Author Topic: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?  (Read 35465 times)

pk_aeryn

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 129
Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« on: December 17, 2015, 05:21:22 PM »
This may stray a little into relationship advice, but I do want some Mustachian opinions on money matters.

I've been with my boyfriend for 4 years.  We were discussing moving into a 2 bedroom apartment.  In our area of Los Angeles, we were looking at a place with a rent of 1800-2000/mo, which for LA is quite inexpensive.  We had a disagreement on how we should split the rent.  He makes literally twice the amount that I do (I make 60k, he makes 130k).  I said that we should pay according to percentage of income, because that way we could save into investment accounts an equal percentage of our money.  (We are both big savers vs spenders)  So I proposed that I should pay 1/3 of the rent, but split food and etc equally.  He really wanted to split everything straight down the middle, but eventually came around when it was a dealbreaker for me and I told him I'd rather live separately if we were going to split everything 50/50.  Because of our income disparity, if I moved in with him and split things 50/50, I'd only save $100 a month off of current expenses by living together, while he would be saving ~$500 and I said it wasn't fair that he would be saving so much more than me.  He said it was fair, because 50/50 is the same, thus fair.

Ultimately, he got a BIG raise at work, and decided instead he wanted to put that raise toward a mortgage.

So now he's buying a house, all with his own money (I will not on the mortgage).

He wants me to move into his future house, and I would love to.  But we can't agree on what rent I should pay.

He's looking at a mortgage that might be around $3000/mo, but expects with tax breaks that the mortgage might end up being effectively $2400.

Originally, after our disagreement on apartment rent, he told me that he loved me and wanted me to move in, regardless of what I could pay.  He said he'd be happy with whatever I contributed.  Eventually, I proposed to pay him $600 in rent/mo.  He was immediately unhappy with this amount.

My argument was thus:

* I can't control that he wants to buy a house right now, versus rent.  I'm not making the money to support the expenses of an entire house.

* My commute, in the area he can afford, will be 30% longer. If I stayed in my current apartment, the commute will be less expensive.

* He makes literally double what I make, and we should base our contributions on percentage of income.

* My medical costs will increase because I'm allergic to his cat.

* He would be buying the house regardless of our relationship status, so any money I contribute is going to his savings.

So I decided on the $600 because that's what I would pay if we were still renting and I could have more of a decision on where we lived and what the rent would be.

Despite him saying that he would welcome whatever contribution I could make, he was immediately disappointed and said it wasn't enough. I reminded him of what he had said, in addition to my reasons on how I came to that amount (ie I wasn't trying to lowball him for the sake of it) but he said he has changed his mind and would resent me if I only contributed that much.

We went back and forth a lot and finally agreed on $900 and that would include utilities.

But honestly, I'm not saving that much money off my current expenses, and I was really hoping that moving in together would allow me to really increase my savings rate.  I guess he thinks the same thing though, but I really don't think I should be paying close to half his mortgage when he makes so much more money than me, and when he would be buying this house regardless of whether I live with him or not.

The whole debate has actually really soured my attitude toward him, as I feel like he's only looking out for his best interest and not for mine at all.  But maybe he thinks the same thing about me.

So who's more right here?  Am I being unreasonable wanting to pay only $600?

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4734
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2015, 05:37:43 PM »
When I moved in with my fiance, we combined finances (we were essentially a married couple; we just hadn't gotten around to the actual wedding yet because we wanted a nice ceremony/reception/honeymoon but had other fiscal priorities, like buying a house). When I was unemployed she paid for pretty much everything, and vice-versa. Stuff gets paid out of whichever person's account happens to be most convenient. It's worked out just fine so far.

From my perspective, your relationship isn't strong enough to cohabit. But then again, my perspective might be old-fashioned (even though I'm 31).

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4015
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2015, 05:50:32 PM »
My first thought:  Run far away.

Ok, maybe that is unfair.  But you shouldn't be paying more than you would be spending on housing anyway.  How much are utilities?  300 for utilities (900-600) seems like A LOT.  Maybe things are that much more expensive in LA, and that is coloring my view.

I guess ultimately, unless you are thrilled to move in together for the 900, I wouldn't.  If you have any reservations, now is the time to listen to them.  The extra commute alone is probably worth at least a hundred or so bucks a month.

use2betrix

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1769
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2015, 05:57:01 PM »
First of all, I would be skeptical about the strength of your relationship if you two can't agree on something pretty standard and have to seek advice from an Internet forum.

Secondly, I think $900 is pretty fair. It's half the lower amount of the original apartment cost, he's paying utilities, plus you'll live in a house instead of an apartment. Good luck finding a decent 1 bedroom in LA with all utilities paid. My friend in LA has a tiny little apartment with no AC and pays $1100 plus utilities.

I could go on, but like I said, the problem isn't of what is fair, it's of your relationship. In my opinion, truly happy couples aren't "keeping tabs" or even really care who pays what, they just look at the big picture and the long term.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2015, 06:07:44 PM by Trixr606 »

pbkmaine

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8357
  • Age: 63
  • Location: The Villages, Florida
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2015, 05:57:59 PM »
I wouldn't do it. Too far from work and his expectations are out of whack.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9811
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2015, 05:59:13 PM »
My first thought:  Run far away.

+1.

Doesn't sound to me like a relationship that is going to stand the test of time.  Bottom line is, going along with his current choices is going to decrease your quality of life substantially (increased commute time and cat allergy), and won't benefit you economically either.  For me, that would be reason enough to decline the opportunity to move in together.  If he really wants that, then let him propose marriage.  At least then you will have some  legal rights to your half of the shared asset (which would include the house).

pk_aeryn

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 129
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2015, 06:01:18 PM »
Quote
I could go on, but like I said, the problem isn't of what is fair, it's of your relationship. In my opinion, truly happy couples aren't "keeping tabs" or even really care who pays what, they just look at the big picture and the long term.

Yeah that's kinda what I figured -- it's not an objectively unfair rent for Los Angeles, but I don't want to be his roommate, I want to be his life partner, and with someone who isn't trying to get close-to-fair market rent out of me.

more4less

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 85
  • Age: 34
  • Location: SF Bay Area
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2015, 06:04:39 PM »
Your boyfriend is a schmuck. And you should be happy that you found it early enough.

thingamabobs

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 145
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2015, 06:12:19 PM »
Your boyfriend is a schmuck. And you should be happy that you found it early enough.

Pretty much sums it up.

My first thoughts are, if HE decided to buy a house then HE should definitely be paying for the bulk of expenses. Even though it doesn't really matter, you haven't said what he suggested as "fair" and sounds like he's been making you throw out the first offer, then pouting when it isn't what he expected. A house is a big decision and really should be decided together if both of you are planning on being life partners. I mean really, what if he buys a house (he gets to choose since he's buying it) and then you get married and finally reveal that you hate the house he chose?

use2betrix

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1769
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2015, 06:12:26 PM »
Quote
I could go on, but like I said, the problem isn't of what is fair, it's of your relationship. In my opinion, truly happy couples aren't "keeping tabs" or even really care who pays what, they just look at the big picture and the long term.

Yeah that's kinda what I figured -- it's not an objectively unfair rent for Los Angeles, but I don't want to be his roommate, I want to be his life partner, and with someone who isn't trying to get close-to-fair market rent out of me.

What debt do you have? What debt does he have?

Also, he now pays double what you are, and now your money is going to your mortgage principal instead of an apartment. I think you're overreacting. You're saying it all "shouldn't matter," and then you're really making it matter.

« Last Edit: December 17, 2015, 06:14:01 PM by Trixr606 »

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2015, 06:14:02 PM »
I would not do it. He should want to help you. He is the only one gaining anything.

use2betrix

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1769
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2015, 06:15:28 PM »
I would not do it. He should want to help you. He is the only one gaining anything.

If his mortgage and utilities are 3000, and she's paying 900, how is he the only one gaining anything?

pk_aeryn

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 129
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2015, 06:20:01 PM »
Quote
What debt do you have? What debt does he have?

Also, he now pays double what you are, and now your money is going to your mortgage principal instead of an apartment. I think you're overreacting. You're saying it all "shouldn't matter," and then you're really making it matter.

Neither of us has any debt.  My money is not going to a mortgage principal.  My name isn't going to be on the house.

My thought is that we should have equal opportunity to save percentages of money and I can't figure out if what he will be able to invest is going to be equal percentage to what I could invest, if I pay $900.

But ultimately you guys are right, having to think about it this hard means that we are probably not compatible, finances wise.

RamonaQ

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 893
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2015, 06:23:24 PM »
I'm in a really similar situation in that my boyfriend and I live together in a house that he owns.  He makes about 3x as much as I do (I make 40k, he makes 120k).

On the money topic: I don't pay rent, instead we split up expenses and are each responsible for certain bills.  It works out to each of us paying for amounts that are roughly proportional to our incomes.  So he pays the mortgage and taxes, and I pay utilities, groceries, and a few other things like gym memberships.  It works out because neither of us were interested in keeping a tally and splitting things up or transferring money to each other each month.

On the relationship side of things: I'm hearing a lot of unilateral decisions being made.  He decided he wanted to buy a house.  He decided what neighborhood to live in.  I wouldn't be happy with that.  When my boyfriend and I decided to move in together we talked about neighborhoods we wanted to live in, what kind of a house we wanted, etc. and then looked from there.  We ended up with a house that is very much a compromise between our two ideals (and located in between our two jobs).  Even though the mortgage is his, the house is definitely "ours" from an emotional standpoint.

I'm not trying to hold up our relationship as perfect by any means, and we still have work to do in deciding how to manage our finances - how much to combine or leave separate, how that would or wouldn't change with marriage, etc.  It's a weird stage to be in.  It can also be uncomfortable being the one who makes so much less.

One thing that we did before moving in together was write up an agreement about major financial points.  I'm sure it's not legally binding, but it was a good exercise to force us to sit down and talk about expectations.  (If my cat needed surgery, would I expect him to contribute?  What if he wanted to buy a new car?  If we broke up, how long would I have to move out? Who would pay for home repairs/renovations?)

lizzzi

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2103
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2015, 06:25:57 PM »
Head for the hills. This is about more than money, and he sounds like a jerk.

lbmustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 930
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2015, 06:26:47 PM »
I would not do it. He should want to help you. He is the only one gaining anything.

If his mortgage and utilities are 3000, and she's paying 900, how is he the only one gaining anything?

Because her commute is increasing and maybe only saving $100 off her current expenses. While he gets a house and someone else helping to pay his mortgage down?

I agree with the others - I think your boyfriend is being unreasonable and controlling. I think the original amount of $600 (plus utilities?) was fair given your circumstances.

Thinkum

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 725
  • Location: SoCal
  • Life is Good
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2015, 06:26:55 PM »
This has "no way" written all over it. This whole thing is benefiting him more than you and from what you wrote, it seems to lack balance. The thing that bothers me about this, is the lack of cohesion in decision making. If you're going to go dutch on spending, then it needs to be fair, regardless of who makes more or less. He is getting hung up on the total spend amounts rather than what it is really costing each of you in terms of spending %.

I went through this myself with my SO. She made less than I did so we split the rent off of % and then split utilities and groceries 50/50. Worked out beautifully with no hurt feelings since it was fair. Had I just said 50/50 on the rent, she would have struggled and I would have had a lot more money to save/invest/etc. To do that to the person you say you love is really inherently selfish and self-serving. You probably didn't want relationship advice, but if you're asking a bunch of strangers online...


@Trix, easy, he's gaining equity on a property he owns and she has no legal right to.

NoraLenderbee

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1255
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2015, 06:31:40 PM »
I'm not going to predict the future of the relationship, but--at this point, it seems like the two of you are not (yet?) playing on the same team. Your boyfriend wants to buy his house, in the location he wants. And he wants you to pay more, even though it's actually a worse situation for you. He's making all these decisions to suit himself, and inviting you to move in at your own expense. Meanwhile, you have the expectation that it should actually cost you less to live with him.

There are lots of ways to manage relationships and finances. However, for it to work, the decision-making has to be shared, with the goal being the best joint outcome. That's not what's happening here. He doesn't sound like he is ready to have a life partner, frankly, at least now. Have you two discussed marriage?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3057
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2015, 06:32:51 PM »
I came in thinking "screw rent, just get married" but as I read further I thought "find a different man."

pk_aeryn

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 129
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2015, 06:35:35 PM »
Quote
On the relationship side of things: I'm hearing a lot of unilateral decisions being made.  He decided he wanted to buy a house.  He decided what neighborhood to live in.  I wouldn't be happy with that.  When my boyfriend and I decided to move in together we talked about neighborhoods we wanted to live in, what kind of a house we wanted, etc. and then looked from there.

So, to be fair, he has been taking me to meetings with his broker and very much wants me to be involved in the choosing of the house.  The issue is, the only area he can afford is North Hollywood, which is far from my work.  We cannot compromise because I work in Mid-Wilshire area (and in my industry, all jobs are in this area!), and housing between NoHo and MidWilshire is all out of the question, from a financial standpoint, safety standpoint and sanity standpoint.  So I don't ultimately begrudge the location, just wanted acknowledgement that I would be increasing my commute and for him to be understanding of that.

Quote
Had I just said 50/50 on the rent, she would have struggled and I would have had a lot more money to save/invest/etc. To do that to the person you say you love is really inherently selfish and self-serving. You probably didn't want relationship advice, but if you're asking a bunch of strangers online...

This is really what I wanted validation about, that I wasn't crazy to think that fair is actually by percentage of income.  For whatever reason, he said he thought I would be taking advantage of him, especially when I asked if it would be cheaper to get on the same health plan and combine car insurances.  This to me was the biggest red flag, because if paid him the difference of a joint health insurance premium, and I saved money at no cost to him, why wouldn't he want to help me do that?  Right now, his union provides him free insurance, so if I paid him the cost of the co-habitation premium, he's not losing anything.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2015, 06:45:40 PM by pk_aeryn »

galliver

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1891
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2015, 06:54:25 PM »
My bf moved with me to the LA area from Illinois last year (he  was in Chicago, I was 3 hrs away); my research advisor moved universities and he was able to internally transfer in his job, which was *awesome*. We were together almost 3 years at that point, now at 4.5. Our situation was similar to yours in terms of distribution but total was like half yours.

We set out expectations as follows:
->As the lower earner I set my upper limit on rent, and we would split equally. We didn't really discuss this at length, but if he had wanted a pricier apartment, I was ready to suggest he cover the difference from half my proposed amount to the higher cost. (My limit was $1500. We ended up finding an awesome place for $1250 largely by getting lucky.)
->We would split all other normal living expenses equally (groceries/tp/cleaning, internet, electric, etc)
-> He actually proposed that he would cover the cost of buying a car, but we would split operating expenses (gas, insurance). He drove to work but was generous with making it available to me as needed (when I have doctor appt or similar mid-day, need to take something heavy/bulky to work, etc). We also worked together on picking it out (he wanted to make sure I was comfortable driving it <3)
-> We would buy our own "stuff" or any extras that the other does not agree upon (e.g. if he wanted to get cable, which he doesn't, or when he wanted to get an Amazon Echo, which he actually did) and not have more than "mild disapproval" power over each other's choices. We aren't married yet, after all.

How it actually worked out: personal items sometimes end up in a Target run and it seems stupid to check out separately. We also buy household stuff jointly (we needed a lamp, chairs, a few rugs, etc that we didn't have in IL because our roommates did).

I gave you that summary to show (a) how another couple (quite functional, I'd like to think!) handles the situation, and (b) where my biases might lie, so you could take my suggestions with a grain of salt.

I think you should figure out what your alternate housing would look like if you didn't move in with him (Shared apt with roommate, rent+utilities? Studio apt in a cheaper neighborhood? Whatever you're doing now?). Offer him that as rent in his house. I wouldn't include the costs of a longer commute in that calculation; it's hard to account for how much time and money you'd spend commuting to see him if you lived separately. If he thinks your suggestion is unreasonable, I have to agree with more4less:
Your boyfriend is a schmuck. And you should be happy that you found it early enough.

You aren't married or even engaged yet so I don't think it's right for the lower earner (i.e. you) to suggest to split expenses by income %; it would be different if he proposed it, but it may feel to him like you're trying to take advantage of his income/live off him. BUT like you said, you shouldn't be responsible for his decision to buy a house; if he wants "extras" over the standard of living YOU can afford, I think it's his responsibility to (a) do/buy these things without your participation or (b) subsidize your participation by paying anything over what you CAN afford (or are willing, or have in your budget), if he wants you to partake.

I do think things change when you get married, as you become one legal entity and have invested in each other by entering that contract and thus some form of pooling finances makes sense (whether that's actual 100% joint pool, perhaps less "fun money" or similar, or responsibility for different bills/expenses, or percentage-based splits). But as bf/gf you're independent entities even if you household together, and it's responsible to treat your finances as such.

use2betrix

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1769
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2015, 07:19:41 PM »
Quote
What debt do you have? What debt does he have?

Also, he now pays double what you are, and now your money is going to your mortgage principal instead of an apartment. I think you're overreacting. You're saying it all "shouldn't matter," and then you're really making it matter.

Neither of us has any debt.  My money is not going to a mortgage principal.  My name isn't going to be on the house.

My thought is that we should have equal opportunity to save percentages of money and I can't figure out if what he will be able to invest is going to be equal percentage to what I could invest, if I pay $900.

But ultimately you guys are right, having to think about it this hard means that we are probably not compatible, finances wise.

So let me get this straight:

You don't look at the mortgage as "your" mortgage, even though you "plan on spending your life together"

But... He should give you a "special" deal, so you can save more for your "own" retirement? Not "the two of yours" retirements?

My fiancé of 3.5 yrs (who I'm legally marrying tomorrow) and I have been in a very similar situation. When she was working I made 4x what she did, yet she put a much higher percentage towards "our"'expenses.

She didn't care nor whine. She knew that everything together $ was OUR plan. Vice versa, too. She knew I wasn't going to do shit without her and if she couldn't afford it, I paid. I brought her on tons of vacations where she didn't spend a dollar because I knew she couldn't afford it. She isn't working now since she's traveling with me so I'm giving her $5500 to max out her Roth IRA. Well, "our" Roth.

In terms of being "fair" he's being totally fair. The problem is I don't think either of you should make such a huge issue and argue about it. That's the problem, and it's both of you.

use2betrix

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1769
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2015, 07:21:59 PM »
When I moved in with my fiance, we combined finances (we were essentially a married couple; we just hadn't gotten around to the actual wedding yet because we wanted a nice ceremony/reception/honeymoon but had other fiscal priorities, like buying a house). When I was unemployed she paid for pretty much everything, and vice-versa. Stuff gets paid out of whichever person's account happens to be most convenient. It's worked out just fine so far.

From my perspective, your relationship isn't strong enough to cohabit. But then again, my perspective might be old-fashioned (even though I'm 31).

This guy has it figured out.

You seem like you want this, yet you're really doing way too much to keep tabs.

shuffler

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 323
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2015, 07:26:44 PM »
He said he thought I would be taking advantage of him, especially when I asked if it would be cheaper to get on the same health plan and combine car insurances.  This to me was the biggest red flag, because if paid him the difference of a joint health insurance premium, and I saved money at no cost to him, why wouldn't he want to help me do that?  Right now, his union provides him free insurance, so if I paid him the cost of the co-habitation premium, he's not losing anything.
Technically speaking, economically speaking, you would be taking advantage of him.
You are accruing a benefit (paying less for your health insurance), and "selfishly" not sharing that benefit with him.  Even though he's the reason that the benefit is available to you.
The "fair" thing to do would be to split the benefit.  I.e. suppose you had been paying $150 for insurance, and the co-habitation premium was cheaper at $100, then the net benefit would be $50.  You could each benefit by $25, if you paid him $125 to join his insurance.

But that's purely a technical/economic argument.  As if you were strangers.

When looking at it through the lens of a relationship, things are much grayer.
I don't think any specific division of costs is either good or bad.  Many couples have many different ways of doing accounting and sharing, and the only really important thing is to find something that feels good to everyone involved.  That could be anywhere from 50/50 to 100/0.  There are lots of compounding factors like relative-salaries, costs, dependents, habits, personalities, etc.

But it should be a pretty strong signal that you two are not approaching the problem from similar perspectives.
I think you should talk to him about his perspective, and share yours, rather than talking about a specific division or dollar amount.

Maybe he thinks of money differently than you (and others on the forum) from his upbringing.
Or maybe he'd be willing to go 100/0, since you're in a relationship, but 75/25 would feel weird to him since it's somewhere between relationship and market-rate.

I wouldn't sour on him based on the number, without understanding his perspective.
(Though maybe you will, once you hear his perspective.)  ;^)

Yonco

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2015, 07:29:14 PM »
Been there, done that. PAY HALF. That way everything will be even. Get a receipt or writing on anything that means anything to you. It can end, and they will take the stuff that messes with your head. In the end money doesn't matter, you can end up with a 20$ car that you both paid for, but a heirloom was lost, get my drift?

galliver

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1891
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2015, 07:37:51 PM »
My fiancé of 3.5 yrs (who I'm legally marrying tomorrow) and I have been in a very similar situation. When she was working I made 4x what she did, yet she put a much higher percentage towards "our"'expenses.

You had *made a promise* to each other to get married. Though perhaps not legally binding, it was binding between the two of you by tradition and culture. You can't necessarily read the same thing into a relationship, even if it's 4 years old...

Pre-emptive congratulations on marrying your fiancée! :)

Bearded Man

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1142
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2015, 07:40:35 PM »
This may stray a little into relationship advice, but I do want some Mustachian opinions on money matters.

I've been with my boyfriend for 4 years.  We were discussing moving into a 2 bedroom apartment.  In our area of Los Angeles, we were looking at a place with a rent of 1800-2000/mo, which for LA is quite inexpensive.  We had a disagreement on how we should split the rent.  He makes literally twice the amount that I do (I make 60k, he makes 130k).  I said that we should pay according to percentage of income, because that way we could save into investment accounts an equal percentage of our money.  (We are both big savers vs spenders)  So I proposed that I should pay 1/3 of the rent, but split food and etc equally.  He really wanted to split everything straight down the middle, but eventually came around when it was a dealbreaker for me and I told him I'd rather live separately if we were going to split everything 50/50.  Because of our income disparity, if I moved in with him and split things 50/50, I'd only save $100 a month off of current expenses by living together, while he would be saving ~$500 and I said it wasn't fair that he would be saving so much more than me.  He said it was fair, because 50/50 is the same, thus fair.

Ultimately, he got a BIG raise at work, and decided instead he wanted to put that raise toward a mortgage.

So now he's buying a house, all with his own money (I will not on the mortgage).

He wants me to move into his future house, and I would love to.  But we can't agree on what rent I should pay.

He's looking at a mortgage that might be around $3000/mo, but expects with tax breaks that the mortgage might end up being effectively $2400.

Originally, after our disagreement on apartment rent, he told me that he loved me and wanted me to move in, regardless of what I could pay.  He said he'd be happy with whatever I contributed.  Eventually, I proposed to pay him $600 in rent/mo.  He was immediately unhappy with this amount.

My argument was thus:

* I can't control that he wants to buy a house right now, versus rent.  I'm not making the money to support the expenses of an entire house.

* My commute, in the area he can afford, will be 30% longer. If I stayed in my current apartment, the commute will be less expensive.

* He makes literally double what I make, and we should base our contributions on percentage of income.

* My medical costs will increase because I'm allergic to his cat.

* He would be buying the house regardless of our relationship status, so any money I contribute is going to his savings.

So I decided on the $600 because that's what I would pay if we were still renting and I could have more of a decision on where we lived and what the rent would be.

Despite him saying that he would welcome whatever contribution I could make, he was immediately disappointed and said it wasn't enough. I reminded him of what he had said, in addition to my reasons on how I came to that amount (ie I wasn't trying to lowball him for the sake of it) but he said he has changed his mind and would resent me if I only contributed that much.

We went back and forth a lot and finally agreed on $900 and that would include utilities.

But honestly, I'm not saving that much money off my current expenses, and I was really hoping that moving in together would allow me to really increase my savings rate.  I guess he thinks the same thing though, but I really don't think I should be paying close to half his mortgage when he makes so much more money than me, and when he would be buying this house regardless of whether I live with him or not.

The whole debate has actually really soured my attitude toward him, as I feel like he's only looking out for his best interest and not for mine at all.  But maybe he thinks the same thing about me.

So who's more right here?  Am I being unreasonable wanting to pay only $600?

lol, your BF is right, you are wrong. Your lower income doesn't entitle you to paying less. It's not fair to him that because of YOUR lower income he has to pay more so you can save more. It's your own doing, not his, so you asking him to pay more is unfair.

Case

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 755
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #27 on: December 17, 2015, 07:40:52 PM »
This may stray a little into relationship advice, but I do want some Mustachian opinions on money matters.

I've been with my boyfriend for 4 years.  We were discussing moving into a 2 bedroom apartment.  In our area of Los Angeles, we were looking at a place with a rent of 1800-2000/mo, which for LA is quite inexpensive.  We had a disagreement on how we should split the rent.  He makes literally twice the amount that I do (I make 60k, he makes 130k).  I said that we should pay according to percentage of income, because that way we could save into investment accounts an equal percentage of our money.  (We are both big savers vs spenders)  So I proposed that I should pay 1/3 of the rent, but split food and etc equally.  He really wanted to split everything straight down the middle, but eventually came around when it was a dealbreaker for me and I told him I'd rather live separately if we were going to split everything 50/50.  Because of our income disparity, if I moved in with him and split things 50/50, I'd only save $100 a month off of current expenses by living together, while he would be saving ~$500 and I said it wasn't fair that he would be saving so much more than me.  He said it was fair, because 50/50 is the same, thus fair.

Ultimately, he got a BIG raise at work, and decided instead he wanted to put that raise toward a mortgage.

So now he's buying a house, all with his own money (I will not on the mortgage).

He wants me to move into his future house, and I would love to.  But we can't agree on what rent I should pay.

He's looking at a mortgage that might be around $3000/mo, but expects with tax breaks that the mortgage might end up being effectively $2400.

Originally, after our disagreement on apartment rent, he told me that he loved me and wanted me to move in, regardless of what I could pay.  He said he'd be happy with whatever I contributed.  Eventually, I proposed to pay him $600 in rent/mo.  He was immediately unhappy with this amount.

My argument was thus:

* I can't control that he wants to buy a house right now, versus rent.  I'm not making the money to support the expenses of an entire house.

* My commute, in the area he can afford, will be 30% longer. If I stayed in my current apartment, the commute will be less expensive.

* He makes literally double what I make, and we should base our contributions on percentage of income.

* My medical costs will increase because I'm allergic to his cat.

* He would be buying the house regardless of our relationship status, so any money I contribute is going to his savings.

So I decided on the $600 because that's what I would pay if we were still renting and I could have more of a decision on where we lived and what the rent would be.

Despite him saying that he would welcome whatever contribution I could make, he was immediately disappointed and said it wasn't enough. I reminded him of what he had said, in addition to my reasons on how I came to that amount (ie I wasn't trying to lowball him for the sake of it) but he said he has changed his mind and would resent me if I only contributed that much.

We went back and forth a lot and finally agreed on $900 and that would include utilities.

But honestly, I'm not saving that much money off my current expenses, and I was really hoping that moving in together would allow me to really increase my savings rate.  I guess he thinks the same thing though, but I really don't think I should be paying close to half his mortgage when he makes so much more money than me, and when he would be buying this house regardless of whether I live with him or not.

The whole debate has actually really soured my attitude toward him, as I feel like he's only looking out for his best interest and not for mine at all.  But maybe he thinks the same thing about me.

So who's more right here?  Am I being unreasonable wanting to pay only $600?

I'm gonna address the part about the apartment only, because I haven't thought of how to deal with the house yet:
I'm going to disagree with the commentators here; you are being very unreasonable.  You should ABSOLUTELY split things down the middle; otherwise, you are leaching off of him.  Not only will feel indebted to him, it will create issues.  I wouldn't agree to him pay most of the rent until you are serious enough that you are thinking about marriage (or something of similar seriousness).  At that point you would be sharing finances.  And that is the major point; not splitting rent equally means you are sharing finances, except you aren't serious enough to fully share them.  What you might consider is, tell your boyfriend "I can afford this much rent a month, let's find an apartment for double that much so we can split it evenly".

You aren't poor, you make a very respectable $60k a year.  Fork it up until you've had enough time to know where the relationships is going; or find some more affordable for you.  I might feel differently if you had a low income level, but 60k is enough to take care of yourself.

human

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 791
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #28 on: December 17, 2015, 08:09:07 PM »
Tell him you want to find a place where you can both share expenses and then go out and find an apartment for $1,200 since you only want to pay $600 in rent. Show him the place and if he refuses to move in with you, well you have your answer.

sonjak

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 235
  • Location: Portland, OR
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2015, 08:33:47 PM »
No comment on what's fair - I think there are good points on both sides of this - but I can say that I shared an apartment with my best friend shortly after we graduated college.  We moved into an apartment that he picked based on his budget.  Even though he paid slightly more than I did, it was still out of my range.  It was in a HCOL area and I basically made enough to cover my living expenses and that was it.  (Realistically if I had understood more about budgeting and MMM principles I would have been in a much better situation even living there, but I didn't so it was painful.)  It was a constant source of fear and stress for me; I resented him and he felt guilty.  It had a very negative impact on our relationship. 

Obviously the particulars of your situation are different but I think moving into a situation which will affect your ability to meet your financial goals and not add sufficiently to the joy in your life might ultimately destroy your feelings for him and your relationship.

Telecaster

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1901
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #30 on: December 17, 2015, 08:53:22 PM »
Likely the riskiest thing you will ever do in your life is stand up on an altar with someone and say "I do."  Or even if you don't intended to get legally married, then making that same commitment to another person qualifies.   

But IMO--and I believe this very strongly--if you are going in, you gotta go all in.   Combining your lives, hopes, dreams, children, in-laws, and golden years, means combining your finances too.  I realize, of course, lots of people have successfully separated the two.  But it will be harder to have "our lives" if you don't have "our finances."  Simple statement of fact.  And compared to all the other things you will be combining, finances are kind of trivial, really. 

Since you are still at boyfriend/girlfriend stage, you probably aren't all in yet and that's fine, probably smart actually.  One step at a time.  But you should be moving in that direction.  I really think he should be accommodating of your financial situation, and adjust the rent based on what you two can do together, instead of straight 50/50.   Because that will be a metaphor for the rest of your life. 

unno2002

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #31 on: December 17, 2015, 08:57:49 PM »
A marriage is a full combining of assets and debts.  Short of that expenses should be paid 50/50. 

aschmidt2930

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 273
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #32 on: December 17, 2015, 09:32:51 PM »
On the apartment, I think he was right, he shouldn't have to subsidize your living.

The house is a different story, since it sounds like you had no say in moving into a more expensive living situation.  Question: If you get a 40% raise, would you willingly chip in a proportional increase in rent? 

Jschange

  • Guest
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #33 on: December 17, 2015, 09:35:18 PM »
I think if you want to live together now, you should look at apartments you can afford 50% of. And talk about when to buy property together.

In the house situation, I think you'd want some kind of shared finances, and I don't think you're ready.

Another perspective on the mortgage, is that if you cohabiting with the boyfriend for a year, you might own half the house (depending on local laws).

Does he know why you want to work in percentages? Do you know if he sees his retirement savings as joint savings?  Is he planning to get married, or is the house your wedding/commitment?

Blatant

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 175
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #34 on: December 17, 2015, 10:18:20 PM »
I'd LOVE to hear the boyfriend's side of this.

My first thought, too, was "run." But that thought was directed at the boyfriend and not the OP.

If you truly loved this person, none of this nickel and dime shit would matter at all. That you're posting this on a forum full of strangers says quite a bit about the nature of this relationship.

Jeremy E.

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1946
  • Location: Lewiston, ID
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #35 on: December 17, 2015, 10:27:52 PM »
I only read like the first 10 comments and I disagree with almost all of them as well as OP. I think if there is any question about who pays what, you should just split everything 50/50, the only exception to this would be if you had to relocate and leave your job or something. However since he is getting a mortgage, I think you should pay what it would cost to rent a room of the house.

okits

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8896
  • Location: Canada
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #36 on: December 17, 2015, 11:38:14 PM »
Posts like this end up becoming an unsolicited referendum on the relationship.  It's not just about the money, it's what each parties' actions and thoughts about money say about their attitude toward the relationship (and each other).

When my DH and I were dating and discussing getting an apartment together (about 6-9 months after we met) he also offered to support me, financially, so I could go back to school and retrain for a new career.  The hope was that this would improve my professional prospects and I would be happier in my new job.

I was shocked and refused.  But it certainly wasn't lost on me that 1) he was generous towards me, 2) he was thinking about my well-being, and 3) that seemed like the kind of offer you'd make to a someone you were seriously viewing as a potential life-partner.

When we moved in together, we picked an apartment that saved us both money (compared to our solo rents) and split rent 50/50.  New location that didn't worsen either person's commute.  Everything else we kind of just took turns paying for stuff (so trying for 50/50, but not really keeping track.)  He made 20-50% more than me (I had variable income, he got a new job and raises) but we were living a lifestyle that cost me less than when I lived alone.  I thought it was, overall, a fair arrangement (and financially benefitted us both.)

I recount all that because there are a few things going on here.  On the surface are the details of cohabitation.  Can you agree on a cohabitation situation that benefits you both fairly equally, advances both your goals fairly equally (you: saving, him: house), and requires any sacrifices to be fairly equally borne? 

Go deeper and there are the relationship issues.  That you feel the need to wave your hands and say, "wait, what about how this is beneficial to me?" strongly suggests problems.  The way you describe your BF he sounds selfish, and if you hope to be part of a strong, happy marriage (or similarly serious partnership), selfish does not fly.

Playing with Fire UK

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2603
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #37 on: December 18, 2015, 12:12:41 AM »
My spouse and I have always split our expenses by what we earn (we have my money, your money and our money), it works incredibly well for us. Others can do as they please.

I disagree that the only way to fairly split costs is 50/50. There is more to fair than 50/50, would anyone say we should split all our food 50/50 because that would be fair - dispite the fact that SO loves bananas and I hate them, or that SO is a foot taller than me and needs to eat more. Where does it end? Do I need to split feed him half my birth control pills 50/50 with him too?

If you can't find an amount of rent that feels good for both of you, then moving in probably isn't the right thing to do.

I'm concerned that he said that he'd be happy with whatever you decide to contribute and then changed his mind, and more concerned that he is okay with you being ill due to moving in with his cat.

Edited for clarity
« Last Edit: December 20, 2015, 10:49:02 PM by Playing with Fire UK »

markbrynn

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 139
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #38 on: December 18, 2015, 12:50:14 AM »
I would like to give OP a slightly different take on the issue. The only situation where this money splitting is going to matter is if you and bf split up. If you stay together then eventually your money will be joint (in practice, even if you never think of it that way).

So, maybe it's better to think about various set ups and how that would make you feel after a potential break up. Would you rather live separately and save less, or live together and save more (even if he benefits more than you)? Maybe run some numbers on what splitting the mortgage would mean.

In the end, I'm not sure whether being so blasé about how to split the money is a good idea (even though it's what I've done in my life). It feels good when you're doing it, but can lead to regrets if you split up and you've been too generous.

I would advise to explore the seriousness and future of the relationship and make sure that both you and bf are going to be able to find a common ground if/when the relationship gets more serious. You don't want to commit years and years to a relationship if your values are never going to mesh.

mxt0133

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1559
  • Location: San Francisco
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #39 on: December 18, 2015, 01:06:21 AM »
It's good that the both of you are having this kind of conversation now instead of down the road, when you're a married, with a house and kids.  Everyone has different values, which are reflected on how you view spending money.  I personally split my rent with my wife, then gf, when we first moved in.  We chose the place together and made sure to talk about the details with an open mind.  We disagreed on a few things but we always had the understanding of helping each other out.  For me even if I made less than her I would still pay for half of the rent because that's just what I think is fair.

I would take a step back and start at the beginning.  Why does each one of you want to move together in the first place?  If it's just for economic reasons then, fair is 50/50 and pay for what you use.  If it's because you want to be together more and build on your relationship then getting what you think is fair economically should naturally become secondary.

Maybe talk about the long-term and it might help put things into perspective for both of you.  If he is already thinking marriage then ask him why he thinks it is important that you pay your fair share if whatever you have will end up his anyway?

Zamboni

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2492
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #40 on: December 18, 2015, 02:52:26 AM »
I am not old fashioned (at all), but I don't think you should move in with him at this time. There are just too many red flags here.

Louisville

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 499
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #41 on: December 18, 2015, 05:39:11 AM »
If you're not ready to completely combine your finances, you're not ready to live together. No 60/40, no 50/50, just 100 - everything is 100% "ours", not "yours" and "mine". I know that there are people that have successful relationships and keep separate finances, but it's rare.

« Last Edit: December 18, 2015, 05:45:01 AM by Louisville »

WerKater

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 337
  • Location: Germany
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #42 on: December 18, 2015, 07:03:05 AM »
I disagree that the only way to fairly split costs is 50/50. There is more to fair than 50/50, would anyone say we should split all our food 50/50 because that would be fair - dispite the fact that SO loves bananas and I hate them, or that SO is a foot taller than me and needs to eat more. Where does it end? Do I need to split my birth control pills 50/50 with him too?
I agree with you that there are other fair ways than 50/50 (and depending on the situation, they might be more fair). But birth control pills seem to be a weird example. Unless you were taking them without his knowledge, yes, he should be paying 50%. He is getting exactly the same use out of them as you: Not having a child at an inopportune time.

Tjat

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 562
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #43 on: December 18, 2015, 07:08:52 AM »
Expenses should be paid proportionally by income. Qualititative costs (longer expense, allergy) should be considered as well - perhaps non-financially. He should ditch the cat and stop being a cheap <person>

Ceridwen

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 237
  • Location: Canada
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #44 on: December 18, 2015, 07:27:28 AM »
I think you're right and he's wrong.  Given all of the considerations you listed, I think $600-900 in rent from you is fair.

When I moved in with my boyfriend (now husband of almost 10 years), I had 10K in student debt and he just bought his first condo.  This was a condo that he could afford on his own and would have bought regardless of me/our relationship.  He had a good job after graduation and no debt.  He invited me to live with him rent-free while I found a job and paid off my debt.  When I found a job a month later, I started paying for our groceries, but no more than that (until my debt was paid off).  Once the debt was gone (around 9 months later), I paid the mortgage and other expenses as a proportion of my income vs his (I think it was around 40%).

I'm not saying this is what you should expect/what is normal/my boyfriend is better than yours, but we were 21 years old at the time, and I am still touched by his generosity and faith in me and in our relationship.  He wanted to start a life with me, and this was the way we went about it.  No regrets.

Fishindude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2120
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #45 on: December 18, 2015, 07:31:06 AM »
Call me old fashioned, but as a proud male, I've always felt like I ought to be able to keep a roof over my girls head without having to get into her income.
He's not going to be much of a provider at this rate.

Stupendous

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 42
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #46 on: December 18, 2015, 07:38:02 AM »
What would you pay for rent + utils if you lived on your own close to work? If you would pay $X for rent + utils and still live close to work then I think you should pay less than $X, whatever $X is. Reasons - you have higher commuting costs and higher medical costs.

I'm not old fashioned but my gf doesn't pay me rent or utils in my house. I recognized some important things beforehand - I make a lot more than her, she took on a big 32 mile commute, and still has to worry about her mortgage when her place doesn't rent out.

Does he realize you have increased costs i.e. commute and medical?

Now do understand he takes on some risk by having you move in with him. What if you accidentally damage his home?

Tyler

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1149
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #47 on: December 18, 2015, 07:44:35 AM »
I see two relationship dealbreakers in this situation.

1) Your insistence that rent distribution must be proportional to income is IMHO unreasonable and if he was posting here I'd probably advise him to run the other direction.   If it was his idea as the higher earner that would be considered a noble and generous offer, but coming from the other direction it's a self-serving demand.  I don't blame him for being upset if he feels like he's being taken advantage of.

2) His desire to buy a house you cannot afford when splitting 50/50 is similarly unreasonable and I don't blame you for hesitating.  If you truly want to live together, you should be focusing on finding a place you can both afford.  If you can afford $900 a month, then go back to the original idea of finding an $1800/month apartment and you'll be fine.  But if a nicer place is more important than an equitable relationship, then your relationship is already on really shaky ground. 

Money disagreements are a red flag and a major source of divorce.  Don't sign up for something that you both aren't ready for.  Why not simply keep your current living situation?
« Last Edit: December 18, 2015, 09:32:01 AM by Tyler »

music lover

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 653
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #48 on: December 18, 2015, 07:57:12 AM »
Those who think you should pay less are wrong.

You should pay rent based on what fair rent is for your location. Your income is irrelevant. No one gets cheaper rent on an apartment if they tell the landlord their income is too low.

That's what pulling your weight and contributing a fair share is all about.

music lover

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 653
Re: Moving Into Boyfriend's House - Fair Rent?
« Reply #49 on: December 18, 2015, 08:02:32 AM »
Neither of us has any debt.  My money is not going to a mortgage principal.  My name isn't going to be on the house.

My thought is that we should have equal opportunity to save percentages of money and I can't figure out if what he will be able to invest is going to be equal percentage to what I could invest, if I pay $900.

But ultimately you guys are right, having to think about it this hard means that we are probably not compatible, finances wise.

You may not be compatible, but it's partly your fault for expecting him to subsidize your savings or your investments.