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(R. Michael Stuckey/Getty Images)
(R. Michael Stuckey/Getty Images)

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How do you define financial success? Add to ...

My husband and I are what you would call opposite money types. He gravitates towards spending while I am more of a saver. I fret about any money we owe while he takes debt completely in stride.

He is the type that will walk into a store (although that happens quite rarely) and buy whatever he needs. I will hunt around for a deal before I spend my hard-earned dollars.

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Despite these differences, we rarely fight about money and that is because we have discussed, generally agree on and work together on our financial priorities.

When it comes to defining financial success, a recent poll from TD Waterhouse found several key differences and other striking similarities among Canadian couples aged 45 to 64.

Among the couples TD polled, both men and women who share in the responsibility of their household’s finances said saving enough for a comfortable retirement was the biggest measure of financial success, with 60 per cent of women and 66 per cent of men citing that goal.

Women were more likely than men to point to having an emergency fund as a factor but both sexes said being debt-free and being able to pay bills on time was an important measure of financial success.

The poll’s findings come at a time when Canadian debt levels are showing the first signs of stabilizing with a slowdown in the growth of mortgages, lines of credit, and credit cards. The average Canadian household has debt that is 150 per cent of income, with mortgages accounting for the largest chunk of that.

Policy makers have expressed concerns about people’s ability to pay back all that debt when interest rates rise from their current lows.

The TD poll, which was conducted through an online survey by Environics Research Group this fall, also found that the steps to achieving financial success are different among the two sexes. Men are more likely to prioritize paying off credit cards in full, 64 per cent versus 56 per cent of women, and contributing to an RRSP, 41 per cent of men versus 34 per cent of women. Meanwhile women are more likely to suggest that following a budget to manage spending, 54 per cent of women versus 46 per cent of men, is the key to success.

Just over a third of those polled, 37 per cent of men and 34 per cent of women, said seeking professional advice from an adviser was a financial priority.

Interestingly, only 20 per cent of Canadian couples said they define financial success as being able to afford luxuries such as a flashy car, summer home or expensive jewellery.

That is one thing my husband and I can agree on: That we can neither afford - nor want - a fast, flashy car. Right, honey?

Follow on Twitter: @globemoney

 

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