Making Cents of 2022: Splitting Expenses and Investing

Here are your most popular money questions for 2022, answered

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Alice Morgan / The Balance

Each week, our editor-in-chief Kristin Myers has answered your burning money questions in her Making Cents column—and there were a lot of great questions as you managed your money in a year that was pretty volatile for finances. From who pays for the dog after a divorce to paying your nanny in cash under the table, Kristin has helped readers make sense of a lot of money questions in 2022. 

But some questions seemed like they were on your mind more than others: Splitting finances and investing basics were among the most common questions asked this year. Whether that was figuring out how to split expenses with a partner, or how to invest when you’re afraid of losing money, Kristin gave her two cents on it all. Here are your most asked questions of 2022, and their answers. 

How Do You Split Expenses When Your Partner Earns More? 

Talking about money with your significant other doesn’t have to be daunting, but there are some situations that might need a little more sensitivity and consideration than others. Maybe you’re deciding to move in together, or get married, but what about when one person earns a lot more money than the other? How do you go about splitting household expenses like rent, in a way that is fair to both of you? 

Kristin’s advice on this is that if one person earns a significant amount more than the other, they should pay a proportionately larger amount when it comes to rent and other shared expenses.  The recommended amount of money you should pay per month on rent is 30% of your income, which will look different if one person has a much higher income—splitting rent 50/50 might be equal but that doesn’t mean it’s fair. However, if you feel you are financially comfortable to contribute half and would prefer that instead, you can do that, too. The key here is to know your financial boundaries. 


If you’re thinking about combining bank accounts and credit cards, our best advice is to wait until you are married. This is because you wouldn’t have any legal protection if your partner decided to close your joint bank account without telling you.

If you see yourself being with someone long term, you’re going to want your relationship to be as financially stable as possible, which means neither of you should be stretching your budgets beyond capacity for shared expenses if you were to move in together. Have an open and honest conversation with your partner where you both outline your goals, fears, and expectations around money. This way, you can come up with a household budget that divides expenses fairly and supports your long-term financial goals. 

I Want To Start Investing But I’m Afraid of Losing Money—What Should I Do?  

With markets on a rollercoaster for most of this year, this is another popular question we received: How do you start investing when you’re afraid to lose money? 

Though it can seem scary, investing is a great way to build wealth. Although the S&P 500 is down this year, historically, the stock market has returned 10% per year on average (or 7% when accounting for inflation). The three- to five-year returns on the S&P 500 are hanging around the 8% mark. 

Now that you know money can be made in the market, the next step is getting over the fear. Take a look at your budget and find an amount that you are comfortable putting into an investment account—do not invest money you need for your living expenses like rent, credit cards, or loans. It’s OK to start small, and commit to investing some money each month, whether that’s $50 or $500. Kristin advises thinking about investing for the long term, and not as a way to make a quick buck. 


You can open a brokerage account or sign up for an investment app to start investing for your future. 

For new investors, Kristin recommends investing passively in index funds such as one that tracks the S&P 500 or ETFs (exchange-traded funds), which are a basket of stocks or bonds. These are lower risk and can be a good place to start for newer investors. With large-cap diversified ETFs, you are investing in many of the highest-quality companies from different industries, so you are less likely to lose a lot of money if you’re afraid of that. ETFs and index funds can also be helpful for those who are already invested in the market and want to mitigate some risk in their portfolios. 

More Top Money Questions: Fighting Inflation, Spending Money, and Paying Off Debt

Inflation was definitely on many people’s minds this year, as higher prices had us paying more for everything from gas, to groceries, to rent in 2022. According to Kristin, making changes to your budget, cutting back on spending, and rebalancing your investment portfolio are some of the best ways to fight against inflation

And while keeping spending in check is important, so is enjoying the money you earn. The good news is that you can definitely make room in your budget for fun—whatever that looks like for you, whether that’s shopping, trying out new restaurants, or traveling. One of the easiest ways to do that is by following the 50/30/20 formula for budgeting, where you set aside 50% of your monthly income for your needs, 30% on your wants (like going out with friends), and 20% for your future, whether that’s to buy a house or for retirement. After all, having a budget that is too restrictive will only make it harder for you to follow. When you have a budget and know your financial priorities, you can save money for the future and still have fun in the present.   

Paying off debt is also something many of us are aiming to do—and as interest rates soared this year because the Federal Reserve tried to cool down inflation, having debt was more expensive in 2022. If you have multiple loans, it can be difficult to figure out which loan to pay off first. While there is no way to avoid interest on paying loans, Kristin’s advice is to tackle whatever debt has the higher interest rate, which could help you save hundreds of dollars on interest payments in the long run. 

Whatever your financial queries may be in 2023, be sure to keep submitting your money questions for Kristin, so she can help ease your fears and grow your wealth in the new year. 

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. HUD. "Defining Housing Affordability."

  2. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "I Have a Joint Checking Account. The Other Person Closed the Account Without Telling Me. Is That Allowed?"

  3. S&P. "S&P 500."

  4. Securities and Exchange Commission. "Saving and Investing."

  5. Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi. "All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan." Page 26. Free Press, 2005.

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