BOSTON (CBS) – Most couples are trying this approach before marriage and sometimes instead of marriage.
You want to treat the finances just as if you were two strangers about to become roommates. Talk about the expenses upfront before your friends start carrying the boxes in. You’re dealing with a roommate, one you’re romantically involved with, but still a roommate.
- Keep your finances separate. Do not open a joint checking account and do not put each other’s names on your credit cards as a user. Share the basic household expenses like the rent, mortgage and utilities.
- Make a list of the joint expenses and who will be responsible for them. Whose name will be on the electric bill? When you sign a lease you may have to do that jointly unless one of you moves in with the other. Who is going to be responsible for paying the bills?
- Credit Cards: Don’t mess with each other’s credit. It could come back to bite you in the butt. Each of you is responsible for your own credit card bills.
- Discretionary expenses like food and alcohol can be a problem. Is one of you a gourmet cook and the other content with a can of tomato soup and a grilled cheese? If he likes beer while watching the game on the weekend then that falls under his expenses. If you drink beer with him or your friends do then that is a joint expense. If he parties while you are away it’s his expense.
- If you buy any large pieces of furniture together who gets them if you split up? Does one of you buy the washer and the other the dryer? Discuss ownership issues before you need to.
- Insurance: If you are renting you both should have renter’s insurance to cover your belongings.
According to the Census Bureau, more than 40% of American women under the age of 45 have lived unmarried with a male partner at some point in their lives.