As the cost of living bites deeper into people’s disposable income, younger people are entering “inflationships” in an attempt to save money and pay off debt quicker, at least that’s what they think they’re doing.
Many couples today are facing soaring rents, higher utility costs, and even higher grocery bills. Instead of holding out until marriage, or a few years into their relationship, younger people are considering moving in with their partner to potentially cut their monthly bills.
In a bizarre change of events, some people are wanting a partner to make life more affordable for themselves, something that was for many years perhaps unheard of.
While people are looking to shack up with a potential partner to split their monthly costs, those in more serious relationships have also been considering the same route, as living with a partner does tend to be more affordable than doing it by yourself.
According to a poll%20or%20rented%20(37%25).) of 3,009 consumers, around 63% of respondents said that the decision to move in with their romantic partner was impacted by financial or logistical factors. Among Gen Zs and Millennials, 80% and 76%, respectively, said that money or logistics were among the deciding factors that led them to move in with a partner.
From housing to utilities, and saving for retirement, many more couples are reconsidering their position of living apart, as the current economic climate calls for them to tighten their purse strings and rush significant life milestones.
Taking the step to move in with someone, especially a romantic partner, is perhaps one of the biggest milestones in many people’s lives and relationships. However, romance and finance don’t mix very well, especially among couples that have never lived together before, or have cohabited for extended periods.
The resulting factor often leads to grievances among one another, or even, separation. It would be a pity having to sell all of your belongings, and give up your apartment to move in with your partner, only to call it quits several months or weeks later.
Hence, setting financial boundaries with your partner, before moving in with them, allows both of you to clearly understand how each works with their money, and how you can potentially split costs that can benefit each party.
Just as one might set financial boundaries with one’s own money, being intentional about how you work, talk, and spend money, when it comes to a partner, ensures that both partners have a firm understanding of how they can have a healthy and functioning financial relationship with one another.
As a couple, moving in together should bring you closer to one another, and oftentimes finances or other grievances can drive a wedge between you and your partner.
Discussing finances with a partner is never an easy conversation to have. Nonetheless, if the idea is to split costs, save a bit of extra cash each month, and have better control over your finances, then it’s important to set up some boundaries well before you start living together.
To get the ball rolling, start discussing potential financial goals you might have, as an individual, and what you are doing to achieve these goals.
Every person’s financial goals look different. You might be wanting to pay off student debt, while your partner is saving for a downpayment on a house. Take the time to discuss how your individual goals can potentially overlap, and how you can combine your efforts to achieve these goals faster.
Once you have established individual financial goals, it’s time to start talking about what your combined goal should be. Whether it’s to save for retirement, perhaps buy a home together, or even travel abroad, set a financial goal that both of you can equally contribute to.
Having a clear picture of what your partner’s goals might be, and more so, that as a couple, makes it easier to further start discussing other financial possibilities. Something else to consider is that if you’re honest about your money habits, both parties can support one another achieve these goals and stay on track with their milestones.
Start compiling a monthly budget for your individual expenses as an individual before attempting to move in with your partner. Your budget should include all your current expenses, including rent, utilities, groceries, and any other things you might be paying for each month.
Now, going forward, remove those items that you might be able to split with your partner i.e. rent, utilities, internet, and groceries. From this, you can start looking at what the best method might be to divide these costs as equally as possible.
You might think that if one person pays the rent, and the other picks up the grocery and internet bill you’ll be even, but unfortunately, someone will always have the shorter end of the stick.
See what you both can afford and how this can work with your individual budget. For example, perhaps splitting the rent equally could help both of you save an extra few bucks per month, while one person picks up the tab for utilities, and the other gets the groceries.
You could even decide on a monthly budget for things like groceries, and how much both can contribute to the pool.
Keep in mind that this is one example and that different methods exist that you can consider. Nonetheless, it’s important to clearly communicate how much you can contribute, what works for your individual budget, or even, whether this will help you stay on track with your financial goals.
Just as with setting up your individual and combined budget, it’s important to have contribution limits for different things. There might be instances where one partner makes more money than the other, and this can often create friction in your relationships.
Setting up a contribution limit ensures that you both have a clear and concise understanding of how much the other person can contribute towards monthly expenses such as food, utilities, and internet.
It’s important to set limits on how much you can contribute, even if your portion might be significantly less than your partner’s, however, making it clear to your partner how much you can spend each month on different things can help balance your budget and theirs.
If you do end up running into problems, see how you can find a workable solution that suits both. Never leave financial conversations up in the air if you’re uncertain about something, or have questions. The best mechanism that ensures both parties are on the same page boils down to effective communication.
While you might be cohabitating and sharing the finances, remember to keep your individual bank accounts. Oftentimes couples tend to merge their accounts, and while this helps them to keep better track of their overall finances, it can cause bigger problems in the future.
When sharing an account, it can often be harder to keep track of all your individual expenses. Not only this, but it creates the sense that someone is constantly monitoring your every purchase or how you are working with your money.
Not only this, but you might be limited, in a personal capacity as well. Often having one person in charge of a combined bank account could make it harder for the other one to make purchases, take on new forms of debt, or even open new subscriptions in their name.
If you know that you can trust one another, and have a firm understanding of how your financial situation works, keeping separate accounts is typically the better option for both partners.
As part of the process of setting financial boundaries with your partner, or your newly cohabitant, it’s important to also have a plan of action ready in the event that one person decides to move out, loses their job, or even in the event of separation.
While you may not be thinking about these things right now, it can become a reality in the near future.
What happens to your combined savings? Do you divide it equally? But what if one person contributed more than the other, or had a bigger portion of their money already invested? What then?
Make the time to properly discuss how you will divide expenses in the event of separation, or even if your partner becomes unemployed. How much ownership do you have of the apartment, or what will you do with the things you bought together?
For every combined purchase, consider how things will be equally divided among yourselves if you decide to call it quits. Don’t just do it with the things you bought when you moved in, this applies to everything you bought during your time together as well.
Keep track of these purchases, but also think of workable solutions that will benefit both you and your partner, but also ensure that you have a safety net in place for any unforeseen circumstances.
Having financial boundaries with your partner, especially if you’re looking to move in together before marriage, ensures that you can devise a plan that combines your finances in a way that can benefit both sides of the partnership.
There will be instances where it’s not possible to split costs equally, but this is where you need to think of workable solutions that can see both partners contribute what’s within their budget.
Ultimately, the goal of having financial boundaries ensures that you remain financially independent, in case the relationship comes to an end. More so, it helps to plan for the future and protect both partners if any financial grievances or mishaps might arrive that you haven’t planned for.
As you begin to consider the possibility of moving in with your partner, be sure to communicate your intentions. Whether it is to save money, cut on your expenses, or even grow closer with the person, being honest and truthful from the start will help set the foundation of your cohabiting relationship.
Moving in with your partner is a big decision, and requires enough time to consider all the factors that might influence your relationship, one of them being finances. It’s not easy to talk about money and finances to your partner, but the sooner you can get that out of the way, the better.
Have a clear understanding of each other’s financial goals, but more so, ensure you have a contingency plan if the relationship does come to an end. It’s better to plan for the unseen, than having to deal with the challenges when your hands are tied behind your back.