I bet you know some of these people. They may be your children. Or maybe a parent! While there's a lot of reasons couples may elect not to be married, this article isn't going to explore those. Rather, I want to make us aware of some of the situations that these couples need to consider. At some point, sooner rather than later, these questions should be raised.
- Who pays for what? Two people living together will have both individual and shared expenses. What complicates this picture is when they have widely different incomes.
- Insuring property and lives. Often unmarried people that live together rent rather than own. Of course, these people should have property insurance (renters insurance). The expectation is that if one person has rental insurance, all the property in the dwelling is covered. But often that's not the case. Only the policy holders property is covered.
- What happens if the couple breaks up? Or worse, what happens if one person dies? This is especially important for couples that have been committed to each other for many years. For younger couples there may be minor children involved. For older couples there may be issues surrounding social security and/or pension benefits. For everyone there is the need to consider wills & powers of attorney.
The thing is, many people are reluctant to talk about money. That includes married couples. Imagine how much more reticent unmarried couples are to discuss their financial situation. It can help to have someone independent to talk through these scenarios. A CFP ® is a good place to start.