Managing money in a second relationship

Remarrying or living with a new partner or spouse often involves adjusting to a different financial relationship. Accommodating changed money roles and personalities may require breaking old patterns and adopting new ones.

There are typical issues that arise with any newly married couple such as when to spend versus save, how much debtDebt Money that you have borrowed. You must repay the loan, with interest, by a set date.+ read full definition is too much, which investmentInvestment An item of value you buy to get income or to grow in value.+ read full definition choices work, and whether to combine personal daily finances.

But second marriages often bring additional money issues to consider. If a partner is divorced, are either of you paying alimony, spousal support or installments in a property buy-out to an ex? How will your pensions be impacted? The experience of losing a partner – to divorce or death – also likely influences your or your new spouse’s attitudes towards things like prenuptial agreements and life insuranceLife Insurance Insurance that pays cash to your family or other beneficiary after your death. This can give them income and help pay your funeral and other final costs.+ read full definition. If there are children from previous relationships, more challenges emerge: additional expenses for one or both spouses, child support payments, and the handling of future costs such as university tuition. These issues can all significantly affect your current relationship.

Sometimes, a couple is well-aligned in their money attitudes and behaviours. Sometimes, opposites attract (see where you fit with the Love and money quiz). Money is one of the top issues that can cause conflict in a relationship. Open communication and working toward shared goals can help you find ways to improve how you handle, think and talk about money together.

Here are some additional resources to help:

  • Getting married – An all-in-one resource for all marriages – formal, or common law.
  • Choose your asset mixAsset mix The percentage distribution of assets in a portfolio among the three major asset classes: cash and cash equivalents, fixed income and equities.+ read full definition When your life changes, your financial priorities change too. Consider your goals, how much risk you feel comfortable taking with your money, and when you need money to meet your goals. This will impact the investment choices you make, and help you determine the right mix to meet your goals at any stage of life. Learn more about choosing your asset mix.
  • Types of RRSPs – Consider your plans to save for retirement. Spousal RRSPs offer potential taxTax A fee the government charges on income, property, and sales. The money goes to finance government programs and other costs.+ read full definition advantages in retirement if your income differ significantly
  • Crunch the Numbers – Resolve outstanding and potential money issues with your new spouse by doing the math with financial calculators. You may want to try these first:

Fast fact

A 2009 study found that approximately 70% of men and 58% of women who divorce will remarry. (Source: Dr. Anne-Marie Lambert, York University)

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