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I make more than my bf by $16K. Since we are moving in together he said I should pay more rent & for utilities and groceries. Is this fair ?

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Less important than the delta is how much you each make individually. Can he afford 50% of the rent? Can one of you afford 100% of the rent? If the answer to both of those questions is not yes, you’re probably overextending yourself to begin with. Moving in together can really test the resiliency of a relationship. More often than not with younger couples it results in someone moving out before the lease is up. Make sure you have a solid backup plan in case that were to happen. Your landlord doesn’t care about your personal relationship problems, they want their rent paid in full for the duration of the lease term.

“Fair” is subjective in this instance. When I moved into my first place after college I paid about 20% more in rent than my roommate because I made more money and took the larger bedroom, and the math probably wouldn’t have worked otherwise. It was a compromise I was willing to make because it beat continuing to live with my parents. It sounds like you are less on board, so you should probably have a larger conversation with your BF about what you each want and how you can make it happen. If 50% is too much for his budget maybe find a cheaper place that he can afford to be an equal contributor. But you shouldn’t, as a matter of circumstance, feel like you’re obligated to match the same proportion of your income in housing payments that he is.

Yeah, I’m sorry OP. You’re not making enough to even be having this convo. I’m surprised he’s asking you to take on that burden if you didn’t offer. $65K in Jersey City means you’ll still probably be living paycheck to paycheck. Or, close to it. I know I was in NYC until I started to make $80K-ish.

So, make his salary the base you two work off of. It’s still plenty because it’s a third of his monthly take home doubled. I’m guessing that’s around a $2,100 budget. You should be able to find a decent studio or one bedroom for that.

Then, as a compromise, maybe offer to completely cover one of the utilities—like the internet bill.

Lastly, and most importantly, if you don’t feel comfortable paying more or feel like you’d grow to resent him for it. Don’t do it. Moving in with another person is hard enough without adding the stress of finances on top of it.

likehelpful

I’m a bit late to the party, but this topic was one my GF (of 5 years) and I struggled with when we moved in together.

As background: I make roughly double what she does on a pre-tax, gross basis, but I have approximately quadruple her income after taxes and student loans. When we decided to move in together, I advocated for equality (consumption-based) and she for equity (percentage of after tax/after loans income-based). We were able to find a compromise that worked for us through communication—I explained why I felt the way I did, she explained why she felt the way she did and then we drank some wine and hashed out something that felt fair to both of us.

Our Decision (Rent): This is our single largest expense by a mile (NYC rent is not cheap) and we share it proportionally based on pre-tax gross income (so… she pays 1/3 and I pay 2/3) basis. We came to this compromise because her degree (JD from a prestigious law school) has a much higher earning potential than mine (BA from an expensive private uni) despite us both graduating with similar debit (~$250k each). I chose, after college, to work multiple jobs and paid all my student debt off in 10 years—before I met her. She chose before she met me to work a single job at a low-paying nonprofit which means she’s been paying the minimum for over a decade. I’m happy she loves her work (let me tell you, two soul-sucking jobs for 10 years was miserable) but it isn’t fair for me to subsidize her “pre-our relationship” financial choices. So we went with the 2/3-1/3 split rather than an 80-20 split.

Our Decision (Bills): Electricity, internet, Amazon Prime, and renter’s insurance, we split these 50-50. Same with common household stuff like dish soap, etc. We also split the cost of shared groceries 50-50 but I do the physical grocery shopping. We originally traded off on doing the shipping but she sucks at meal planning and has a massive sweet tooth… and I eventually got frustrated with her coming home with ice cream (which I generally don’t like/eat) or cookie makings (again, not a fan… when she bakes it’s for herself) but forgetting the chicken or veg. So, I buy all the shared groceries now and drop it into Splitwise while she pops to the store whenever she is running low on sweets/treats/baking supplies (and pays for that stuff on her own).

Our Decision (everything else): we basically buy what we want for just ourselves and don’t split the cost. That sounds selfish until you realize we have strong and differing preferences on things like toothpaste (hers tastes like candy—ugh—and she claims mine tastes like soap—to which she goes ugh) or TV (I pay for Discovery+ and she pays for Disney+) so we generally just don’t want to use what the other is paying for.

Date night stuff: whomever invites the other pays. I generally end up paying more as a unit cost because I generally enjoy things that happen to cost more—for example, I like and take her to the ballet while she likes and takes me to protest rallies. (Not joking!)

Vacations: we split the base cost, but I typically am more picky so I pay the delta for both of us between base and actual. This is most common with airfare. For example, she is willing to fly economy for 12 hours. I’m not. So, she pays in the cost of the economy fare and I pay the difference for her to fly business.

We use Splitwise to track all shared expenses so we have a good historic record. Oh, and I insisted (this was a dealbreaker for me) when we moved in together that we each be able to pay ALL of the rent/bills in a pinch. My reasoning was that if one of us lost our job, it would be merely uncomfortable rather than a crisis.

Most of this came about organically and we only really discussed shared bills/groceries/rent. It works for us and may or may not work for anyone else. But it wouldn’t have worked for us if we hadn’t had an honest talk about why we felt the way we each did. Understanding the other person’s reasoning is critical to a happy relationship. :)

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Thanks for sharing in so much detail. I screenshot this entire thing for my future relationship lol. You seem like a great guy and in a great healthy relationship. Thanks for sharing and best of luck 😊

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I make $100k more than my girlfriend. We pay rent proportionally based on income, which allows us to rent the best apartment we can both comfortably afford while being burdened equally

likesmart

Same here. Shared expenses are paid proportionately based on income. We use a joint account for those expenses and maintain our own accounts as well.

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Totally fair, but seeing from these comments, it’s definitely a double standard. Ladies, do you want equality or not? Make up your mind

likeupliftingsmart

Equality for basic human rights, yes.
Other things - nah

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$16k isn’t really all that much of a difference (unless you are really low earners which I’m getting you’re not). I’ve always made more than my SO and we’ve split things evenly. Our apartment is still within his means though

likesmarthelpful

So what’s the story on the place - is one of you moving into the others space or did you pick it out together?

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Maybe it’s fair…but it’s def not attractive 🤷🏻‍♀️. Sorry, but I don’t feel like spreading my legs to gracefully receive your dick if you’re making me pay more in rent, utilities and groceries just bc I make a bit more than you, dafuk? I’ll take my income and legs elsewhere, thanks.

50/50 seems reasonable.

likefunnyupliftingsmart

It is a chore if you find the partner unattractive, for whatever reason. Being a money pincher, possibly a mooch is a big turn off. Hence she’s taking them legs somewhere else (in this hypothetical situation) 😆

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Roommates don’t split rent based on income (at least I didn’t with mine) so why would couples who keep their finances separate do any differently? This is a red flag for your living situation and your future together.

likesmarthelpful

IBM2 that would work. Unclear if that’s what OP is doing. I think OPs situation is complicated by the fact neither one of them has been paying rent before, so they haven’t established what they’re each comfortable with paying.

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If he’s not willing to split everything 50/50, he’s not ready to move in

likefunny

My wife and I have been married for 11 years. We have a joint checking account to pay for all non-negotiable expenditures and a joint savings account.

We each contribute 60% of our compensation into our joint accounts. When we were first married, my wife earned quite a bit more than I did, but today I outearn her. She didn't begrudge putting in more money dollar-wise back then and I don't begrudge putting more money into our lifestyle today because we are a team.

We have a great relationship based on mutual respect. We are definitely individuals, but have learned to function as a single unit when appropriate because those synergies lead to better outcomes than what we could accomplish alone.

My point is that it's best to focus on what is important and don't sweat what is ultimately a trifling sum of money in the overall scheme of things.

likehelpful

This is the best response so far

like

I (F) make about 100k more (150k vs 50k) than my fiancé (M). I definitely pay more of the rent etc. we live in NYC and I want to be able to live someplace I can afford rather than living off what he can. Also we know in the future he will be the one that drops off and picks up our kids and makes dinner etc. For many this would sound normal if the genders were reversed but it sounds weird to you because the woman makes more than the man.

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P17 - My mom was (retired) a partner in big 4 and my dad owned his own business but he was definitely the one home to drop me off/pick me up from after school care etc. Following the same path as my parents (and honestly kind of his) definitely works for us.

Men can't win lmao y'all wanna be a 2021 woman with a 1940's man. You want equality in the workplace but don't want the responsibility, you're the primary breadwinner. It's not by a whole lot, but you should be paying the larger portion of expenses since you make more.

If you don't like it, be a housewife and make sure the home is in order. If you look down on housewives even though it's a vital role in maintaining a family, that's your problem

likefunny

Won’t someone please think of the poor men! They just can’t win 😂😂😂👎🏻

funnylike

I’ll be honest, one of my best friends is in this same situation and it makes me cringe that she pays a greater share of her/her bf’s rent on top of paying for many of their expenses. She’s hardworking and a go getter, and I’m all for female empowerment, but her situation just makes me feel like her bf is her child and not her partner.

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EY 4 - not at all! Your points are totally valid, and I think there are other aspects of their relationship that makes me feel this way than just the fact that she pays for more of their expenses. His expectation that she will mother him and take the lead is what prompted me to include that last statement, and I don’t mean to assume that this expectation exists in other relationships.

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To each their own. Me and my gf don't count these things. We are a team.

likesmarthelpful

When my husband was my bf and we first moved in together, we opened a joint checking account and each contributed equally via direct deposit half of the monthly expenses. We rounded up so there would always be a “cushion”. Therefore we paid for all joint expenses via that account. We each had (and still do) our personal separate accounts. If you happen to earn more, then you have more disposable income or savings. But expenses should always be equal.

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Hm. When I made 180 in NYC and my then GF (now wife) made 70, and she wanted to move in with me, I paid all the rent cos she could otherwise just continue staying at home (also in NYC). Plus I was 9 years older and she was only 24. Ahem. Then we got married and I made 240 and she said, do I really need to work? I said no. She quit and we would meet up for sushi dinners in suit and yoga pants respectively. Now I make 500 and we have a baby and…I do the cooking and cleaning too.

likefunnyupliftinghelpful

Hey EY22- you know what, actually there is a bit of something like that: so when my wife quit working at 27 she basically invested everything she had saved in QQQ and AAPL and left them alone. Today her IRAs have $660K in them. She’s freakin’ awesome.

like

I’m confused by all the married couples detailing how they “split.” Isn’t income earned in a marriage communal/marital property in most states? lIf you got divorced it wouldn’t matter that you have separate accounts. So saying one person pays x% and another y% makes no sense- your combined incomes are one pot you’re paying from. Saying I pay for this, you pay for that, is just an illusion.

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We have a joint account and personal accounts, but we share all our cash accounts, cards, and investment accounts in one dashboard (personal capital) which helps us do joint financial planning much more easily. Full transparency but still maintaining the flexibility of having separate accounts available to us. We share many of our credit cards as well so having that transparency makes it really easy for me (the points guru) to take care of tracking the minutia around that stuff.

I make $100k and my girlfriend makes $30k. Would be pretty silly (and limiting) for us to split 50/50 imo. Our rent share is determined by income, so I pay slightly over 3/4

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I'm in a lesbian relationship. My partner make 4x what I do... We split the rent, we spilt the utilities, and we split most of the fun checks.
She only pays when I say, "I'm sorry I can't afford that this month."

Pay half. Communicate the rest.

likesmart

👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

I told my boyfriend I’d pay more bc I make 2x as much as him. I had to insist several times to get him to accept. (Tbh I wanted a nicer place than we could afford on an even split.)

But it’s pretty messed up that he’s asking/demanding this. Wherever you net out on financial genders roles, the concerning thing (to me) is that HE asked YOU. Especially when the financial gap is only about $550 per paycheck. I don’t like what that says about his character.

likesmarthelpful

I agree with Freelance. If you picked the place and know it's out of his budget, then yes you should pay more. If you mutually picked a place it should be 50/50. If he picked the place and knew it was out of his budget reevaluate. Honestly sounds like a situation where you two should sit down and have a talk about your finances.

like

It’s also a little strange to me that you lead off with 16k but then clarify it’s 65k vs 45k, and then actually no it’s 65k vs 43k. You make more than 50% more than him, and you’re downplaying the difference to get others to take your side.

Neither of you is making bank, and Jersey City isn’t exactly cheap so I’m guessing he is used to making some compromises to save money on rent (eg living further out or in a sketchier neighborhood, or in an older building, a walk up, with multiple roommates, etc). Now you come along and moving in together sounds great, but to make you happy with the quality of the apartment, he’s realizing it’s going to cost him more than he’s used to. Maybe he can literally afford a 50% share but that would mean cutting out other expenses or cutting his savings dramatically.

Seriously consider what you each would have been paying otherwise if you weren’t moving in together. If you are asking him to stretch to pay more, this isn’t just him being a jerk.

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I don’t know exactly what you can get for what price now in JC, but in NYC, 1/40th of annual pretax salary is what’s typically used as max “affordable” rent. So that would be just over $1k for him, just over $1500 for you. So if you want him to pay half, you should probably stick to $2000 or less. If it’s worth it to you to upgrade from there, consider if you’re willing the foot the overage.

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Look at it from a non-hetero normative perception: if your partner was the same gender, would you pay more? The answer will probably be yes, so why not do it with your boyfriend? Money comes and goes, in a situation where he starts earning triple of what you earn it would be a weird situation when you would ask him to pay triple now.
You could also work out that maybe you then pay for vacations since you earn more or you pay when you go put or eat out.

likesmartfunny

R

I’ve heard that it should be split so you pay based on % of income. More fair and accounts for changes in raises and things like that

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Whoever you heard it fro doesn’t understand how relationships work

likehelpful

Depends on his income, I would say you two should be equitable with household expenses. If not, then move to a more affordable apt that is within his means to contribute evenly.

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