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 house with a 30 year mortgage balance of $150,000 with an interest rate of 4%. He has $275,000 in cash and retirement accounts. He retired.

My house is paid for. I have $50,000 in cash and retirement accounts. I would like to retire within a year or two.

We would like to cohabit but could not agree on a fair “rent” to pay. He is not ready to live in my house because it has less amenities.

He believes that I should pay half of his monthly expenses in his more beautiful and expensive house. He can pay his mortgage and save $600 a month, but he likes to have cash.

I forgot that luxury and paid off my mortgage. I am now working to build my savings. I don’t feel it’s fair for me to pay half the mortgage interest cost.

I don’t know what repair and maintenance costs should be expected of me, if I don’t have equity in his house. There are many opinions, none of which feel fair.

These are the options he put forward:

· I live in his house and thus rent mine. I paid him half of what I net from that rental.

· Pays half of the actual costs 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 say you, Moneyist?

Homeowner and Friend

Dear Homeowner,

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

That is, you should not get out of this arrangement paying more, just because he (a) wants you to live in his house and (b) help him pay his mortgage, or his tax and maintenance.

You both made different choices: Yours was to have a home that was free and clear of mortgage, so you could spend this time building up your savings for retirement and/or a rainy day.

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

If his goal is to find help to pay half of his mortgage, he can find a tenant to do it 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 half of his mortgage, he can find a tenant to do it for him. What do you do? you expect from you? Forget what awaits.

From the way he is approaching this arrangement, it seems he wants the equivalent of detergent and softener – girlfriend and tenant in one handy bottle to keep his financial plans smooth and clean.

Bottom line: You shouldn’t compromise any plans to build your nest egg. The woman is not for wandering. Agree to his plan only if – with the help of a current tenant in your house – it also helps you.

In other words, the desired result for you is more important than the suggestions he put forward. He can save $600 a month! That’s his business. It’s not yours. What would you like to have in your pocket every month?

See what you 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 for your house, and put $800 toward your savings, do it.

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You have a long way to go. Don’t let these negotiations take that away.

Check it out the private Facebook Moneyist group, where we seek answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

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Read also:

I built a property portfolio with 23 units while we were dating. How much should I give my boyfriend in our prenup?

‘We will not outlive our money’: How can we give $10,000 to our grandchildren without offending the rest of the family?

‘I hate being cheap’: Is it still acceptable to arrive at a friend’s house for dinner with only one bottle of wine?

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