Can spenders and savers live in harmony?

ING DIRECT survey finds 92% of Canadians say it's important for them to date someone with a similar outlook on money

TORONTO, Feb. 7, 2012 /CNW/ - Opposites may attract when it comes to matters of the heart, but when it comes to finances, an overwhelming majority of Canadians think it's important to date someone with a similar outlook on money. This is especially true for women, with 58% saying it's very important to date someone who shares a similar view on money compared to 43% of men.

According to the Angus Reid survey commissioned on behalf of ING DIRECT, money is the least comfortable topic for couples to discuss with one another, with politics, religion and sex all ranking higher on the comfort scale. Money doesn't seem to be an easy or desirable subject to approach: single Canadians said they need to go on an average of six dates before talking about money, but only five dates before considering sex with someone they were interested in pursuing a long-term, serious relationship with.

"Money isn't always something couples discuss when they fall in love, nor is it a  subject they rush to talk about, but it is certainly something that should be on the radar," said Preet Banerjee, personal finance columnist, blogger and financial expert on the W Network. "Having dramatically different views about financial wellbeing can cause major issues in a relationship down the road. Knowing how your partner views money, spends money and plans for the future are important considerations in a relationship, and topics that should be discussed sooner rather than later. Money shouldn't be a taboo subject for couples."

Having the money talk

Though money isn't a comfortable subject to discuss, 89% of Canadians said it's important for them to know about their partner's finances, including income, debt, assets and investments. Despite this, only 50% of Canadians said they know everything about their partner's finances, while 28% indicated they know a lot about their partner's financial matters. One in five Canadians (19%) know only a little, or nothing, about their partner's money matters.

Canadians also have a lengthy list of money topics they feel they need to discuss before committing to a serious, long-term relationship. The most popular topics include debts, like mortgages, car loans, lines of credit and credit cards (42%), how expenses will be shared (36%) and a list of monthly expenses (33%). Only 21% of Canadians mentioned the importance of discussing if and how finances would be merged.

Joint or separate? How do couples manage finances?

Over a third of Canadians indicated they keep their money in separate accounts from their partner, compared to one in five common-law or married couples who said they kept their money in separate accounts. Managing the finances also appears to be a bit of a balancing act: 49% of common-law or married couples said they manage their finances together, while nearly a third (32%) identified that either they or their partner take the lead on managing finances.

"Love is emotional and, at times, irrational. We can't expect people to treat it like a business. However, as you become more involved with someone, money is a subject you should keep in mind," said Peter Aceto, President and CEO of ING DIRECT Canada. "Couples usually ensure they have similar views on marriage and having children before getting too close. Determining whether or not you and your partner have the same views on money is equally important. Couples need to discuss what each partner is bringing to the table in terms of their finances, and decide how they're going to manage those finances going forward."

Generally, Canadians seem pretty content with their partners when it comes to their money habits, with almost half of Canadians (49%) saying they have no pet peeves about their partner when it comes to money. Nine per cent of Canadians felt their partners spent too much money, while 8% felt their partners weren't concerned about the future or retirement. Canadians who identified themselves as being in a relationship, but not married or common law, were slightly more passionate when it came to identifying pet peeves they have about their better half's financial habits: 14% said their boyfriend or girlfriend was too frugal, while an equal number said their partner makes expensive, impulse purchases.

About ING DIRECT

ING DIRECT is Canada's leading direct bank with over 1.8 million Clients and more than $37.6 billion in total assets. ING DIRECT gives the power of saving to all Canadians by offering high-value, simple products such as high interest Savings Accounts with no fees or service charges, low rates on mortgages and a no-fee daily Chequing Account that actually pays interest. Low cost, index based mutual funds are sold through ING DIRECT Funds Limited. ING DIRECT has been operating in Canada since 1997 and paid more than $5 billion in interest to Clients. ING DIRECT is open for banking 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at ingdirect.ca, on mobile devices at m.ingdirect.ca or by calling 1-800 ING DIRECT (1-800-464-3743).

About the Survey

From January 25 - January 26, an online survey was conducted among 1005 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

For more information

For further information:

or to arrange an interview, please contact: 

Amanda Petriglia
ING DIRECT Desk:
647-259-5797
Cell: 416-358-1041
apetriglia@ingdirect.ca

Lisa Naccarato
Desk: 416-758-5072
Cell: 416-885-0348
lnaccarato@ingdirect.ca