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One of the biggest stories of the past decade in personal finance is how expensive housing – both owning and renting – has become in some cities. It’s a challenging story to cover as a personal-finance columnist because there aren’t any easy solutions beyond saving longer or moving to the suburbs.

Oh, wait. It seems that young adults are finding a solution to expensive housing by moving in together. A recent story in Flare captures the complications of living and dating in an expensive city. One young woman talks about meeting a guy who made it clear within the first month of dating that his goal was to move in with a partner. Another shared her story of moving in with a boyfriend for housing-related reasons, even though she didn’t see them as being at the “moving-in-together stage” of their relationship.

A relationship expert and registered psychologist is quoted in the article as saying that a lot of younger people are moving in way too quickly as a result of high living costs. I’m also quoted in the article on how expensive housing has become in some parts of the country. The Globe ran this story last year on the legal and financial dangers of moving in quickly and becoming common-law. If that relationship sours, splitting properties, assets and savings can be challenging.

A goal for 2020 is to focus on solutions to high-cost housing. Beyond moving in with a partner, here are a few that immediately come to mind:

  • Co-ownership: Ontario recent issued a consumer guide to help people buy and share a house.
  • Moving to a cheaper city: Housing markets in Eastern Canada have been hot lately – some of the best housing values in the country can be found there.
  • Move in with your parents: Whether you pay rent or not, you’ll still be able to save rent or down-payment money faster than if you had your own place.

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Rob’s personal finance reading list…

Time is money – here’s how much

An enterprising U.S. personal-finance blogger figures out how long people have to work to generate the income needed to buy a grande Starbucks cappuccino, a Coach purse, an iPhone SX and much more. A fresh take on the value you get for the money you spend.

The worst etiquette mistakes

Several money-related points here, including stiffing a server and not paying your share when you’re out with a group.

An annual credit card fee of $699? Seriously?

An expert on budget travel says there’s a lot of value in the American Express Platinum Canada card, even with the extraordinarily high annual fee.

Best Canadian bank stocks

An investing blog digs into the banking sector in search of good dividend-investing opportunities.

Ask Rob

Q: I improved my credit score from about 765 to about 840 in a matter of two weeks, although I really don’t need it. My debts include a mortgage and a line of credit used for market investing. I simply used my margin account to pay down my LOC from near its maximum of $200,000 to $50,000, and lo and behold, my credit score improved.

A: Credit scores can bounce around a fair bit based on your usage of credit. I have found that using credit a lot and paying promptly can elevate a score. Use no credit and your score may dip a bit. It’s all pretty much meaningless if your score remains in the low 700 range or better, which is a very good zone for getting a good rate when you borrow.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

Today’s financial tool

A clear, useful guide to bond investing.

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