September 11, 2009, Newsletter Issue #270: Talk Money Before Moving In Together

Tip of the Week

Moving in together is a huge step and a sign of a committed partnership between two people. Relationships break up quickly over problems and misunderstandings about money so have a serious discussion before any time is spent looking for the little bungalow and white picket fence.
1. Decide if the communal bills are going to be paid by one person or both, in other words, which checkbook will the monthly expenses come out of? Who is designated to physically pay the bill? Even if expenses are shared evenly, nothing starts an argument faster than having the electricity shut off when someone didn’t know they were supposed to pay the bill.
2. Decide how the monthly expenses such as rent, food and utilities are going to be divided each month. Having equality in these areas is the best way to start out. This way, each party is responsible for his or her own money.
3. Keep separate checking accounts. One of the worst mistakes two people make when living together is to combine checking accounts. Combined checking accounts are a topic for after the wedding, not at this stage of the relationship.
4. Decide in the beginning if asking to borrow money is “okay” or not. Every person runs out of money at the end of the month from time to time, so discuss if asking for a loan is going to work for each of you. Many people aren’t comfortable giving money to their partner and loans feel impersonal. Discuss your feelings about this before the situation comes up.
5. Talk about your philosophy regarding money before you move in together. Are you a saver or a spender? Does shopping and spending money make you ‘feel’ better? Are you living together to ‘save money’ on expenses? Does one person earn a lot more money than the other person and how does that feel?

Know yourself and your own personal beliefs about money and then discuss that with your partner. Get every detail regarding finances out on the table and this goes a long way to stopping arguments about money in the future.

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