Changing trends in the family

Many different types of families exist today and the makeup of families in Canada continues to change. Families with married couples are still the most common type of family, but this has been declining in recent years. Family units that were less common 30 years ago have been increasing, including same-sex couples, common law parents and couples without children (Source: Statistics Canada, 2011 Census).

The picture of the Canadian family isn’t what it used to be.

  • In 1976, 39% of mothers with school-age children were employed. By 2009, that number had increased to 73%. (Source: The Vanier Institute of the Family)
  • Only 3% of eligible fathers took parental leave in 2001 compared to 27% in 2007. (Source: The Vanier Institute of the Family)
  • One in 10 children live in stepfamilies. (Source: Statistics Canada)

Every family’s financial situation and needs are unique, but there are fundamental money principles any family can follow to begin building financial success.

8 Universal truths about your money

The 8 Universal truths about your money are guidelines that encompass the essentials of financial management that apply to all Canadians, regardless of age, gender, culture, income and profession:

  1. Know your money personality everyone has a personality: unique attributes, values, goals, worries, tendencies, likes and dislikes that define their character.
  2. Know what you’re saving for and have a plan to get there defining goals will give you the focus to achieve them faster, and setting a target date for your goals can help you stay motivated along the way.
  3. Know your cash flow knowing how much money you earn and how you spend it is key to managing your money.
  4. Shop around to get the best value for your money most people shop around for the best price on a new TV or a litre of milk. Comparison shopping works for money, too.
  5. Care more about your money than anyone else does even if you have an advisor or an institution committed to doing their best with your resources, the decisions – and the results – are ultimately your responsibility.
  6. Be a saver, not a borrower borrowing makes sense if it helps you acquire something that boosts your net worthNet worth The value of all your assets, less what you owe.+ read full definition. But over time, paying back debtDebt Money that you have borrowed. You must repay the loan, with interest, by a set date.+ read full definition takes away from your ability to save – even when interest rates are low.
  7. Understand when it’s too good to be true if investmentInvestment An item of value you buy to get income or to grow in value.+ read full definition scams actually seemed too good, no one would ever be taken in by one. Be very critical, especially of unsolicited requests for your money.
  8. The sooner you start saving, the better off you’ll be time is money – really. The sooner you start to save and investInvest To use money for the purpose of making more money by making an investment. Often involves risk.+ read full definition your money, the faster it will grow.

As family units change, financial needs and priorities change as well. Review your financial plan regularly, ask lots of questions and get to know all the optionsOptions An investment that gives you the right to buy or sell it at a set price by a set date. The buy right is termed a “call” option, and the sell right is termed a “put” option. You buy options on a stock exchange.+ read full definition available to you.

Government resources for families

Fast facts

  • Average household income is $69,860
  • Average size of a family with children is 3.5 (Source: Statistics Canada)
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