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Moving in with your partner? Wait! Read the three questions you should get answered first…

Moving in with your partner, whether you’re buying or renting, is a great Champagne moment. But it can be easy to let your heart run away with your head.

Living together presents both opportunities and risks. But you could save heartache in the long run by being open to learning about new ways to be better with your money and asking some simple money questions of your partner. Here are three questions to pop to your partner before you make the leap:  

Should we get a joint account?

It’s up to you how you choose to manage your money, but there are four main options you could consider. These are –

  • Keep separate accounts
  • Share everything
  • Share some responsibilities but keep some things private
  • The main earner pays their partner an ‘allowance’

There’s something to be said about testing the waters first before you go all the way into joining your finances.

For example, you could consider opening a joint account with no overdraft facility and both of you could contribute a small amount each month. Use the money to share the responsibility for one or two household bills to see how you get on, and then you can review at a later point.

Starting small could also help you find a way to communicate that will work for you.

If you are planning to have a joint account, you should also make sure you have a chat about your spending habits so you don’t end up arguing about how you spend the money in your account and what the money is for.

Do remember to be honest in your conversation. If you’re in debt, there are places you can go to get free, confidential help.  In our recent survey, one in five UK adults (18%) admitted they have hidden debts from their partner.


You should also be aware sharing your finances could affect each other’s credit ratings.

Just living with someone, or being married to them, will not affect your credit score. But as soon as you open a joint bank account or take out a mortgage together, for example, you will be ‘co-scored’ if you apply for credit. It’s a good idea for both of you to check your credit rating before combining your finances.

 

Who pays for which bills?

If you live together, you will need to decide how to deal with expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, and your bills. Whether you share expenditures 50/50, take responsibility for different bills or another way you need to be clear on who does what. Discussing this before you move in together will help keep your household kitty ticking over nicely, and avoid any surprises when the bills inevitably start coming in.

What should we be saving for?

For bigger expenses; such as holidays, cars or starting a family; you may need to start thinking about how you can save up.  We’re all better at doing things when we have something to aim for. So whatever your goals, sit down with your partner and plan for the things that are important to you and how you can reach your goals together.

Final word from our money expert…

Our money expert Nicholas Hill says: "There is not one perfect answer to managing your money with your partner, so you’ll need to negotiate something that works for both of you. You could try asking how your friends manage their money for some ideas.

"Before you do take the plunge, make sure you have a basic understanding of your partner’s finances as this might help de-risk the worst case scenario if something happened to your partner. Work out a common goal to work to, as this increases the chances of achieving it – but this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a joint savings account. It all depends what works for you."

Take a look at our guide to talking about money with your partner for more information on your options. ’

 

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  • Nicholas Humphries / 9 March 2016

    The answer to this is a simple one for ALL instances. Having just been divorced any financial agreements of loans, credit cards and general money borrowing make sure both names are on the agreement. Whoever's name is on the agreement that loan, credit card debt becomes solely yours in a split. It does not matter who's name the mortgage is in because any equity by the court is 50/50, including cars. Jewellery is individual so be wary of buying that £2000 ring you won't see any of it back if you split. So I you support your family and your wife.She gains the house, jewels, probably a car and he ends up with £10,000's worth of debt. The moral of the story is always make sure everything is 50/50 in actual payments and agreements.

  • ms francis / 24 March 2015

    Your best option is always to keep your own property.... owned by yourself with no debts or mortgage, in your name..especially for women.... you can still live together ....you have two houses!