So you’ve decided it’s time you two consider moving in together? That’s great! Take my blessing (if it even means anything) and may all the happiness and fun be with you and your loved one on your new adventure.
This is a big moment in both of your lives, and especially in your relationship.
With that being said, it’s obvious the last thing you’d want is for something to go wrong. Perhaps something as silly as finances – pft, stupid sexy finances.
There’s quite a bit to take into consideration when it comes to moving in with someone.
It’s no longer just about you.
Moving in with only your needs & wants in mind will be the first mistake you make before you even get the chance to move in with your partner.
That’s not to say that it’s all about the other person, either. It’s about balance; the level where both of you can agree on something and that’s that.
What are some things to consider you ask?
Without further a-ramble (my new word), let’s start with:
1. Discuss Your Finances
Arguably the most important step; the first thing you’re going to want to consider is that you’ll have to take down that privacy wall that’s guarding your financial status.
You’ll have to be open about how much of an income you make, how much debt you owe, and just how much of that income is accessible.
It’s not fair to the other individual if you fail to tell them the mountain of debt you’ve racked up for which you’re going to bring them into.
It also wouldn’t be fair to yourself if you were both open about your income amounts, but they make you pay more than you can afford because you failed to mention the debt you have to pay back.
Which nicely brings us to our next point…
2. Pay For What You Can Afford
It’s important to understand that you can, and must, only pay for what you yourself can afford to pay.
It’s like saying you should never eat more than you can handle; never bite off more than you can chew. You get it.
If your partner has a bigger income, that shouldn’t mean you need to get the bigger apartment. This is really important not only for your financial life but for your stress levels as well.
Let’s be honest, hanging out at home with your sessy lover all the time because money’s tight is no fun – I don’t care how much you say you love each other.
Even if you live in a pretty-fancy-overpriced-downtown apartment, being stuck indoors will get you pulling your hair out.
However, on the opposite, paying for what you can afford doesn’t mean writing out a budget, figuring out what’s left after all the bills and expenses, and dishing the remainder out to rent.
Remember to always have at least 10% of your income saved throughout this period of your life as well.
When it comes to the amount of rent, the rule of thumb for budget allocation is to start at 30% of your annual income and work in some expenses from there.
You can divide your annual income by 40 to get this number easily.
So broken down for math nerds:
57,000 / 40 = 1,425
(income) / 40 = (rent)
3. Split The Income Fairly; Not Down The Middle.
I really don’t mean down the middle when I say split fairly – that’s the subtitle (lol).
I’m actually referring to a percentage that both love-participants can afford.
You would start by adding both income amounts together to come out with a total household income. You’d then determine how much of a percentage of the total income is yours, and how much is theirs.
Once you know the percentage value of the total household income, assign each percentage amount as the amount each of you will contribute to the household expenses.
If you make 60% of the household income, you pay 60% of the rent and they pay the remaining amount. It might also be wise to split the initial deposit (first & last) the same way.
Another break down for the math nerds:
57,000 / 110,000 x 100 = 52% (51.81 if you want to be a stickler)
(income) / (household income) x 100 = (percentage you pay)
Got it? Awesome. Moving on.
4. Their Needs vs Yours Needs
You might like cable tv, while they might just hate it.
They love having a home phone, but you might see it pointless (so do I).
They love to watch the Food Network as they cook, or while stalking their friends on Instagram. But you enjoy the convenience and affordability of Netflix and don’t want cable service.
In this situation, there is no common ground. You either have cable, or you don’t. You either have Netflix, or stick to tv schedules.
This is where things get even trickier.
If you had an issue with the rent, just wait until you have this conversation.
Of course, some couples are either very alike, or super good at comprising with one another – good for Y’all.
For others, just talk things out, and remind each other of which option might just be more financially beneficial.
5. Plan For The Future
Lastly, it’s wise to always remember to have a plan for the future you’ll share together.
If you don’t see a future with the person you’re planning on moving in with, it’s best you avoid moving in altogether. This could save you a ton of money and headaches in the long run.
If you still think it’s a good idea to do so, then having a future plan together is your best bet.
It doesn’t have to be a plan you take to your grave, but at least it’ll serve as a set of boundaries to prevent from straying away from financial goals.
In this plan I speak of, be sure to consider moving away from renting if you ever want to hold your own property.
For some, owning property might not ever be in the picture.
They may want to travel for the rest of their lives, or maybe they found balance when renting their home and managing finances.
The key is to just have a plan, and since you’re thinking about moving in with your partner, the plan should be made by the both of you.
Here are a few pointers to start with when you sit down to talk with each other about this plan:
- How long do you see yourselves renting for?
- Do you want to buy a house or condo?
- How much can the both of you save after expenses (above 10% allocation)?
- Is marriage in the future plan? If so, when’s the wedding and how much are planned costs?
- No-name branch chips, or Ms. Vickie’s chips? (Original Ms. Vickies, obviously)
After speaking with my wonderful girlfriend about the above topics, we began to dive into other financial topics that typically arise while in conversation.
I’ll remind you once again; the plan you set out now doesn’t have to be written in stone. Nobody can predict the future.
Moving in together can be an extremely fun and rewarding experiencing. And if done right, it doesn’t need to break the bank for either you or your partner.
The power of two is always greater than one.
I wish y’all the both of luck – again if that means anything.
P.S. Buy from Ikea. It looks appealing in your space, and it’s affordable… and it’s easy to build.