April 4, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Marriage | No comment
For any couple, moving in together is a big but very natural step of the relationship. It means spending more time together, more privacy and a space of their own. The thought of living with the person one loves is exhilarating but is always tempered by challenges, that can be avoided or dealt with before they rock the relationship.
Of all the issues that may arise in the course of a life together, none causes more strife than money. Despite finances being an integral part of living together, this topic is hardly ever discussed by couples when moving in together. Understandably, it is an awkward and uncomfortable conversation and there is nothing less romantic, but in order to ensure that life together runs smoothly, it is a necessary discomfort. The following are some of the things you must discuss before moving in together.
Once a couple moves in together, it rarely occurs to them that their previous lives and the decisions they made can have an impact on their new life together. Moving in together makes financial boundaries vague and debt suddenly effects both parties regardless of whose name is attached to it.
In an open discussion about money, debt on either or both sides should be discussed in detail so a to prevent it from becoming a burden and also to chart out a concise financial plan to pay it off so that it does not make future plans difficult or impossible which would only lead to resentment and infighting.
Half a century ago, there would have been no need for this discussion as it was the man’s obligation to provide for the home. This was well understood and the demographics at the time demanded, if not allowed it. Today things are radically different with both men and women carrying their own weight financially which means living expenses will likely be catered for by both parties.
Every couple must, however, build their own financial plan depending on factors like how much each makes. Some may find that combining all expenses and splitting the cost down the middle works while some may decide to assign specific bills to one party such as rent and electricity while the rest are the responsibility of the other. Either way, a plan cannot be put in place without a thorough discussion on finances.
Individual Spending Habits
Consider a couple living together and sharing a joint account or a credit card. It would not be unusual for either of them to spend money in a manner that the other would not approve of. The woman might spend what the man considers too much money on accessories such as handbags and shoes while he on the other hand might spend what she considers an obscene amount of money on sports gear. When there isn’t enough money for all of this, each party will expect that the other will spend less while they likely continue to fund their hobbies and personal interests. This will inevitably cause a rift and even power struggles which can only be avoided if a couple living together discuss finances specifically shared resources.
It is important that limits are set, if the money is shared, while some may prefer to keep separate some of their money for individual spending. Regardless, for the relationship and the life together to survive any quarrels over money, a couple must be willing to have an open and exhaustive talk about money.