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How important is financial chemistry to Canadians? Two-thirds of couples link financial stability to relationship success.

This article originally appeared on the RBC Newsroom website on February 13, 2020.

Successful long-term commitments rely on strong financial compatibility as well as romantic chemistry, according to the RBC 2020 Relationships & Money Insights Poll.

When it comes to financial compatibility for partnered Canadians:

  • 91% said it’s important prospective partners think along the same lines when it comes to spending and saving money.
  • 85% felt that having similar financial goals and habits was a prerequisite to their healthy, long-term relationships.
  • 80% believed it was important to speak with a prospective partner about finances before getting involved in a serious relationship.
  • 62% say the state of a potential partner’s finances could be a deal-breaker.

Setting boundaries

Setting clear financial boundaries was also a top priority (81%), with over two-thirds (69%) admitting they would not combine their finances with their partner’s unless they knew that partner was financially stable.

“When you’re committing to a relationship, you’re inviting that special someone into your life, along with their finances,” says Sandra Abdool, Regional Financial Planning Consultant, RBC Financial Planning. “That’s a lot of sharing, and as a couple, it’s important to set clear financial boundaries to make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to spending, saving and managing your money.”

Talking with your partner

When it comes to talking with your partner about your finances, it’s not just about what you say, but how often you say it.

More than three-quarters (77%) of Canadians in relationships reported they speak with their partners about finances at least monthly:

  • To create shared budgets (45%),
  • To come up with financial goals (41%), and,
  • To save together (37%).

“While chemistry certainly counts, today’s couples want financial chemistry and compatibility, too,” adds Abdool. “By having frequent and honest conversations about your finances, you’re well on your way to building a sound financial and long lasting relationship together. Then go a step further – take time to do a reality check with a financial planner who can offer an outside perspective on financial compatibility.”

Tips to help Canadian couples reach financial and life goals together:

  1. Find the budget that’s right for you: Discussing finances and setting clear financial goals and boundaries are important for any relationship. By coming up with a shared, realistic budget, Canadians can ensure they are on track with their partners, while leaving little room for surprises down the road. NOMI Budgets takes the thinking — and the manual calculation — out of setting up a budget for RBC clients. It focuses on five key categories and keeps the client on track by sending regular updates through the RBC Mobile app’s budget tracker.
  2. Say “I do” to a shared financial plan: Creating a detailed financial plan and sharing this with your partner can help you work together to reach shared savings goals. Here’s where RBC Financial Planning can provide advice to help ensure money is there for you and your partner at various stages throughout your life together – for example, buying a car, getting a mortgage, raising a family and planning for retirement.
  3. Invest for the future: Having a 20-minute conversation with a financial planner or advisor – in a bank branch or from the convenience of your home or office – can help you break the ice with your partner and begin talking about your shared financial goals. RBC’s MyAdvisor is an online financial advice service that connects you wherever you are with RBC financial planners and advisors who can give you guidance about how to build your financial future.
About the RBC 2020 Relationships & Money Insights Poll: An online survey of 1000 Canadians who are married, common law, or in a dating relationship (either long or short term) was completed between January 3 and 11, 2020 using Leger’s online panel. The margin of error for this study was ±3.1%, 19 times out of 20.