Living Together=Spending Together?

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

My always-single girlfriend surprised me the other day at lunch, by informing me that she is moving in with her boyfriend. As this is a first for her, she had a million questions. Should she keep her apartment in case things don’t work out? Who decides whose stuff goes where? And then, an unbelievably important yet rarely asked one: what about money?

She was unsure if she should even bring the topic of money up. Money is still certainly a taboo topic but one of the most important to address if you want your relationship to be successful in the long run.

True, moving in with your partner is less of a financial commitment than walking down the aisle. But there are still tons of things that can make the relationship turn sour if left unattended. Here are my key pieces of advice.

  1. Communicate. Set an evening aside especially to talk about money, and take lots of notes. True, it’s about as much of a turn-on as cleaning the bathroom, but believe me, it will make all the difference in keeping the romance intact later.
  2. Share a bed, not a credit card. Work out who pays for what, in writing, then keep the rest separate. Have your own bank accounts, credit cards, investments, etc.
  3. Track major purchases. The fact that your partner lives with you does not make him your spouse, so there is no merger and protection of assets. Keep notes — and receipts — whenever you buy something expensive.

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