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Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


You may think Valentine’s Day is a silly holiday, but not everyone agrees.

Canadians spend an average of $59 on Valentine’s gifts, according to a new survey conducted by The shopping site asked respondents what they would most like to receive today. Here’s what they said:

  • A meal out, 32 per cent
  • Flowers, 15 per cent
  • Tickets to an event, 11 per cent
  • Gift card/certificate, 11 per cent
  • Money, 7 per cent

But love means so much more than a box of chocolates.

Why not consider giving the gift of financial freedom? Use Valentine’s Day to build your financial future together. Make it a date to sit down and go through what you are spending your money on. Share your goals and dreams. Talk about your future and how you will fund it. What will encourage both of you to save?

Here are my top three ways of showing love:

1. Lend money to your spouse. As long as you charge the prescribed rate of interest and it is paid annually by Jan. 30, you can avoid attribution rules.
2. Contribute to a spousal RRSP. If your spouse is likely to have less income than you in retirement, consider contributing to an RRSP for them. You get the tax deduction, but your spouse will pay the tax on the withdraws down the road.
3. Have the higher income earner pay the household expenses and have the lower income earner invest. This will create investment income taxed at a lower rate.

The best gift of all is a financial plan. Okay, I’m saying this tongue-in-cheek, but is it really worth paying inflated prices for a manufactured holiday when you could do so much more to build your financial relationship instead?