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Money shouldn't be a taboo topic but most new couples avoid having the talk: CIBC Poll


In his new report, For richer or poorer: Financial Planning Tips for Newlyweds, CIBC's Jamie Golombek offers advice on keeping financial harmony when the honeymoon's over

TORONTO, Aug. 4, 2016 /CNW/ - With August the most popular month in Canada for weddings, a new CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) poll finds that only a third of couples about to get hitched or enter a common-law relationship actually had a serious talk about money. Yet, nearly everyone (99 per cent) admits it's important to discuss how to plan and manage their finances together as a couple.

"While couples will spend several months planning, in great detail, their 'big day', our poll reveals that very few people actually broach the topic of how to plan and handle their finances once they begin their lives together," says Jamie Golombek, Managing Director, Tax and Estate Planning, Wealth Strategies Group, CIBC. "When you're caught up in the bliss of getting married, talking about money isn't particularly romantic, but, it shouldn't be a taboo topic. Before saying 'I do', it's important to make sure you are on the same financial page, otherwise you're setting yourself up for problems down the road."  

In his new report, For richer or poorer: Financial Planning Tips for Newlyweds, Mr. Golombek offers advice to couples whether they're about to tie the knot or simply considering moving in together on when and how to have that money talk and how best to "marry" your money personalities.

Key poll findings include:

  • Two-thirds (66 per cent) of those who plan to marry or live common law are entering their relationship in debt, including either student, personal, credit card, or mortgage debt. Yet, their top financial goal within the first two years of tying the knot is to save up for a trip or vacation (46 per cent).

  • One-third (35 per cent) who plan to marry or live common law say they've had the money talk in detail, with 40 per cent saying they've only discussed how to manage finances together as a couple "briefly."

  • Of those who admitted they haven't talked about money before the 'big day' or the 'move-in' date, most (83 per cent) said they didn't know either how or when to address the topic or said they plan "to play it by ear."

  • 99 per cent say it's very or somewhat important to discuss how they will plan and discuss their finances as a couple.

Be open and honest

The poll findings also show that nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) do not plan to sit down with a financial advisor after their honeymoon or enter into a common-law relationship. Yet, almost a third (31 per cent) say it hadn't even occurred to them and admit it's probably a good idea.

"There's a reason why it's called a marriage 'contract,' but unlike typical contractual arrangements, marriage comes with emotion," says Mr. Golombek. "As couples get caught up in the whirlwind of excitement before their wedding, talking about money can be a delicate, very emotional topic, so it does really help to talk to someone who can be impartial, like a financial advisor, to help with difficult questions and concerns."

It's important to have an open and sincere discussion about finances before you take the big step and have it early in your relationship so your relationship has a solid financial footing, he says.

"Perhaps the springboard for having the 'big talk' about money is identifying your and your partner's philosophies on handling finances," says Mr. Golombek. "If you're an impulse buyer, and your partner-to-be is a super-saver, he or she may feel your shared goals of saving for the future – for kids, a house, or a car -- will be undermined.

"You and your partner don't need to have the same personality for your relationship to be successful, but discussing your personality differences in advance may prevent tension and stress down the road."

Go to @cibc on Twitter to identify your money personality on our interactive poll.

Tips to reduce financial stress in your relationship

In his For Richer or Poorer report, Mr. Golombek provides advice for couples to help them start their lives together on a solid financial footing when the honeymoon is over and the reality of everyday life sets in.


Don't Avoid the Money Talk – Once you decide to "marry" and where you will live together, it is important to talk about how you're going to manage your household expenses. Mr. Golombek details three methods for couples to consider:

  • Share everything – most useful if you and your partner do in fact share everything. This includes having one joint account and having all of your money deposited into that account.

  • Share expenses – create a common plan as a couple for all household expenses and fund a shared joint account so that shared expenses are paid from this account.

  • Assign expenses – while less common in first-time marriages, you may decide in advance which expenses each of you will cover.


Plan for Savings – Beyond expenses, talk about your future together and saving for common goals, such as buying a car, a home, big-ticket items like appliances, starting a family, or saving for retirement. Also, set aside money for emergency expenses, typically three-to-six months' living expenses.


Speak to a Financial Advisor – While couples carefully select a professional to record their wedding, supply their flowers and do the makeup, most have no plans to work with a professional to help set up their joint finances. This is a common mistake that can set your marriage back.

A financial advisor can take the emotions out of the money talk by helping couples understand their real priorities and create a joint financial plan based on realistic goals and budgets. These plans are provided free-of–charge by most banks.



Percentage of Canadians planning to get married or enter into a common-law relationship, as defined as living with a partner for at least 12 consecutive months, in the next 24 months:






Getting married






Entering into a common-law relationship







Importance of discussing how future spouses/partners will manage finances as a couple:

Very important


Somewhat important


Not very important


Not important at all



How many have had a conversation with future spouse/partner how to manage finances as a couple:

Yes, in detail


Yes, briefly


No, but we plan on discussing in the future


No, not at all



Top five reasons for not discussing how future spouses/partners will manage finances as a couple (multi choice):

It's too soon to do so


I plan to play it by ear and discuss our finances as a couple once it comes up


I'm uncomfortable sharing my personal financial situation with my spouse/partner


I don't know how to address this subject


I have little or no savings or debt, so there really isn't anything to discuss or plan



Financial situation at the time of getting married or entering common-law relationship (multi choice):

Have debt (net)


Have credit card debt, a personal loan or owe money on a line of credit


Have mortgage debt


Have student debt



Personality type that best represents the couple's approach to handling money:


Future Spouse/Partner

Super-Saver: Takes pleasure in saving every penny and avoids unnecessary spending



Cautious Spender: Spends money prudently and saves as much as possible



Carefree Spender: Spends money freely and has a hard time meeting financial goals



Avoider: Pays no attention to money and prefers that someone else manages their finances




Top five financial goals  in the next one or two years once married or living common-law (multi choice):

Save for a trip/vacation


Pay down debt


Keep finances separate (for now)


Buy a home


Start saving for a family


Start saving for retirement



Percentage of Canadians planning to sit down with a financial advisor once married or living common law:

Have already met with an advisor






Haven't thought about it but good idea


Don't know



2016 CIBC Couple Finances Poll Disclaimer
From July 15-21, 2016, an online survey was conducted among 1,047 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists and plan to get married or enter into a common-law relationship, defined as living with a partner for at least 12 consecutive months, in the next 24 months. The margin of error - which measures sampling variability - is +/- 4.0 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About CIBC
CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units - Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Capital Markets - CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. Ongoing news releases and more information about CIBC can be found at or by following on Twitter @CIBC, Facebook ( and Instagram @CIBCNow.

SOURCE CIBC - Consumer Research and Advice

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