September 25, 2021

Have you ever lied to your partner about money?

According to a recent study, roughly one in five couples have deceived their partners when it comes to money. Are you among them?

Eighteen per cent of Canadians admit they've kept a secret from their partner about how much money they have spent, saved or have hidden. Thirteen per cent of females admit to secret spending, for instance, compared to only six per cent of males.

In another study, close to 20 per cent of all men and women admit the reason they hide their spending habits is because the truth would worry their partner or cause friction in their relationship.

That's nice of them, except that not being upfront about money has a lot more to do with power and control than hurt feelings. 

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September 19, 2021

Unpaid child support from deadbeat parents continues to swell

Unpaid child support is a huge financial problem for custodial parents, as well as the public purse which must supply assistance to children with little or no support and try to prosecute those failing to pay.

Unpaid child and spousal support in Ontario, for instance,  now tops $2 billion, according to recent government data. That figure has grown by $500 million in the past three years alone, with some 135,000 support payment cases now in arrears.

A few years ago, Ontario's Family Responsibility Office (FRO), which enforces child-support payment collections, started a website designed to shame parents into paying up. But it's had limited success.

The FRO's Good Parents Pay website has only managed to collect something like $470,000 over the past seven years from just 62 parents, according to recent reports. But private sites like CrappyDads lay claim to better results ... although it's not clear just who is auditing their results.

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September 03, 2021

Common law spouses not necessarily entitled to pension benefits

A recent court decision has created new worries for the 'married but not yet divorced' set.

The case in question involved a man who died prior to retirement, leaving behind both his long-time common law spouse, with whom he was living at the time of his death, and his first wife, to whom he was still legally married even though they lived apart.

The question was who should receive the man’s pension death benefit: his common law wife, his legal spouse or his designated beneficiaries?

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May 16, 2021

Canadians losing sleep over finances

1034045_56715244Life happens.

And with it, so do unforeseen hardships.

That's why it is always good to be proactive and have a plan.

A new report by BMO Wealth Institute reveals that while many Canadians have a financial plan in place, very few have considered what would happen if unexpected life events arose that could cause financial hardships.

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April 16, 2021

Do you think you'll be able to retire debt free?

Retiring debt-free used to be the goal for all Canadians. Pay off the mortgage, no more car payments,  and use credit cards judiciously, if at all. After all, living on a fixed income leaves little or no room in the budget for making interest payments.

Looks like that's strictly old school, however, according to a recent study

The study, conducted for the Investor Education Fund, found that 24% of the homeowners expect to have at least some debt on their home after they retire. What's worse, most of them admit that they don’t really know how they'll pay it off.

That's not completely surprising, however. More people are working well past the traditional retirement age. At the same time, the age of first-time home buyers has increased sharply, leaving them with fewer years in which to pay things off.

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March 04, 2022

Are you ultimately responsible for your partner's debts?

Many couples think marrying or setting up house together means merging their debt loads, but that's not necessarily the case. While many couples opt to pay down debt together, neither spouse is usually legally obligated to pay off debt that the other incurred before marriage.

If your spouse or partner never signed the original contract or requested a credit card, they can't be held responsible for the debt. In Canada, marriage alone does not make you responsible for your spouse's debts.

However, if you refinance a loan with your significant other and put your name on the loan's promissory note, or add yourself as a joint account holder of a credit card, you'll likely become responsible for those debts, even if your spouse took them on before you got together.

At the very least, this could mean setting some guidelines such as cutting up unnecessary credit cards and living on a debt-senstive budget.

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February 14, 2022

Money issues continue to cause rifts for most couples: report

Today is a special day for couples, so try not to spoil it -- like you did last year, for instance. You know, the 'don't you think that's an awful lot to pay for a bottle of wine' thing.

Money disagreements as the top reason couples argue, ahead of squabbling about children, chores, work or friends, according to a survey by the American Institute of CPAs.

In another poll, 20% of couples say their relationship problems are due to their current debt situations. And 27% admit that financial stress has left a negative impact on their relationships

One key problem is that couples don't speak the same language, says Candace Bahr, who heads up, the San Diego-based nonprofit dedicated to protecting and enriching couple's financial lives.

Which is why you probably need the translation guide below

Do you and your partner speak the same language when it comes to money? Are the discussions getter better or worse?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money

Risk-Taker Says
She/He Means
I guess it’s time for us to refinance the house, honey.
Our neighbor is never going to brag about his 5% rate in front of me again.
Let’s sell our existing stocks and invest in something with more profit potential.
I’m bored and I’m looking for something to do on the computer this weekend.
I can handle it myself.
I would never ask for directions, even if I were so lost I was on the wrong continent.
Let’s take out a home equity loan and buy investment property.
I don’t know anything about real estate, but if they’ll loan me $100,000, I’ll figure something out.
Risk-Avoider Says
She/He Means
I don’t think we can afford that right now.
If I let you spend all of my security money, I’ll wind up a bag lady on a street corner, living in a box and begging for bread.
Let’s do some research before we invest.
I want to analyze every piece of data ever published on that company, and get a guarantee from the CFO that it will do well before I buy it.
Let’s wait to do that until we get married.
I’m putting my financial life on hold until I’m sure that our relationship is going to work out
Let’s take out a home equity loan and buy investment property.

Let’s borrow exactly enough for the down payment and make sure that we have consistent positive cash flow for the next 10 years before we invest a penny.



February 05, 2022

Managing finances before and through a divorce

Divorce is always devastating. But for some couples, parting with their other half is easy compared to dividing income and assets fairly.

While some partners may have unrealistic expectations or simply aren't emotionally ready to settle up, others are dishonest and deliberately try to hide or deplete their assets.

Either way, the financial negotiations of divorce will be the largest financial transaction most individuals will ever participate in, says Justin A. Reckers, a financial planner who works with couples that have or are contemplating a split.

Most every divorcing person will prefer things, at least the financial side, to remain the same post-divorce as they were during their marriage. In reality, the pay cheque doesn't go as far when supporting two completely separate households, so everyone loses financially in divorce, he points out.

If you think your relationship might be on shaky ground, here are a few things he suggests you think about long before you knock on his door.

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January 31, 2022

Divorced? Separated? Would you ever consider getting married again?

Statistics suggest that more second marriages fail than first marriages.

Despite this, many divorced or widowed men and women do remarry, complicating their financial affairs and creating a fluid network of step-relatives, all with their own sets of financial expectations.

As couples get older and their lives more complicated, more of those entering new relationships seem to be choosing to postpone or forgo such formal arrangements for fear of these financial consequences.

And second-time-around Canadians are much more inclined to talk about marriage contracts or prenuptial agreements than they once were.

Are you one of them? Do you know someone who is?  

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December 11, 2021

Share my pension? No way, we've been separated for years.

In the rush to first open that RRSP, you probably signed reams of documents. But, if your circumstances have changed at all, now might be a good time to review just what you signed -- particularly when it comes to your beneficiary.

1056041_man_woman_heart_5It's pretty standard advice: If you're married or living in a common-law relationship, you're probably better off to name your spouse or partner as the beneficiary.

This way, your RRSP assets can be rolled over to his or her plan at your death, allowing you to avoid paying tax until the surviving spouse is faced with his or her own final tax return.

Reassess this in the event of divorce or remarriage, however. There have been cases where pension money went to a former spouse after the ex’s death, even though he'd embarked on another long-term relationship.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...