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Navigating the complexities of modern families and finances
|By PR Newswire
|March 7, 2014 08:15 AM EST
TD advises the financial formula can be as simple as finding common
goals and ground
TORONTO, March 7, 2014 /CNW/ - The portrait of the Canadian family
continues to evolve, bringing with it potentially new complexities when
it comes to managing money and finances. While married couples still
make up two-thirds of all families in Canada, other family arrangements
- notably common-law couples and lone-parent families - are gaining
ground. As a recent survey for TD found, one in five Canadians who are
separated, divorced, living common-law, remarried or widowed have
either started over with a new partner or are thinking of doing so. And
the most recent Canadian Census (2006) found that one in 10 children in
Canada live in stepfamilies, about 40 per cent of which involve blended
families. For Canadians who are considering starting over with a new
partner, more than half (54 per cent) said they place a high priority
on making decisions about blending their finances.
"Most people entering into a new relationship already have an
established financial routine which will need to be aligned with their
new partner," said Cynthia Caskey, Vice President and Portfolio
Manager, TD Wealth Private Investment Advice. "Of course, opening up
about finances is not an easy task, especially at the start of a new
relationship, but it is essential that couples have honest
conversations in order to build a solid financial future for their
According to the TD survey, for those couples who consider blending
their finances a priority, the top issues to be resolved are organizing
their daily finances, cited by 71 per cent of respondents, followed by
finding savings and budget efficiencies (60 per cent). Nearly two in
five cited opening a joint bank account as a priority, but only a third
(32 per cent) said maximizing their investment opportunities as a
couple was a top concern.
Avoid Future Conflicts and Disappointments
"Conversations about money can be difficult, but it's through those
conversations that families can address any potential pain points down
the road," said Kimberly Moffit, Psychotherapist and Relationship
Expert. "Often, getting financial issues in order can help couples
navigate other areas of their lives more easily and avoid conflicts and
disappointments in future."
Caskey agrees, and suggests that couples starting over together should
consider it a good opportunity to revisit their financial plan with an
advisor to make sure both of their strategies align, maximizing savings
and debt repayment while keeping the common household financial
priorities on track.
Common Goals, Common Strategies
"There is a lot more to blending finances than just opening a joint bank
account," said Caskey. "It's about finding common goals and working together to reach them -
whether it's to save for the first trip away as a family, pay down a
credit card or eventually buy a bigger home together."
Caskey suggests whatever the shared priorities, it's important to
identify what will make finances easier together. To maximize
efficiencies, couples can consider streamlining by making savings
automatic with pre-authorized transfers into a TFSA, RSP or a child's
RESP, or towards an extra mortgage or credit card payment. Above all,
couples need to work together to develop a common vision towards such
things as investing for retirement, putting money aside for their
children's education, paying down debt and everyday spending. They also
need to work together to ensure they create a safety net in the event
that the new family unit encounters an unexpected life event such as a
"If one side of the family spends more on take-out meals a few nights a
week while the other has traditionally put those funds toward a larger
monthly mortgage payment, the difference in values could create
tensions down the road," said Moffit. "I often suggest scheduling a
family meeting to talk about what's important to the new family unit,
and work together to find a complementary approach towards everything
from integrating everyday routines to finances,"
About the TD Modern Families, Blended Finances Poll
TD commissioned Environics Research Group to conduct an online custom survey of 1,950 Canadians aged 18 years and
older who are living common-law, separated/divorced, remarried, or are
widows. Responses were collected between February 11 and 25, 2014.
About TD Wealth Private Investment Advice
TD Wealth Private Investment Advice is a division of TD Waterhouse
Canada Inc., a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank. TD Waterhouse
Canada Inc. (Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund.)
SOURCE TD Canada Trust
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