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More common-law and same-sex marriages in Canada

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – We’re learning more about families, marital status, and the ever changing Canadian household today.

Statistics Canada has released more figures from the 2011 census and they have some interesting things to say about the institution of marriage.

Married couples, those with and without children, make up 73.8 per cent of families in the Vancouver area, down from 74.7 per cent from the 2006 census.

But the number of common-law marriages in this country saw an increase, while Canadian same-sex marriages tripled between the 2006 and 2011 census periods.

“Given that same-sex marriage was legalized across Canada in 2005, it really isn’t surprising that we would see an increase,” points out UBC Sociology Associate Professor Carrie Yodanis.

It seems the urge to shack up, in one way or another, remains a powerful one.

“People still kind of imagine a life, even with the changes that we’ve seen… as including marriage, or at least coupling,” explains Yodanis.

Some demographers note the number of same-sex marriages could drop off once it becomes more commonplace, with growth mainly concentrated in the major urban areas.

More couples in their golden years splitting up

Statistics Canada says “grey divorce” is steadily on the rise. Financial planners say this can leave seniors with devastating financial impacts.

Tina Di Vito with BMO’s Retirement Institute says divorced seniors need to adjust to their new financial situation, and the first step should be knowing where your money is coming from and where it’s going.

“The biggest piece of advice I have is to really think about what your lifestyle is going to be like as a single individual,” she tells us. “Think about the costs involved and really maintain a friendly budget for yourself.”

Unexpected home care and medical costs should also be considered.

Financial planners like Debbie Hartzman say it’s a particularly tough lifestyle transitition for newly-single seniors, as most have become used to spending instead of saving.

“They’re not in their asset-gathering years; they’re in their asset-depleting years. So, their lifestyle can be significantly diminished,” she points out.”

Hartzman says seniors need to share in financial planning so they know what to do if they go their separate ways.