How is Your Spouse’s Portfolio Managed?

I had assumed my financial advisor was going to manage my RRSP portfolio and my spouse’s separately. ie. I thought he was going to have an asset allocation model for her and an asset allocation model for me and each was going to be totally independent. I was going to suggest to him a long time ago that we use a spousal RRSP for one of us and put all our monthly contributions into one account. One of us would contribute to our RRSP directly, the other would contribute to the spousal RRSP of their spouse. It would be as if we had one portfolio. Except our RRSPs would get really lop-sided after doing that for a while and we would have to switch to the other RRSP and start contributing into it as well. That doesn’t seem like the optimal way to do things.

I just found out today that he is planning on manage my RRSP and my wife’s together, treating the two RRSP accounts as one massive portfolio. So I could have the international and US stuff, for example, and my wife could have the Canadian and the fixed income. This would be much more efficient from a cost perspective. If we bought all ETFs all at once for example (one ETF for each market: US, Cdn, Int., Bonds) our commissions would be cut in half. Instead of buying 8 ETFs (4 each) we would just buy 4 ETFs (2 each). I didn’t think advisors ever did this because it would be harder to manage because underneath they are separate accounts. But I’m glad that mine does! What about your spouse? Is his or her portfolio managed together with yours as one large portofolio?

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1 Response to “How is Your Spouse’s Portfolio Managed?”


  • I have a slightly strange situation. My wife and I have a joint account (non-registered obviously) with an advisor. With the same advisor we also both have small RRSP accounts (that makes up less than 20% of the investments with that advisor). So those accounts are basically managed as one big account. Then my wife and I both have discount brokerage accounts that I manage myself. I set up these accounts because I was disappointed with the returns on the advisor-managed account. I manage the brokerage accounts as if they were one account, allocating assets over the whole portfolio.

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