CROP survey |  The taboo of money as a couple is over

CROP survey | The taboo of money as a couple is over

Most Quebecers now feel comfortable talking about money with their partner, a taboo subject that has always been taboo in couples, reveals a new CROP survey conducted for the Chambre de la sécurité financière (CSF), but not enough to to plan. a financial plan in case of separation.

Posted yesterday at 7:30 pm

isabel dube

isabel dube

Talking about money within the couple was until very recently a minefield. Times are changing, as the survey by the Chamber of Financial Security (CSF) shows, above all because the new generations feel freer and more uninhibited to talk about salaries and investments.

Among those who responded to the survey, the score is very high. No less than 90% of those surveyed feel they discuss finances as equals with their spouse. Discussing debt with your better half is not a problem for 71% of people who say they feel comfortable doing so, as is talking about investments (70%).

However, one element remains elusive: a financial plan in the event of separation.

“It is good news that respondents are talking about finances. The surprising thing is that they did not talk about the consequences of a separation on their finances,” says Marie Elaine Farley, President and CEO of the CSF.

Therefore, the openness to discussion has limits. What couple in love wants to plan a possible breakup? Inventing a financial plan in case of separation discourages many. Furthermore, half of Quebecers (50%) have never thought about the economic consequences of a separation.

“When things are going well, we don’t think about that, when it’s easier to talk about these issues. When we know that one in two couples is at risk of separating, not talking about it can have serious consequences, “warns Marie-Elaine Farley.


METERme Marie Elaine Farley, Executive Director of the Chamber of Financial Security

“Especially because there are false beliefs about the regimen that applies between spouses,” he says. Common law people will often think they have the same rights as married couples, when they don’t. It is important to alert and educate consumers so that they are aware of this and can ask the right questions of their financial planner. »

A marriage lasts an average of 15 years, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada, which does not have precise information on separations of de facto couples. With rising interest rates and rising home values, the separation becomes even more complex than in the past. Many ex-spouses no longer have the means to buy back part of the family home, while accommodation with five or more bedrooms is difficult to access and expensive.

keep secret

While popular culture often depicts spouses as spending in secret, the survey highlights a fact that is rarely talked about: secret saving. Thus, 27% of those surveyed admit saving without the knowledge of their spouse. Among the youngest (18-34 years), this figure rises to 50% and among the richest it reaches 56%. One in two people (43%) secretly save money when their spouse earns a little more, the report says.

“We don’t have data on why certain categories of people are more likely to secretly save money and there certainly may be good reasons for doing so. However, it is clear that some people try to anticipate the economic consequences of a possible rupture”, explains Hélène Belleau, Ph.D., sociologist and full professor at INRS, who participated in the analysis of this survey.

This phenomenon raises questions, because even in 2022, the majority of female partners report having lower incomes than their male partners.

This salary gap can have an impact when it comes to paying family expenses. The results of the survey show that 57% of couples pool their income, and even more so (70%) when they earn approximately the same salary.

Lack of financial empathy?

However, a third of couples living together choose to split expenses, either paying half equally (47%) or contributing proportionally to their income (46%). However, this way of distributing expenses leads the person who earns the least to spend beyond their means, warns Marie Elaine Farley of the CSF.

“Let’s say a couple wants to go to an all-inclusive in the South, where one earns $100,000 and the other $200,000,” the specialist illustrates. The person earning the highest salary will choose a package in proportion to her income, at $5,000, while the other member of the couple would have chosen the package at $3,000. They will be separated in proportion to their income, but the proportion of what is shared will increase. »

The same question may arise when dining out. Does the higher-earning spouse lack financial empathy, sensitivity, civility, or selfishness? Once again, there is food for thought.

The Chamber commissioned this survey to understand the current financial dynamics within couples so that its 32,000 members can better advise couples.

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