Canadian couples pulling together on money issues



    Situation 'normal' despite tougher times, Investors Group poll finds

    WINNIPEG, May 21 /CNW/ - Despite challenging economic conditions faced by
many Canadian couples, mounting financial pressure and concerns don't appear
to be driving them to divorce courts in droves. In fact, it appears most are
honing their money coping skills and many are reaching out to help others in
the family as well.
    A recent Investors Group poll of married and common-law Canadians reveals
that in the last 12 months, four in ten (39 per cent) have made a better
effort to work together with their spouse or partner on making financial
decisions and one in four (25 per cent) are talking about money more often.
While 35 per cent of couples admit they disagree about financial matters, 80
per cent said their disagreements were mild.
    "Money issues can test the mettle of any couple," says Jack Courtney,
Assistant Vice President of Advanced Financial Planning at Investors Group.
"But our research suggests that Canadians are engaging in more communication
about money and collaborating on their financial decisions. This is a healthy
approach that can help mitigate serious problems down the road."

    For better or for worse

    It's not a bed of roses for all Canadian couples. Fourteen per cent
characterized their disagreements about financial matters as severe and 18 per
cent said disagreements affected other aspects of their relationship.
    A similar Investors Group survey conducted in July 2005 indicated a
greater number of Canadian couples had severe disagreements about money. Those
results revealed that a quarter of adults (25 per cent) described their
disagreements with their partners about finances as severe. An equal portion
(23 per cent) said their financial disagreements affected other aspects of
their relationship.

    Helping others in the family

    In addition to more efforts to collaborate, Canadian couples are also
helping immediate or extended family members during these challenging times.
Almost one-fifth (19 percent) report they are providing financial support to
at least one family member and the number rises to 24 per cent among females
who responded. This suggests women are acting as the "financial caregiver" in
many families.

    The more things change...

    Some things remain constant. In 2005, the most common spat about money
for 31 per cent of Canadians was about spending money, both in general and on
specific purchases. Only nine per cent argued about borrowing and debt issues.
In comparison, today, nearly three in ten Canadians (27 per cent) argue about
money and spending habits while borrowing and debt is the root cause of
disagreements for nine per cent of Canadians.
    And despite stock market volatility and the economic downturn, a majority
of Canadians (55 per cent) report their household is the same financially as
compared with a year ago and 19 per cent say it has improved. Across the
country, Ontarians (31 per cent) and Albertans (30 per cent) were most likely
to say they were worse off.
    Of the quarter (26 per cent) of Canadians who say they are worse off, 64
per cent attribute their status to a decline in the value of their
investments. Other factors affecting Canadians who say their financial
condition has worsened include underemployment (34 per cent), job loss (32 per
cent) and declining real estate values (30 per cent). Sixteen per cent of
survey respondents indicated that either they or their spouse have lost a job
in the last year.

    Scaling down and feeling down

    While 45 per cent of married or common-law Canadians have taken measures
to reduce their personal spending, they continue to feel the less tangible
effects of the economic downturn. Survey respondents report feeling uncertain
(28 per cent), enjoying life less (18 per cent), feeling depressed (13 per
cent) and losing sleep (13 per cent).
    "While Canada may be more fortunate than other countries, individuals and
families are feeling the impact of world financial events," says Courtney. "As
we face these challenges, taking a practical approach will help stay the
course."

    About the Survey Methodology:

    The Harris/Decima data were gathered from May 7th to May 12th 2009,
through the Harris/Decima teleVox. Results are based on a sample of 601
married Canadians and the corresponding margin of error is 4.0 percentage
points, 19 times out of 20.

    Investors Group, founded in 1926, is a national leader in delivering
personalized financial solutions to Canadians through a network of
approximately 4,500 Consultants located throughout Canada. In addition to an
exclusive family of mutual funds and other investment vehicles, Investors
Group offers a wide range of insurance, securities, mortgage and other
financial services. Investors Group is a member of the IGM Financial Inc.
(TSX: IGM) group of companies. IGM Financial is one of Canada's premier
financial services companies with over $103 billion in total assets under
management.





For further information:

For further information: Ron Arnst, Investors Group, (204) 956-3364,
ron.arnst@investorsgroup.com; Teresa Pagnutti or Meredith Adolph, Environics
Communications, (416) 969-2721, (416) 969-2667, tpagnutti@environicspr.com,
madolph@environicspr.com

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