After publishing How Does Your Net Worth Compare With The Average Canadian, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to take another stab at this topic again.
This time around, let’s focus on the average and median net worths of Canadian couples in every age group.
It would be interesting to know:
- The discrepancy between average and median net worths
- The discrepancy between individual net worths and couples’ net worths
And most importantly, is your household net worth above the national average?
Let’s find out!
Feel free to download my net worth spreadsheet if you need an easy tool for calculating your net worth.
In any case, here are the average and median net worths of Canadian couples at different stages in their lives:
Age Group Median Net Worth Average Net Worth
Under 35 Years 106,000 277,300
35 to 44 Years 287,100 542,100
45 to 54 Years 612,500 982,300
55 to 64 Years 918,600 1,414,500
65 Years and Older 762,900 1,167,500
These net worth numbers are quite impressive any way you slice it.
Yes, the wealthiest 1% is pulling up the average net worths across the board, which means the median net worths paint a much more accurate financial picture of the typical Canadian couple.
Yes, the discrepancy between the averages and the medians is nothing to sneer at.
But none of that erases the fact that the average Canadian couple is entering retirement with close to a million dollars in net worth. Woohoo!
What’s more, there’re no shortage of wonderful places within Canada where it’s possible to live comfortably on little. Plus, the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and the Old Age Security (OAS) programs can always come to the rescue during retirement. So even for folks with significantly smaller nest eggs, it’s not doom and gloom, as long as they’re willing to compromise a little.
Couples’ Net Worths Vs. Individual Net Worths
As you can see in the table below, within every age group, couples’ average and median net worths are at least double that of individuals.
|Age Group||Median Net Worth (Individuals)||Average Net Worth (Individuals)||Median Net Worth (Couples)||Average Net Worth (Couples)|
|Under 35 Years||9,700||62,100||106,000||277,300|
|35 to 44 Years||76,000*||214,000||287,100||542,100|
|45 to 54 Years||88,000*||290,400||612,500||982,300|
|55 to 64 Years||227,800||505,500||918,600||1,414,500|
|65 Years and Older||277,000||493,400||762,900||1,167,500|
* This figure is not as reliable as the rest of the table.
Of course, working towards the same financial goals as a couple comes with its own unique challenges and advantages.
Growing Wealth As a Couple
In my opinion, if a couple wants to combine their finances and build a better future together, several things need to happen first:
They need to be comfortable talking about money with each other, without getting into arguments.
That means no raised voices, no judgments, and no veiled personal attacks. Equally importantly (I’ve observed this too many times), money issues shouldn’t be used as a proxy punching bag when one party wants to air grievances about something else that’s troubling them.
They need to be 100% transparent about their finances, including significant assets, debts and bankruptcy history.
Having debts (especially if they were taken on to buy assets or to further one’s education) shouldn’t be a deal breaker, but hiding debts could be. Always make sure that financial conversations start off on the right foot and in good faith, to avoid nasty surprises down the line.
They need to share similar spending habits and lifestyle expectations, or be willing to adapt.
Opposites attract. Spendthrifts might admire penny-pinchers’ discipline, while the penny-pinchers might find spendthrifts exciting to be around. We can’t always choose who we fall in love with, but I bet anything that couples could avoid many unnecessary fights by being on the same page about how each of them spends their money.
They need to share similar financial goals.
If a person wants to be a millionaire before the age of 40 but their partner wants to live a lavish lifestyle forever, they could grow resentful of each other because their goals and lifestyle choices are fundamentally at odds with one another.
Last but not least, they need to be equally willing and invested in achieving their financial goals.
It’s important to be in synch in terms of how and how much each person contributes to reaching their financial goals. It’s equally important that they both follow through on their shared plan, to avoid fights caused by the (perceived) unequal division of labour.
Challenges aside, there are major financial benefits to being in a relationship, such as:
1. Shared expenses
At the risk of stating the obvious, a lot of expenses that have to be taken on by a single person can be shared between a cohabiting couple.
Among those are some of the big-ticket items like rent, mortgage, condo fees, property taxes, and utility bills.
Need a sofa for your living room? A single person has to buy one, a couple would also only buy one.
How about high-speed Internet? The same logic applies.
As a side benefit, tasks like grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and home maintenance can be done more efficiently when 2 people are involved, saving each of them plenty of time to pursue other money-making activities (like a side hustle or putting in more hours at work).
2. Support and motivation
Living frugally is tough.
Have I been tempted to splurge a little from time to time? You bet.
But I didn’t, because my husband reined me in at the last minute and reminded me why we’re living below our means in the first place.
Without his support, I wouldn’t have made as much progress on the money front as I have, that’s for sure.
3. Faster compounding
When couples combine their earning powers, they make more, save more, and build their nest egg faster.
A bigger nest egg + the power of compounding (exponential growth year over year) = awesome!
4. More investment opportunities
Your typical everyday investor dabbles in the stock market, cryptocurrency, P2P lending, and might even own a rental property or two.
But when you have substantial disposable income as a couple (because of factors mentioned above), more investment vehicles are within your reach, including elusive ones like commercial real estate and private equity.
5. Tax benefits
I mean, isn’t that the primary reason people get married? Just kidding.
Onward and Forward
Your net worth is simply a snapshot of your finances at this moment.
No matter if your net worth as a couple is higher or lower than the average, give each other a high-five. Be proud of the progress you’ve made together, and don’t be scared to go after your next set of financial milestones without abandon.
You will be in even better financial shape before you know it.