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Be the Expert: “We’re moving in together. How much should we each contribute?”

107 Comments- Get free updates of new posts here

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Let’s kick off our Money & Relationships series today.

One of the hardest financial steps in a relationship is when two people move in together and start sharing expenses.

Who pays for what? How much should each person pay? Does gender matter? What about income level?

Check out this question I recently got from Jesse:

Hey, Ramit.

Bought your book. Love it. Read it. Am following every piece of advice I can.

In my past relationship, my partner and I split finances 50/50 and that was never a problem. He made more than me. I was fine with that.

I’m in a new relationship and am going to receive a significant promotion in July. Now my new partner is saying that we should do things the Suze Orman way, splitting based on percentages. His argument is that bills and utilities should take an equal percentage hit on both of us.

My argument is that I think that’s a huge step. Yes, we’re living together. But we haven’t even been together for a year. In essence, I’d be supporting him, partly. But he doesn’t see it that way. I’ve always tried to keep money out of relationships by splitting everything equally. If you’re married, I think this is an entirely different conversation. But having only dated for 6 months, moved in, but still not ready to make a life-long commitment, I think that my position is entirely reasonable. He just doesn’t see it that way.

Part of the problem here might be that we’re both guys, and I think his ego is taking a hit because I’m going to be making more money. I’d love it if you’d talk about the problem, perhaps the psychological implications of people feeling like they’re not contributing. One suggestion from him is that we should live separately. He said that’d make him feel better about things. But again, I don’t understand this. We’d both be paying twice as much in rent, and he would take an even bigger hit financially.

Any help would be much appreciated.

What do you think? How should Jesse and his partner split expenses? Leave your comments below.

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107 Comments on "Be the Expert: “We’re moving in together. How much should we each contribute?”"

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Nicole
Nicole
4 years 1 month ago

Suze would say that there is something else going on besides the money. If he is giving you the ultimatum of “take on the bigger half of the bills or we should live separately” then maybe he is looking to take advantage of you financially. You do not sound committed to the relationships and he looks like he is looking for someone to take care of him. Run.

Anon
Anon
4 years 1 month ago

Funny when the shoe is on the other foot for women. Treat us equally, but don’t make us pay an equal share. I would say it’s very common for men to pay 100% of the mortgage/rent. I know I did and no one told me to run.

Eric
Eric
4 years 1 month ago
6 months isn’t enough time to make a commitment to pay a greater share. I make twice as much as my girlfriend and pay 100% of the mortgage. She lives with me for free, but we have been together 7 years (dated 3 years before she moved in with me). If we split – I would still have my apartment, so I am fine with this arrangement. I wouldn’t move in together after 6 months, personally, and if I did I would sit down and mark down expenses for everything and set it up more as if you were roommates,… Read more »
Jordyn
Jordyn
4 years 1 month ago

I agree with Eric completely. It’s not just about the money. It’s about the time, and the amount of trust that you have (or have not) been able to build with each other in just six months.

What I do wonder, though, is why aren’t you willing to pay more? If you have additional personal bills/expenses that would cause a “Suze” split to put you in a bad place, understandable. But if it’s a “just cuz” mentality..hmm…

Steve O
Steve O
4 years 1 month ago

I agree. At 6 months, I think it’s weird to move in together, but I know it happens. If you are not committed to a long, long-term relationship, I can’t see why you would subsidize his living expenses. That sets you up for resentment early on, and if it’s HIS idea and not yours, it makes it much worse.

Samantha
Samantha
4 years 1 month ago
I think I agree with Jesse’s partner, actually. The “huge step” is moving in together and sharing expenses. Its certainly not much of a leap, if any, to begin sharing those expenses in a more balanced manner. Relationships are all about sacrifice, and if you are not willing to give a little more of your income (even though you will still have more leftover at the end of the bills than he will) I think maybe you aren’t ready for the selflessness that a truly committed relationship requires. I just feel that any couple, same sex or not, has this… Read more »
Sunny
Sunny
4 years 1 month ago
To me, roommates split things 50-50. It doesn’t matter how much the other person makes, they still pay 50% of the bills. A couple who is in a committed relationship shares the responsibility of all the bills, so they should have joint finances, meaning it’s one pool of money and all the bills get paid out of that pool. IMHO, any other way is going to be financial disaster — how can you move towards common life goals (e.g. being debt free, retiring early, having kids, buying a house) if you don’t share common financial goals? It sounds like Jesse… Read more »
Marguerite
Marguerite
4 years 1 month ago
I think this is about control…each of you want the money split the way you want, and it seems to be having more influence on the relationship than a lot of other things (but of course, this is a money website, not a relationship one, so the focus is naturally money in your email). I think you both have to discuss your priorities and the meaning behind each of the splits you’re discussing, and all the other items you’re paying for together (food, etc.). Does someone have more choice in choosing the place than the other? Are you moving into… Read more »
Shawn
Shawn
4 years 1 month ago
The person that said “Funny when the shoe is on the other foot for women” was directing that at the first commenter, presumably a woman judging by the name. And the comment actually has some merit which deserves closer examination outside of this discussion. Personally, I’ve been in a situation where it was known that I was making half as much as my significant other (female and I’m male). At that time, she was perfectly happy splitting dinner tabs and taking turns paying for entertainment (movies, bowling, whatever). In a short amount of time I was able to turnaround my… Read more »
Jess H.
Jess H.
4 years 1 month ago

“Should?” Did Ramit just say “should?”

The person who earns more tends to have more authority in financial decision-making. The higher earner has a choice: put their partner’s financial priorities first, or contribute proportionally to income. Any other alternative is going to leave the lower-earning partner at the mercy of some rather nasty psychological dynamics.

I’ll add that I certainly would not date someone who saw “contributing proportionally to income” as “supporting me.” That’s not really an attitude of partnership.

Shawn
Shawn
4 years 1 month ago

“I’ll add that I certainly would not date someone who saw “contributing proportionally to income” as “supporting me.””

How is it not? To some degree they’d be subsidizing your lifestyle at their expense.

And if the shoe was on the other foot how would that change your attitude?

I’m going to be really bold and assume that you’re either single or make less than your current partner.

Lastly, I don’t see contributing less due to earning less as an attitude of partnership either. Sounds more like entitlement.

Jess H.
Jess H.
4 years 1 month ago
I’ve been with my current partner for 15+ years. There were several years when I was making more than twice what he made. There have been several years where he’s made more than me. We’ve followed the same financial policy in all cases – so yes, your implication that I’m only interested in this because it benefits me is totally incorrect. I certainly don’t see my partner as entitled when he’s the lower earner; he gives what he earns, just like I do, even though the dollar amounts are different. Maybe the problem is that I phrased it as “contributing.”… Read more »
Andrea
Andrea
4 years 1 month ago
Money is the ability to make choices. So I agree with the commenter who said roommates split everything 50/50 but in a relationship you have to have a little more balance. My boyfriend and I live together, and he makes almost twice as much as I do. So for the major bills – rent, electric, water, cable, etc. – he pays 2/3 and I pay 1/3. But for the rest of our shared expenses, we split 50/50 – things like groceries, laundry, dates. I didn’t go on 1/3 of the date after all. Then we have the rest of our… Read more »
Dana
Dana
4 years 1 month ago

Perfect answer. Most of the bills should be split based on percentage of income.

Chris
Chris
4 months 7 days ago
So, you think paying half the rent would be unfair? If you did’t live together and had your own place, would it cost you more than what half the rent would be living with your partner? In other words, you were just fine dating him when you lived alone and had to pay your entire rent, but cutting your living expenses by paying half your rent living with him suddenly doesn’t work? My guess is before you moved in together he must have been subsidizing your lifestyle by paying for most of the dates? Why is it ok for lower… Read more »
Linni
4 years 1 month ago

My girlfriend and her (now) husband would have three different accounts. One where they split 50/50 for the mortgage, food, furniture, electricity, etc. Then they both have their own personal account where they spend it on whatever they want. She loves to shop and he loves buying dirt bikes. They have been happy for the last 15 years.
As fore me, I would expect the guy to pay 100% of the mortgage. I don’t believe in paying the guy when he is having sex with me. ha!

Mike
Mike
4 years 1 month ago

So what you are saying is that you are a prostitute? Why should he pay when you are having sex with him?

Linni
Linni
4 years 1 month ago

Oh, Mike. If you knew me, you would NEVER use the word prostitute with me.

However, I guess I can see it with an Amercian viewpoint. Though… I still don’t believe in paying if you live with the guy, cook for him, clean, iron, and have sex with him.

Shawn
Shawn
4 years 1 month ago

I rest my previous case. Entitlement with a capital “E.”

It’s mostly (or in whole) those that earn less that think things should run proportional to income.

Chris Clark
Chris Clark
4 years 1 month ago
If this were up to me I’d have you go 50/50 on the rent, utilities and other boring necessities. Then I’d advise saving proportionally for some mutually agreed upon fun stuff. The obvious candidate seems to be home furnishing, since your space is the current point of contention or a vacation, since vacations are paramount to a healthy relationship. This type of split serves a number of purposes: 1.) You don’t feel like you’re supporting him, because your necessities are split equally. 2.) You get to test the shared financial waters where the worst case scenario is he doesn’t save… Read more »
Satvik
Satvik
4 years 1 month ago

You see the Suze Orman split as a sign of long-term commitment. I don’t know what your partner sees it as-it may be a sign of insecurity. It may be a sign of commitment to him, that he just doesn’t want to admit. This really sounds like a case where your partner not be aware of what his own motivations are, so a little digging might be required.

But figuring out his motivations and goals for the relationship (and whether they’re compatible with yours) is much more important than the exact details of how you work out your financial split here.

Phil Johnson
4 years 1 month ago
My girlfriend and generally split things 50/50. We don’t co-mingle out finances as far as accounts and such because we each have different uses for our money. I use mine to develop my career and travel. She buys handbags. But for regular household stuff we split things evenly. The only thing that becomes uneven is some of the food when one of us buys things the other doesn’t/can’t eat. We keep receipts and that all gets figured in the budget each month. I make more than she does, but not by a huge margin. I’m sure she’d love me to… Read more »
Rachel
Rachel
4 years 1 month ago
My suggestion would be to negotiate who pays what bills, instead of splitting the bills 50/50. So Jesse may end of paying more , say for groceries and the apartment rent, while his partner pays for the electricity, cable, etc. This may not end up being 50/50 but say, the one who makes more takes on more of the bills and the one who doesn’t finds other ways to contribute –for example, managing the joint finances and paying mutual bills. As you get more and more committed (financially and otherwise), I think your financial decision will reflect that. So, for… Read more »
Stacy
Stacy
4 years 1 month ago
When my now-husband was in graduate school and I was the one with the full-time job with benefits, we split everything 50/50 but I paid for all the extras: eating out, vacations, entertainment, etc. We also lived in a small apartment in upstate NY and our expenses were pretty small. I’ve had another friend whose husband made significantly more than her, and they did the Suze Orman thing with a twist: they split the mortgage 50/50, and then did a percentage of their income for all the other bills. I would add to this: all credit card and student loan… Read more »
Kevin
Kevin
10 months 3 days ago

Stacy,

If my earnings are due to having accrued student loans why wouldn’t that additional expense I have be considered when splitting expenses?

I don’t mean to be a jerk, just wondering how your reasoning works.

Marguerite
Marguerite
4 years 1 month ago

I’m reading comments and what I’m getting is that different things work for different people. And as long as you both discuss this and come to an agreement on money, you can both be happy.

lisa
lisa
4 years 1 month ago

This isn’t about money per se, it is about what each of you feel is fair and WHY. Have a conversation, get to the whys, and figure it out from there after you agree.

Kathleen @ Frugal Portland
4 years 1 month ago
I think you should live somewhere that you’re both comfortable paying for — in the past, I was with someone who made significantly more than me, and he wanted to live somewhere fancy. I put my foot down. “I can only pay $600 a month,” I said, and if he wanted to live somewhere for $1800, he was going to have to pay the rest. I don’t think that your promotion should come into the picture for rent, utilities, and cell phones, but if you want to upgrade your home based on your promotion, then you should consider paying a… Read more »
Ashley
Ashley
4 years 1 month ago
My boyfriend and I moved in after two years together. We bought a house, he was responsible for 2/3’s of the down payment. I had the other third. I’ve offered time and again to change the ownership of the house to reflect that. It’s not a big deal to him. He makes about four times as much as I do. Maybe more. I’m also seven years younger. He probably wouldn’t find another girl my age to compete with him in the income bracket. Not to mention what a catch I am! (and modest, to boot!) I wanted us to split… Read more »
Annika
Annika
4 years 1 month ago
Hey Ashley, I absolutely agree with you about the attitude that people WANT to pay less. I’m in exactly the same situation as you – 7 years younger (although maybe a little more modest! 🙂 and supposedly ‘coasting’ by on his money while I study. It’s so not true, and he’s very understanding of it. While our income difference doesn’t stop him from having a good time, I know I definitely hold back on my splurges because it feels like I am using ‘his’ money. He sees all money as ‘ours’ as in a few years our roles will reverse… Read more »
YPRUCK
4 years 1 month ago

Split the shared bills 50/50! That’s the best way to keep the peace regarding the financial aspect of any relationship. Point blank, PERIOD!

Stephen
Stephen
4 years 1 month ago

There isn’t one solution that fits all relationships. In mine for example, my gf was an unpaid volunteer for a year so splitting the bills 50/50 couldn’t work unless I put her out on the street. Same would go for stay at home partners when kids are involved – but that is a whole other debate.

Sara
Sara
4 years 1 month ago
I think part of the problem here is that although Jesse is now making more than his partner, none of the expenses, which they previously agreed to split equally, have changed or gone up. It would be different if Jesse wanted to now move to a nicer apartment or take fancy vacations that the lesser-earning partner can’t afford to contribute equally to. Presumably his partner can afford his half of the apartment, since he was already paying for it, so I can understand why the suggestion comes across as presumptuous or even a bit offensive. The fact that Jesse’s partner… Read more »
Tiara
Tiara
4 years 1 month ago
My wife and I split our shared expenses (rent, utilities, groceries, dates, saving up to have a baby) by a percentage of income. We started doing this as soon as we moved in together (1.5 years into our relationships, 1 year before marriage). I make almost twice as much as her, but I don’t look at it as supporting her. If we split everything evenly, she would have very little spending money at the end of the month for her personal expenses (shopping, lunch, going out with friends, trips to see her family). I may have a little bit less… Read more »
Ray
Ray
4 years 1 month ago

However you split it, make sure you decide together what your expenses will be. Maybe you earn twice as much as your partner and you want to rent a 4 bedroom house. You get a workout room, a home office, great! Maybe they are more realistic about what they can afford and only want to get into an apartment. If you decide to go for the house AND split 50/50, I can understand how the person who earns less shouldn’t be cool with this. If you move into the apartment and split 50/50, that’s a different story.

Gabor
Gabor
4 years 1 month ago
Here are a couple of problems with the 50/50 split. Say you move into a larger house, because you earn more, and therefore can afford one. Why would you live in a smaller, more uncomfortable hole just to make your significant other happy? A larger apartament would mean larger bills in terms of heating, electricity, council tax (or equivalent), rent, whatnot. Larger cost means larger 50% of cost, which you can easily pay, because you can. It might eat your partner’s whole earning for the month. Let’s also assume you want to have money that only you have control over.… Read more »
Shawn
Shawn
4 years 1 month ago

But the significant other in your example wouldn’t be able to afford a more luxurious life on their own anyways. So why would you be comfortable re-enforcing the fact that they can have a better life if they “marry-up?”

Vicki
Vicki
4 years 1 month ago
One idea would be to each of you maintain separate residences, and just keep a toothbrush in each other’s bathrooms for overnight stays. I don’t recommend combining bill paying or any other financials. Keep your assets and your financial obligations separate. As an unmarried couple, the laws do not protect you or your assets as much if you were to break up later, as they would if you were married and the marriage ended in divorce. Living apart together (LAT) is very common arrangement, especially amongst older Americans who have assets and don’t want there to be any question about… Read more »
Shawn
Shawn
4 years 1 month ago

I thought I was alone in this thinking but this would actually save a lot of relationships!

Cara
Cara
5 months 11 days ago

Vicki, I completely agree with this idea. I have been married (now divorced) and would not live with someone as a single woman. Nor would I combine my finances with his. I am now middle aged, financially stable, and would not risk commingling my money without any legal protection!

Cassandra
Cassandra
4 years 1 month ago
My boyfriend and I have been splitting everything equally (we’ve lived together for a year), but it’s not working – for a couple reasons. First, I make a lot more than he does (like 5x more). Second, I work at home. So, I can both contribute more and use more of the household resources. We live in a nicer place than he could afford because I can afford it, and I need some degree of comfort to work here all day. However, he’s a southern man, and expects himself to be able to take care of “his woman” 100%. We… Read more »
Chris C.
Chris C.
4 years 1 month ago
This might sound wonky for a second but hear me out. My partner and I, early in our relationship, were in a very similar situation. She lost her job and it took her a while to find another one. Unemployment is not what a salary once was. What she did have, however, was a lot of free time. And a lot of pride. What worked for us is I took on the bulk of the household expenses and she took on the bulk of the household. She did nearly all the household work. Because it was also about the same… Read more »
Bella
Bella
4 years 1 month ago
I would wonder why you moved in together also so quickly and how long you dated before that. Was it for financial reasons is the worst reason to live together seeing that this is a concern if that is the case. I dated my bf’s for 5 years when I was younger and never thought of moving in if I did not see a future. Why go through all of that and just enjoy the relationship without living together. Maybe a step back would be good. What would you do if you or he lost your job and could not… Read more »
Nan
Nan
4 years 1 month ago
I agree with several previous posters – economies of scale is possibly the WORST reason to move in with someone. In my opinion, it screams convenience over compromise, which is the foundation of any relationship. That being said, I obviously believe there’s a form of compromise when it comes to splitting finances, should you choose that route. I don’t think there is any right answer, but it’s unrealistic to bleed your partner dry by splitting all finances 50/50 (I liked the idea of pro-rating rent and bills, and then going halvsies on food and entertainment, so you both feel like… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
4 years 1 month ago
I can see where Jesse is coming from in feeling that percentage-based splitting is more of a commitment, and would make him feel like he was financially supporting his partner in a way that is different from how they had been living. I’ve generally been the higher earner in my marriage. My partner and I lived together for several years splitting things more or less evenly all the while. A few years ago, we knew she was coming on a long period of under employment while she waiting on some professional licensing to go through. We also knew that even… Read more »
perhaps
perhaps
4 years 1 month ago
You don’t want to get too mathematical on this or create a really complicated system. If you do and choices begin to be made in order to game your payment system, you and your relationship are in big trouble. For example, if you are forced into saving receipts or keeping track of who owes what, this can create a lot of friction in the relationship. I think the best thing to do is to make a conscious spending plan and find out how much you are willing to pay in different areas. In some of these areas, it may turn… Read more »
Me
Me
4 years 1 month ago
You don’t want to get all mathematical — that’s not a relationship, it’s a business transaction. I would recommend you have an honest conversation about money, how he feels about you getting a promotion, and why he thinks you should pay more. This will require being extremely honest with each other (which sometimes brings out truths that are hard to swallow). I think, in the end, each couple has a different way they manage their finances. I know some married couples where the wife pays “rent” to the husband since he pays the mortgage and their finances are completely separate.… Read more »
Andrea
Andrea
4 years 1 month ago

Relationships are inherently financial in nature. Many major life events are impacted by financial considerations – career choices and earnings, marriage, birth, illness or injury, disability, buying real estate, caring for aging family, funerals, life insurance, taxes, inheritance, raising children, paying for college/continuing education, family vacations… Learning to talk rationally about money and the emotions around it is one of the biggest challenges a couple faces, and if Jesse wants to be with his partner for some time, he should start working on it now.

Jacob
Jacob
4 years 1 month ago
I don’t think people should pay more because they can afford more. Its not like when you go to a retail store they offer you something for less because you make less. No one is entitled to be taken care of. My girlfriend lives with me but I do not share with her what things like bills and rent cost. Rent is a specific amount due to me on the 2nd of every month that includes bills. It does not change month to month. I started doing this with my old room mate because it was easier than trying to… Read more »
Cara
Cara
5 months 11 days ago

That sounds like a really grim and autocratic system… What’s in it for her? Aside from being under dictatorship?

Adam
Adam
4 years 1 month ago

Do yourself a favor, don’t take any advice from Suze Orman and split everything down the middle.

Jeff
4 years 1 month ago
My girlfriend moved in with me after two months, (gasp!) and we go 50/50 on rent, but I pay for utilities, internet, etc. I think it’s important go equal on the big stuff (rent) and let the small stuff slide. Depending on who picked up the check for dinner last, the other will pay a few dollars more on groceries. We keep it pretty fair. Also, I remember hearing of a study where two people were in a room with $100 dollars on the table, person A got to distribute the money as he saw fit (50/50, 60/40, 70/30) and… Read more »
Lindsay
Lindsay
4 years 1 month ago
I agree with Jesse’s partner that if Jesse isn’t ready to financially act as a team that they definitely should not be moving in together. Financial convenience should NEVER be the only solid reason for moving in with a significant other!! Furthermore, if Jesse wants a more expensive apartment or a better cable package than his partner who makes less money, his partner shouldn’t be in a position where he still has to shell out 50% of that expense because “fair is fair.” Granted, a couple living together should be able to communicate about these decisions and reach a happy… Read more »
SP
SP
4 years 1 month ago

“is it because having a roommate is cheaper and having a roommate who’s your significant other is more fun than a stranger or platonic friend?”

I wonder, is that really an invalid reason to move in together? Also, having a roommate who literally shares your room (and bed) is cheaper than someone who shares an apartment. It certainly is a risk and both people should be on the same page about living together, but I think a TON of people move in together for this reason, especially in expensive cities!

larry
larry
4 years 1 month ago

You want to split 50/50, he wants to split according to income, eg 70/30. Why dont you meet halfway at 60/40.

Dayna
Dayna
4 years 1 month ago
Lindsay, I agree with you 100%. How can you make the commitment to live together, but not to share finances in a way that is mutually beneficial? Jesse you’re just being cheap. You want to save on rent but you don’t want to give your partner a percentage break with his finances. Why should he have to pay more just so that you have more comfort. Stay together but he should move out, that way you can feel what it’s like to pay for everything on your own. It would be different if you were roommates, but you’re not, you’re… Read more »
Shawn
Shawn
4 years 1 month ago
The email claimed that living apart would make BOTH of them pay about twice as much in rent, leaving the lower earner even more cash-strapped. So in this case, asking to contribute less than 50/50 to live together is pretty Gold-diggish. “And living together and sharing finances are the biggest steps towards that.” No, they’re not. Having mutual respect and trust are. You can have a great relationship and never live together or share finances. And he’s not being cheap, he’s actually being very pragmatic. His significant other is being the cheap one. He’s playing the,”Fine, if you don’t want… Read more »
Susan
Susan
4 years 1 month ago
As an old married lady, let me state that in all cases of spending issues I have encountered with myself, and with my friends, money issues are really 2 things: –Power (and/or ego) issues and –Communication issues. The only way to resolve the issues is to communicate, as clearly as possible, why one feels the way one does about how money is allocated. If 2 people are truly committed to one another, they will find a comfort zone (read: a probable compromise) for handling money. In some rare cases (such as mine) my husband and I disagree on almost all… Read more »
Anjum
Anjum
4 years 1 month ago

I love this approach. Not for me or anyone else necessarily, but I love that you two figured out what worked for you psychologically and financially, discussed it, made a joint decision, and committed to it/upheld it.

SP
SP
4 years 1 month ago
When my then-boyfriend moved in together, I thought a proportional split was really not fair, since I made so much more than him at that time. By cohabiting, my rent would barely drop at all compared to my “single” life (the place was ~200/month more than my studio), but his would drop a lot. 50/50 didn’t feel right either – we’d be limited to cheaper places and an overall cheaper lifestyle and his rent would barely go down at all. We talked about it, and came up with something we both felt was fair. Maybe it was a 60 &… Read more »
Courtney
Courtney
4 years 1 month ago
My experience has been that I, the woman, has had the larger income. Before my husband I and I were married, we split all of our joint expenses proportionately by setting up a monthly budget and funding a joint account according to the relative amounts of our take-home pay. So we each had a debit card on that account that covered groceries, gas for the car we both drove, etc. If one of us wanted to go on a date – out to dinner or a show, the invitee would treat the other person. (Going out to dinner = date… Read more »
Courtney
Courtney
4 years 1 month ago

Oops. I meant the “inviter” would treat the other person. You invite, you pay.

Chris C.
Chris C.
4 years 1 month ago
Let me first say that I am also in a same sex relationship in which I live with my partner. We’ve been together a lot longer but we did first move in together after only being together a short time so on at least a superficial level, I can relate to this. When we first moved in together, we split things 50/50 because we moved in together for the convenience and not with the mindset that we were beginning a life together. It sounds like that is where you are at in the process. However, when you said “I don’t… Read more »
K00kyKelly
4 years 1 month ago
Love this comment. I completely agree that if you’re going to involve yourself in their finances at all (and judging that they are in a financially better situation if the do X counts!!) then you’ve got to work out something that doesn’t generate resentment. It also seemed strange to me the way Jessie approached his boyfriend’s attitude as if some things should be considered on a emotional level and others on a pure logic. Maybe Jessie is shutting down his boyfriend’s ability to talk about this openly by bringing in the logic side of things too much. Telling people that… Read more »
Cl
Cl
4 years 1 month ago

I think a suze Orman split is equitable. I really wonder why you’ve moved in together so quickly and why you didn’t hash this out beforehand. As one of the commenters said above, in the end you have a happy partner. If keeping your partner happy is not a priority for you, you might want to ask yourself why you are livig together.

Chelsea
Chelsea
4 years 1 month ago
Regardless of who makes what, I think the best bet is for you two to choose a place to live where you both feel comfortable paying for 1/2. It’s kind of funny that a person would be comfortable taking up half the space but not covering half of the rent! It just seems that in a relationship, it doesn’t matter who has what to start with – both parties should want to pull equal weight. It prevents either one from feeling like they’re being taken cared for or taken advantage of.. which is important if a relationship is going to… Read more »
Chelsea
Chelsea
4 years 1 month ago
Also.. I really liked Chris C’s comment: “Additionally, when my partner and I were splitting things 50/50 and living together, we lived in a place that was within in her budget, not mine. We had expenses that met her needs, not mine. I could have afforded more house. I could have afforded cable. Because it would have been entirely unfair for me to expect her to live outside her means just because I could afford more. ” The other cool thing about this is you can treat it like a savings plan – for your future together. And if your… Read more »
Chris C.
Chris C.
4 years 1 month ago
Since you like me, I’m going to tell you why I like you, too. You have the exact right idea, as far as I’m concerned. I put a lot of money in to savings while I was living below my means and that savings ultimately became our shared savings when we combined finances after several years together and a serious of long-term commitments to one another. I also spent a lot of money on really good wine during this time period, the immediate rewards of which she also reaped. And if things hadn’t worked out for us and we’d gone… Read more »
Amanda
Amanda
4 years 1 month ago

I agree with Andrea, and with the person who said money issues are either 1) power issues or 2) communication issues.

Talk it out. Like a team, not like you’re attacking him or such that either of you becomes defensive.

Then when you know why he feels the way he does and he knows why you feel the way you do, you can better decide the next steps.

Anna Marie
Anna Marie
4 years 1 month ago
To each their own!! I had a previous relationship where it started out as 50/50 split but then after a year it started to slowly change from 50/50 to 80/20 with me supporting him because slowly he was becoming what he truly is… A bottom feeder. Sometimes people front and when they get into a relationship they start to slowly reveal their true nature. Needless to say it didn’t end well. I still resent him from all of this ordeal. I allowed myself to become manipulated, controlled and was not even in control of my own money anymore. I ended… Read more »
David
David
4 years 1 month ago

The expectation for cost of living expenses (rent or mortgage, food utilities etc.) should be split 50/50.

For expenses beyond cost of living(that trip to Italy), 50/50 should still be the rule. if that is not possible and one person wants to commit beyond 50% that should be discussed, and agreed on but certainly not demanded by the person who can’t make the 50%

Kristin
Kristin
4 years 1 month ago
Whether in a relationship or roommate situation, you’ve got equal access to the resources you’re paying for – half the water, half the electricity, half the house – so I don’t see why it shouldn’t be split 50/50. Why penalize the high-earner? The exception to this is, I feel, when you’re in a relationship where both partners have agreed that one partner will have a lower-earning career. For example, a part-time position to raise children, do home renovations, start a business, etc. Relationships are about both tangible and intangible exchanges, and expenses are one of the many ways that ‘give… Read more »
Andrea
Andrea
4 years 1 month ago
“Whether in a relationship or roommate situation, you’ve got equal access to the resources you’re paying for – half the water, half the electricity, half the house – so I don’t see why it shouldn’t be split 50/50. Why penalize the high-earner?” This actually isn’t true for me. My boyfriends loves long hot showers, I take quick ones. He loves the A/C cranked up full blast, I would rather run it minimally. He pays 2/3 of utilities partly because he makes more money, and partly because he can then use more guilt-free. Compromises like this mean we don’t have a… Read more »
Tiara
Tiara
4 years 1 month ago

After reading through these comments, it’s clear that almost every couple has a different idea of what is comfortable for them in terms of splitting finances. The percentage split for shared expenses feels right for us, but every couple really has to do what is right for them and their future. We know that money is the #1 reason people divorce, so you have to communicate and figure out where that comfort zone is for you together. Ramit, I hope you’ll cover how to have (what for many people are) these hard conversations.

Cat
Cat
4 years 1 month ago
My partner and I use the percentage system to pay for our expenses, because our salaries are different. It’s actually more equal this way, than to split the expenses 50/50. If you each agree to pay an equal percentage of your income toward rent and other expenses, then you’ll each have the same percentage left over. To us, at least, that is a more equal way of “sharing the burden” than to just split the dollar amounts 50/50. It also means we can more equally share the costs of going on dates together, buying groceries, and doing things for fun.… Read more »
Jennifer
Jennifer
4 years 1 month ago

I agree with Kristin. Both parties are using the same resources in the household – why would someone pay less just because they make less? If you can’t afford to pay half of your utilities, maybe you should think about living somewhere cheaper/more affordable. Whether you are in a relationship or they are just your roommate, you should be responsible for the resources you are using.

Tom
Tom
4 years 1 month ago
If you’re going to move in together, why not move into a flat that he’d be happy to pay half of the bills on? If you, with your higher level of income want to move into something a little more spacious or in a nicer area, then him paying a portion of the bills that he can afford would be perfectly fair! If you earn $100,000 a year he earns $50,000 rent and bills are $40,000 – and you split it equally, that leaves you with 80% of your income, and him with 60%, which is going to hurt him… Read more »
Shawn
Shawn
4 years 1 month ago

I think you missed the part where he said that they BOTH would be paying twice as much if they lived separately. So even at 50/50 the lower earner would be saving money. He’s just trying to take even more advantage of the situation.

K00kyKelly
4 years 1 month ago

I disagree with Shawn here. Jesse says they’d be paying double because he’d never consider living in a cheaper place, farther away, or whatever. We don’t really know what the boyfriend thinks. Maybe he’s planning to move to somewhere super cheap and way lower quality if he were to move out.

Caitlin
4 years 1 month ago
I agree with Tony and I think it really depends on whether you guys are living above the level he would live at by himself. If he is a simple eater but you have more refined palette and is more expensive, then I think it makes sense you end up paying for more than 50% of the cost (although what portion it should be exactly, I am not sure). If he would be happy living in a 300 sq ft apartment but you guys are now getting a guest room, etc., then I don’t think it is fair that he… Read more »
Pauline
4 years 1 month ago
My opinion is that in a relationship everyone does what they can for each other. A strict percentages approach in financials don’t work for me because it seems petty and cheap. How about the non-tangibles? I moved to another state for my partners and took a low-paying job (although socially responsible position and not a sacrifice to my career) to be there with my partner. He recognized my sacrifices and didn’t ask me to pay for rent and utilities. Although, I took it upon myself to make him happy by buying all the food and cooking all the meals. This… Read more »
Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward
4 years 1 month ago
I guess I’m too Vegas, but I get a different read on this, Ramit. When a guy says “It’s my way or the highway,” and he wants the other guy to pay the majority of the expenses, or he’s moving out — the implicit threat is that he’ll move in with somebody else who WILL pay the money. It would be interesting to know if the lower income guy is also younger and/or better-looking than the higher income guy. I’m not saying dump the gold-digger. I’m saying, if Jesse had known going in that he would be expected to pay… Read more »
Rose
Rose
4 years 1 month ago
My idea of splitting expenses (once married) was to put money in a big virtual pot.. pull out money for mortgage/rent, insurance, and other monthly bills. In another account, pull out money for things that aren’t paid monthly, but we need to account for tags for the car, or license renewals, etc., and in another account, decide how much we want to invest- IRAs, etc. and last determine how much we want to allocate towards fun things: going out to eat, travel, etc. Whatever might be left over is divided in half, and we each choose what we want to… Read more »
thiago
thiago
4 years 1 month ago

Henry should talk with his partner about the unresolved issues at the last paragraph. He thinks it’s that, but his boyfriend may have different reasons to want an uneven share. These are only the asker’s prejudices at play.

KevinB
KevinB
4 years 1 month ago

You are two people, with shared costs. Split them in half and focus on each of your top line, then there is no debate. Enjoy your togetherness through expanding the pie, rather than destroying your energy together haggling over the cost of the ingredients. Don’t live your relationship through nit-picking over some kind of formula and ratio!

Tim
Tim
4 years 1 month ago
The financial issue seems almost secondary. Splitting costs based on income makes sense in marriage. If you are living together, it makes sense for some, and it doesn’t make sense for others. In my personal opinion, living together is a really big step that is very similar to marriage. If you are willing to take the big step of living together, maybe it is time to split bills proportionately based on income. However, that’s not to say it’s either that way or living separately. Are you sure you are both ready to be living together? It seems like you are… Read more »
Ben
Ben
4 years 1 month ago
The right answer is the one that works for you. I’ve had two relationships where I’ve shared a home. In the first, I paid the vast majority of the bills. I also made a tremendous amount more. She moved into my place, so paying more didn’t bother me. I believe that, in reality, I paid more because I saw it as my place, not ours. I thought I was helping her financially, but she just pissed the extra income away. In my current relationship, my fiancée got a place together a year and a half ago. We split it down… Read more »
Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey

Six months into the relationship is still too early to live together. And if you do not see yourself in the relationship in the next few years or if you are not ready to commit yourself in a long-term relationship, there is no reason that you should move in together. However, if you agree to his proposal to move in together, I suggest a 50/50 share of all the household expenses, regardless who earns more.

Beth
4 years 1 month ago
Hm. What I like about Mr. Partner is that the person making less initiated a conversation about collective finances instead of just letting Mr. Other Partner, who makes more. Is it always safe to presume the person making less money is worse with money? Can we imagine situations where the lower earner would actually be an excellent household CFO? I think so. Of course, this couple needs to negotiate their money is a way that makes them feel most comfortable and fits their needs and values. From this thread, the thing that seems to work best is when a couple… Read more »
Helen Bach
Helen Bach
4 years 1 month ago
From a woman’s point of view, I think a woman should keep her independence in mind even when in a relationship, especially if the couple is living together. If a house is involved that is owned by either one, the owner of the house should make the full payment themselves, because if the relationship dissolves, they would still be responsible for the payment, so I don’t think they should be dependent on the other person to make a mortgage payment. If it’s an apartment, I’d split the rent. Utilities, I would split 50/50, because if they were living on their… Read more »
Karl
Karl
4 years 1 month ago
It sounds to me like there are really different scripts that are at play for the two of them. Wanting to split something 50/50 versus based on a percentage income reflects a set of beliefs about what relationships and money SHOULD be, not necessarily what they are. With all of these financial pieces of living together, splitting expenses, how expenses are divided, which (all? some?) expenses are split according to that formula, the mechanics of splitting (joint accounts? yours/mine/ours?) — all of them are probably wrapped up in our individual script for relationships. The 50/50 split can easily be part… Read more »
Adrian
Adrian
4 years 1 month ago
I think whats best and fair for all is that the bills and rent are split 50-50. Yes it would take a bigger hit on your partner, but if he wants to stay together with u and in a lifestyle you both agree on, thats the amount that has to be paid. if he doesnt have any problems with paying the amount other than the fact that u make more, it should be clear and fair that he pays his fair share. having said that, there will be other living expenses other than rent and bills, like grocery shopping, petrol,… Read more »
Johnny Mean
Johnny Mean
4 years 1 month ago
Honestly, they shouldn’t. Men should be men, and let the women, buy whatever the hell they want. Mind you-If a girl is in debt-I kick em to the curb. Basically, I don’t date women with debt. I haven’t had any of my girlfriends work for over 10 years unless they want to. They contribute what they want, when they want. They can buy all the shoes and bags they want. just no debt allowed. In the end , my system is solid. I take responsibility for the financial decisions that don’t increase our net worth. Stop turning sexual partners into… Read more »
Barbara Saunders
Barbara Saunders
4 years 1 month ago

The real issue is values. One option is for the richer person to live a lifestyle that the poorer person can afford and bank the money, keep it separate.

Karl S.
Karl S.
4 years 1 month ago

The two phrases that stood out the most were “But we haven’t even been together for a year.” and “One suggestion from him is that we should live separately.”

Jesse, it doesn’t sound like either of you is super-enthused to be living together — I suggest having that discussion before the financial discussion.

(Also, Jacob, I love the fixed rent/bills approach — simple solution!)

McKockiner
McKockiner
4 years 1 month ago
Split all the expenses equally!!! I used to split the bills with my ex-wife by percentage since I made more than her. I wanted to do the right thing and since I made more, I figured I would pay a bigger portion of the bills. But, since she’s a woman, she would always spend all our money, and we would end up living paycheck to paycheck. When you have someone else sharing their money with you, its real easy to buy more bulls**t to “improve” your quality of life… I was constantly trying to improve my situation by getting more… Read more »
Katie
Katie
4 years 1 month ago
I don’t see the moving out suggestion as an ultimatum, his partner might just realize that it’s better to not get into a situation that you know will frustrate you. When you live together, you lose a bit of spending control. For instance, with utilities, he might insist on using a fan instead of air conditioning in the summer, taking short showers, or foregoing cable to keep expenses low. This might frustrate the higher earning partner because he can easily afford these small luxuries (I know that these are minuscule wins, but they are the best examples I can think… Read more »
Chick J
Chick J
4 years 1 month ago
The trick is communicate. My wife and I put our money together and pay our bills. Now she makes 2x what I make. That sounds simple but there are other factors like. She doesn’t have any insurance from her job, so I cover her and myself. Medical, Dental, Life and even double my 401 for us. This factor isn’t always put in the equation since my work pays the bulk of it. Another factor is most insurances are cheaper like car or home when two people are marriage. The main thing is to always talk about it. ( And yes,… Read more »
Daryl
Daryl
4 years 1 month ago

Definitely split it 50-50!

Judith
Judith
4 years 29 days ago
I love how many people are just saying “Rent should always be split 50-50, no matter what.” I know this is two men, but people are saying it should always be that way, regardless of the relationship. So it’s always going to be okay to make the woman in a heterosexual relationship pay more, even though the strong likelihood in the U.S. is that she will earn significantly less (since even if they’re doing the same job at the same level, she’s only earning 77 cents for his dollar). So “fair” in effect is “cost the woman more”. There’s also… Read more »
Mark A.
Mark A.
6 months 8 days ago
Split the expenses such as rent, utilities, food 50-50. Each one pays their separate credit cards, car payments etc. Entertainment-going out 50-50. Household chores 50-50, with each able to hire someone to do their 50% but no other obligations for their partners chores. If the partner is willing to do my 50% of the chores then I’m more than glad to give them what I’d pay someone as long as they understand that the chores become their responsibility and no hitting me up to help, otherwise I go back to paying a third party to do my household chores. It… Read more »
hysterical
hysterical
6 months 1 day ago
I’m seeing this guy from almost 4 and half months and I’m studying right now, so I’m not financially stable enough to take things in different way (long term). He wants us to rent the place together and he is willing to pay the deposit money and rent for few months, but the thing is he wants me to commit to this thing for a really long time, and my studies will end in like 6 months and after that I’m not sure where I will get the job and if I will have to move somewhere else and in… Read more »
Cara
Cara
5 months 11 days ago

I think that they are now splitting things 50/50 – and surviving! They have been together only SIX months. I feel as though Jesse is not yet ready to make this a lifetime commitment, and take on the support of his boyfriend. He has not even been promoted and his boyfriend, who until the promotion takes place is making a similar living, now us requesting on a preemptive basis to be supported!

Jordana
Jordana
1 month 16 hours ago
I, personally, wouldn’t move in together unless I knew exactly where I was stepping onto, what that meant and if I agreed to that. I started reading this feeling that it’s fair to share 50/50 because that’s what my boyfriend and I have always done. But he lives at his place and I have mine. When I do spend the weekend, he usually buys the groceries and we split all dates, but that’s what he wanted to do from the beginning, for me it would be ok to share the groceries equally too. But after reading the comments and going… Read more »
Olga
Olga
2 days 13 hours ago
I’ve been seeing a guy for a year now. He wants me to commit and build a life together as a family. I’m middle age, my kids are grown ups and have lives of their own. I am in a stage where I am financially comfortable, owns a debt free house, and my salary is enough for me to live comfortably with a bit of luxury from time to time. (I can drink wine with my meal, travel, cook food that I like, etc. I live 2 hours away from him so I stay in his house almost everyday because… Read more »
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