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BMO Valentine's Day Report: One Third of Canadian Couples Want to Keep Certain Aspects of Their Finances a Secret

- One fifth of Canadian couples currently don't share any of their finances, with maintaining a sense of independence cited as a top reason

- Half of Canadians have lied to their partner about their finances at some point; those in more serious relationships are less inclined to keep things hidden

- The BMO(R) PlanShare feature offers Canadian couples the ability to save on banking fees and choose a level of privacy that works for them

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 9, 2016) - They may share a bed, a home and a TV-streaming service, but only one quarter of Canadian couples share all of their finances (28 per cent), according to a new report released today by BMO Bank of Montreal. Additionally, about one third of Canadians in relationships (30 per cent) said that they want to keep certain aspects of their finances secret or hidden from their significant other.

What's mine is yours?

Of those respondents who expressed a desire to keep certain aspects of their finances hidden:

  • 45 per cent would choose to conceal what they spend their money on;
  • 39 per cent would choose to conceal how much they spend;
  • 34 per cent would choose to conceal how much money they have;
  • 25 per cent would choose to conceal how much they have saved; and
  • 21 per cent would choose to conceal how much debt they currently have.

The Valentine's Day poll, conducted by Pollara on behalf of BMO Bank of Montreal, found that couples in more serious relationships are less inclined to hide things. Only 28 per cent of married couples said they'd like to keep some things hidden, compared to 31 per cent of those in a common law marriage and 34 per cent of those couples who are not yet living together.

In addition, almost half (46 per cent) of respondents revealed they have lied to their partner about their finances at some point in their relationship. One fifth (17 per cent) of couples reported arguing about finances at least once a week.

Another pain point for Canadian couples, as found in the poll results, is whether combining finances actually makes sense. When asked if they would be more likely to combine finances with their significant other if it meant saving on monthly bank fees, almost three quarters (69 per cent) agreed - but only if savings translated to $15 or more a month.

"Each relationship is unique, and with that comes complexities that often dictate how a couple chooses to move forward and evolve. Personal finances and how they come together play a huge part in this development," said Christine Canning, Head, Everyday Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Finding a balance when it comes to combining finances means having a clear understanding between partners of their individual goals and habits, but also what shared milestones lie ahead, so flexible products and solutions, as well as help from a professional, are key to making it work for both sides."

Ms. Canning added that BMO has introduced the BMO® PlanShare feature to offer Canadian couples the best of both worlds by combining the finances they want to share with joint accounts, and allowing them to keep other aspects private through individual accounts, all under one plan and one fee. In addition, couples can potentially save up to $360/year on monthly bank fees*, easily transfer funds between accounts and can even nickname different accounts for easy organization.

How Canadians Share Their Finances By Region
Finances are completely shared 32 % 21 % 30 % 38 % 28 % 29 %
Finances are mostly shared; but with some separate bank accounts and/or products 35 % 28 % 36 % 27 % 34 % 38 %
Finances are mostly separate; but with some shared bank accounts and/or products 12 % 27 % 13 % 10 % 16 % 14 %
Finances are completely separate 20 % 22 % 21 % 24 % 20 % 19 %

One third (37 per cent) of Canadian couples currently keep their finances separate

Couples gave several reasons for wanting to keep their finances separate:

  • Feeling their individual methods of financial management to be easier (42 per cent)
  • Wanting to maintain a sense of independence (40 per cent)
  • Wanting to be cautious in case of a split (16 per cent)
  • Not wanting to share due to differing incomes (19 per cent), or differing financial goals (18 per cent)
  • Not wanting their partner knowing all of their financial details (10 per cent)

"Now, more than ever, we see that Canadians value financial autonomy, so it's important that Canadians are aware that there are options that meet their needs," added Ms. Canning. "At BMO, we want to help our customers ease the tension that often accompanies discussion about finances, and provide them with solutions that bring simplicity and peace of mind to their everyday lives."

To learn more about the BMO® PlanShare feature, visit:, or speak to your financial advisor.

The BMO PlanShare Survey was conducted by Pollara between January 21st and January 25th, 2016 with an online sample of 1,004 adult Canadians who are either married, living common law or have been in a serious relationship for at least 2 years.. Data has been weighted using the latest census data to be representative of the Canadian population in terms of gender and region. The margin of error for a probability sample size of 1,004 is ± 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

*For illustration purposes only. The savings of $360 assumes the following: (i) one monthly Premium Plan fee of $30.00 per month ($360.00 per year) is shared between you and your spouse or partner, rather than each person paying a separate monthly Plan fee of $30.00, (ii) no other per-item or over-limit transaction fees apply, and (iii) the account is not eligible for the monthly balance Plan fee waiver during the twelve-month period.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services provider based in North America. With total assets of approximately $642 billion as of October 31, 2015, and close to 47,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

For further information:
Media Contacts:
Michelle Agnelo, Toronto
(416) 867-3996

Jessica Leroux, Toronto
(416) 867-3996

Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224

Twitter: @BMOmedia