Turns out, love does have a price—and it’s $61,821.60, according to the fourth annual Cost of Love study from RateSupermarket.ca.
Why $61,821.60? To come up with this rather precise number, the mortgage rate comparison site tallied up all the financial outlays associated with a one-year courtship period, one-year engagement and the average Canadian wedding. Baked into their calculations are various assumptions: Among other things, a prosperous and successful romance must include one beach vacation (with an average cost of $3,523), two weekend getaways (with an average cost of $625.75 ) and exactly 12 fancy dates (with an average cost of $277.54).
Want an easy way to shave $9,092.21 to $10,889.42 off of this formidable expense? Skip your fancy plans for Valentine’s Day and invest that money in a tax-sheltered savings vehicle like a TFSA or RESP.
Keep on reading, I’ll show you how it all works.
Putting a price on romance
RateSupermarket defines a “fancy” $277.54 date as the cost of a nice dinner and a pair of theatre tickets. Forgoing such a cost this Valentine’s Day (and for the next dozen years or more) would save you a hefty chunk of change. Now, if you were to invest that money in accounts that allow you to take advantage of tax-free, compound interest growth, well you’d really start building a lovely nest egg.
Tax-free savings solutions
For instance, let’s say you’re expectant parents. Putting that $277.54 Valentine’s Day expense into a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) every year until your child turns 18 would give you a total balance of $10,889.42. Over that time period, your personal RESP contributions would add up to about $4,986, the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) the government chips in would account for $997.20, and your projected earnings (assuming a 6% rate of return) would be $4,906.22. (This scenario assumes net household income is $89,401 or more.)
Not bad for skipping an overhyped evening associated with poor restaurant service thanks to subpar prix-fixe menus and increased head counts, right?
But what if you don’t have kids and have no use for an RESP? A Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) is another great tool that can make your investments work harder for you. Using the same savings timeline as the previous scenario (18 years), $277.54 invested annually into a TFSA would earn you $9,092.21 (assuming the same 6% rate of return). And, of course, the longer you do this, the better: $277.54 invested annually into a TFSA for 25 years, with a 6% interest rate, would grow to $16,140.72.
The rising cost of love
Still not convinced that you should do away with Valentine’s Day all together? This might influence you: The costs of coupledom are rapidly ascending. According to RateSupermarket, the cost of love has increased 22.8% from last year and a budget-busting 41% since the study’s 2013 debut.
Penelope Graham, Editor at RateSupermarket, attributes these spikes to the increasing costs of travel and dining out, which have only been exacerbated by the diminished strength of our loonie.
Now, just because I’m espousing you ignore all the overblown fanfare surrounding Feb. 14, please don’t think me some hard-hearted type. Imagine that you do opt to put that annual $277.84 Valentine’s Day expense into your TFSA for 25 years and grow it to more than $16,000. That’s going to provide one hell of a budget for you and your partner to jet off to some far-flung romantic destination for the trip of a lifetime. (I hear Paris is nice.)