My boyfriend has a nicer house, and says I should live with him. My mortgage is paid off. He believes I should pay half of his monthly costs. Is that fair?

Dear Quentin,

My boyfriend owns a home with a 30-year mortgage balance of $150,000 at a 4% interest rate. He has $275,000 in cash and retirement accounts. He is retired.

My house is paid off. I have $50,000 in cash and retirement accounts. I want to retire in one to two years.

We want to live together but we can’t agree on a fair “rent” to pay. He is not willing to live in my house because it has less facilities.

He thinks I should pay half of his monthly expenses for his nicer, more expensive house. He can pay off his mortgage and save $600 a month, but he likes to have money.

I forgo that luxury and pay off my debt. I am currently working on building my savings. I feel it is unfair for me to pay half of the mortgage interest cost.

I don’t know what repair and maintenance cost I should expect, if I don’t have equity in his house. There are many points of view, none of which feel fair.

These are the options he gives:

· I live in his house and thus can rent mine. Pay him half of my net from the rent.

· Pay half of the actual cost of living expenses and maintenance of his house while I live there.

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· Pay him what I pay to live in my current home for taxes, insurance, and utilities: $800/month.

What do you say, Moneyist?

Homeowner and Girlfriend

Dear home owner,

I’m sure your house is just as beautiful. And just because he believes it, doesn’t make it so. If you’re not paying a mortgage on your own house, I don’t believe you should pay a red cent more to live in his house.

In other words, you should not leave this arrangement paying more, just because (a) he wants you to live in his house and (b) help him pay his debt, or his taxes and maintenance .

You both make different choices: Yours is to have a house with no payments and no payments, so you can spend this time building your savings for retirement and/or the rainy season.

You’ve worked hard to pay off your mortgage, and you have $50,000 in savings, less than 20% of your boyfriend’s savings. He had $150,000 left on his mortgage, and that was his choice.

If his goal is to find help to pay off half of his mortgage, he can find a tenant who will do that for him.

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You are not the answer to his long-term financial plans, you are his life partner. If his goal is to find help to pay off half of his mortgage, he can find a tenant who will do that for him. What to do you are you expecting? Forget what he expected.

The way he approaches this arrangement, it seems he wants the equivalent of a detergent and a fabric softener – a girlfriend and a tenant in a handy bottle to keep his financial plans going. neat and clean.

Bottom line: You don’t have to compromise any plans to build your nest egg. The girl is not for looking back. Only agree to his plan if — with the help of a real tenant in your house — it helps you too.

In other words, the desired outcome for you is more important than the suggestions he gives. He can save $600 a month! That’s his business. Not yours. What do you want to have in your pocket every month?

Guess what you want, and then work your way back based on that goal. For example, if you can pay him $800 a month, charge $1,600 in rent on your house, and put $800 into your savings, do that.

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You have come a long way. Don’t let these negotiations ruin that.

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