August is the most popular month in Canada for weddings, and while dozens of hours and thousands of dollars go into planning the big day, a recent poll from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) found that only one-third of couples about to get hitched or enter a common-law relationship actually had a serious talk about money. Yet, almost everyone — 99% of those surveyed — admitted it’s important to discuss how to plan and manage their finances together as a couple.
The poll also found that 40% of those about to get married or enter into a common-law arrangement said 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 said they didn’t know either how or when to address the topic or said they plan “to play it by ear.”
But, most surprising, the poll found that almost two-thirds do not plan to sit down with a financial advisor after their honeymoon or enter into a common-law relationship. Yet, almost one-third said it hadn’t even occurred to them and admit it’s probably a good idea.
Why is that?
As couples get caught up in the whirlwind of excitement before their wedding, talking about money can be a delicate, very emotional topic. Yet, if not dealt with, finances can take a personal toll on a couple’s future relationship with one in four married or common-law Canadians acknowledging that financial stress affects their relationship. That number is even higher for younger couples. In fact, recent U.S. research observed that financial disagreements are a strong predictor of divorce as couples who argued over finances several times a week are more than 30%more likely to divorce than those who only did so less than once a month.
That’s where the advisor can play a huge role in facilitating a discussion about financial planning as a couple.
In my recent report, For Richer or Poorer, I provide several discussion points to provoke the conversation between you and your clients, including discussing various money personalities and different approaches to manage household expenses, such as share everything, share expenses or assign expenses.
But beyond expenses, it’s important to ensure that the new couple talks openly about their future together as well as saving for common goals, such as buying a car, a home, big-ticket items such as appliances, starting a family, or saving for retirement.
As the trusted advisor, you 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.
See also: After the honeymoon