To build a strong financial future as a couple together, you must first understand your own money style and then work together to determine what your approach to managing money as a couple should be. Start by taking our Love and Money Style Quiz and then have your partner do the same. Remember: when it comes to love and money, you don't want any surprises, so find out how you and your mate relate.
Here are all the quiz money styles and the habits associated with them.
If you are a Super Saver:
- The only thing you can recall more quickly than your phone number is your bank balance;
- You know your budget and you stick to it;
- You understand that borrowing is an important and useful tool - if managed carefully;
- You have goals for the future and a plan to get there; and
- Saving is a top priority – you beef up your RRSP before splurging on gadgets or clothes.
Tip: Remember that not all spending is bad. Is there such a thing as smart spending? Being financially smart for the future doesn't mean eliminating all the fun for today.
Wavering Saver/ Spender
If you are a Wavering Saver/Spender:
- You approach financial issues like a restaurant menu. A little voice tells you to have the side salad instead of the fries…sometimes you listen, sometimes you don't;
- At times you’re quite disciplined about budgeting and saving, but you can also let it slide when tempted in another direction;
- You have some idea of your costs; and
- You know how much money to set aside to buy a house or new car.
Tip: Write out a manageable budget and stick to it. Identify the things that have knocked you off course in the past and develop a strong plan to deal with them, like allocating money each week to save towards splurge items. To learn more, read How do I make a budget?
If you are a Big Spender:
- You don't spend much time planning your finances. You find things like tax-efficient investing and diversification, and asset allocation all incredibly boring; they just get in the way of more important things that occupy your day;
- Your budgeting plan doesn't go beyond the next one or two pay-cheques;
- You've felt the pinch of debt, most likely to do with your credit cards; and
- You have likely never maximized your RRSP contribution.
Tip: Take a careful look at your finances and develop a long-term budget that you can stick to with some discipline. Set up automatic withdrawals (weekly or monthly) for your savings to make it easier to follow your plan. Review your plan with a financial adviser. To learn more about saving, read How much should I save each month?
Saver on the Slide
If you are a Saver on the Slide:
- You are a strong saver in many ways, but you don’t have a fixed plan;
- You may have a budget, but you can get sidetracked sometimes;
- You sometimes use your credit cards or borrow more than you should; and
- You likely have an RRSP, but you don’t always contribute to it.
Tip: Spending is not a crime, but it’s important to budget your fun. Set aside money each week for saving and some for splurging. If you work, find out if your company offers a payroll savings plan. To learn more, read How can I make it easier to save money?
Budget-Shy Spender/ Sometime Saver
If you are a Budget-Shy Spender/Sometime Saver:
- You likely find it hard to set a budget and stick to it. Something always pulls you off track;
- You are not a regular saver, but you do put a little aside from time to time;
- You sometimes use your credit cards for impulse purchases you can’t really afford; and
- You may struggle with debt from time to time.
Tip: Write out a manageable budget and stick to it. Identify the things that have knocked you off course in the past and develop a strong plan to handle them, like allocating money each week to save towards splurge items. To get started with your budget, read Where does the money go?
Budgeted Spender/ Sometime Saver
If you are a Budgeted Spender/Sometime Saver:
- You like to shop, but you don’t often take on debt;
- You have a budget, but you don’t always make saving a priority; and
- You approach financial issues like a restaurant menu (a little voice tells you to have the side salad instead of the fries…sometimes you listen, sometimes you don't).
Tip: Build more savings into your budget and stick to it. If your budget is tight, try to make small changes in your spending habits – like getting a regular coffee instead of a fancy one, or making your own lunch or dinner instead of eating out. To learn more about saving money, read How much should I save each month?
Content in this section is provided in partnership with the Investor Education Fund, a non-profit organization promoting financial literacy to Canadians. To find out more go to GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca.