Ask Paul: Should I help pay my partner's mortgage or save for my own place?


Published on

Dear Paul,

My partner is a couple of years older than me and has his own place. He has recently been dropping hints that he wants me to move in soon.

But I want to save up and get a deposit and get my own place so that I am secure.

ask paul clitheroe should i help pay my partner's mortgage or keep saving up to buy my own place

I am not sure if I should move in with him and help with his loan or continue saving up for my own place. - Patrick

Crikey, this is a challenging month for Ask Paul. But, Patrick, this is a ripper question.

The biggest disasters in money inevitably involve human emotion. Fear and greed are big drivers.

Then we have relationships. No point in me waffling around - I'm going to need to dive in boots and all on this one!

Patrick, with all the best will and love in the world, neither you, your partner, nor I have any guarantee how things will work out.

My view is 'hope for the best, plan for the worst'.

Without trying to put a dampener on your relationship, you have some planning to do. I know there is nothing like the dry, hard facts of money to put a dampener on romance, but you two need a solid money chat.

You have to protect your own financial future while being respectful of your partner's.

I presume you are paying rent now, so an option if you move in is to continue to pay that amount of rent but to your partner. This will allow you to continue to build a deposit, as your financial position is unchanged.

If you were to merge your finances, you both need to be protected.

If your rent and any extra money go into your partner's loans, how does that play out if you part? If you are together for some time and only make a modest financial contribution to your partner, what happens to your partner's home if you split?

This is all highly resolvable. You need to work out before you move in exactly what the money situation is during the relationship and, if it ends, how things are split. This is horribly unemotional; it feels negative and untrusting. But let's be real, relationships can and do fail.

Money is one cause of relationship failure. Just remove this by dealing with it now.

Get your agreement documented and do not hesitate to see a solicitor. The upside is, with money issues sorted out, you can move on together and enjoy your relationship.

Get stories like this in our newsletters.

Related Stories

Paul Clitheroe AM is founder and editorial adviser of Money magazine. He is one of Australia's leading financial voices, responsible for bringing financial insight to Australians through personal finance books, the Money TV show, and this publication, which he established in 1999. Paul is the chair of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and is chairman of InvestSMART Financial Services. He is the chair of Financial Literacy at Macquarie University where he is also a Professor with the School of Business and Economics. Ask Paul your money question. Unfortunately Paul cannot respond to questions posted in the comments section. View our disclaimer.
Mandy Higgins
April 3, 2024 5.58pm

Not sure why you feel you have to pay your partner's loan just because you will move in - especially when there's no mention of a change in title to tenants in common . Definitely negotiate a 'rental amount', keep saving for your property and keep the communication lines open for all financial endeavours moving forward into the relationship.