Millennial Math: Living Together, Paying Separately

By: James Flippin · August 17, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Among Millennials, living together before marriage has become the norm: According to a recent survey, 65% of unmarried millennial couples are already sharing a key to the same front door.

Unlike previous generations, these couples are rewriting the relationship roadmap, including earlier cohabitation.

Splitting Costs or Splitting Hairs?

Living together can cut costs for couples, and for 61% of cohabiting millennial couples, finances are a key factor driving the decision to move in.

That said, more than half of these millennial pairs aren’t splitting housing costs evenly. The same survey found 52% don’t divvy up their housing costs 50:50 — leaving more than 1 in 3 couples feeling on financially uneven footing.

To Have, To Hold, And To Budget

Balancing love and money is a delicate dance. For those taking the plunge and moving in together, there are ways to ensure neither love nor bank accounts end up on life support. Financial planners advise organizing shared expenses, fostering a transparent dialogue about finances, and clearly defining “yours, mine, and ours.”

For many couples, contributions relative to each partner’s income rather than a strict 50:50 split may be key to fostering a sense of fairness. Here are five simple steps to calculate each person’s financial contribution under this rule:

1.    Combine both partners’ monthly income to calculate the couple’s combined income.

2.    Multiply the combined income by 100.

3.    Divide each partner’s individual income by the above number to calculate each partner’s percentage of the household income.

4.    Compile and calculate the couple’s combined monthly expenses.

5.    Multiply each partner’s percentage by the above number to calculate how much each should contribute per month.

At the end of the day, the keys to sharing finances and sharing a life together are quite similar: transparency, balance, and a bit of math.

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