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Advice: Getting on the same financial page as your partner...

January 5th, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I'm not sure if I mentioned on here before that I moved in with my boyfriend in July/August. The living together part has been awesome! We love spending a lot of time together especially cooking. I was kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop but the adjustment hasn't been hard at all. We are both laid back and supportive of each others wants and needs. It's been pretty seamless.

We will be moving again next summer since his job is relocating so I'm sure we will start having more conversations about finances. It's got me thinking about our financial situation. I want to talk about our financial goals early and often but I don't know what to even talk about!

We're not entirely on the same page financially. For instance, he makes considerably more money than I do and has a large amount of money saved (~$50k). He leaves it all in his checking account. I would be doing so much with that money if I had it!!! I don't know exactly what because I have no real knowledge about stock/investments, etc. But I would at least have it in a CD or high yield savings!

Our apartment is much nicer than I can really afford. We have an agreement that I would only pay a portion instead of splitting it. I have mentioned downgrading (within reason) to something less nice (our apartment is beautifully furnished with stainless steel, granite countertops, etc.). We don't really need all of that extra stuff but he doesn't really want to. He makes well over $100k per year and doesn't mind spending $1450 (or more) per month on rent. I would rather live in an apartment that's less nice and save for a house. It would be awesome to have a HUGE down payment.

He really wants me to pay off my debt so that's been my/our financial focus. He told me that he's really proud of me for doing so well and I am really proud of myself. Once this debt is paid off, I'd love to put all of my income into savings ($45k per year) and rely solely on his income to support us. That savings could help buy a house or support our family so that I can stay home when we have kids.

I really want to get on the same page as him. Any advice? Did any of you have differing financial goals/expectations before settling into a commitment with your partners? I'd be curious to know how it worked out, etc. Thanks in advance for any insight!

3 Responses to “Advice: Getting on the same financial page as your partner...”

  1. baselle Says:

    With CDs so low, getting one of those would be nearly the same as keeping it in a checking account.

    While ING is not all that great (.9%), they offer an online checking account and its still liquid, and I've had an account with them for 7 years with no issues. .9% with 50K works out to be 37$ in interest per month. I would immediately go for no brainer decisions like that, that immediately improve things, to encourage him that you have some great ideas.

  2. ceejay74 Says:

    Does he have retirement accounts also? If so, maybe he just likes having a large cushion in savings, and that could be fine. Maybe suggest that he cap it at $50,000 and use anything above that to invest.

    If he doesn't have retirement, suggest that the two of you work out a monthly budget of what you would need in cash to eat, live and stay current on bills if both of you lost your jobs. Keep 3-6 times that amount in checking/savings, and invest anything over that in a retirement account, such as a Vanguard Roth IRA.

    As for a house, do a bit of research together on the kind of house you'd like. Talk to a broker and figure out how much house you could afford keeping your payments at $1450 (remember to factor in prop. taxes and possibly mortgage insurance) and how much you'd need to put down to get that kind of mortgage.

    If it turns out you'd need a big down payment to get all that, maybe it would convince your boyfriend that moving to a more modest apartment in the short term would be a good idea.

    Or maybe it'll turn out that you can plan and save quite comfortably with your current salaries and rent. Then you can rest easy that your boyfriend's not being extravagant and delaying your goals.

    Good luck! I had some work getting on a financial page we could agree on in my household, but if you've got the basic respect and support for one another, you should be able to get there with discussions and research.

  3. Jerry Says:

    I think you are wise to want to come to agreement on financial matters, because they can lead to problems if they are ignored in a relationship. If you discuss things openly and come to a consensus, then you will have some insurance that you are working together on things, and that makes all the difference in the world. Good luck, and nice job on paying down your debt!

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