February 24, 2011, 6:00 am

Moving in Together? Read This First

by: MD    Category: Miscellaneous
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Planning to Live Together

As the summer approaches and the college semester ends people will be making some major changes in life. Some folks will move across the country. Some will start a new job. Some will move in with their significant other. Moving in with someone in your 20s is a major life decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. I personally couldn’t imagine getting married or moving in with someone any time soon. For those of you that are moving in with your partner, this post is for you.

What to consider before moving in with someone?

Will you rent or buy?

You first need to decide if you as a couple will purchase a property or if you will start off by renting. Don’t take this decision lightly because it can have major implications if you end up buying a place and then break up a few months down the road (it happens). A friend of mine bought a condo with his girlfriend of two years. Everything was going well until they realized that they had different goals in life and ended up breaking up. This is where things got sticky. Selling a condo shortly after you’ve purchased it can cause a severe major loss for the moving that you need to spending on lawyers, closings costs, and taxes.

Renting is usually a safe bet when you first move in with someone that you’ve been dating for a short while. Well that’s unless you decide to be a little more traditional and choose to wait until marriage before moving in.

How will you split expenses?

Will the higher income earner pay more for expenses? Will everything be split right down the middle 50/50. This is a discussion that you need to have before you move in together. Some important expenses to consider are:

  • Mortgage/rent.
  • Taxes (if applicable).
  • Food.
  • Utilities.
  • Cellphone.
  • Cable.
  • Car fees.

My friend’s live-in girlfriend recently complained about not paying her half of the rent because of her individual subscriptions that are eating up her budget. What you do at this point is solely up to you since every relationship is unique.

How much debt do you each have?

What debt does each person bring to the table? Just because you’re moving in together it doesn’t mean that you’re getting married and sharing debt. With that being said debt is really important because it will affect the amount of extra money (disposable income) that the person has to play around with each month. Your girlfriend may want to go on a nice weekend getaway every month, while you’re stressing about paying off your student loans or credit card debt.

Join bank account or separate?

How will your finances work now that you live together? Will you give this person access to your banking information? These are sensitive topics that you need to approach respectfully so that you don’t end up sleeping on the couch. The idea that most financially conscious couples recommend is that you each have your own banking account, but you split a “household account” where you each put in money to pay for the household expenses.

I had a former girlfriend get upset with me when I wouldn’t share my pin number with her. Will you share your pin number with your girlfriend when she moves in?

What are your financial goals?

Do you share financial goals as a couple? My friend moved in with his long term girlfriend without really discussing goals. He wants to own nice toys. She wants to save up for kids. Ooops. If you have similar goals (save up for a home) then you guys can work together as a couple to reach these goals. If you have individual goals then you’re going to have to figure out how this will impact your financial situation at the moment.

Moving in with the person that you’re dating can be very challenging, both emotionally and financially. If you cover your bases and discuss the sensitive topics now, you can save yourself lots of trouble down the line.

Do you guys have any interesting stories to share about moving in with someone?

(photo credit: Jessa BC)

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