relationship, and that this was the focus of the study.
The survey found that while nine-in-ten feel comfortable and confident talking to their current partners about money, as many as 21% have told white lies to their partner about the cost of a purchase and 13% have lied about purchases altogether. It’s these lies and secrets that can mar the future of a relationship.
“It’s getting planning right that can help people feel confident getting married and help couples stay married,” says Fraser. “It’s important to practice full disclosure of your goals, and to discuss options for how to manage your money, both together and individually. It’s also key to have that cash flow conversation and discuss how to break up bills and costs.”
Andrea Phillips, vice-president of retail savings and investing, adds, “Talking openly and honestly about money is an important part of establishing a healthy financial foundation. If you’re saving for a rainy day but your partner is thinking about the next big shopping adventure, you might be headed for some challenges.”
For more on managing client debt, read Stephanie Holmes-Winton.
When it comes to joint personal finances, love-struck Canadians are more likely to take the plunge and buy a home together (72%) than they are to open a joint bank account (68%), set a joint financial plan (64%), have a joint credit card (52%), or contribute to each other’s RRSPs (43%). By contrast, one-third say they keep their finances completely separate from their partner’s.
These results weren’t equal across Canada. Couples in British Columbia and Alberta were less likely to go it alone. British Columbians are most likely to think long-term, with 52% saying they have contributed to each other’s RRSPs or have set up a spousal RSP, and only 19% of Albertans keep their finances separate as opposed to 33% Canadians nationally.
The poll surveyed an equal amount of men (49%) and women (51%), as well as a close to equal amount of couples with children (44%) versus couples without (56%). The ages of participants included those that were 18-34 (26%), 35-49 (36%), 50-64 (27%), and a small amount of respondents 64 and above (11%).