For Love & Money

Two in five married or common law Canadians consider themselves to be
struggling financially. But who should they go to for help?

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, love is on the mind of many
Canadian couples. But it can be hard to think about love when money troubles
get in the way. Unfortunately, according to an online survey conducted on
behalf of MNP Ltd., one in four (27%) married and common law Canadians say
financial stress is affecting their relationship. The same survey reveals
that 20% of Canadian couples are facing relationship strains due to their
current debt situation.

There are many services available to help Canadians with their debt and
credit problems, but a sizable portion of respondents don’t know the
difference between these services. In fact, three in ten (28%) married and
common law-living Canadians identify that they do not “know the difference
between a credit counsellor, debt advisor and Trustee in bankruptcy.”
Although almost nine out of ten married or common law Canadians agree that
they are aware of their spouse’s debt, as their spouse is of theirs, the
willingness of couples to talk about their financial woes doesn’t mean
there’s no impact of debt on relationships.

“Talking about your debt with your partner is one thing, dealing with the
mess is quite another and that can cause heartache and more stress.
Finding the right Trustee or credit counsellor can seem simple but you
really have to know what you want in the long term. It can take more than
seven years to re-establish your credit score,” says Grant Bazian,
President, MNP Ltd, based in Edmonton. “That means a real commitment on
behalf of you and your partner.”

Other survey highlights:

· Younger married and common law Canadians are most likely to say
that their current financial situation is affecting their current
relationship with their spouse or partner (41%) ahead of middle-aged (28%)
and senior Canadians (16%).

· Of married and common law couples, those with children are more
likely than those without kids to say that their current financial
situation has affected their relationship with their spouse or partner
(35% vs. 23%).

· Canadians earning lower incomes (less than $40,000 annually) are
most likely to say that their current financial situation has affected
their relationship with their spouse (39%).

· Nearly one in five married or common law Canadians (22%) agree
that they struggle to make the minimum payments on any credit, loans, or
debts they owe, despite 96% of those saying they are aware of how much
debt they owe.

· Two in five couples use credit to pay for normal household
expenses.

Regional data – The survey found that married or common law Atlantic
Canadians (32%) are most likely to agree that they struggle to make
minimum debt payments, ahead of Ontarians (25%), Albertans (22%), British
Columbians (18%), Quebecers (18%) and, Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents
(15%).

“Dealing with debt can be overwhelming. And this Valentine’s Day, when
you’re getting ready to purchase that gift for your loved one, you may
want to think twice as to whether or not you can afford more purchases on
your credit card. Is the gift worth the high interest rates and will it
bring more joy, or just more stress, to your relationship?” says Bazian.

Background About the Study – This poll was conducted by Ipsos Reid for MNP
Ltd. between January 23 and 28, 2013. 1,000 married and common law-living
Canadians were surveyed in an online interview. The poll is accurate to
within +/- 3.5 percentage points had all married or common law Canadians
been surveyed.

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