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Ask Savvy: Should I Split the Mortgage With My Boyfriend Who Earns More?

Dear Savvy,

My boyfriend and I are looking to buy our first home together. He makes about $25,000 more than me per year and we both have similar expenses when it comes to our loans (I make about $56k and he makes about $81k). We're very realistic that relationships don't always work out in the end, but right now, we're very happy and believe we will get married and have children in the future.

Because I cannot afford as much of a monthly payment on a mortgage as he can, he has told me he wouldn't mind paying more than me. I told him that, realistically, the smart way to think about this is as a business transaction, and in the end, if we do split up, I will still get 50 percent of our house, but he will have paid more into it. He really appreciated my honesty on this point, but hadn't thought about it himself.

He then said he could pay the bills or food or something else to ensure I wasn't broke at the end of every month, if we did choose to buy a nicer house than we could if using only my salary. What's your opinion on this? Do you think we should split the mortgage payment in half no matter what? When you add our salaries together, we are doing pretty well, but I alone couldn't get my own mortgage. Please give me as much advice as you can before I buy my first home!

To see my answer,


Savvy says: It's awesome that you and your boyfriend communicate so well and that is certainly one big key to a lasting, successful relationship. You both understand that right now doesn't always translate into forever, and that's so important when making big decisions like buying a home together.

Whether you are splitting the mortgage down the middle and your boyfriend is paying more toward other bills, or he's paying more of the mortgage while the rest of the bills are split down the middle, your boyfriend is still paying more than you are in total. Either way you cut it, it's all about whether or not you are comfortable with him contributing more than you to your household expenses.

Your boyfriend seems totally content paying a larger share, and I know many couples who divide most of their bills including rent (in your case a mortgage payment) as a percentage of how much they each bring home. It's all about what makes you feel comfortable — the last thing you want is for money issues to come between you two.

Savvy gals, how would you handle this situation?


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