You have just bought a property and your partner is moving in with you. Yes, but how can we share the expenses so that everyone benefits?
The reader finds herself in this situation and wonders how the expenses might be split between her and her husband. She plans to ask him for a monthly rent that would include half of the mortgage and utilities. Is it a good choice? To find out, we asked Véronique Joanis, L’Argent spokeswoman and trainer… Let’s talk about it.
Explore each person’s financial history
At first glance, the trainer notices that the issue of home ownership is not addressed. “If one of the two pays half the mortgage without being a co-owner, they will be contributing to their spouse’s assets, but not accumulating assets themselves,” it states.
If the partners do not understand and accept this, the context could end up creating frustration. “That’s why it’s essential to start by talking about each person’s personal financial history, such as their concerns. We need to explore the dynamics of finances through family and couple experiences,” she advises. In this particular case, the new owner may have had a bad past experience or are simply too new a couple to want to commit to buying a home together.
Following this discussion, we should also try to learn more about our partner’s relationship with money: is this person a cicada or an ant, what are their financial values, what is their income, do they have the means to pay for what they have? has she committed, is she in debt, has she ever been insolvent, etc.? So many questions to help you get to know your partner better and avoid unpleasant surprises!
To make this conversation go smoothly, Véronique Joanis recommends taking a positive approach focused on projects and common goals. This way we can approach this sensitive topic without passing judgment or creating tension.
Ensuring everyone’s financial security
When it comes to cost sharing, the trainer recommends focusing more on equality than equity. “Half-and-half payment can put one spouse in financial trouble if the income is not relatively similar,” she says. He suggests instead aiming for 80% satisfaction for everyone to the extent that both will have to compromise and accept some losses.
Paying expenses in proportion to income is not necessarily an ideal solution even in the case of a significant disparity in financial possibilities. “The person who earns the least will be disadvantaged, leading to significant differences in living standards,” he notes. Therefore, we should show flexibility, for example by suggesting that the more financially comfortable spouse pays for the vacation, trips and leisure activities of the lower earner.
We can also use different management methods: we pay 50/50 for assets but pro rata for other expenses. “The general idea is to ensure that everyone can maintain their financial security. You have to be flexible and think in terms of paired projects. For example, if we want to go on vacation in two years, one of the spouses could decide to pay the money earned thanks to the overtime they work at work into an account dedicated to this trip,” illustrates Véronique Joanis.
· Each spouse should prepare an annual budget that will give a better idea of what will be left in their pocket after paying expenses. It is also a good way to ensure that the chosen method of financial management is fair.
· Do not hesitate to review the budget after three months to see if it holds up and adapt it as needed, but also for any major changes (buying a house, arrival of a child, new job, job loss, etc.).
· If the couple is not married, a cohabitation agreement can be useful, which sets out the sharing of responsibilities and contributions of each person while living together and in the event of separation.