Are you moving in together with your partner? Or did you just start moving your wardrobe items one by one, and by the time you realized you were living together?
Whatever the case, have you had the money talk yet? Relationships are all bliss until finances are in the picture. Many couples have had disagreements and breakups because of money, especially when there were no boundaries. Others go behind their partner’s backs to purchase investments.
If you want to avoid awkward accusations and disagreements about money, have the below money talks with your partner before you start packing your boxes and calling movers:
Talk About The Current Financial Situations
The first conversation you want to have with your significant other is their current financial situation.
For starters, how much do they bring in every month? How many revenue streams do they have? You want to have a rough estimate of how much you are both bringing in every month. Knowing how many revenue streams you both have also helps you have a backup plan when the primary source of income is interrupted.
Then, move on to issues like how much debt they have? Is it student loans, credit cards, personal loans, or loans from digital lenders?
Other financial situations to consider are:
- How much do they have in their emergency fund?
- Do they have savings accounts for other goals?
- Are they saving for retirement?
- What investments do they have?
Okay, I can see some of you rolling your eyes to the back of your heads and asking, why should I tell them about my finances? Others have reservations and say that their investments are theirs to know and all that shenanigan.
But, if you want your assets to go to your significant other and other beneficiaries, tell them what they are. Otherwise, if anything happens to you, your secret accounts and investments will end up in the hands of the government courtesy of the UFAA (Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority). While your partner can follow up with the organization, imagine how hectic that would be when they should be honoring your memory?
Talk About Splitting of Bills
Have you seen instances where someone offers to take care of a single bill for whatever reason, and it becomes their burden to bear, even when the other partner can clearly afford it? As a result, resentment and all sorts of feelings start to crop in.
To avoid all these shenanigans, have a conversation on handling bills in the house. First, calculate how much your monthly bills will be. Include items like rent or mortgage payments, grocery shopping, and entertainment. Then, based on your income, decide who will cater for what. Or how much you are each contributing.
For instance, some couples decide to split the bill 50/50. While this is a good start, it is not the best solution for individuals with varying incomes. For example, if someone brings in $2000 per month and the other partner earns $1000, it’s not fair to ask the partner making a lower income to share bills 50/50.
So, get a sharing percentage that is fair to both of you. First, you can divide each partner’s income with the total of your combined income. Then, get the percentage contribution of each partner. In our example above, your combined income is $3000. So, if you are making more, it means you are bringing in 66.666% (2000/3000*100%). Your partner can then contribute the remaining percentage, 33.333%.
What Are Their Spending Habits
Apart from understanding your partner’s current financial status, you also want to know their habits around money. For example, you might be frugal with your finances where you save and invest as much as possible. On the other hand, your partner could be a spender or someone who thinks their net worth shows their self-worth.
So, answer the below:
The answers to these above will help you understand your partner’s spending habits. You will also have an easier time understanding their behavior around money. Finally, you can both work on the next point in a way that keeps you both financially stable and happy.
Have a Talk About Your Financial Goals
You have your individual financial goals, right? Now that you are working together, it is only fair to be on the same page. Talking about your financial goals is the only way to do that. Have you seen how some couples work together and build empires?
So, what are your combined financial goals? Do you want to stop paying rent and buy or build a home? How much should you put aside monthly for a mortgage downpayment or for purchasing land? What’s your timeline for building the house? Do you want kids? If you already have a kid/s, how much should you put aside for their education and welfare?
I feel like I should mention that just because you are talking about your combined financial goals, you shouldn’t forget about your individual goals. For example, maybe one of you wants to go back to school and needs to put aside a certain amount every month for their tuition. Perhaps you have other loved ones you are helping out. Let your partner know in advance.
Talk About Banking
Will you keep your funds separately, jointly, have a compromise? For example, some couples agree to operate separate bank accounts, and everyone pays their portion of their bill from their bank account. Others prefer to have a joint account to deposit all the funds when money comes in.
But, you can have a joint account for house expenses and shared financial goals and separate bank accounts for individual expenses and objectives. This allows you to have a central account for the house where everyone puts their contribution at the end of the month. Then, you can meet your individual financial goals with whatever you have in your personal accounts.
Have It All In Writing
Away from the hilarious Sheldon’s and Amy’s relationship agreement, I think it should be a standard requirement where you are moving in with someone without a marriage certificate. It ensures that no one’s wallet is left vulnerable.
Whenever there is a misunderstanding or disagreement around money, you can always refer to the agreement. Plus, the agreement shows some seriousness and commitment in the relationship.
Your agreement should have details of issues like:
- When the bills are due
- Each partner’s financial contribution
- Who pays what bill
- Other financial goals
- Any other relevant information regarding the relationship
While an agreement offers some protection, keeping the relevant purchase documents is also important. For instance, if you buy a piece of land together, have receipts or bank transfer documents showing how much everyone contributed. When things go south, these documents act as proof of each of your individual contributions.
You can get a file and save all the physical documents here. Alternatively, you can take pictures or scan all these receipts and save them on cloud.
The Exit Plan
No one wants to move in together with their partner and be thinking of a breakup. The goal is usually to take it a step further. But, things happen and breakups come up. So, awkward as it may be to talk about a split, it is best to have an exit plan in place.
For instance, who gets to move out of the apartment or house when it happens? Who keeps particular the house furniture and appliances? Who gets the security deposit for the house?