More and more people are doing the “live together” thing before they fully commit and tie the knot. It makes perfect sense for a whole bunch of reasons, but on top of that common sense pile is the simple fact that you need to be on the same page when it comes to your finances before you jump in and ‘blend’ your bucks.
You only need to type in this sentence “top reasons for divorce” and regardless of which article you land on, disputes regarding finances are right at the apex of the “let’s end this marriage and move on” pyramid.
But it’s not all doom and gloom and before you tear up the new lease agreement you and your partner were about to sign, let’s consider for a second the golden rule, which is “make sure you go 50/50’’.
Moving in together means you’ve decided to do the “partnership thing”, and any sound partnership is a 50/50 deal. This doesn’t mean that you need to take every expense you incur as a couple and split it straight down the middle. A more practical step is to work out what your entire monthly budget looks like and make a firm commitment that partner A will pay for certain things and partner B will pay for others.
Need a quick example? Let’s create a quick hypothetical scenario:
Sanele and Kanyisa are moving in together and they are super-excited to move their relationship to the next level. They each have a vehicle that is financed with their respective banks and some personal insurance policies and medical aid contributions they want to keep separate for now.
Outside of that, this is a list of their new combined expenses:
- Rent R13 000 per month
- Electricity R1000 per month
- Groceries R5000 per month
- Internet R1000 per month
Their new combined living expenses are R20 000 per month, and Sanele and Kanyisa have decided that the easiest way for them to split this 50/50 is for Sanele to pick up the full rent of R13 000 and for Kanyisa to pick up the balance of the expenses.
But that doesn’t add up, does it?
Kanyisa is only paying R7000 for food, interweb connection and the privilege to be connected to Eskom, so she is prepared to put R3000 into Sanele’s bank account to square off and make sure they are each paying in R10 000 per month.
Keeping things clean, above board and financially fair is the key to making sure that neither person is looking to flee the new nest, you’ve built together, in a couple of months.
It’s important that each of you remain financially independent, but as soon as possible get onto the same page about money. The truth is that very often opposites attract and while you might not be into watching the same type of stuff on Netflix or you both enjoy reading completely different genres of books, when it comes to Rands and Sense (sorry Cents), the sooner you get onto the same WhatsApp group about your bucks, the better.
Building confidence and trust in each other takes time and so splitting your expenses 50/50 is going to test the waters and hopefully set a yardstick for your future dealings. If your partner can’t hold down their end of the bargain and you are constantly needing to pull out a mini bail-out package every month, then bigger questions about your long-term compatibility are at play.
Jump in. But jump in with your eyes open and your wallet in your back pocket.
Only time will tell how it all plays out. Worst case scenario, you bail in 6-months, having learnt something. Best case scenario you find your person with the exact same thoughts about life and money as you.
We would like to have your thoughts on this matter.
The Wise About Life Team