Wednesday, January 27, 2016

6 Finance Tips For Couples Moving In Together

Sources vary on the exact percentage, but the fact remains that an increasing number of couples are choosing to live together before they get married. This decision usually stems from a desire to spend more time together and to give the idea of marriage a potential "test run" before tying the knot. Because they are not yet married, however, many couples tend to underestimate how financial factors will influence their relationship once they live together. As your financial resource at the Lake of the Ozarks, we want to share some important tips for you and your partner before you move in together.

1. Make It A Habit To Talk About Money
Talking about our finances is considered almost taboo in our culture, but if you are moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend (or fiance), it is imperative that you be able to have upfront, honest conversations about your financial situation. Who will pay for the rent? How will you divide the cost of utilities? What about groceries? If the need for a major repair arises, who will be responsible for covering that cost? It's important to be upfront about what you are willing and not willing to pay for. While it's impossible to prepare for every possible situation, it's important that you and your partner be comfortable discussing your finances together so you can address each new situation as it arises.

2. Devise A Plan Ahead Of Time
Don't wait for things to become issues. Before you ever officially decide to move in together, start talking about how financial responsibilities will be divided. In a perfect world, you should aim to split all your expenses as evenly as possible. However, many couples choose to alter this percentage based on who makes more money. For example, the individual with the higher-paying job might pay for 60% of all expenses, and the other individual might only be responsible for 40%. Ultimately it does not matter how you choose to divide your financial responsibilities, as long as you both feel comfortable with the agreement.

3. Agree That Nothing Is Set In Stone
Setting up a plan for how financial responsibilities will be divided once you live together is important, but it's equally (if not more) important to recognize that the plan you have devised could easily need to change in the future. Your financial positions may change, and the plan that you originally agreed upon might start to seem unfair or unrealistic. If you have already set the precedence that it is acceptable to talk about your financial situations, then it will be easier to adjust your strategy as needed.

4. Keep Your Financial Accounts Separate
The decision of whether or not to join your accounts after marriage is up to you, but if you are still in the dating (or even engagement) phase, we strongly recommend that you keep your financial accounts separate. After marriage, there are laws in place to protect divorcing couples in which one of the partners had significantly more money before the relationship, but there are no such laws governing break ups. Since you cannot predict the future outcome of your relationship, it's best to play it safe and keep your accounts separate for now.

5. Agree On A Budgeting Strategy Ahead Of Time
Even if you agree to keep your finances separate, it may be wise to set up a joint budgeting system before moving in together. This will allow you to allocate how much money will be required to cover the fixed costs of living, such as rent, utilities, groceries, car payments, insurance, etc. It will also allow you to track how much money each individual is spending so you can verify that the expenses are being divided fairly. If you end up getting married someday, you will be able to morph your budget to accommodate your needs as a married couple.

6. Be Honest With Each Other
Ultimately, whether or not you and your partner choose to cohabitate before marriage is entirely up to you. If you do choose to live together ahead of time, we hope that these tips will help to set you up for success. At the end of the day, it's simply important to be aware that sharing your life with someone has a lot of implications, financially and otherwise. As long as you are able to be honest with each other about each of your needs, you will be well on your way towards finding solutions that work for both of you.

First Bank Of The Lake Is Here For You!
Whether you're looking for a personal loan at the Lake of the Ozarks, a place to establish a joint checking account in Osage Beach MO, or any other banking need, we hope you'll remember First Bank of the Lake. Our staff members will be honored to help you in any way we can! Visit our website to learn more about our banking services at the Lake of the Ozarks.

First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!
4558 Osage Beach Parkway
Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065

(573) 348-2265

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