Finances are never easy, even when you’re completely in the green. I don’t mean easy to manage, or easy to maintain; I mean easy to talk about. No one likes talking about their financial vulnerabilities ever.
However, when you’re half of a couple, it’s essential you have the finance conversation because no one wants to live with someone who doesn’t even know how much rent they pay.
If you’re going to live with someone in a romantic way (straight, gay, young, old: it’s all the same!) you need to de-romanticise at least one evening to get the big talk out of the way. You need to discuss everything, monthly in-goings, monthly outgoings: your rent; your mortgage; your bills; your gym membership; even things you’re embarrassed about like your subscription to Cosmo. Write it all done and formulate a plan!
Our advice here at LoanWire is a simple, argument-free, alternative to the “you pay this,” “I’ll pay that,” style that couples shouldn’t use.
The first step of this is to open a Joint Account. Now, many banks like to remind you how dangerous Joint Accounts are, investing all your money in one pot when you could easily break-up is a bad idea, and we agree with them. Yet that isn’t what we’re recommending that you do. Our recommendation is far simpler.
- Open a Joint Account
- Work out your joint monthly outgoings that include things like your rent, your bills, or your subscription to Virgin Media. Try and include the joint shopping bill too (groceries only!) It’s all about the things you share. Divide this amount by the amount you think is fair; generally it’s good advice to divide it in proportion to your incomes.
- Set up a standing order from each of your separate accounts to the Joint Account for the agreed amount.
- Move all of your household Direct Debits into the Joint Account.
All of your arguments about money have been shot in the foot before they could even get going. The best thing about this approach is that you will soon realise how easy it is to save up money together, when you’re both ensuring that the necessities get paid too.
Whilst this approach may not be for you, it’s definitely worth a try because it’s stable, accessible, and fair. If you’re dead-set against it, then I’m not going to try and change your mind. What I will say is this: always talk to your partner openly and honestly about money.