You’re all prepared for your partner to move in – you’ve had a key cut, cleared space in the wardrobe and set aside a shelf in the bathroom. But how should you be handling your finances? There are a lot of financial benefits from moving in together – possibly less rent or more income to pay off the mortgage, shared utility expenses, and you’re likely to spend more time at home by saving on dining and entertainment. But to live in harmony, you need to have an open discussion about money and put systems in place to manage it together. Here are six things you should consider before shacking up.
Money problems are the main culprit in relationship breakdowns, so it’s worth building good financial foundations. It’s imperative you are transparent with each other. If one person is doing a great job at saving, it’s completely undone if the other is running up credit card debt. Be open to talking about money and make sure your partner knows what you’re doing.
Agree on how you’ll pay bills
Sit down and work out how you’re going to pay for things. You may wish to combine your finances and draw up a budget. Or you may like to keep separate bank accounts and add a third joint account with enough cash to cover your shared expenses. Alternatively, you could use an app like Splitwise, which is great for splitting bills.
Bills need to be paid so establish who is responsible for what. Understand your strengths and weaknesses. Is one of you great at saving? Is one of you always late in paying bills? Work out who is best at doing what and get into a good routine. The best saver might be in charge of putting a certain amount of money away every month, while the other covers the rent. Leave the bills to the most organised person.
Protect your assets
If one of you owns the house, or there is a great disparity in wealth between the two of you, it’s sensible to consider getting a solicitor to draw up a binding financial agreement. Often referred to as a prenup, you don’t need to be married to get one. At the point of moving in with someone, you believe that the relationship will last forever. But the reality is that unfortunately some don’t. Dealing with heartache is difficult enough without financial issues added to the mix.
Set financial goals
Get into the habit of setting some savings goals you’re both motivated by and help each other to get there. These could be a holiday, a car, new furniture, deposit on a new house or renovation. It’s easier when there are two incomes and you’re accountable to someone else.
Plan for contingencies
This is a double-edged sword. Between the two of you, you’ve only got one fridge, TV, washing machine that could break and need replacing. However, you also have two people that may need some form of help. Make sure you’ve got enough stashed away for a rainy day to avoid unnecessary strain on the relationship when things go wrong.