“I feel bad that I’m taking most of his earnings”: I earn twice as much as my friend. He pays me $300 in rent, but I want him to pay $800. is that fair

Dear Quentin,

My boyfriend and I have been together for seven years and in that time I have bought a house. I used my own savings and spent about $10,000 on renovations. My house is a three bedroom single family home and the tenants are covering most of my mortgage. I have other bills, two cars, insurance, utilities, cell phones, etc.

I have both cars in my name; My friend works to pay off one. He pays the $300 purchase and insurance and gives me $300 for the “rent”.

I feel like he should pay me more, but he feels like he’s helping enough and doesn’t have to pay more because the tenants are covering the mortgage. I’ve tried to explain that owning a home has more expenses than just a mortgage, but he doesn’t seem to get it.

“He’s terrible at saving money and constantly between jobs.”

We keep getting the same argument that he’s “saving to buy a house.” However, he’s terrible at saving money and constantly being between jobs (that’s his own problem). Although he’s not good with money and has a hard time staying in a job, he’s always paid half, even if it’s not much.

I think $800 a month is a good deal to have paid all your bills except for the car and insurance; he disagrees and will continue to pay only $300. I make at least twice as much as my boyfriend, so it’s not like I need the money. I think it’s only fair that he’s paying his way.

I feel bad that I’m going to take most of his income, but I feel like I can invest it better than him. What do you think is fair?

Hardworking friend

Dear hardworking people,

We could go back and forth about what would happen if you were married or if the gender roles were reversed, but the bottom line is that you have the right to charge your boyfriend market rent or rent in excess of $300 a month , but still less than the market price. In many housing markets, $800 is a bargain right now.

Here’s the bottom line: you don’t have to justify why you want him to pay more than most people an average cable bill ($217) and electricity bill ($115) combined for the average American household, with an Amazon Prime AMZN,
or Netflix NFLX,
Subscription thrown in.

“They don’t want to be trailblazers and encourage a culture of job hopping and long periods between engagements.”

Likewise, your boyfriend’s unwillingness or inability to keep a job shouldn’t be a factor in his decision not to live in the adult world. You are neither his mother nor a friend giving him a couch to sleep on while he gets his finances in order. you are his partner He should be willing to pay his way.

I am writing this under the assumption that you took out the two car loan because your friend did not have a good enough credit rating to take out a car loan of his own. So he’s paying off a car that’s technically in your name, but the car is transferred to him when the final payment is made.

Compare your respective income and expenses and the market rent for your neighborhood. Of course you can take into account that you share a room (and a house). I might suggest $500 if your other tenants are paying $800, but the only number you should agree on is one you’re happy with.

You want to be supportive, but you also don’t want to be an enabler and encourage a culture of job hopping and long periods between engagements. If you didn’t offer him a home to live in for $300 a month, he would have to find his own way in the real world and become a more reliable and responsible employee.

The bigger question is whether you are a good match. If he’s now showing signs of leaning on you financially and guiltily making you agree to a token rent payment, it’s only going to get worse as your relationship develops. What is fair in the real world and what is fair in your friend’s world can be two very different things.

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Four more moneyists:

“This is not my ideal living situation”: My husband and I live in his mother’s house. She will leave it to him when she dies. Am I entitled to this house?

“I missed the bus on bitcoin, but now I feel like my time has come. I’ve got a boring 9-to-5 job for 25 more years. Is the crypto crash an opportunity to buy cheap?

“No siblings want to raise the money”: My father owns a single-family house with 3 siblings. He spent $100,000 on renovations. Can he force her to sell?

My in-laws sold their house and bought an RV. You have $200,000 in the bank. How can they protect their assets from being used for nursing home expenses? “I feel bad that I’m taking most of his earnings”: I earn twice as much as my friend. He pays me $300 in rent, but I want him to pay $800. is that fair

Brian Lowry

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