The majority of Canadian couples are compatible in terms of financial planning discussions and approaches. But spending continues to be a source of disagreement.

More than a third (35%) of partnered Canadians believe their significant other spends too much money. Meantime, 32% say spending is often a source of conflict in the relationship. In addition, 36% admit they are not always truthful about their finances to their partners and/or spouse.

The findings are revealed within a special Valentine’s Day report from BMO, the Real Financial Progress Index. The survey explores how couples approach financial planning and communicate their priorities.

Among the 51% of couples that believe finances should be discussed during the early stages of a relationship, 10% believe these conversations should happen after the first few dates. Some 41% believe these conversations should take place when the relationship becomes official. Nearly a third (31%) say conversations about finances should take place when a couple is planning on living together. Some 12% of couples believe these conversations should begin when getting engaged and/or married.

Financially transitioning from me to we

35% of couples believe getting engaged is the right time to combine finances with their partner and/or spouse. This is followed by when the relationship becomes official (22%) and when moving in together (9%).

Nearly one in five (18%) of partnered Canadians do not share or integrate their finances with their partner and/or spouse.

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Nearly half (48%) of Canadians admit to spending more money than they know they should. Some 59% say their partner and/or spouse is the more frugal party in the relationship.

Relationship financial dealbreakers

When evaluating their partner’s finances, partnered Canadians say they would be most concerned about their partner’s mortgage debt (47%). Credit card debt follows at 38%, credit score (33%) and differences in income (26%).

“Many couples continue to underestimate the emotional implications involved with money. This can lead to miscommunication, disappointment and conflict,” said Gayle Ramsay, Head, Everyday Banking, Segment & Customer Growth, BMO.

“Relationship compatibility should also include understanding your partner’s financial goals, spending habits, existing debt and financial obligations. Working with a financial advisor can help couples bridge the communication gap. And develop a plan that supports their unique financial goals to help them make real financial progress together.”