Many Canadian households may be in more serious financial situations than they realise.

That’s because many couples are not talking about their finances and a couples are hiding the extent of their debts and spending from their partners.

A study by Manulife Bank reveals that conversations about finances can be difficult with half of respondents who are married or in common law couples saying that it causes tension. Less than half of couples regularly discuss finances and 20% never do.

And it seems there is much to talk about with 2 in 10 Canadian couples saying their partner does not know how much debt they are in and the same share hiding either the entire or real cost of large purchases.

Most hidden purchases (63%) were less than $1000 but 8% of men say they have not been honest with their partner about a purchase costing at least $15,000!

“Conversations around money and debt can be one of the most difficult things couples ever discuss,” said Rick Lunny, President and CEO, Manulife Bank. “The trick is to get these issues out in the open and having an open and frank discussion about them.”

Mental health
Manulife’s study shows that 4 in 10 Canadians say worrying about their finances negatively impacts their mental health.

Nearly half say they’re often overwhelmed by their financial situation, with one in three stating they are kept up at night worrying about their debt.

Those under 35 and those who say they are in a lot of debt are more likely to say their debt is causing issues in their relationship; men, those under 35 and those in a lot of debt are most likely to say their partner doesn’t know how much debt they are in.  

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