Love is an intoxicating thing, and the early days of a new relationship can – rightfully – feel like a heady mix of joy and excitement. But as your new relationship begins to settle into something a little more serious, serious questions start to arise: who moves in with whom? Are we ready to move in together? What are our future plans? And, crucially, what should we do about our money?
Any questions about money are difficult to answer with any degree of specificity, owing to the unique circumstances of every individual. But there are some keyways you can think about finances when it comes to your partner – and some bits of advice that may surprise you.
Don’t Share Everything
Many established couples make the understandable error of assuming that all finances should be ‘centralised’, or melded into some form of a joint-account situation wherein income becomes household income. In some specific circumstances this might be useful, but in many cases could lock you off from other approaches that would serve you better in the long run.
A key case in point might be your search for a home together. One of the best financial moves you can make in service of buying a home is saving in a LISA, or Lifetime Individual Savings Account, which contributes an additional 25% of your balance (up to £1000) each year. If you and your partner are saving for a house, you can both open your own LISAs and use them towards a property – doubling the amount of government subsidy you could receive.
Of course, moving in together comes well before you look at buying a home together! Sharing a living space is a significant step in any relationship, and one not without its challenges – but none of those challenges need to be financial in nature.
Emergency costs are the most impactful ways that your joint finances can be affected and often relate to costs in the home. As tenants, you might find yourself liable for costs from accidental damages – costs that certainly won’t help any long-term aims. Renter’s insurance is one of the ways to cover these costs without meaningfully impacting your joint savings journey, covering any major costs and preserving your finances in the process.
Budget as a Team
While much of your finances should remain separate even for the long term, there are naturally many things for which you are paying together – from rent or mortgage repayments to your weekly food shop. As such, there are joint decisions you should naturally be making about such costs – decisions rendered all the more important by rising costs in supermarkets and utility companies.
Budgeting together needn’t be a strict method of controlling one another’s expenditure. Rather, it should be a positive and productive route to making sure your shared costs are as low as they can be, either to make life more affordable for each of you or to achieve a joint savings goal for a future shared purchase.