Creating financial harmony with a live-in partner

My boyfriend and I have been living together for just over a year. I pay him “rent” – $400, but also buy a fair share of the groceries (probably more than my fair share) and various activities we do. We don’t necessarily keep track of everything 50/50, as we don’t want to be focused on nickel and diming each other every time someone covers an expense. However, we are planning our future together and things will likely soon be combined. He has some debts (cc, house, etc.) and I have some debt (only cc). I’d like guidance on how we can sit down and review our financial lives and determine what to focus on first (i.e. list all debts, list all financial goals like family trips, future home, education for his kid, etc.).

Do you have advice for new couples on how to discuss finances, debts, and financial goals? Thank you!

Thank you for your question. This is a sticky area for most couples, discussing finances and being open and honest about financial goals and debts. This has to be done, however, so that you two can be on the same page and use your money wisely.

How about setting up a Money Sunday? Sunday for me is a day when I organize, clean, and set myself up for the week. What about taking this day to sit down and talk about your financial goals. It can include managing debt and how to pay off debt, taking care of household expenses, and even savings goals.

While I understand that you don’t want to nickel and dime each other, it is important to be aware of what each of you is spending. One person in the relationship should not always be covering for the other or spending the most money. And definitely before getting married, you both should have a full understanding of all debts – so any situation you’re getting into you are fully aware of.

Don’t dread Money Sunday, maybe open up a bottle of wine and go over the bills that came in that week, discuss what you both would like to see going forward: a joint account, setting up an emergency fund, the plan for paying down any debt, and future goals (such as trips or future education needs).

Doing this each week will hold you both accountable and catch any issues before they mushroom out of control.

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