If you’re thinking about moving in with your significant other, there are many important things to discuss. Beyond deciding where to live and divvying up the chores, though, you will need to sit down and talk about money.
Discussing finances with your partner can be uncomfortable, especially if you’re not even sharing a bank account yet. However, failing to be candid about your financial situation, goals, and priorities can not only lead to conflict down the line… but it could also land you in hot water of your own.
Here are six money conversations you should definitely have with your partner before you ever move in together.
Whose Name Goes on Everything?
First, you’ll need to decide whether the lease will go in one of your names or both. This not only establishes who is legally responsible for the lease but also determines who moves out in the case of a break-up. It’s important to plan for the worst, even if you think it will never happen.
It’s also important to decide whose name will be used to establish utilities. Deposits are often required for things like gas and water, and when you move out, the person on the account will be responsible for any final balance.
What is Your Financial Situation?
If you’ve been dating someone for a while, you may already know where they stand with money. You should still talk about your financial situations, though, especially before you cohabitate.
Talk about your budgets, income, and how much wiggle room you each have every month. If one of you were to lose their job, make less than expected or your electric bill doubles in the summer, would either of you have trouble covering the difference? It’s important to know that between you, you can handle unexpected situations.
Who is Paying the Bills?
Every couple has their own way of dividing up expenses. You may split everything down the middle 50-50, divide it up according to incomes, or one of you may even cover it all. This needs to be determined before you even move in together.
After you decide on the financial aspect of your rent and utilities, be sure to determine who will be in charge of tracking and physically paying those bills.
Who is Furnishing This Place?
Furnishing and decorating a new place can be pricey. If you both already have places of your own, you probably have plenty to choose from. Now, you just need to decide who is bringing what to the new place.
You don’t need to have everything perfect on day one, but be sure to at least have your first apartment essentials (or house essentials) ready to go when you move in. This might even be a good time to discuss opening a joint account, to pay for everything the house needs.
Do We Need a Joint Account?
For many couples, a joint account can be a great idea. Each of you puts in enough money each month to cover utilities, rent, groceries, and other household expenses, and both can access the funds.
This fund doesn’t need to be your primary account. It can be easier than keeping track of who owes what each week and asking for cash, though.
What Are Our Future Plans?
If you’re moving in together, it’s probably because your relationship is on the long-term track. This means that it’s a great time to talk about the future.
Talk about how long you’d like to rent and whether you want to buy a home shortly. Are you both saving for down payments? Where and when would you like to buy? If one of you wants to rent a condo in the city forever and the other is saving for a white picket fence in the country, now is the time to talk.
Getting a new place with your partner is exciting. By having “the talk” beforehand, though, you’ll ensure that everyone is on the same page. After all, personal finance is all about planning for the future — and moving in together is the perfect time to start that planning.
Ready to take the plunge? Check out our moving checklist to make sure you’re prepped and ready to go!
Related Article: Couples Finance- A Complete Guide to the Rest of Your Life