Just because you don’t have a marriage license together doesn’t mean you do not need financial tips as a couple.
When you make the exciting (yet scary) decision to move in with your partner, it needs to be about more than just sharing a home; it needs to be about if and how to merge finances when you get married if you see you’re headed down that road.
Deciding to co-exist with your significant other in one space is a big step in the relationship, which is why money needs to be a topic of discussion before knowing where the couch is going to be located in the living room.
Financial tips for couples can be missed among all the other advice being provided by friends and family on how to keep the love alive in a long-term relationship or what to expect when cohabitating. But, here are some simple things to consider as you begin to move forward together:
Be transparent about your finances.
Don’t wait until after a marriage proposal or, worse, after the wedding to discuss your finances with one another. If you want to build a long-lasting healthy relationship, you should talk about your debts, financial goals, savings, assets and the like so that you can start things off on the same page. You may want to go as far as sharing your credit score. This is often needed prior to renting a home or apartment anyway.
Take care of your own debts.
Unless discussed for special circumstances or confirmed future goals, you should strive to always cover your own debts. Having your partner cover the costs of your financial obligations can cause some serious issues. Have you ever heard that money is one of the biggest causes of break-ups? That statement exists for a reason. Discuss your monetary goals with one another but also create your own together. This can help to determine when it would be necessary to help cover debts in the relationship that aren’t yours.
Know how the household expenses will be split.
Being aware of one another’s income and debts will also be helpful in knowing whether a certain space is right for you as a couple. If there is concern there may be resentment if one is paying more than the other, choose another space that won’t put a strain on anyone’s bank account. If actually purchasing a home together, be sure to put both of your names on everything so that responsibility does not fall all on one or the other in the relationship just in case a break-up were to occur.
Because my boyfriend and I are only leasing an apartment, we found what would be easiest for us would be for him to pay the rent and I would cover the household bills. Over the last three years of living together, we have worked hard at really building a team setting.. If we need groceries and he is out and about, he will pick them up. We do, though, tend to go together so that we can split this cost 50/50. Our house is not just somewhere we sleep at night; it’s our home that we’ve built together, even if it is a lease.
Overall, it is all about maintaining that open communication and applying financial tips that make sense for you and your relationship.
Are you taking that big step with your partner? What challenges have you faced or overcome financially together?
Jenn Clark is a writer, PR specialist, entrepreneur, blogger and coffee enthusiast. A lover of laughter, traveling and cheese, she’s written about her life experiences here at suburbanfinance while at the same time growing other young professionals. You can find more of her work at Jennblogs.co.