Should You Combine Finances in a Relationship?


combining-incomes-relationshipThe apartment may look picture perfect with your sassy dresses next to his suits and your face wash next to his razor, but keep in mind combining items also means combining incomes. Callison and Clayton, a couple from Morehead City, N.C., moved in together after Clayton proposed. Now that they are married and both continuing their education, they are thankful they crossed the “moving in together” hurdles before they became legally bound.

“One of the only problems we ran into when we moved in together was splitting costs,” Callison said. “We were not combining our money yet, so we would split groceries and the bills. I paid most of the rent, roshe run hyp qs and he paid for most of our spending money on food and going out.”

Remember, you’re not married — yet

Cohabitation is different than marriage because it allows more freedom.You aren’t legally bound to one another—you still have your independence and your last name—but it does require a lot of joint responsibilities. Before jumping on the romantic-idealist bandwagon, take a few precautionary steps to keep your wallet and your credit score safe:

  • If you are moving into your apartment or his apartment and you are renting,make sure to contact the leasing company and add your name or his name to the lease. If anything fell apart in your relationship, you want to make sure you will have a leg to stand on financially if one of you has to move out.
  • Remember you don’t have to have a joint bank account just because you’re living together, but you do need to decide who will be responsible for what each week or each month.
  • If you decide not to have a joint account,make sure there is some account, piggy bank in the living room or fund that you both deposit money into each paycheck for unexpected expenses.A leaky faucet, a washer/dryer that called it quits or a toilet that needs replacing can cause some strain on your wallet and relationship if you don’t have funds to back it up.

Terryn, an Arizona resident who currently shares an apartment with her boyfriend, doesn’t suggest joint bank accounts unless you are engaged when moving in together.

“I think having your own bank account, your own spending money and paying your own debt is important,” she said. “Living together doesn’t mean doing things that married couples do.”

Would you combine finances with your boyfriend if you lived together?

-Lindsay A. Tigar

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