More Americans are choosing to cohabitate with their partners and delay marriage. Between 1990 and 2007, the number of unmarried partners who were living together increased by 88% (CPS, 2007). While the thought of moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend can be exciting, there are some crucial things to consider before taking the plunge.
Before solidifying plans to move in together, it’s important to discuss and establish financial plans to set yourselves up for success. Living with a significant other is not living with a roommate. Suddenly, your weekends and evenings partner becomes someone that you share basic necessity needs with, like rent and food. Talk about what you can realistically afford, and how you will divide expenses. And if one or both of you have debt, it’s important to confront those issues as well so there are no surprises. One solution recommended by financial experts Sheryl Garrett and Debra Neiman is to draw up a roommate prenup. While not exactly the most romantic paperwork to have your partner sign-off on, it could help prevent some headaches down the line. As Garrett and Neiman describe, the roommate prenup is a proclamation that, “your relationship is important and valid enough that you’re willing to put in writing your rights, responsibilities and obligations to that relationship”. The pressure and strain of financial trouble is one of the toughest to overcome with your partner, but with open and honest communication about expenses, you can avoid feeling taken advantage of or hounded financially.