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Moving in together

Moving in with a loved one brings with it an opportunity to discuss how your relationship could evolve living under the same roof. Here are some areas for you and your partner to discuss before moving in.

What to discuss before moving in together.

Your place, their place or a new place?

If you’re looking for a new place or not, keep in mind how much rent you can each afford. You’ll probably also want to talk about location; what type of property: house, unit, or maybe sharing with others; proximity to work, etc. If one or either of you owns the place you are moving into, you should get expert advice on the financial and legal implications of this. It is important to know that the home you live in together becomes an asset of the relationship.

Setting the ground rules.

Who’s doing what around the house, and how are the bills being paid? Discussing how your bills, including rent, pay to view TV, groceries, car payments, utilities, etc., are paid - and by whom - is important. (The person whose name is on the bill or lease is, in the end, responsible.) You may want to divide the bills between you or split each bill in half. There are many ways to work out who and how the bills are paid. Your chosen method will depend on your situation.
 

How will domestic duties be divvyed up? Maybe you love washing but hate vacuuming. Make the process easier on both of you by discussing the chores you like doing to come up with a loose plan for running the house. Sharing the housework allows for extra quality time together and/or time to work on your individual interests.

Talk about finances.

A household budget can easily morph into a life moments budget. Sitting down together and discussing your goals will help you decide what you want from the relationship and each other. You can then set savings goals in your budget, as well as work out how you’re going to achieve them together. Maybe there’s a trip you want to do, or student debt to pay off, or you want to save to buy a property. Talking about financial matters regularly to make sure you’re both still on track and ok with your budget is important.

 

Take our Financial habits quiz to help you understand how you relate to saving and spending and how that can work in your relationships.


Splitting costs as a couple – equal is not always fair.

Not everyone earns the same amount, which can make splitting costs equally, or setting the same savings target, more challenging for one of you. What you are prepared to pay for things may also differ.
 

A split, based on earnings, can work. For example, if one of you makes 60K and the other 40K, then a 60:40 split on bills, rent, etc. could be one way to cope. Of course, the person earning more may have larger debts, such as student debts to clear, so you need to take everything into consideration when deciding what you can each afford to pay toward the household budget.

How much alone time do you both need?

As a relationship grows it will change. Healthy relationships allow for time away from each other. Some signs you may need to think about time for yourself include feeling bored, fights about inconsequential things, not seeing friends, not doing things you like to do and just not feeling yourself.

Be prepared to compromise

You might have different tastes in styling your home. Maybe the under-rated couch is comfortable yet lacks style! Talking through things can help with reaching agreements.
 

As with any relationship, the art of compromise is important in establishing a happy home.

If you’re already living together

Many couples today choose to live together without formalising their commitment to each other. In this situation, deciding to take the 'next step' in commitment is a great opportunity to review how things have been going and tweak anything that isn’t working.
 

You might like to consider:
 

Sharing Credit Reports: If you’re considering applying for finance together it’s a good idea to get share credit reports which contain information about your credit history. The information is collected from credit providers, courts and other organisations by credit reporting agencies. Visit Creditsmart.org.au to download your FREE credit report.
 

Declare your debt: Now is the time to have the frank open conversations about what is going on financially. Commence your “debt declaration” and inform your partner about any debt that you may have.
 

Discussing everything: The good and the bad. Identify what you think has been going well in the relationship as well as areas that you could both work on for the long-term benefit of the relationship.
 

Reviewing your goals: Make sure you set time aside on a regular basis to ensure that you are going in the same direction with finances, goals, family changes etc. Discuss any changes in your circumstances that require updating Wills, Binding Financial Agreements, Powers of Attorney, etc.