June 28, 2016
Tax Partner Janis Cowhey talked with Forbes about the importance for unmarried couples living together to plan for how expenses will be handled.
By Jean Chatsky
The time to discuss money is at the beginning of your time living together, and then on an ongoing – at least monthly - basis. "You always want to make these decisions when things are good," says Janis Cowhey, a partner of national accounting firm Marcum LLP. "You say, 'Oh, we're kind of fine, we're paying our bills, we're figuring it out and we don't have any issues…until you do." Discuss who is going to pay for what on an ongoing monthly basis, how you're going to handle things like ownership of furniture and whose name will go on (and bear responsibility for) expenses like utilities. And if you're considering purchasing property, buying a joint car or even getting a pet without tying the knot, consider signing a cohabitation agreement that lays out what happens if you don't end up happily ever after. It's not romantic, but it provides each person with a safeguard. You can find one online at RocketLawyer.com or hire an attorney to draft one. "Because things are good is all the more reason to do it," says Cowhey.