Five money rules for moving in together.

Found this article and thought I should share.

Before you and  your significant other make the leap to live together, take these five steps to protect your finances just in case things don’t work out.

By Erin Burt, Contributing Editor, Kiplinger.com

As if making the decision to move in with your boyfriend or girlfriend weren’t nerve-wracking enough, once you’ve opted to merge your two homes, you still face some challenges: Where will you live? What roles will each of you play in running the household? What on earth should you do with that wagon-wheel coffee table?

One topic, however, that couples often overlook in the excitement of their new adventure: money. This is unfortunate because nothing kills the romance faster than arguing about finances. A poorly planned move-in can put tremendous stress on your relationship, so it’s best to smooth out the details ahead of time to avoid disagreements and hard feelings later.

And what if your trial at domestic bliss with your sweetheart turns sour? No matter how optimistic you are about your live-in arrangement, it’s important for both you and your partner to protect your finances in case things just don’t work.

Rule #1: Talk about moneySo before you pack any boxes or call the movers, commit yourself to these five rules that will help increase your chances of a successful move-in.

Communication is rule number-one in making a relationship work. And it’s important to include money matters in the conversation when you’re planning a merger of your lives. Make a date to specifically discuss your finances. You should share your attitudes toward money, your financial priorities, your spending and saving habits, and your short- and long-term goals. (See Ten Questions to Ask Before Saying ‘I Do’ for more advice on what any committed couple should discuss.)

You also should discuss the nitty-gritty financial details of sharing the same space. When deciding how much each person can afford to pay toward rent and household expenses, you’ll need to disclose the amount of your income and your liabilities. If your earnings are on par with each other, a 50-50 split of the financial obligations makes sense. But if one of you brings home a significantly larger paycheck than the other, you might choose to divvy up the responsibility differently, say 70-30, suggest Stacy and Wynne Whitman, authors of Shacking up: The Smart Girl’s Guide to Living in Sin Without Getting Burned. You should revisit this agreement whenever one partner’s income level changes, such as one person goes back to school or the other gets a major promotion at work.

Something else to address is for what you are willing to pay. No one should feel coerced to live beyond his or her means or pay for an expense with which he or she isn’t comfortable. If you have your own cell phone and won’t use a landline, for example, let your partner know you aren’t willing to pay for one. Or if you’re paying your partner rent to live in his or her condo, you shouldn’t feel obligated to pay for major repairs or renovations because you legally have no stake in the property value. We’re not saying you should nickel and dime, but you don’t want to resent your partner because you ended up paying for something you didn’t think was fair.

Rule #2: Keep your finances separate

When it comes to controlling your personal finances, you should hold the reins. In this regard, it helps to think of your significant other as you would any other roommate. Never comingle your debt or apply for a joint credit card — one bad move by your partner could damage your credit report. And don’t combine your bank or investment accounts either. In case of a breakup, you could end up in a costly legal battle over the assets. “Or, even worse, your boyfriend could clean out your account and hit the road, leaving you with a broken heart, a mountain of bills, and not a penny to pay them with,” warn the Whitmans.

If you are engaged to be married soon, however, you might consider opening a joint checking account to which you both contribute enough money each month to cover rent and other household expenses. Just make sure you keep a separate personal checking account for your individual expenses. That way, you won’t have to consult each other every time you want to buy a new video game or a trendy pair of shoes. Plus, having a separate account makes it easier for you to surprise your lover with a birthday gift or romantic weekend getaway. After marriage, you and your spouse can discuss whether to merge your bank accounts completely or keep the separate approach.

Rule #3: Put your arrangement in writing

This isn’t an issue unique to live-in boyfriends or girlfriends — we’ve discussed the value of aroommate prenup before. This little piece of paper can help keep your trial of domestic bliss from becoming a nightmare. In it, you should detail how much each partner will pay for rent, who will cover what household expenses, when bills are due, and other space-sharing arrangements.

But didn’t you opt for a live-in arrangement to forgo paperwork and legalities? Just be aware that without something in writing, you leave your wallet vulnerable. Besides, what’s more romantic than committing to the well-being of your partner and your relationship? “The documents proclaim to you, your partner, your family, your community and the legal system that, though you choose not to marry or cannot legally marry, your relationship is important and valid enough that you’re willing to put in writing your rights, responsibilities and obligations to that relationship,” say Sheryl Garrett and Debra Neiman, authors of Money Without Matrimony. (See a sample live-in agreement.)

Rule #4: Keep major purchases separate and documented

Because you don’t have the same legal protections as married couples in case of a split, it’s smart to keep track of who paid what toward every major purchase. The easiest way to keep track of this is to make all major purchases separately, write down who paid for what on the receipt, and toss the receipt in a file. For example, when furnishing your new pad, you may find you’re short of some essentials. So you might consider springing for the DVD player while your partner covers the cost of a new vacuum. This way, no one bears the full weight of furnishing the apartment, and you’ll avoid arguments over ownership later if things don’t work.

To afford bigger-ticket items, such as a living room set or washer and dryer, you may not be able to avoid splitting the cost. In this case, write down how much of the purchase each partner paid — say you divided the cost 60-40 — and what will happen to the property in case you two split. For example, who would get first dibs on the item? Or would you sell it with each person pocketing their portion of the proceeds?

You also should keep previous property separate. If you make all the payments for a car or a house, for example, don’t add your partner’s name to the title. Joint purchases, however, should be made in both names. For more information on property and other legal matters, check outLiving Together: A Legal Guide for Unmarried Couples from Nolo Press.

Rule #5: Be smart about housing

If you rent an apartment, both partners should put their names on the lease. That won’t keep the landlord off your back if your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t pay, but if you end up in small-claims court trying to collect from a deadbeat, you’ll stand a better chance of winning if his or her name appears on the lease. Also, if possible, consider signing a short-term lease, say six months or less. That will give you an out if your relationship doesn’t turn out to be as enduring as you had hoped.

Don’t even think about buying a home together unless you’re both certain you’re ready to make a long-term commitment to each other — and to homeownership. Generally, you need to own a home three to five years to recoup the costs of buying. If you can afford it, it may be easier to buy a home yourself and charge your significant other rent to help you meet your mortgage payments. This way, there is no confusion about who owns the home.

But with house prices sky-high, pooling your resources could bring a purchase within reach and help you both build equity. If you decide to buy together, consult a real estate attorney to help you work out the legalities. The lawyer will also help you work out a fair selling agreement in case of a breakup. (See A Home for One for more information.)

If you are both homeowners already, and you are the one moving into your boyfriend or girlfriend’s place, consider renting out your old pad rather than selling it — at least initially, until you are sure you can stand your partner’s quirks in such close quarters. And remember, in the eyes of the law, you would simply be a renter with no claim to the property, so you should not feel obligated to pay for renovations and improvements, say the Whitmans. Make this clear when you’re discussing your financial arrangement.

Hope this article is as beneficial to you as it was to me.

Blessings and miracles,

Knyxx…

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The perfect fit.

Once again, I’m in search of the perfect flatmate. A lot of people say roomate but I’m really not looking to share my room with anyone. Gosh NO! I’m only sharing my flat, my apartment. So they’ll have their room, and I’ll have mine. My flat is fully furnished, from fork to fridge and everything other than my room is fair game. Typing that last sentence made me break out in cold sweat cause I suffer from a condition call OCD or I’m a neat freak. I often wonder what is freaky about it. I like things clean, I like them neat. OK yes, I’ll admit, I can be a bit anal with my passion for cleaning, keeping things tidy,  hence the reason I’m on the hunt again. My last “tenant” didn’t get it when I said, “I don’t mind you not being as fastidiuos as I am, but you MUST be able to maintain. He didn’t listen. The final straw for me was coming home to find my toilet / bath area shockingly resembling the toilet area of the  KFC  Port-Of-Spain branch. Goodbye.

So I’m at it again. But deciding who to share a bit of my life with is so difficult. I’m not prejudice, but when a young lady told me she doesn’t work but her boyfriend (who wouldn’t be living with her) pays all her bills, man it’s hard for me to not judge. Sister, get a clue, get a life. You’re 31 years old! So0000 many things wrong with the picture she painted *shudders* but I wont get into it here. I’ll keep my thoughts to myself.

One guy said he’s hardly in the country, he just needs a place to store his belongings, including car. Call a storage company or garage or family member brother.

My instincts (God speaking to me) said this one was all wrong when after answering  my phone the first thing I heard was “Ah wah de place but yuh cah take off some ah de money? Ah cah pay so much.” She never even said hello! Man I is de best dialect talker, joke maker ah know, but time and place for everything. I bring my business ethics with me when conducting business! If we cannot even have a decent telephone rapport, what makes you think you can live with me? I politely declined her offer with a lie, “I’m so sorry but the room has already been taken. Hmmm, I wonder what color lie that is? Should I have taken the opportunity to teach someone some manners, set her up for a better chance of success in her future endeavors?  Maybe I wont even be a good Mummy, but I’m straying…

Most of my friends think I’m crazy because of this “project”. However, I don’t feel unsafe in any way, if anything the flatmate should be afraid of my broom and I. LOL. I am being as careful as I can, but I refuse to live in fear, especially with this venture. I lived in London back and forth for 9 years and in that time I never lived alone, not once.  It was always shared lodgings and I can categorically say I had no major problems, except for the time a flatmate claimed he loved me, AND tattooed my name on his arm! (Now allyuh know I’m the only person with the spelling KNYCKY right?) Brother man wore his love on his arm, literally! But that’s a different story. In fact my best living arrangement to date was when I shared a one bedroom flat with my bff Leah in london, UK, ONE BEDROOM! Don’t ask me about the logistics. We didn’t share a bed is all I’m going to say about our arrangement.  We were like a newly married couple for years. She LOVES to cook and I LOVE to clean=Heavenly bliss. She went to pubs and I experienced the London club life. The only events we both loved and attended together were  Caribbean, particularly T&T type fetes etc. We both attended on business and pleasure. Leah (with her family) had a successful Trinibago delicacies business, and I performed with the many Soca Artistes that came to London. After working, we made sure to get in a little jump before the midnight cut off time.

About a year ago, I also shared a huge flat in St. Augustine with, not one, not two, not three,  but FOUR WOMEN! We all had our individual bedrooms. Only one liked to clean, guess which one? Hehehe, and hardly anyone cooked.Three of us were working professionals and the other two were students at UWI and Arthur Lok Jack. Again, no problems until one picked up a bf that was taking her for a ride, down a one way street driving at full speed, in a car with no brakes and seat belts. We had to perform an intervention.  So yes, I love and value my privacy, and on my permanent return to Trinidad, I lived alone and loved it for many many moons. However, try having two hip replacement surgeries back to back (Dec 2007 & March 20o9). Try paying off those loans then you’ll understand why I have to  resort to this action.

Coming back to my search now, I guess a tidy flatmate isn’t all that’s important to me. My potential mate must be of a certain standard (no not class eh, I never said class, me?).

You must be gainfully employed because I want no excuses when the day for collection arrive.

Your bf, gf, may visit but they CANNOT MOVE IN or my price goes up, and even before we get to that stage, even if I consider it, they will be screened by me as well.

You must be careful of who you invite into my, sorry our home. I’m not one to bring home a whole heap of limers unless both flatmates agree to have an evening of entertainment.

You MUST respect personal items and space.  Our bedrooms can be locked but I’ve been known to forget to lock mine. Don’t let me come home and realize you’ve been foraging in my space. Trust me I WILL KNOW!

We don’t have to be buddies (though that will be nice if it happens) but we MUST be  cordial with each other.

If you or someone you know is looking for a room to rent in a wonderful, cosy, tastefully decorated apartment, with an energetic, fun loving, hardworking woman, and you fit my criteria, and I fit yours, contact me @ knycky.c@gmail.com, 324-4929.

P.S I clean too *winks*. Hahaha, just making sure you GET that point.


Blessings and miracles,

Knyxx…


Great day to you all!!!

Have a wonderful day!

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