Moving in with your partner is an exciting step forward in a relationship. It means sharing decorating styles—but it also means sharing finances. Here’s our advice for successfully creating a new financial household with your partner.
1. Know your partner’s finances
Of course you know your partner—that’s how you fell in love with them! But do you know their financial situation? Maybe your significant other has heavy student debt. Maybe your own credit score is still recovering from some bad decisions. Make sure you have a conversation about each other’s overall finances, even if it feels strange.
If one partner is carrying a lot of debt, you may want to structure your household to allow them to pay it off faster. And if that’s the case, you may not want to open any joint credit cards or loans—you would be equally responsible for any balances on those.
2. Make a fair split
Your first instinct may to be to split the bills 50/50, but that works best if both partners are making about the same amount. If not, the lower earner might end up stretched beyond their means, which can create stress and resentment in the relationship.
If one partner makes more than the other, think about splitting expenses based on that percentage. S if you make 20% more than your partner, you’d contribute 20% more to shared expenses. Or one partner could cover bigger purchases like vacations and household repairs and the other partner would take on more chores or meal prep.
Again, communication is the key to splitting costs happily. Have more than one conversation about what you each think is fair. When you reach a plan you agree on, make sure you check in after a few months to see if it’s working for both of you.
3. Discuss your account options
Every couple will have a different approach to shared finances. Some couples want to go all in and combine all their money. If that works for you, great! But a more moderate approach would be to open a new account together at your local credit union while maintaining your own individual accounts.
Having some savings just for yourself doesn’t mean you don’t believe in your relationship or that it won’t work out. Maintaining your own financial identity is smart, especially for women. An account in your own name lets you handle emergencies (or buy surprise gifts for your partner!).
There are many options when it comes to shared finances. To avoid feeling overwhelmed and stressed, lean on your credit union advisors to help guide you through these exciting new changes. Whatever you decide to do, keep the conversation with your partner open. Money issues are one of the biggest stresses in a relationship, so after you’ve moved in, keep checking in with honesty, openness, and love.