Breaking Up (During COVID-19) Is Hard To Do: Financial Advice For the Newly Single

Months of being in quarantine has taken its toll on all of us. And no matter how good your relationship was before, being locked down together in a small space will cause some friction. If this situation has made you reevaluate your relationship or you’ve already made the decision to move on, we want to offer you some tactical advice. Breaking up anytime is a drag but breaking up in New York City during a pandemic? Next level. 

We reached out to Joy Liu, Certified Financial Trainer at The Financial Gym (one of our fave partners), to get her advice on what financial steps you can take if you think your relationship is coming to an end.

Realty Collective: 

If you live together and think your relationship isn’t going to make it through COVID, what are some financial steps you can take to protect yourself and position yourself for moving out when the time is right?

Joy Liu:

Financial steps to take when preparing to break-up:

  1. Create a budget for yourself as if you were single
  2. Figure out how much your expenses could increase and practice the future expense but setting it aside in a savings account (i.e., If you moved out, your rent and utilities would increase by $800 a month. You should prepare by challenging yourself to save $800 a month to a savings account to allow you to feel the difference in your budget and save up money for the upfront moving expenses.)
  3. If it is not possible for you to save the difference, then you know you will have to either a clearer idea of what you can afford (maybe you could only afford to increase your expenses by $500 a month) or it gives you a clear idea of how much more you need to increase your income by to afford to move out comfortably.

On the front-end, I have worked with a few clients who have decided to move-in with a significant other to take the next step in their relationship, but it also helps reduce their fixed expenses. We use this opportunity to help them build up their savings and pay down debt with the cost savings. For clients who are entering into this living situation on un-equal financial footing, I always encourage clients to still practice living like they had their own rent to pay by using that to achieve their financial goals. I.e. If I had a client who decided to move in with a partner and the partner makes enough money to pay rent on their own, I would still encourage the client to budget their former rent of $1,250/mo but paying their savings instead. That way if the relationship doesn’t work out, they can still afford to pay rent on their own if they needed.

Looking for more insight? Check out this 2019 presentation on the emotional, financial, and real estate-related issues to take into consideration post-breakup. 

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