Moving in with your partner is always a big step that can involve some difficult conversations. If you’re gearing up to find a home with your significant other, it’s important to address money management, as living together means sharing more financial responsibilities.
If you’re not sure where to start the money conversation, we’ve got you covered. Here are four key financial topics to discuss before moving in with a partner, according to Psychology Today.
Address how you’ll organize your money
There’s no right or wrong way to decide who will pay for what when you live together, but there are a few models that can make that conversation a little bit easier. In fact, there are reportedly four models that you can follow to organize your spending together.
The first option – which likely would work best for couples who have had a longer-term relationship rooted in trust – would be to pool all of your money together and share it.
If intertwining your financials that deeply puts you on edge, there are still ways to have joint funds while ensuring you keep some cash for yourself. That option entails creating a joint account for joint expenses, but keeping individual accounts for your own spending – that way you can work as a team while maintaining financial independence.
The final two options are to choose to live like roommates by dividing bills and expenses or to have one person assume most, if not all, financial responsibility. The latter situation often takes place when one partner is a student, has medical issues or is a stay-at-home parent.
Ultimately, what matters most when you’re figuring out how you’ll organize your money is that you and your partner are honest during the conversation and land on an option that you both agree is fair.
Create a budget together
No matter how you organize your money, one way you can encourage an open dialogue around finances is by creating a household budget together for any shared expenses. First, separate out any personal expenses that each partner would be independently responsible for. Then, build out a realistic monthly budget.
If you want to take it one step further, you can hire a financial planner or even take a personal finance course.
Related: 10 budgeting best practices in 2022.
Establish clear financial boundaries
It’s also key to be on the same page about where you both stand financially. Having conversations around your financial beliefs, needs and expectations will make it easier to establish clear boundaries when it comes to spending. By discussing how much of a saver (or spender) you are, you can meet each other halfway to create healthy financial boundaries in your relationship.
Part of this involves creating an emergency plan. Based on where you’re both at financially – whether you’re living paycheck to paycheck or have some savings stored up – if one of you loses your job or can’t pay rent, what would you do?
Be open about your financial behaviours
Before moving in together, you should be open about “any financial problems due to compulsive spending, gambling, substance use or addiction, or underlying mental health issues,” Psychology Today outlines.
“Additionally, explore if there are any psychologically unhealthy finance-related behaviours in the relationship, such as overly taking financial responsibility for another in a way that enables them to abuse substances or underfunction. There is a powerful connection between our mental health and financial health.”
Once you air out any concerns you may have, you can address them by seeking individual or couples therapy to ensure you’re both getting the support you need.
While these conversations may be difficult to have right now, they’ll help set you up for success as you make the transition into your new home together.
You may also like: 10 signs that moving to a new city might benefit your mental health.