There are two things that most couples fight about: Sex and money. Since we’re not sex therapists, we’ll stick to what we know best.
A recent inquiry from a Metro reader sums up most people’s dilemmas:
Hi Smart Cookies,
My boyfriend and I have been dating for two years and are about to move in together. We have decided that we are going to pool our money, but I’m a bit nervous. He makes twice as much as I do and I spend twice as much as he. We haven’t even moved in together and already our conversations about money have become heated. Where do we even start?
From the couples we have worked with on our TV show, and from our own experiences, we’ve created a few simple steps to help guide your conversation:
The first thing you need to do is create a spending plan together. With shared expenses, we recommend paying a proportional percentage of each person’s paycheque towards things like rent and utilities. For example, if your shared fixed expenses total $2,000 a month, each person puts 25 per cent of their income towards those expenses. For example, if one person is making $3,000 a month and contributes $750, the other person, whose income is $5,000, would contribute $1250.
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Decide Whether To Share or Not to Share
The choice to merge bank accounts and credit cards is totally personal. However, if you decide to have joint accounts, we recommend still having a bank account and credit card in your name.
Divulge Your Debt
Before taking the plunge and moving in together, couples need to talk about their debt. In many cases, one individual may have no idea how much the other owes. Now is the time to fess up so that you can move ahead with a clean conscience.
Talk It Out Before You Buy
We also suggest that couples talk about large purchases before making them — set a dollar figure, for example, anything over $200 has to be agreed upon by each individual.
If you have questions for the Smart Cookies or want to share a spending confession, please email email@example.com.