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How Canadian couples manage their finances and investments

You’re all loved up — you’ve moved in together, perhaps bought a dog, cat and made plans to buy a house in Belize. That’s the easy part because next is, talking about money.

As we know, finance is one of the major reasons for stress in a relationship, often leading to break-ups. Yet more Canadians are entering relationships with wealth so how do both of you manage your growing finances and investments?

While there is no right, wrong or one-size-fits-all solution, there are things everyone can do to ensure they have a smooth financial relationship and partnership. We spoke to three couples about how and why they handle their money and investments.

 

Caroline and Jesse

How long have you been together?

Caroline: We have been together since Spring of 2005, so 13 years. I moved to Toronto in the fall of 2005.

What property or investments do you own in common?

We own our current house together [in Toronto] and just bought a house in Belize.

Do you share or keep your finances and investments separate?

At the time [I moved to Toronto] I owned my condo in Montreal, had money in my RRSPs and made more than he did, so I wanted to keep everything separate. It was a big move for me, I felt like I was taking more of the risk so wanted to ensure my financial independence. My dad was a banker and taught me well.

Over the years, I have managed our finances, paying bills, rent, mortgages etc., but we manage our savings and investment separately. Bank accounts are also separate and he transfers money to me. Partly because I still make more so I take on more of the financial burden. We also have no children, so from a succession planning perspective, my money goes to Jesse if I pass first but after that my share goes to my nieces.

Why did you choose to manage your finances this way?

Because we are not married, I don’t want to mix everything because should we split, Jesse would not be entitled to my investments. Really the main reason is, it’s my money, I work hard and don’t want to justify any spending to anyone. It’s a way for me to maintain my financial independence.

 

Sonia and her partner

How long have you been together?

Sonia: We’ve been together four years.

What property or investments do you own in common?

We mainly invest cryptocurrencies. We both have shared cryptos and separate crypto. I personally like ripple or litecoin, he focuses more on the big guys (bitcoin, ethereum, etc.) I also have a TFSA I use for savings.

Do you share or keep your finances and investments separate?

We keep them separate.

Why did you choose to manage your finances this way?

We believe we’re only in the beginning stages of our financial journeys so anything we can do to quicken the process and hit our goals faster we’re all for,  as long as it makes sense. We also only put in what we’re willing to risk. Many people are scared to lose it all but the easy solution is not to risk it all.

 

Aliza and Karl

How long have you been together?

Aliza: We’ve been together for 12 years, married for almost nine.

What property or investments do you own in common?

We have a house, RRSPs and TFSAs.

Do you share or keep your finances and investments separate?

We invest together in our home because it just makes the most sense as something we consider a ‘together’ asset. For everything else, such as RRSPs and TFSAs and the like, we keep things separate partially to mitigate risk (a “don’t keep all your eggs in the same basket” type thing).

Why did you choose to manage your finances this way?

Primarily because we had established things differently before we met and it didn’t make much sense to create a hybrid combination of everything. After having a very messy time with both our banks trying to add each other to our basic bank accounts, we also decided the trouble of combining any financials was simply not worth it. We work together to plan, but keep these accounts separate.

 

Moving forward with your finances

Just like these couples, however you choose to set up your personal financial situation, managing your finances means knowing what you want as an individual and as a couple. That means taking the time to talk or, if needed, getting an unbiased third party like a financial advisor who can provide neutral advice so you can succeed. The best plan is having a plan, and all that requires is getting started

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