How to co-habit successfully

Sharing a home for the first time should be fun but joining finances can be fraught with friction. Moneywise TV shares tips on how not to let money come between you.

Moving in together is an exciting event and the chance to really get to know each other. So talking money might seem like a passion-killer, but it's important to figure out your joint finances now to avoid complications later on.

Everyone has different attitudes towards money so it's worth having a frank discussion. Be open about your finances and share your goals. And whatever you do, don't hide your debts.

If you're buying a property think about how you'll own it. Joint tenancy means you both own the whole property while tenancy in common allows you to protect individual stakes in the property. This is useful if you don't have the same size deposit.

Pre-nups for those who are getting married aren't currently legally binding. But even if a wedding isn't on the cards couples can still have similar agreements.

Unlike pre-nups cohabitation agreements are enforceable by the courts and give important to rights to unmarried couples.

Both types of agreement set out practical guidelines on what you would like to happen in the event of a break-up. They are a wise option particularly when children or a large amount of wealth are involved.

They act as a form of contract and can cover rights to assets built up both before and during the relationship, such as property, investments, pensions and inheritance, as well as the responsibility of debts such as the mortgage.

In long-term relationships where couples remain unmarried and the mortgage is just in one person's name, the other partner has no right to a share of the property or even to stay in the home, so setting out some fair guidelines is invaluable in case a break-up turns messy.

For day-to-day finances, draw up a household budget. Run through your joint expenses and decide how to pay for each one. Will you split the bills 50:50, or will one of you cover utilities and groceries for example, while the other pays the rent or mortgage?

You may not want to combine all your finances but a joint account can make it much easier to pay bills. Keep your own personal accounts and set up monthly direct debits to the joint account to cover shared expenses.
And most importantly, talk about your financial concerns and don't keep secrets. Money is a common cause of friction for couples so being honest and organized is crucial to a long and happy relationship.

Your Comments

Keep your own seperate bank account and transfer monthly to a joint account for household expenses is Number one tip!

One company I found combines a cohabitation agreement with a Deed of Trust (both mentioned) at a competitive price, at around £300.
I found this at and it is called Shared Ownership Protection; seems an excellent option if you're sharing a mortgage with someone and you want security, particularly if things come unstuck.