On splitting the rent

I earn $35,000 a year. He earns $74,000 a year. We’re currently searching for a new apartment after spending 4 years in different cities. He wants to split the rent 50/50; I would be more comfortable paying an equal proportion of our incomes. Thoughts?

Yeah, you’d be even more comfortable if he’d just pay the rent for the both of you, but he’s obviously not that kind of guy.

If he wants to split the rent 50/50, then it’s only fair for that number to be tied to your ability to pay, not his. In other words, how much can you responsibly afford to pay per month in rent on a $35,000 salary?

It’s entirely up to you, but using the standard 30% of your net-income rule, let’s say you’re willing and able to kick in about $650 a month in rent. (That’s a completely arbitrary number, though. You can set it wherever you’d like, but the point is, you set that number for yourself.) If he kicks in $650 as well, that means the two of you can afford a $1300 apartment.

This is where he’ll have to start to compromise. If you guys can’t find an apartment that you both like renting for $1300, then he should be the one to make up the difference. (If he’s not willing to do that, then you should consider what it’s going to be like living with a miserly asshole.)

Of course, all of this should be part of a much larger discussion about your mutual finances. Are both of your names going on the lease? Are you splitting the utilities? Who’s buying the groceries, and who’s paying for cable? You gotta start talking about all that shit.

(Oh, and if you think the money stuff is hard, good luck cohabitating after four years of long distance.)


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