Sharing Expenses In a Relationship

Sharing Expenses In a Relationship

Sharing expenses in a relationship, whether it’s with your significant other or a roommate, can be tough.

For your individual expenses (student loans, cell phone, credit cards, etc.), I recommend paying those yourself.

With the joint bills (mortgage/rent, utilities, cable, groceries, etc.), you will need to determine a fair and equitable way of handling them.

This will entail sitting down and discussing some of the following options with your significant other.

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Splitting Bills Based on Income

Let’s start with the best option that ensures both individuals are paying an equitable amount towards the joint bills.

This requires splitting the bills based on individual and joint income.

**BONUS!** Get access to my FREE spreadsheet to help you split your joint bills equitably based on income! Click Here and It’s Yours!

Start by taking the gross (before tax) yearly income of both parties and add them together.

Then take the larger income of the two and divide it by the total combined amount.

This will then give you the percentage that individual #1 will contribute to the joint bills.

Subtract that percentage from 100 and you will have the percentage for individual #2.

Let’s look at an example:

Joe and Jan are living together.

Joe makes $45,000 per year as a school teacher.

Jan makes $65,000 as a principal.

Together they bring home $110,000.

The next step to take is to divide Jan’s $65,000 by the combined income of $110,000. This equals about 59%.

In this scenario, Jan would pay for 59% of each joint bill and Joe would pay the remaining 41% (100% – 59%).

I highly recommend opening up a joint checking account to pay for these joint bills.

By splitting the bills this way, one person can not accuse the other of having extra funds to play around with at the end of the month.

Based on your income, you are paying your fair share.

The most equitable way to split bills is based on income. You're paying your fair share that way. Click To Tweet

If for some reason one of the individuals pays for a joint bill and it cannot be paid out of the joint checking account, you’ll need to make sure that the second individual is adding more to the joint checking to account for this. An example would be health insurance if you’re both on the same plan.

To make this calculation MUCH easier, I’ve created a spreadsheet to help you determine what each individual should contribute to the joint checking. Here’s a screenshot:

(click to see the calculator in action)

(click to make it larger)

If you didn’t download the calculator above, here’s your second chance. Included with the spreadsheet is an instructional video on how to use it. Don’t miss out on this spreadsheet before I begin charging for it!

**BONUS!** Get access to my FREE spreadsheet to help you split your joint bills equitably based on income! Click Here and It’s Yours!

Grab Bag Method

Based on my experience, I believe that this one is the most popular.

However, I think it’s the most ineffective.

This method entails just picking certain joint expenses and saying “I got it!”.

So, one person might be in charge of paying only the rent while the other picks up the remaining expenses.

Sometimes you may not even pay close to the same amount as the other person.

I feel that this method is ineffective due to the fact that you do not have a hand in every expense.

In other words, you may not even know what they other person is paying for and how those expenses are generated.

You are not doing yourself a favor because if the relationship ends, you may not be as prepared to handle all of the expenses (or how to be effective in reducing them during a budget crunch).

RECOMMENDED READING:  Money and Relationships - Talk Money With Your Honey

Split 50/50

One of the simplest ways to split bills is evenly.

All you have to do is look at the bill amount and divide by 2 (or more if you have multiple roommates).

Once you have the amounts figured out, nominate someone to handle the bill paying process.

I recommend opening a joint checking account to handle all of the joint bills.

As you’re paid, send your portion of the bills to this joint checking account.

When it’s time for the bills to be paid, the money will be readily available.

If you’re unable to get a joint checking account (i.e. roommates), you may want to nominate certain individuals to pay certain bills and then just have the others reimburse as needed.

I don’t recommend having someone pay all of the bills.

You may find out that your roommates are bad at paying back their fair share. 🙁


*     *     *     *     *

The previously mentioned methods are just a handful of the options out there.

These just happened to be some of the more popular ones.

You and your significant other will need to find something that works for both of you and is agreed upon.

I would not recommend combining all accounts and sharing all expenses unless you are married (or thoroughly committed to each other).

This is due to the fact that some relationships just do not end well.

P.S. You grabbed your FREE spreadsheet, right? Click Here and It’s Yours!

How do you and your significant other handle expenses?

Please share in the comments!



  1. Pauline on January 8, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    I would accept the help if my financial struggle was really a big burden. Otherwise I would split normal living expenses half way and let him pay for dates and entertainment. I don’t want the money to ever become a source of argument in the relationship so my bf could start saving what he offered to pay for me and if we get married he can put that towards my debt as finances will be joined. But a nasty breakup would leave him bitter and I am way too independent to accept a monthly handout if we both make the same amount.

    • Mike on March 28, 2019 at 4:22 PM

      Why can’t you guys take turns paying for the dates and entertainment? Why is it okay to split normal living expenses, but he be expected to pay for normal things like dates and entertainment?

  2. eemusings on January 10, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    I think the grab bad is ineffective and rife for trouble! Have seen this in action mostly in shared houses where flatmates pay different bills. I make quite a bit more than my fiance at the moment so shoulder the majority of expenses. This has been true for a few years now, though for a while when I was studying he paid the bulk of outgoings when he outearned me. Unfortunately he got laid off shortly before I finished uni and hasn’t made anything like his previous income since.

  3. Sheri on February 19, 2013 at 3:10 AM

    All of these solutions sound reasonable. I’m wondering if I’m crazy. My boyfriend has lived with me for the last 8 months. During that time he has not paid any rent. Granted when he first got here it was a “trial”. Obviously, 8 months adds to more than a trial. He also was making little more than minimum wage and has had 400 dollars a month in expenses to keep his place, which he still has He now has a decent job and a larger income than mine (last 3 months +). Since he’s been here I’ve paid all expenses related to our living including items to help him look for and or to keep a job.

    In addition. He’s worked from our home since he’s been here. Everyone else has had to adjust their s schedules and lives around his work.

    Additionally my son moved out so that my boyfriend could have his room as an office

    Here’s my question: now that he’s able, is there anything wrong with me wanting him to contribute to the expenses of living here?

    He says there is because its my mortgage. I asked for 500 a month us half of the groceries. Monthly expenses that include mortgage but are not personal are 2000.

    He says he’ll pay the phone and gas and electric. The phone etc are company paid expenses which I have paid for since he’s been here The gas and electric are 150 a month which is double what it was before he got here

    He says he won’t pay more that paying gas and electric is a gift since I’d have the same expenses if he want here

    Am I crazy to think he should contribute at least the 500 regardless of where it goes or am I crazy to have let this go on for so long

    • Adam Hagerman on February 19, 2013 at 7:18 PM

      My first thought, why keep the other apartment when he is living with you full-time? It appears that those funds could be directed towards your shared living expenses. Either he is committed to you or not. Getting rid of the other apartment would be a good start.

      I would definitely ask him to share in the expenses. His excuse about it being your mortgage is just crazy. That does not matter. In all actuality, it’s just the same if he were renting a room from a friend that had one available. Would he tell his friend that he was not going to pay because he would pay it regardless? I don’t think so.

      You’re not crazy. I’d calmly talk to him about your current living situation and how it seems more fair to share in the household expenses. Even though you are romantic, it’s just like having a roommate. That roommate should share in the expenses.

      • plew on November 13, 2017 at 3:17 PM

        Also…this is often missed: The wear and tear on the use of the home. Just a bathroom alone can take a beating from a family of two not to mention things malfunctioning such as clogged drains or hard water built up. Steadily used carpeted walk areas become worn down no matter who you are and bedding gets laundered regularly enough that a couple could stand to repurchase each year. Plates and cups become chipped with time, drawer pulls lose their patina and handles become loosened as they are used repeatedly. I could list a million things that keep a well manicured home well manicured AND that doesn’t include mechanical. All this is a juggling act that (Sorry dudes) men seem to think a team of fairies take care of.

        Personally I believe that a partner is not simply quantified by their monetary contributions but instead by their WORTH as an acting partner in the care and maintenance of the home. A common interest shared and cherished by both will go so much further by way of commitment than any dollar amount ever could.

    • elgabriels on February 25, 2018 at 11:32 AM

      Its okay for him to assume its an act of kindness, if there’s no verbal or written agreement on any responsibilities while he was leaving with you. However, a decent man would apply common sense to assist you in every way possible to lessen you financial burdens.
      I would strongly recommend you have a real discussion about all of your expenses from when he got his current job and how to proceed going forward. If possible, a written agreement would do the magic.

    • Kim on September 30, 2018 at 11:47 AM

      Hey Sheri,
      Mortgage is a joint expense (Like rent, if you moved out together, you could rent out your house, keep it all and only pay 1/2 a rent elsewhere and he would have to pay half). He knows full well he’s taking advantage of you and your kids! I think he’s a prick and you can do better.

  4. Trish on April 23, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    I have a situation where I agreed to my bf moving into my house in October 2008. He did not earn consistently, being a painter with a business partner. I pay for all utility expenses most of the groceries, plus auto fuel and cell phone. And do the cooking, cleaning, laundry, plus work a 5 day work week. Up until recently, I have expressed that he pay his way for use of the cell phone and groceries. He’s agreed to contribute paying for 1/2 of those 2 items, but does not agree with paying for anything else. He has since benefited extremely well from living here, by setting up his own in-home, on-line business, which I had initiated on-line. Plus he’s received financial assistance from me to the tune of $50K (paying off his car and bike loans, and other money) since living with me, but says the amount of repairs and innovations in and around the house with him doing the oil changes on the car, and has helped save me so much money. Also, he does not agree with paying utilities since he says it’s my house. I did not ask for any contributions for the 1st 3 years. It’s been 4 and 1/2 years since he’s lived with me in my house. He says I could give him notice, if I insist on him paying half of the utilities. Should I ask him to pay up or move out?

    • Dee on July 18, 2017 at 2:58 PM

      Tell him he either pays half the housing expenses or he can move out. Couples share expenses, not burden one. He is benefiting from living at your house just like you are therefore he should pay half.

      • Kim on September 30, 2018 at 11:49 AM

        Hey Dee,
        He knows full well he’s taking advantage of you ! I think he’s a prick and you can do better.

        • Tony on July 9, 2019 at 11:45 AM

          I too am unsure how much to ask of my recently moved in girlfriend.
          I own the house outright, it has been suggested to me that we split all common, obviously not personal bills, and she gives me an extra £150 a month house maintenance payment. What do others think if this idea?

    • Dawn Smith on February 15, 2019 at 3:51 PM

      I feel he is really expoilting you..

  5. Ken on September 19, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    I would like to hear more about balancing different personality/savings types/financial goals in a long term relationship.

    • Adam Hagerman on September 19, 2013 at 3:09 PM

      Hey Ken!

      If you’re subscribed to the email newsletter, be on the lookout for something over the next few weeks.

      There’s an article on the horizon regarding communicating about money and handling differences of opinion.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Linda on March 6, 2019 at 6:32 AM

        I inherited a 2700 sq ft ocean-view condo f&c that could easily rent for $5000/mo. My bf wants a housekeeper weekly, so our utilities, groceries and housekeeping budget/expenses are approx $1500/mo. (BTW, he was leasing a 2 bdrm, 2 bath modest condo for $2500/mo before he moved in with me. And a nice 1 bdrm, 1 bath apt, utilities, & groceries exceed $2500/mo). Anyway…He WAS paying me $2500/mo of which I deposited $1000 into a joint vacation account—and then I bought the groceries, Christmas parties, paid for utilities, weekly housekeeping, laundry, and misc household supplies/needs. He pays for our restaurant dining & entertainment. Of course, I pay the hoa dues, property taxes, insurance, repairs, maintenance, and major renovations on the condo—-along with regular wifely duties. NOW he thinks he should only contribute $1500/mo to our household and we should split vacation expenses. (FYI—Just a bedroom w/en-suite bath rents for $1200/mo.) What is fair???

        • Michele McCormick on March 6, 2019 at 11:25 AM

          This is a recipe for disaster if you don’t straighten it out immediately. The longer he pays so little the more he will feel any adjustment is unfair. He should pay half of all expenses including taxes and insurance. Since there is no mortgage payment – he is already getting a bargain. You must decide – how will you feel about carrying the bulk of your living expenses as time goes on? If you can accept that, own it now. Otherwise, if he won’t accept his fair share, it may be time, hard as it is, to ask if this is really the right relationship for you.

  6. ca on January 19, 2015 at 12:26 PM

    I too have a live in bf who has 3 kids custody of 2 of them. I have one son still living at home. I make more than he does and he’s lived with me about 9 mo. He recently started giving me $100 week for living expenses. I don’t feel this is fair as he’s adding 4 members to the family. I work a 4 day week compared to his 5-6 day week so I’ve had to accommodate to meals and laundry for all 6 of us…it’s overwhelming to say the least and I’m not sure how to fix it. He too refuses to pay “rent” per say do to it being my house…I don’t understand. He and his 3 kids could not live anywhere for $400 mo with food and chores done for them this is insane. Is there any way to do this fairly?

    • Adam Hagerman on January 19, 2015 at 5:25 PM

      Unfortunately, you can’t force anyone to contribute what you feel is equitable.

      If I were you, I’d discuss the possibility of splitting the shared bills based on percentage of household income. This way, your boyfriend won’t feel as if he is being taken advantage of financially. He’ll also end up paying less, which may help soften the possible blow back.

      • NWC on December 2, 2017 at 5:58 PM

        I agree with Adam: ask about splitting expenses based on your pre-tax incomes with the purpose of helping you maintain financial security and helping him feel great about his contribution (once he’s over having less money). If he’s not mature enough to accept this proposal than ask for him to come up with another proposal that you might consider. Perhaps he is willing to do some work for you and the home that you are willing to trade for his ‘percentage’ or he comes up with something else that works for you all together. Perhaps be open to him taking a second job for additional money that you won’t count towards the formula for at least one year. If at all possible ask each of you to be creative and loving. However, stand firm that change needs to start taking place and put a due date on a decision together. Be especially careful to communicate about it when you’re both truly able to listen and share and take a ‘time out’ if it gets tense so your heart rate can lower. The Gottman Institute would recommend at least a 20 min. time out doing something totally unrelated (as women tend to be at risk of using the time out to sharpen their debate topics which is counterintuitive to the goal of a shared plan). If you want to read more check out their “The Art and Science of Love” DVDs and workbooks and workshops and see if your local library will purchase.

        For example: You could say ‘I’d like to come to a conclusion within two months and I’d like to set some dates and times to discuss this for 30 min. at time at least once a week, will you agree to that? I’d really like to make this work because I love you.’

        Personally I find that people who earn more like the idea of 50/50 because they know they get to keep more money. I also find from past relationships that people who earn more have never lived for years earning as little as I typically do so they have no concept of how challenging it is to earn less yet still want to buy our own plane tickets to visit family and take a vacation every couple of years. To save so carefully we need to have access to money to manage/budget.

        I suppose I am also considering earning more as we split 50/50 for rent and it’s really difficult given that I’m the lesser earner. I’m looking for better paying careers and jobs and applying for some despite my past experience doing so not securing new employment. I’m also considering costs for new career education as well despite my substantial education in a field with low demand in my new area I moved to due to our marriage.

  7. Nick V on March 16, 2015 at 3:42 PM

    My GF does not make near as much as I do and the mortgage is under my name. Therefore the mortgage is 100% my responsibility but I expect her to help with cleaning a bit more than I do, since I also work longer hours. Good thing she’s not a feminist.

    On the other hand, we have a common bank account for the bills and shared groceries.

    We fill out gas tank and pay for our lunches and personal hobbies and fun times with our individual bank accounts.

    • Kim on April 2, 2015 at 10:10 AM

      I am a similar situation as Nick V but we haven’t figured out how to handle the finances together yet. We still have separate checking accounts. He pays all the household bills(mortgage payment and utilities) It’s his house he built 18yrs ago and I cover all the groceries and household expense…cleaning supplies, bathroom necessities and so on. We eat well and I do all shopping, cooking and cleaning.

      We both have loans on our cars and credit cards to pay as well. I am open to getting a shared checking to cover household bills(utilities and expenses), groceries and I think he would be too.

      Would you recommend we each pay our own personal loans or should they be a joint effort to pay off together? He makes about $65k and I am making $42k roughly..

      We are committed to each other but have not yet decide if marriage is for us.

      • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on April 2, 2015 at 10:22 AM

        Hey Kim!

        For unmarried couples, I’d recommend getting a combined checking account for all of the bills you share. That would include items such as the house, utilities, food, vacations, etc.

        Since your incomes are quite different, I’d also recommend splitting those shared expenses based on your income. The information on that method is in the article. This will ensure fairness and allow you to have the same percentage of your income left over to start paying on your loans.

        At this point, I’d keep all personal bills separate. If you find out later that marriage isn’t for you, you don’t want to feel like you owe the other person something. If you do get married later, combining forces on the debt will certainly make the elimination of it go much faster.

        Good luck!

  8. AG on April 21, 2015 at 12:41 AM

    BF is staying with me for over a year now. My mistake is when I offered to apply a lease car under my name for him to use. He firmly promised that he will pay for the monthly lease unfortunately I am the one paying for the dues.
    He is using my place for his on line business . His eranings will depends on the number of items he sold and base on my observations he is doing good profit wise.
    I already talked with him about my concerns.
    1. car lease
    2. reimburse the expenses ( starting his online business) for I put out cash and i need it back.
    I am paying for almost everything.
    seems nothong to him.
    what to do now?

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on April 23, 2015 at 11:59 AM

      Tough stuff AG.

      Since the lease is in your name, you’re going to need to keep it current for your sake. Honestly, if the title is also in your name, you have every right to drive it. 🙂 That may push him towards making the payments. He obviously still wants to drive it. Right?

      The other issues are ones better addressed with a marriage/family counselor. See if your work provides an employee assistance program or reach out to someone in your community.

  9. Darren on August 26, 2015 at 9:54 AM

    I am planning on moving in with my fiance and her children. We are discussing how to equitably share expenses. She has 3 teenagers at home. She makes about 56k a year including her gross salary and child support. I make about 80k gross. I am ok with splitting the fixed expenses: mortgage, taxes, insurance, cable based on income. Not so much for water, electricity, food since her family has 4 people and its just me. I also have 2 kids in college from a previous marriage that I provide some support for and don’t expect any help from her on, obviously.

    What would be a good way to approach the variable costs?

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on August 29, 2015 at 1:04 PM

      Hi Darren!

      Since you’re not married and you’re bringing in previous children to the relationship, I agree that it wouldn’t be equitable to split the variable expenses based on income.

      You might want to try splitting them based on the number of individuals while adding a little extra due to your higher income and higher consumption levels. For example, if the grocery bill is $500 per month, you’d contribute $100 based on being 1/5th of the equation. However, you need to realize that you’re more than likely eating more of the food and purchasing stuff that only you will be consuming. In that case, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for you to contribute $200 in that example. There’s really no easy way to split out those bills based on exact consumption. You just need to ballpark it knowing that it’s still less than if you went on income alone.

      • Jp on January 19, 2016 at 1:17 PM

        I would never pay half of grocery bills with a man. Men, I know for my each and my current boyfriend, consume 2/3 to my 1/3. So, when people think about what is equitable (fair) then they also need to look at consumption. I know it probably sounds cheap of me but my attitude got this way with some history with my current boyfriend and his interpretation of fair. I could bore you with of the travail points but I won’t.

        • AF on May 21, 2018 at 3:56 PM

          Hi Jp. This is true, but have you considered other things in your household that you might consume more than 1/2 of? My boyf def eats more food but also I take WAY longer showers, for example.

  10. Emma on December 15, 2015 at 2:49 PM

    What about considering take home pay (after the taxed and other deductions) as opposed the (pretax) gross pay?

    • Adam Hagerman on December 21, 2015 at 10:42 AM

      Great question Emma!

      I’d use gross pay. If there are some deductions that could be considered joint, you’ll need to make an adjustment. For example, if your significant other is on your health insurance and it comes out of your pay, I’d add that to the pot of joint bills that you’re dividing. Since they technically wouldn’t be able to pay their fair share of it, I’d add the contribution toward a different shared bill.

      I hope that makes sense!

      • Mark on January 29, 2017 at 7:39 AM

        Hey Adam. This situation is still not very clear to me.
        Why making this calculation with gross salary rather than net (after taxed) salary?

        I’ve recently moved together with my girlfriend, and we agreed upon splitting our rent based on income. The other bills, we agreed upon sharing it 50/50.
        During the first 3 months, we calculated our rent based on our gross salary, simply because we both started new jobs and due to some benefits we received incorporated on our first 3 month salaries, we didn’t know our exactly net salaries. So far so good!
        After the first 3 months had passed though, we started getting our regular salaries and my girlfriend felt that our rent should be recalculated based on the net salaries and not on the gross.
        Her reasoning was that she earns more and than me, and consequently she pays more tax over her salary (even in percentage, since her salary places her at another tax range), than the difference between our net salaries are not as high as in our gross salary.

        Hence my question, what should we use in the calculation, our net or gross salaries?

        • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on January 29, 2017 at 11:58 AM

          Hi Mark. I’m not sure about your country, but here in the US, our income tax withholding can be manipulated to allow us to have more taken out than is necessary. Therefore, it’s best to use gross income to remove that variance. In other words, one person in the relationship could over-withhold for their income taxes, pay a smaller share of the bill, and end up getting a large tax refund that they would claim is 100% theirs to keep.

          Unfortunately, making more income inevitably leads to paying more in income taxes. That’s not a bad thing, but it does mean that for every additional dollar you make, less of it actually gets into your pocket. Since you’re not married and therefore filing your taxes separately, there’s no way to account for that difference.

          Also, you have to know that this topic (sharing expenses in a relationship) is not black and white. There is certainly negotiation that needs to take place. In my opinion, splitting the bills based on gross income is at a minimum, where you should start.

  11. Emma on December 21, 2015 at 11:07 PM

    My boyfriend makes more than I do but he says that when it comes to sharing living expenses, we need to consider that he has child and spousal support responsibilities. I don’t have such financial obligations. In fact, if I move in with him, I have to commute which will increase my gas cost. How do you advise I approach these factors in deciding on sharing living expenses?

    • Adam Hagerman on January 3, 2016 at 11:38 AM

      My response is similar to the one I already gave. In your situation, his other expenses are his responsibility and should be paid with his leftover money. I would split the bills based on the method we already discussed.

      However, in most cases, I imagine it would leave him with little or nothing left over, while you may be doing just fine. Therefore, I would start with the method I just described and adjust the numbers based on the results. This way, you’ll at least be discussing an equitable solution and not simply splitting the bills 50/50. If you’re committed to each other, I imagine you want to see each other succeed, and this is a good way to start off on the right foot.

  12. Becca on January 8, 2016 at 12:18 PM

    I moved in with my boyfriend and he is having me pay $400/month. He has a mortgage on his house and has the usual monthly bills such as cable,electricity,gas,and water. he makes around 100,000/year and I make around 10,000 /yr.He came up with a figure of $400/month for my share. I had to have surgury 2 months ago and have had no income and he still expects me to pay $400 plus every other time we eat out.

  13. Michele McCormick on April 22, 2016 at 12:57 PM

    My “boyfriend” and I are in our sixties, both financially self sustaining. He will move into my home in a few months. What expenses is it fair to ask him to share? I feel that taxes, major maintenance and capital improvements should be mine.
    He agrees we should split Internet, utilities, groceries. But he doesn’t feel he should support gardening, pool or housekeeping services, as I would have to pay for those in any case.
    What are your thoughts for a couple in our situation?

    • Adam Hagerman on April 26, 2016 at 11:56 AM

      Thanks for the comment Michele!

      I would treat it as if he was a renter in your home. Find the going rate for renting out a room in your area and use that as a starting point. I think that would be fair on both ends.

      • Michele McCormick on April 26, 2016 at 1:31 PM

        Thank you! That’s definitely a good starting point.

  14. Tracy B on June 2, 2016 at 4:00 PM

    I have been living with my boyfriend for over a year. He has owned his home for 20 years and I have rented out my home. I am sure his house payment is covered by myself and tenant. He insists that I pay rent of $1,250.00 per month. I am sure his house payment is not much more. He covers all utilities etc. but I essentially end up buying the groceries and cooking because I am a foodie. I probably spend $600 a month on food and we do share expenses when we go out. We also have a tenant living in the lower level so my man is making out quite well. I have tried to discuss this with him but it ruffles him up quite a bit. What is fair when you are contributing to a home that you do not own and have no stake in improving etc? I do most of the cleaning too.

    • Adam Hagerman on June 3, 2016 at 11:34 AM


      I would look at the cost of renting in your area. That will give you a starting point. If you can rent something by yourself for less than what he’s charging you, you have some leverage.

  15. Celine on August 22, 2016 at 9:26 AM

    (sorry for bad English)
    We decided kinda spontaneously on 50/50 when we first moved in together. After a year more or less, we got to the point in a relationship that we knew this is the real deal etc., we decided to share 70/30.

    My bf earns more then me, he makes 63% of our total income (my salary + his).
    We don’t split exactly 63/37 since I do the housework, cook, do laundry, clean etc.
    We use an app to keep track on spendings, and it splits expenses and we see who owes how much in the end of the month (only for split expenses).

    Our shared expenses: rent, bills, groceries, eating out, house things like toilet paper, holidays (though here sometimes he covers more if we agree to go a bit more fancy), entertainement like cinema

    Separate expenses: clothes, my makeup, phone bills, personal splurges (for example he wanted a PS4, I wanted a spa weekend with my bff), personal savings (retirement etc)

    It sometimes difficult since he really makes more than I do, for example he likes to go to restaurants that I couldn’t afford by myself. In that case, he usually just says “my treat” before we go.

    I think it is all about communication in a realtionship. I would be perfectly ok sharing 50/50, but then he would need to lower living conditions (cheaper flat etc), and since we are in love, in a realtionship, we want to have a life together so we adjust 🙂

    Also it is quite easy for us since we don’t have “controversial” spendings like child support, or living in my(or his) house.

  16. Lina on December 7, 2016 at 4:11 PM

    I am living with my boyfriend over the year now in my house which is fully paid off. The rent for similar house in the area goes around $1900 plus utilities and internet. He gives me $900 (everything is included). His is renting out his own condo for $1550, the tenant pays his own hydro and internet.
    Is it a fair arrangement? I feel sometimes that he got the better hand. Especially because during the week I live in different city and come home for weekends only.

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on December 10, 2016 at 1:12 PM

      Hi Lina! Thanks for the comment.

      As the article states, I always recommend splitting the joint bills based on income. If he is renting out his condo and it’s paid off, I would include that income in his income calculation. However, if it’s not paid off and his mortgage is almost exactly what he brings in, I would count that as an individual bill and treat the income on that property the same way.

      Honestly, I don’t think the fact that you’re only there for the weekend should factor into the calculation. I’m guessing that’s a career and personal choice that you made.

      If you split the bills based on income, is the $900 a fair share for him?

  17. Matthew on January 9, 2017 at 11:54 AM

    I have always believed that splitting bills based on income / percentage is the best way to handed shared expenses and to keep things fair. Each partner would pay their percentage of shared expenses such as rent, groceries, household goods, utilities, home internet. Each partner would cover their own individual expenses such as cell phone, car expenses, clothes, etc.

    What do you do if one partner works regularly and the other partner has a family inheritance where it is not necessary for them to work regularly. How do you split based on income if technically one person doesn’t have/need a monthly income. Is another method more suitable?

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on January 12, 2017 at 11:21 AM

      Great (and tough!) question Matthew!

      With this type of situation, I suggest looking at it as if they’re “in retirement”. In other words, what would be a safe percentage they could withdrawal from their accounts each year and still be OK for the future? You could look at the 4% safe withdraw rule as an example.

      So, if the individual has a $1,000,000 inheritance, a safe withdrawal rate of 4% would make their annual “income” $40,000. You could use that number for the calculation in the article above. Now, if they’re taking out MORE than $40,000 (at the risk of running out sometime in the future), I would use what they’re ACTUALLY taking out of the account.

      Hopefully that all makes sense!

  18. chicky on January 20, 2017 at 12:44 PM

    We r separated but renting together. We have two children. He earns 107000 per year. I work part time only about 5000 per year. What percentage of bills should I pay ?

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on January 21, 2017 at 9:01 PM

      That’s a tough one.

      Are you staying at home and caring for the children? If so, I’d calculate what that expense would be if you weren’t staying at home with them. You could count that toward the bills you “pay” out of your income.

  19. maria on January 21, 2017 at 12:52 PM

    If I get child support or other child income should I include that in my income?

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on January 21, 2017 at 9:03 PM

      If you’re including expenses related to the children in your calculation, I’d add it to your income. Since that’s what the child support is for, it’s only fair. If you don’t want to include it in your income, you’d have to remove the additional costs of the children (assuming they’re less than the child support).

  20. Anna on January 21, 2017 at 11:41 PM

    Hi Adam,
    I moved in with my bf 6 months ago. I rented my home for $2500, we moved here so we could a) be together finally after 8 years, and, b) the income I give him will help him do home improvements.
    I am teaching voice in the basement suite at the home my bf owns. I am happy to pay him rent for being here but he wants to split my income from my rental home 50/50 and I think that’s crazy.
    His reasoning is that if we were to be at my house that we would split the income that he got for renting out his home??
    He wants at least $1100 for rent here. My income including my rental home is about $50,000 and his is approx. $80,000. All gross.
    What do you think? Please help….

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on January 22, 2017 at 10:08 AM

      Is the home you rented out paid off? In other words, are you pocketing the entire $2,500 from the rental payment? I would use the calculator in this article and split the bills based on the income you provided in your comment.

      • Anna on January 22, 2017 at 10:59 AM

        No it’s not paid off. Thanks Adam, I guess he’s thinking if we lived at my house and rented his house he would get that money and he would split it with me?
        But I have been confused as to whether my rental income comes into the equation at all.

        • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on January 22, 2017 at 12:07 PM

          To be fair, if there’s any money you make from the property (rental income – expenses = monthly profit) I’d add it into your income for the calculation.

          • Anna on January 22, 2017 at 12:19 PM

            Thank you, in terms of calculating I have seen you work with gross income, so wouldn’t that mean that I would work with the gross amount of the $2500? And not the – expenses? Please clarify? thanks for your time Adam…

            • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on January 22, 2017 at 12:39 PM

              Since it’s not technically a joint expense, I would only add the difference between the rental income and the rental expense to your gross annual income.

            • Anna on January 22, 2017 at 7:25 PM

              That’s very helpful Adam, one more thing…because I am teaching out of the basement how do you think I should approach this with how much I pay?
              Having another fee that is separate or? Please clarify?

            • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on January 26, 2017 at 9:29 AM

              I would just add it (the mortgage payment on that house) as one of the joint bills.

  21. Kerra on July 30, 2017 at 8:31 PM

    Me and my boyfriend have lived together over 2 years, in that 2 years we have always split the bills 50/50 , also he has always made a little more than me… But now he has a job that he got about 7 months ago and he makes a good bit more an hour than I do, but he refuses to pay based on income and says it is his money and I’m being greedy? Thoughts?

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on August 5, 2017 at 2:15 PM

      Kerra – I don’t think you’re being greedy. However, it also depends on other expenses that he may be taking care of like joint dining out, joint vacations, etc. Those can play a part in the calculation as well. If he’s picking up more of the slack with those items now that he’s making more money, you need to factor that in. If he’s just spending his extra money on himself, I don’t see that as very equitable to the relationship. You’re more like roommates if you continue to do 50/50.

  22. Paulo Valentim on August 9, 2017 at 9:28 AM

    I personally like the first option better. The only thing is that I would not base it on actual salary but instead the average of the last 6 months net income (on a month by month rolling basis). If one becomes unemployed or starts making a lot more money, the effects of that would be smoothed out more.

  23. Mir on October 3, 2017 at 6:27 PM

    We’re an older couple who has lived together for nine years. We’ve split all expenses down the middle, with me keeping track of it all in an Excel spreadsheet, and paying most of it with my credit card monthly, the rest is auto-deduction from my checking. I tally it up and she’s been fine with sharing it 50-50. In six months the mortgage on my house where we live will be paid. She is expecting to not have a “rent” fee when that happens, and I was looking forward to having the extra money for my hobbies, travel, etc. I earn 1/3 more than she does, but that’s because she chooses to have more personal time for herself, and her share of the mortgage has been very low. I’ve suggested she pays 1/2 what she has been paying, but now neither of us is really happy about it. What do you think?

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on October 7, 2017 at 10:31 AM

      Mir – You stated that she was paying the bills 50/50. Does that mean she was paying 50% of the mortgage too? If so, I think she has every right to a “no rent fee” arrangement. If she hasn’t paid as much as you, in my opinion, she at least still has equity in the home even if it’s not technically in her name. You could at least present that to her and say, “Look, over the last nine years, $X of the equity in the home is attributed to you. Since it’s in my name, I’m happy to let you not pay rent, but that will reduce the equity you have in the home.”

      Personally, that’s not ideal though. If you’re committed to each other, I would just forget it’s even a topic of discussion. Bite the bullet and just let it go.

  24. Ysu on October 11, 2017 at 8:51 PM

    I was looking for answers and I have found it here.

    I saw how old the article was and my heart sank. But you have been here still responding to questions and I found my answers in your responses to others, so thank you.

  25. Sandra on October 23, 2017 at 3:33 PM

    I make a six-figure salary and my boyfriend, younger than me, is a college student at this moment. He comes from a very wealthy family and is completely supported by his parents (tuition and living expenses). He is currently renting with several roommates, and paying for his rent. For the past month, he has been staying at my house 24/7. I was wondering whether you think it’s fair to ask him to split the utilities, groceries and gas. His roommates asked him to split the utilities though he has not lived there for quite a while. I feel bad to ask him to split the cost with me but at the same time, I’m not happy to cover for his portion.

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on October 25, 2017 at 8:36 AM

      Sandra – I think it’s fair to ask. I don’t think a 50/50 split would be appropriate, but hopefully he can appreciate the fact that your expenses have increased since he’s been staying there. If you can show him how much your bills have increased, maybe he could pitch in to cover the increase.

      • Sandra on November 10, 2017 at 1:18 AM

        Thanks for getting back to me, Adam! Really enjoy reading many of your posts.

  26. Cindy Gruen on January 2, 2018 at 12:31 PM

    My boyfriend and I are both in our 50’s. We have been living together for 2 1/2 years. At this time we split the joint bills 50/50 even though he makes approx 80/year and I make approx 35/year. On top of the 35/year, for the next 2 years, I will receive a percentage of my ex husband’s retirement. Should this amount be added to my yearly income to divide for bills? I also still have a vehicle payment to pay on my own and now my monthly gas payment for driving to work is approx $300/month. I want to be fair for both of us.

    • Jason on March 7, 2018 at 6:12 PM

      Splitting it 50/50 is fair if that is what you agreed to. If you want to base it on how much income you have, previously it should have been split 70/30. So why change it now that you’re getting more money?

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on March 10, 2018 at 5:14 PM

      Cindy – I would include the income in the calculation. I imagine even with the new retirement income you’ll be paying less than you were before? Previously you were paying 50/50 when technically you should have been doing something more like 70/30 (the 30 being your contribution), right?

  27. DJS on March 7, 2018 at 6:03 PM

    My girlfriend and I are thinking about living together in my house that I own. She makes about 16% more than me. Living in my house her commute is going to increase from 25 to 40 minutes on average. My commute is 12 mins. She currently lives in a house she rents and sublease a room. Her roommate pays 60% of the cost. She feels because her commute is going to increase that I should do more of the chores which basically means most of the work inside and outside the house. She also feels that she should not pay half of the living expenses at my house because I own it, she would be “paying my mortgage” and I am building equity on it. She would basically be paying the same thing renting as it would cost her paying half and living at my house. But she can justify the cost of renting but she cannot justify the cost living at my house, again because it’s my mortgage. So basically she doesn’t want to pay half living with me and helping me but she will pay the same amount renting from someone else and paying their mortgage or financing their lifestyle. She also mentioned that some of her friends get to live with their boyfriends for free, but then I tell her most of my friends base their expenses and much money make. I just want her to pay half I’m not asking her to pay 16% more. Sometimes I feel like I’m negotiating a deal with a car salesman. What is your opinion on my situation. Thanks.

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on March 10, 2018 at 5:11 PM

      I think what you’re asking is fair. If you were married but didn’t combine finances, would your girlfriend feel the same way? That’s how I would look at it. The points you made on the equity are spot on. She would be doing the same thing for someone else.

      Is she still leasing and paying for the other apartment? That would make things more difficult.

  28. Rebecca on March 13, 2018 at 4:35 PM

    So my boyfriend and I are 26 and we have been living together for a year now (together for 6)
    He makes double what I make (for now until I start my new career) so of course he pays for most of the things BUT, he leaves everything up to me to figure out.
    So I’ll do the calculations for the month and figure out what goes to bills and how much “play money” we have left.
    I also do the grocery shopping and prep meals.

    We’re in a committed relationship with full trust so we share everything including money which inst an issue.

    My issue is, he has no idea what is happening financially so I find it frustrating that this is on my shoulders every month along with buying groceries for the house and because of this, I feel nervous giving this responsibility to him for even 1 month in fear of a huge financial mistake happening that ill have to figure out how to take us out of it =/

    Makes me nervous for the future when children will be involved (equally more responsibilities) and I would like to have a more balanced financial relationship during the days I cant balance the bills this month, I can trust him to.

    Any advice???

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on March 21, 2018 at 4:08 PM

      Hi, Rebecca!

      Have you seen my other article about talking money with your honey? It may be helpful in this situation.

      One suggestion would be to discuss your concerns without sounding judgmental. Let him know that you’re concerned that if something were to happen to you, he wouldn’t be prepared to take over the financial reins and there would be several people counting on him. Also, let him know that the added burden is causing you a lot of stress. You’re not going to ask him to take over the finances, but just be a more integral part of the decision making process.

      If all else fails, I recommend bringing in a professional to be a neutral third party.

  29. Julie on March 25, 2018 at 11:44 PM

    My bf and I are building a house together. We make about the same on paper, however his family business pays for his car, his gas, car and health insurance, cell phones (including his 5 kids) and all of our meals out which is quiet a bit. I have 2 kids with me the majority of the time. His 5 are either older and out of the house or younger and mostly with mom. He may have one kid, once a month. One older requires college tuition from him. He pays child support (not much) and I receive a good amount of child support. Also he just got ownership in the business so he expects very large quarterly payouts starting in April (maybe up to 200k) and receives bonuses up to 30k a year. Soooo while we make the same base amount he has some great perks included with that annual salary that I pay on my own. I drive an old car that’s paid for for now and just pay insurance on it for now, pay mine and my kids cellphones, my gas, our groceries. I do all the cleaning and laundry. He does cook his own food that he also buys on his own but has recently asked me to start cooking dinner most nights. What is a fair split with all these added factors!?! *while House is being built he’s living w me in my very affordable but small house that I will sell. He pays most of he mortgage here and I handle the rest.

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on March 26, 2018 at 2:29 PM

      Hi, Julie!

      For the initial calculation on the joint bills, I would include all known and guaranteed sources of income. So for your boyfriend, I would exclude the bonuses and quarterly business payouts. You’ll be planning based on what is known.

      For example, if you are bringing in $1,500 per month and he is guaranteed to bring in $1,500 per month, base the initial payment off of that. So in that example, you would pay 50% of the joint bills and he would pay 50%. If the total joint bills were $2,000 you would pay $1,000 and he would pay $1,000.

      You would then want to reevaluate the situation at the end of the month. So, let’s say that at the end of the month, you determine that he actually brought in $3,000 after bonuses, etc. You would do the calculation again. If you would have known at the beginning of the month that he would bring in $3,000 you would have paid 33.3% of the joint bills and he would have paid 66.7% of the bills. But since you already paid a higher percentage, he would reimburse you what he SHOULD have paid had you known what his income would have been. Since he would have paid $1,334 of the joint bills ($2,000 x 66.7%) he would reimburse YOU the difference in what he should have paid ($1,334) vs. what he originally paid ($1,00). So it that example, he would pay you back $334.

      Does that make sense?

      • Julie on March 26, 2018 at 4:38 PM

        Yes it does but what about the added perks of his family business? I buy groceries and cook and that money comes out of my salary where if he treats to dinner it comes out of the company and not his personal salary. I pay for car gas, tolls, cell phone and if/when I get a new car I will have those obligations that are “included” in his base salary. Therefore I have many more monthly obligations compared to him. So while we make close to the same on paper he doesn’t have as many obligations each month.

        • Julie on March 26, 2018 at 4:40 PM

          I guess what I’m asking is if it’s unfair to ask him to caluculate his monthly car payment, gas, cell, insurance and tolls as well as anything else that is paid for by the company into his base salary?

        • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on April 4, 2018 at 9:43 AM


          This is a gray area that is difficult to discuss. Technically, the “perks” that he is receiving are paid for by the company and maybe he wouldn’t spend the income like that if he was paid in cash vs. having them pay for stuff.

          If it were me, I wouldn’t include the numbers in the calculation. But as I mentioned above, I would most certainly include any cash profit payouts he receives in the future.

          I would also recommend having a conversation with him regarding the items that he has that are paid for that you have to pay out of your own income. He may be sympathetic and be willing to contribute more just because.

  30. Julie on April 4, 2018 at 11:11 AM

    Ok thank you for your response! I appreciate it!

  31. David DePass on July 27, 2018 at 4:15 PM

    I live in 80 you that shares the electricity bill and water with a couple that live in the main house, they have a three bedroom house and I basically have a studio, they have a couple and one child that lives in the house, and my girlfriend and I live in the back house. And they think that it’s fair because their house runs on gas except the central air and the miscellaneous electrical appliances that they have, IE to big box fans TV lights Etc, they want me to agree to a 50/50 split on the utilities, and I don’t think that it’s fair based on their square footage, and the number of people.. ( they have tgree) we are two

  32. Jason on December 27, 2018 at 8:33 PM

    Why do we use gross income instead of net income when trying to split by income?

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on December 27, 2018 at 9:43 PM

      Hi, Jason. I’m actually reposting this from a comment above.

      I’m not sure about your country, but here in the US, our income tax withholding can be manipulated to allow us to have more taken out than is necessary (i.e. “getting a large tax refund”). Therefore, it’s best to use gross income to remove that variance. In other words, one person in the relationship could over-withhold for their income taxes (effectively lowering their net income for the calculation), pay a smaller share of the bill, and end up getting a large tax refund that they would claim is 100% theirs to keep.

      • Jason on December 27, 2018 at 10:38 PM

        I see Adam. I didn’t think about that. I am in the US, and I looked at it from a how much I have readily available to pay the expenses. So for me, I was manipulating gross income by deducting benefits & the percentage of money that goes into my 401K, leaving taxes out of the equation. We’ve managed to do 50/50 for 5 years, but after seeing your article I brought up the income split with my significant other and she didn’t seem to not disagree that it’s worth a shot.

        • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on December 28, 2018 at 9:44 AM

          You actually make a good point about the retirement contributions as well. In the past, I’ve sat down with the “less financially savvy” individual of a couple and found that they were contributing WAY more to the joint pot than they needed to. This was due to the other individual maxing out their retirement contributions while the less savvy individual wasn’t saving anything for retirement. So, the less savvy individual’s net income was much higher relative to their gross income since nothing was being deducted from their paycheck. Therefore, they ended up paying a much higher (and less fair) portion of the joint expenses.

  33. Leigh on January 2, 2019 at 12:37 PM

    I have been living with my girlfriend for over 3 years. I am 51, she is 49. Her two children, now 19 and 20 have been living with us the entire time. I have 3 minor children who come to stay every other weekend. We rent a 4 bedroom house.

    Our arrangement, at her request, has been split the rent 50/50, currently about $1175 each, I pay all of the utilities which average $425 per month. She buys the food and other household items. I do not know how much that is every month as she has never presented a receipt. If I ask she claims that I am petty and because she isn’t “tit for tat” that she doesn’t worry about it. I think she knows better. Because she has a long commute, I do try to buy things as we run out so she doesn’t need to go to the store on her way home. However she rarely pays me back and does not ask what I spent. It adds up to probably another $100 or so every month, sometimes more. In general, she buys food when she feels like going to the store and when she can afford it. In that she does not buy me much of anything I want and does not buy food for my children when they come over.

    There are a number of issues that I am having with our arrangement. The biggest being that I am falling deeper into debt every month as I also cover most of our entertainment. I am self employed and have not been able to set aside money to pay all of my taxes which has left me owing $33,000 in back taxes.

    She typically runs out of money every month. I am usually having to cover something for her because she can’t live within her means. More often than not, she does not pay me back. For now, I have good credit, hers is pretty bad. She refuses to set up a budget and refuses to work with me to rectify the issue. She earns about 10% more than me gross. She also receives over $700 per month alimony, but that can be hit and miss. In addition, she receives medical and retirement benefits. I must purchase my own medical and I have been saving nothing for retirement. I have discussed with her that I feel she should be paying more of the expenses since her adult children live with us. She resists and gets quite angry about it. Several months ago, she asked her kids to contribute $200 each every month. That lasted less than 6 months. Her 20 year old son does not attend school full time and has been out of work more than half the 2 1/2 years he has been out of high school. When they did pay, my girlfriend kept the money for herself. Meaning I paid my regular monthly amount.

    I need to get a handle on the tax liability and my spending. I have been suggesting that maybe I pay about $800 – $900 of the rent and perhaps a third of the food and utilities. She has flatly refused. We have been unable to resolve the issue and I can’t afford it anymore.

    Oh and yes, I also do most of the daily household chores, (wash the dishes every day, clean and maintain the bedding, maintain the yard and cars, pick up after her kids, feed myself breakfast and lunch, prepare her coffee and lunch most every day before she leaves for work, feed my kids when they visit, and try to prepare dinner once or twice a week).

    I do love her and wish we could work through things. However, the way she handles this issue has me questioning whether she really cares about me and my well being. I have been feeling that my life would be easier to manage without her. I am curious about your thoughts. What do you think is a reasonable split under these circumstances?

  34. Stephanie on February 8, 2019 at 8:57 AM

    Hi adam,

    Im not from the U.S but i woul like your advice. Im currently living with my b.f for nearly a year now and i feel that finances is our only issue in regards to our relationship. I earn more than him and i pay most of the bills at home. The only expense that my b.f does is paying our rent which 3,500k and our fuel expenses which is about 2,000k (which i sometimes chip in)on a monthly basis. Alongside these expenses he has to repay a loan of 2,200k and my bf earns approximately 10,000k. However i earn 15,000k whereby i pay for a car loan which on both of our names (6,424k), i pay for all utilities (500k) i buy the groceries (2,000k) and i even pay for the internet (500k), i feel like im the bread winner of the house and on top of that ive got to cook and clean

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on March 24, 2019 at 8:05 PM

      Hi, Stephanie. What’s your question? I don’t see one.

  35. Kristine on February 8, 2019 at 2:24 PM

    My boyfriend and I officially moved into together and he wants to split everything 50/50 because he feels the formula is unfair. When we were looking for places before we moved he insisted that he had to find a place he could afford without my income and that would be based on his standard of living. I told him my income needed to be considered if he had expectations for me to split everything 50/50.
    Now, we’re living in a place of his choosing and he wants to split all the bills equally. I wanted to split the rent portionally to income and 60(me)/40 for utilities. He tells me he understands I can’t afford it, but he thinks everything should be equal and is telling me I have a set amount of time to bring in more income. I’m trying to figure out what is fair.

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on March 24, 2019 at 8:04 PM

      Kristine – As stated in the article, I think slipping the bills based on income is the fairest way to do it. In EVERY analysis, there’s always someone that’s happy with the results (they end up paying less than previously), and someone that’s not as happy (they end up paying more). Your boyfriend’s response is normal, but he needs to see if from your side of things. Because of the unequal splitting (50/50), you’re left with less money to save, spend on yourself, etc. He’s left with more money in relation to his income. In my opinion, that’s unfair. You’re subsidizing his personal spending.

  36. Ewa Elkins on March 11, 2019 at 2:59 PM

    My husband of 1.5 years and I just have just bought a place together and we are trying to figure out the expenses. When we were renting, we split the rent proportionally to gross income, and other living expenses 50/50. He makes more than I, but pays the spousal payments. I do not have any such obligations. My job is the only source of my income. He paid for downpayment as he had the funds available, and we owe the house jointly with the rights to survivorship. My husband wants to split mortgage, property taxes, insurance and all living expenses 50/50. His argument is that he has spousal supports to pay. He is also looking at take home pay (not gross), and after his spousal payments. Even after spousal, he makes more than I, and he gets an annual bonus. I do not get bonuses. The last proposition was to split all expenses 60% (him) and 40% (me).

    For one thing, I don’t want to indirectly contribute to his spousal payments. I’m having hard time with it, as the ex wife stays home and has never worked. I have always worked.

    Furthermore when I retire in several years, I will have pension and medical. My husband will not. When we retire, my pension income will play an important role in our finances, and he will be on my medical insurance.

    I’d appreciate some advice on what is the recommended approach here.

    Thank you!

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on March 24, 2019 at 7:11 PM

      Ewa – I recommend using the spreadsheet/calculator in the article. The instructional video in it will give you step-by-step instructions on the numbers to use. The gross income should be used, so his alimony payments would be taken from his personal funds which are determined after factoring in the joint expenses.

      • Robin D on May 11, 2019 at 11:34 AM

        My bf and I have been together about 1.5 yrs and are in our late twenties. He has his own business he’s trying to build and I work for my family’s business with a consistent salary. We don’t live together and currently only share date expenses. We have been taking turns who pays but would like a more equitable solution. He is fine to pay 50/50, but as we are not living together or married we aren’t sure that we want to open a joint account to pay for shared expenses from at this point. Are there some other solutions where we could put funds in equally and pay for things when we are out together from one source? Constantly reimbursing each other is a hassle, and I’m not sure if a prepaid Visa card is smart since I believe you have to pay a fee every time you add funds. Any ideas would be appreciated!

  37. Julie on July 12, 2019 at 1:09 PM

    Hi Adam and all,
    I need your advice and your thoughts of my situation. I am moving in with my bf (we’ve been together for 8 months now and planning to get married). He has a house and a car, I don’t have a house nor a car. I have been staying at his place for two weeks every month in the last 4 months, during the time I normally paid for groceries, he pays for the gas, electricity, internet, I have my own bills with my rent house (that I live in half of the time). His house is not completely finished and need to be done. We agreed to buy new furniture like new stove/fridge etc when we live together. Now that we are going to live together I would like to have a discussion of how to share monthly expenses, finishing the house, house/car taxes etc, and private expenses. Please share your experience and thoughts so I can have a thorough discussion with my bf.

  38. Carol on July 17, 2019 at 2:46 PM

    Hi Adam .
    I am about to move in with my partner . We are in our late 50’s. . He has no mortgage now as has paid it off . He has just bought a house in a better area so has used £100,000 of his pension to help buy it . I have no house or money from my divorce as my husband got us into dept.
    He wants £750 pm rent and bills then food on top as he says he needs to get back the interest he has lost on his pension . My friends say it’s his house and he’d have bought it anyway so I should just pay half the bills and food .
    I think £550 pm for rent and bills is fair as that’s how much a room would be in a house share .
    I don’t earn a lot although I work five days a week and earn as much as I can so the extra £2400 means a lot to me .
    Am I being mean ?

    • Carol on July 17, 2019 at 2:51 PM

      The £2400 is the difference over a year .

  39. Alessandro M on November 15, 2019 at 4:53 AM

    Please give me your thoughts; in our family I make 58% of total household income, my wife makes the remaining 42% so in theory we should share common expences accordingly. In reality I pay a bit more than my 58% but not much more (let’s say around 65%), so let’s say that’s quite alright. But here’s the catch: starting from this month I’m receiving some extra income from renting a place I own which has been empty for nearly two years. This rent increases my income by a bit more than 15% and now of course my wife says I should cough off more cash into our shared bank account because of that. I don’t quite agree because : A) when it was empty and therefore produced no income but rather expences, I still continued to pay the same amount towards common expences (yes, when that source of income disappeared, my wife conveniently forgot to mention that maybe I should have reduced my monthly payment into our joint account) B) this is a property I bought long before we even just met each other so it is in no way part of our life together.
    Who is right, me or my wife ?

    • Adam Hagerman, CFP® on November 17, 2019 at 11:49 AM

      Alessandro – Unfortunately, you’re not going to get me to say who’s right and/or who’s wrong. I’m just going to give you some things to think about.

      #1 – You should consider looking at the rental property as a business. There will surely be repairs and maintenance needed to the house in the future and you can certainly expect some vacancy again. Therefore, I would recommend taking any remaining income you have from the property (rental income – mortgage – other expenses) and just save it for those occasions. If you start to include that income into the joint pot, is your wife going to want to pay her share of the repair bills when the inevitably come? Because that’s the logic if you put the “profit” into the joint pot. Repairs, vacancy, etc., will now be joint expenses as well.

      If after several years you sell the place or have a large amount of money saved that you’re not going to use for the property, you could consider moving some of that to the joint pot to help with joint family goals. You’re married, so you’re on the same team financially. You need to see it that way or your marriage will struggle. Here’s an article to read:

      #2 – If you’re taking the profits from the property and just blowing it on random things, I can certainly see your wife’s side of things. You’re increasing your “fun money”, upping your retirement contributions, etc., while she’s stuck still paying the same amount toward joint things. That’s not fair.

      #3 – Have you considered selling the property? If not, you should think about it since it seems to cause conflict within your household. The amount of stress relief you might gain from selling the property could far outweigh any financial benefit it may provide in the future.

      Hopefully, that can open up some dialogue between the two of you. Also, you should share my response with your wife. Since I didn’t give an answer that said you’re right, I always question whether it will get relayed to the other individual. 😉