This article originally appeared on Radical FIRE and has been republished here with permission.
When you’re planning on moving in with your partner, there are important money conversations you need to have before moving in with your partner.
I’m planning to move in with my partner after we complete our four-month mini-retirement, where we travel to Central America together. I assume that after we’ve spent so much time together abroad, we should be fine with moving in together. Just one thing that should be discussed is our finances.
Moving in with someone requires some financial logistics to be arranged. You need to discuss who is paying which bills, who is responsible for what, and more.
You know I love having money conversations, with my friends or with my family. I love to talk about money, that’s why I write on the blog. When no one wants to hear me talk about money for the gazillionth time, I’m just writing a blog post about my money thoughts.
Now onto the money conversations that you need to have before moving in with your partner. I’ve had all these conversations over the past weekend just to know we’re on the same page. I recommend you also have them when you’re planning to move in with your partner!
Money Conversation #1: Do We Share Our Stuff?
I mean, is everything that was once mine now ours? Is everything that was once yours now ours? It’s about the tangible things that are in the house, not including money. This is something to think about before moving in together.
If you have things that your partner also has, should you bring it? Or can you use one and get rid of the other one? If there are things that you don’t have yet but you know you need? Will you buy it together or will one of you buy it?
In relation to that, we get to the next point.
Money Conversation #2: What Will We Do If … ?
You don’t go living together with your partner unless things are serious between you. You need to consider the possibility of the relationship ending sometime very far in the future (OMG!). Breakups and divorces are a possibility that needs to be considered.
If you’re sharing things, what will happen after you stop being together? This is important for things like furniture and electronics, following the previous point. Will you share everything together, yes or no?
Related read: 10 Ways Divorce can Affect your Credit
Money Conversation #3: Is The Money Going to Be Ours, Too?
It’s important to think about if you’re going to join finances or not. It’s a very personal thing to think about and it will differ for everyone depending on their situation. If your partner makes a lot less, you can decide to pay more towards the fixed monthly payments. Or vice versa.
Just keep in mind that you should do something that makes you comfortable!
For me and my partner, we will not join finances. We’re having separate financial goals at the moment. I’m working towards my goal of financial independence and keeping a savings rate of over 80% consistently until we go on our travels. Meaning we’re not on the same page concerning money goals.
That’s okay for now. He will look for a job after we return and we will decide how we will go from there.
For our expenses, we will be splitting everything equally. I currently make more than my partner. The rent will be low enough for him to comfortably be covering half. If in any given month he cannot pay his portion of the rent or there are any other difficulties that won’t allow him to pay half of the rent, I will of course help him.
Related read: How Renting Can Impact Your Credit
Money Conversation #4: How Will You Deal with Changes?
What if I lose my job? Or my partner can’t find a job after graduation? What if we need to move for work or someone can get a promotion abroad? All scenarios can happen. It’s extremely difficult to think about what you want to do when you’re not yet in the situation. It’s a good thing to discuss these matters a little in advance.
If you don’t know now how you will deal with these kinds of changes, think about how you’re both dealing with changes until now? When you’re both quite relaxed under changes, it’s unlikely that those changes will put stress on your relationship. If you’re both sensitive to changes, it might lead to stressful situations and it might be good to address those things at this moment.
Money Conversation #5: What Do You Value Spending Your Money On?
Before you’re moving in with your partner, it’s important to talk about what you value spending money on? It can significantly differ among people. One person loves to go on big holidays, the other likes to drive their dream car, wants to have a big space to live in, or likes to have the latest tech gadgets. It’s good to know what they value.
Before you’re moving in together, it’s important to understand what they value and what is important to them. The habits they have around the things they value may have an impact on your joint life together.
My partner loves playing games and spends a great deal of time playing games both online and offline. He used to spend a good amount of money on getting new games, getting new consoles, or updating his computer. Currently, he doesn’t spend too much money on those types of things, but it’s still something to keep in mind when you’re going to live together.
I used to buy a lot of clothes, but since getting on my clothing ban I haven’t bought any clothes. On the contrary, I’ve sold a lot of stuff around the house when I decided decluttering was the way I wanted to go. I won’t say I’m exactly a minimalist, but I’ve gotten rid of certain habits and I’m starting with a clean slate when I’m moving in with my partner.
When we’ve talked about this point, he also asked me to give away/throw out all of the stuff I don’t use anymore. That way, we can start fresh when we’re moving in together, instead of just moving all my stuff simply from one place to another.
It’s good to know what are the things that you might want to spend more money on, that you want to treat yourself on. For me and my partner that’s both the same thing: traveling. It’s important to know when money gets saved towards that goal and how much money will go towards that specific goal.
Money Conversation #6: Where Do You Want to Go?
It’s important to discuss where you want to go in life? I would like to know how temporary our living situation will be. Are you or your partner already planning for a different job, relocation, or promotion? Do you want to have a family? Do you want to live in your city apartment with one bedroom, or do you want a big house in the countryside with a huge garden and two dogs?
You can address many questions in order to address where you both want to go.
When we started dating, I told him I would go to the USA for five months shortly after. I am a dreamer, I love to think about what I want to do in my life and imagine where my life might be going. I already have some of my dreams about starting my own business, traveling, working abroad, and financial independence / early retirement. When I noticed our goals are compatible, even a few years down the line, that gives a huge boost to your relationship up until that point.
Relationships require a serious amount of honesty, openness, and communication. You’re a team that will figure everything out that will be thrown at you, you’re in this together.