My boyfriend has a nicer house, and says I should live with him. My mortgage is paid off. He believes I should pay half of his monthly costs. Is that fair?

Dear Quentin,

My boyfriend has a house with a 30 year mortgage balance of $150,000 at 4% interest rate. He has $275,000 in cash and retirement accounts. He is retired.

My house is paid for. I have $50,000 in cash and retirement accounts. I want to retire within a year or two.

We want to live together but we haven’t been able to agree on a fair “rent” to pay. He is not happy to live in my house because he has less facilities.

He believes that I should pay half of his monthly cost for his nicer and more expensive house. He could pay off his mortgage and save $600 a month, but he likes to have cash.

I forgot about that luxury and paid off my mortgage. I am now working on building my savings. I don’t feel it’s fair for me to pay half the interest cost of the mortgage.

I don’t know what the repair and maintenance costs should be expected from me, if I don’t have equity in his house. There are many opinions, none of which feel fair.

Here are the options he laid out:

· I live in his house so I rent mine. Pay him half of what I cleared from that rent.

· To pay half of the actual costs of the living and maintenance costs of his house while I live there.

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· Pay what I pay to live in my current home for taxes, insurance, and utilities: $800/month.

What do you say, Finance?

Homeowner & Girlfriend

Dear Home Owner,

I’m sure your house is just as nice. And just because he believes it, doesn’t make it so. If you are not paying a mortgage on your own home, I don’t believe you should pay another red cent to live in your own home.

In other words, you should not pay more for this arrangement, just because (a) he wants you to live in his home and (b) help him with his mortgage, or his taxes and maintenance. pay

You both made different choices: Yours was to own a home that is mortgage free, so you can spend this time building up your retirement and/or rainy day savings.

You worked hard to pay off your mortgage, and you have $50,000 in savings, less than 20% of your boyfriend’s savings. He has $150,000 left on his mortgage, and that’s his choice.

If his aim is to get help paying half of his mortgage, he can find a tenant to do that for him.

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You are not the answer to his long term financial plans, you are his partner in life. If his aim is to get help paying half of his mortgage, he can find a tenant to do that for him. What does with you expect you? Forget what he expects.

As he approaches this arrangement, it seems he wants the equivalent of a detergent and a fabric softener – a girl and a tenant in one convenient bottle to keep his financial plans smooth and clean.

Bottom line: You shouldn’t compromise on any plans to build your nest egg. The woman is not going to turn. I only agree with his plan if — with the help of an actual tenant in your house — it helps you too.

In other words, the desired result for you is more important than the suggestions he put forward. It could save you $600 a month! That’s his business. Not me. What would you like to have in your pocket every month?

Figure out what with you you want, and then work your way backwards based on that goal. For example, if you can pay him $800 a month, charge $1,600 in rent on your house, and put $800 toward your savings, do that.

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You have come a long way. Don’t let these negotiations erase that.

Check out the private Moneyist Facebook group, where we seek answers to life’s worst money questions. Readers write in to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you’d like to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

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By emailing your questions, you agree that they will be published anonymously on MarketWatch. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Co., publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story, or versions thereof, in all media and platforms, including through third parties..

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