Money matters strain Canadian relationships, survey finds

Ipsos reveals 40% of Canadians face stress over finances in partnerships, urging early financial talks

Money matters strain Canadian relationships, survey finds

An Ipsos poll for BMO has shed light on how finances interplay with relationship dynamics among Canadians.  

The survey reveals that spending habits and transparency about financial matters are crucial for maintaining harmony in relationships, with a 32 percent of partnered Canadians identifying spending as a source of conflict.   

The poll findings indicate that 35 percent of Canadians perceive their partner as overspending, while a similar percentage confess to not being completely honest about their financial activities with their significant other.  

Despite these challenges, 59 percent view their partner as frugal, and nearly half, 48 percent, admit to spending more than they should. 

  A substantial 82 percent of respondents feel financially compatible with their partner, and the same percentage has integrated finances with their spouse.  

The data underscores the importance of discussing finances early in a relationship, with a significant number advocating for the merging of finances as the relationship becomes official.   

Shared financial responsibilities are common among Canadian couples, with about two-thirds reporting equal participation in financial planning and goal setting. The survey highlights concern over mortgage debt, credit card debt, credit scores, and income disparities as the top financial worries within relationships.   

Younger Canadians, especially those in the Gen Z and younger Millennial cohorts, are particularly concerned about credit card debt and credit scores, indicating a shift in financial priorities and concerns across generations. 

  Despite 40 percent of Canadians citing money as a major cause of stress in their relationship, an overwhelming 94 percent believe it is crucial for partners to be on the same financial page.  

However, 33 percent feel like they are "doing it alone" when it comes to personal finances, emphasizing the need for more collaborative financial management strategies. 

  The survey delineates the foundations of financial compatibility, including honesty, shared financial values, and teamwork. On the other side, differences in financial habits, earnings, and values are highlighted as factors contributing to financial discord.   

Financial attitudes are a significant criterion for relationship decisions, with 58 percent of Canadians prioritizing financial compatibility in their partners. This emphasis on financial alignment has led to 21 percent of young Canadians ending relationships over financial disagreements.   

The frequency of financial discussions varies, with half of the couples engaging in weekly conversations about money. Yet, a considerable portion finds these discussions challenging, marking an area ripe for improvement.   

Despite obstacles, a sense of teamwork prevails among Canadian couples in managing their finances, although many acknowledge room for improvement in their financial management practices.   

The survey also explores the extent of joint financial practices among couples, including joint accounts, budgeting, and financial planning. Interestingly, 10 percent of couples report that their financial situation negatively impacts their relationship, especially among younger demographics. 

  This Ipsos poll, conducted as Valentine's Day nears, offers a detailed look into the complex role finances play in Canadian relationships, highlighting both the challenges and successes couples face in achieving financial harmony.