Think you're finally ready to shack up with your significant other? Just make sure to talk money before taking that big step. We know, how unromantic, but according to a recent survey by Rent.com, it's a conversation you need to have before you start packing.
The site surveyed 1,000 cohabitating renters on all things related to apartments, living together, and dealing with those dreaded bills. The number one thing cohabitating couples said they wish they had discussed before moving in together was how to divide the finances. In addition to that, 16 percent of people said that splitting the finances was the biggest hurdle they dealt with since moving in.
We get it: It's never fun to have the awkward money talk. But experts like Danisha Danielle Hoston, financial expert and principal of Hoston & Associates Real Estate, say you've got to bite the bullet and chat before playing house.
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As easy as it might be to avoid asking the hard questionsÃ¢â‚¬”like your partner's credit score, his or her spending habits, etc.Ã¢â‚¬”you want to get it all on the table before packing any boxes, says Hoston. In this case, ignorance isn't bliss. "When you're moving in together, you're blending your life financially," says Hoston. "Those are discussions you need to have." The number one thing to remember, says Hoston, is to not put your head in the sand and pray that money issues are all going to work themselves out. "Sit down and have a mature conversation," she advises. "Go through the bills, create a budget, and have a discussion."
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When it comes to handling household costs like furniture, supplies, utilities, and the like, Hoston says there's no "right" way to split it up. One option she suggests: Strike up a cohabitation agreement that specifies who pays for what, what happens if you break up, what happens if someone dies, and even what happens if you have a child together. You can download one yourself online or you can reach out to a family attorney for help. "A cohabitation agreement can really save you a lot of headache and also gets you on the same page with your significant other," says Hoston. By knowing exactly what you're entitled to in the event of a split or other major change, you'll avoid any nasty shocks down the line. Plus, you'll probably cut down on a lot of bickering over bills and expenses, so it's a win-win.
While financial issues aren't the only things you and your partner should figure out before shacking up, having the conversation early will save you from unnecessary stress down the road. On the bright side, once you're done discussing, you'll be free to reward yourself with a seriously exciting trip to Ikea to stock your new digs.
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