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4 Things to Discuss Before Moving in Together

Dec 12, 2019 3 min read Michael DiChiara

Key Takeaways

  • Be open about your finances — even if they aren’t so great.
  • Determine a budget based on both of your incomes.
  • Talk about your personal and financial goals.

 

 

Congrats! You and your partner have decided to take the next big step and share a home. But before you start packing, ask yourself a few questions: Should we go for an apartment or a condo (or house)? Whose furniture do we take? Will we want a certain color scheme?

While these are all significant, don’t move forward until you’ve answered some other, more important questions — about your finances. For instance, is either of you in debt? Can you each afford to pay your share of the monthly rent or mortgage? Do you have similar financial goals?

It’s often said that you don’t truly know someone until you live with them. Even so, there are some things you should know about each other prior to moving in together. Here are four financial conversations to have before you break out the bubble wrap.

 

1. Talk about money — openly

If you’ll be sharing a home, you’ll need to be willing to share much more. So, before you begin sifting through real estate ads, sit down and talk about your finances — even if it makes you uncomfortable. Disclose (or find out!) your credit scores, any debts you have, and how much pay you take home each month. Also discuss how much you have in savings and whether you have an emergency fund, just in case.

If these or similar issues don’t come up until after you’ve moved in, it could put a strain on the relationship. And that could leave one of you paying for the place on your own.

 

2. Decide on a budget

One of the first things to discuss before moving in is how much rent or mortgage you can reasonably afford. Figure out what you’re both comfortable paying each month, and make sure you can find a place in that price range. Even so, don’t forget other expenses, such as utilities, entertainment, streaming services and amenities. If you can, try to stay under budget. That way you’ll have more money on the side that you can either put away or use for other necessities.

 

3. Figure out how to split expenses

You and your partner will likely divide your rent or mortgage evenly — but what about bills and other costs? Add up your combined monthly income and see if you can split everything down the middle. (If one of you earns a lot more than the other, it makes sense for the bigger earner to pay a bigger share of the bills. That way you’ll both contribute what you can.)

Another bill-paying strategy is to assign specific expenses to each of you. For example, you can do this based on who can more easily cover each bill, or who would probably use a service like cable TV more often.

 

4. Discuss the future

The future is an important topic in any relationship — but it’s critical once you decide to live together. Before you even consider potential homes, be sure you and your partner both want the same things. Share your thoughts on marriage, children, careers and anything else that could affect your lifestyle. And make sure to include your financial goals in the equation.

If you find you’ll want different things down the road, you may want to reconsider your more immediate plans. If it comes down to that, you both may be best off removing the bandage sooner than later.

 

What you can do next

Communicate your personal and financial goals. If you and your partner aren’t on the same page before you cohabitate, you could be in for a rude awakening.

 

Michael DiChiara is an editorial manager at Prudential and a recent cohabitator.

 

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