JANUARY 23, 2024
By Sun Life Staff

Read time: 2 minutes

Money is one of the main sources of conflict in a couple. However, even if it’s a delicate topic, it can’t be avoided. And the secret to a healthy couple is good communication. So, talk openly and honestly with your partner about your:

Where do you start?

It all begins with a good budget that enables you to make informed choices and dream about your projects together. How? You can start with:

  • Making a list of your current expenses by looking at your latest credit card and debit card statements
  • Group your expenses using interactive tables
  • Use this budget calculator
  • Take stock of your finances with these tools

What topics should we cover?

Once you complete your budget, take time to understand each other’s financial vision. Here are a few ways to start talking about money with your partner:

  • What beliefs and attitudes toward money did you grow up with?
  • How do you plan to make our joint financial decisions?
  • What are your short-term, medium-term and long-term financial goals and priorities?
  • What’s the biggest financial challenge that keeps you up at night?
  • What will happen to our finances and our loved ones when we’re gone?

The benefits of talking about money as a couple

The main benefit is making sure you are on the same wavelength as your partner so you can develop a financial strategy to achieve your shared goals.

A financial security advisor can help you achieve sound financial management as a couple. “Advisors are neutral,” says Sun Life advisor Frédéric Désilets, “because they care about the financial health of both partners.”

An advisor can help you to:

  • Restore you both to financial health
  • Achieve your goals with savings products, such as TFSAs and RRSPs, that fit your current life stage as a couple

Have questions?

Talk to a professional. Most Sun Life advisors now offer to meet Clients virtually by video chat. 

Find an advisor today.

How should you share expenses?

Some couples share expenses according to each other’s income. Others divide them according to a fixed percentage.

Frédéric Désilets suggests treating the couple as a team. “It would be awkward to share the couple’s expenses equally. Relative salaries are not just and do not reflect levels of effort.”

The advisor uses a doctor/nurse example. “They don’t earn the same salary, but they both work very hard. So it wouldn’t be fair to ask the nurse to pay as much as the doctor.” Désilets suggests considering the total income of both partners. “The one who earns more pays more.” 

Next, the two of you need to agree on a lifestyle that suits you both as a couple. Aside from communicating openly, the couple should also make sure they live within their means. “Especially since disputes often arise when money is tight,” concludes Désilets.

This article is intended to provide general information only. Sun Life Canada does not provide legal, accounting, tax or other professional advice. Please seek the advice of a qualified professional, including a thorough review of your specific legal, accounting and tax situation.