5 Things To Know Before You Move In Together
So it’s time to take the next big step in your relationship; You and your significant other have decided to move in together. It’s an exciting new phase in your life but without proper planning, it could end up in heartbreak and financial disaster. Before you jump in head first, here are five things to consider:
1. Discuss the reasons for moving in together.
Just because something makes financial sense doesn’t mean it is the right decision. While breaking up with a non-spouse is not as legally complicated as divorce, it can be emotionally gut-wrenching and financially detrimental. Don’t make the decision lightly. Wherever you land in your decision to move forward, you can feel much more comfortable knowing you are all in if you think of the “why” for doing it beforehand.
2. Talk finances.
It may be unpleasant to learn your significant other has a bankruptcy on their record, but you’ll be glad you knew about it before the move. Talk about each of your current financial situations: credit scores, outstanding debts, incomes, expenses, and how much you each can afford going into the new housing situation. What percentage of income should housing be? Use this checklist for your money talk.
3. Determine how you'll split household expenses.
Think about who should be responsible for what household bills. Create a spreadsheet of all the possible expenses you expect to have, such as utilities, groceries, and pet care. Then divvy them out among each other, notating what percentages you each will pay for different categories if you plan to share the load. One idea is to use the “his, hers and ours” method of cash management. Open a joint account and each contributes a percentage of the household budget based on your separate incomes.
4. Divvy up household chores.
Who takes out the trash? Who cleans the toilets? Who mops the floors? These questions usually work themselves out over time, but not without some heated discussions along the way! Make the process easier on both of you by discussing chores you each like to handle. Maybe you hate doing dishes but don't mind vacuuming. Perhaps your other half likes to mow the lawn but can’t stand cleaning bathrooms. Create a loose inventory of the things you each may take ownership of to run the household but be sure it’s not a strict regimen that takes the fun out of the responsibility.
5. Prepare for the good, the bad, and the ugly.
There are always pros and cons to moving in with someone. On the upside, you may find it extremely convenient to have your SO around all the time. On the downside, they may snore like a bear and leave toothpaste all over the sink. Sometimes, there are things you won’t know until you actually make the move. But if you think about what could be and fully understand the good, the bad, and the ugly beforehand you’ll be mentally prepared to compromise. At the end of the day, all relationships require compromise.
Consider all of the above as guidelines to help you make smart decisions about your move. Once you’ve officially decided to make the move, enjoy your decision and the process, knowing you’ve covered all your bases with a well-thought-out plan.