So you think you are ready to take the plunge with your life-time partner. However, most of the time, when couples decide to move in together, they make all sorts of assumptions about their partner’s wishes. We all know that moving in together is a big deal and when these issues are brought into open discussion, there is lesser room for disappointments and resentments later.
Moving in together: “What is Mine, Yours, and Ours?”
That isn’t to say that forgoing the “talk” will make or break your relationship. Your partner’s snoring or questionable taste in home decor probably won’t be the relationship deal breakers, their money habits can cost you more than a lifetime regret. That’s why it is essential to get on the same page with your partner about their finances habits and perceptions before co-signing a lease together.
1. What is the Ultimate Goal of Moving in Together?
This is something that most couples do not talk about. These goals can be saving on rent, enjoying each other’s company, planning to marry, or even make a permanent commitment later on.
As you take the first step of applying for a home loan, your financial profiles will make a big impact. Both of you should be as transparent as possible with each other about your savings, debts, and overall financial score. The more you know about your partner’s financial situation, the clearer picture you get as a future couple and what part you will each play in it.
You might also find that it makes more sense to wait another 12 months to buy the house after each of you get your credit score in shape, paying off all debts, and save money rather than jumping into a situation with a shaky foundation.
2. Who is Paying for What?
Ask questions such as, “Who is bringing what? What are we purchasing together? What is still needed?” is important before moving in together. If things are agreed to in advance, you can avoid common money arguments where most couples encounter.
Decide if both of you are going to set up a joint account for household expenses and who is responsible for what. It is important to know that being in a partnership means you will both meet in the middle of all issues so neither of you feels uncomfortable.
A chat about household’s pet expenses is also important. Who is responsible for the pet’s medical bill and daily pet food? Are your pet(s) allow to be on the couch, bed, kitchen counter, and so on?
There is no right or wrong answer to how you go about splitting the bill and household responsibilities. It doesn’t have to be perfect as well. For example, one can pay all the household bills such as gas and cable bills, water bills, electricity bills, and internet bills while the partner covers the rent. Both can split the bill on groceries shopping. This isn’t an exact science, but this could be an arrangement that works well for both parties.
Relationship experts also suggest that it is a great way to have a financial date and household duties conversations six months or so.
Start by outlining all your bills and other expenses as well as the due dates and who is responsible for paying what and when. If there are kids involved, you definitely want to have some sort of agreement in place as far as expectations around childcare.
3. Are Both Our Names on the Lease?
It may be uncomfortable to discuss this question since you’re acknowledging that both of you However, it is important to put this kind of question on the table so neither of you is blindsided or unsatisfied.
4. How are We Handling Grocery Shopping Expenses and Meal Planning?
Ask questions like, “Would you rather cook or wash the dishes? How often do you take out the garbage? When it is full? Who will cook the dishes? Who will do grocery shopping?
It is always good to put household chores down (bathroom, garbage, dishes, and kitchen) and figure out the rooms or areas that you’d each like to manage. As long as you are dividing the labor, you will probably feel fair and square doing it. It may also be helpful to have a wheel of chores or a schedule if you find one of you is doing more than the other.
Experts suggest to couples that they create a chore schedule with individual responsibilities listed down. However, this list is something that can be negotiated as you go.
5. What are Your Thoughts on Having Guests Over?
It is important to know if your partner is a morning or a night person. Chances are if you have dated for a while, you would have at least an idea of what your partner’s social style is and whether or not he or she is a morning or a night person.
It is good to establish a set of rules since both of you are officially moving in and sharing a space together. Perhaps one of you is spontaneous and the other likes to plan beforehand. In this case, you may establish a boundary in which you will give each other notice before anyone comes over. At the least, respect your partner’s privacy.
6. Keep the Conversation Going
Money talks can be difficult to bring up especially when you are a couple. However, it is important to get through the awkwardness and maintain an open dialogue about finances with your partner if you want to be together for long-term.
Schedule monthly or quarterly “Money Dates” and keep the conversations going.