Spending habits cause rifts for many Canadian couples: report

BMO provides a closer look at the struggle for financial unity

Spending habits cause rifts for many Canadian couples: report

It seems that spending habits are a common source of conflict for many Canadian couples. According to the Valentine’s Day report from the BMO Real Financial Progress Index, 35% of Canadians with partners believe their significant other is too loose with their spending, while 32% of them cite spending as a frequent cause of arguments.

The survey also disclosed a rather unsettling trend: 36% of respondents confessed to not being completely honest with their partners about their financial situations. Despite these hurdles, the majority of couples still consider themselves financially compatible, having similar goals and having merged their finances to some extent.

Gayle Ramsay, head of everyday banking, segment & customer growth at BMO, stressed the importance of understanding each other’s financial stances for relationship harmony.

“Many couples continue to underestimate the emotional implications involved with money; this can lead to miscommunication, disappointment and conflict. Relationship compatibility should also include understanding your partner’s financial goals, spending habits, existing debt and financial obligations,” Ramsay said.

Read next: Growing number of Canadians concerned about household finances

The report also delves into the timing of financial discussions within relationships, finding that over half of couples think money matters should be brought up early on. Engagement seems to be a popular milestone for merging finances, yet there’s a notable fraction of couples who prefer to keep their finances separate, at 18%.

Nearly half of Canadians admit they spend more than they ought to, yet many see their partners as being more thrifty. It also identifies the main financial dealbreakers for Canadians, including mortgage and credit card debt, credit scores, and income differences.

The survey points out generational differences in financial management within relationships. Both Gen Z and younger Millennials are highlighted for sharing financial duties equally but also show higher rates of dishonesty about money and concerns over excessive spending by their partners.

Make sure to get all the latest news to your inbox, on Canada’s mortgage and housing markets, by signing up for our free daily newsletter here.