Well, we have all recently seen what happens when we live beyond our means: millions of Americans lose their home and cause the biggest economic disaster since the Great Depression. Have we learned anything here – or will a million more families buy a home this year that they really can’t afford?
If you follow my advice, you can live in a stress-free home, keep your priorities straight and avoid foreclosure. A-ha, the most important word here: priorities. The problem in America is that most families don’t have their priorities staright. They buy a big, giant home to keep up with the Joneses, work 60+ hours per week to pay for that big, giant home, have their kids in daycare 60+ hours per week in order to work insane hours to pay for the big, giant home and then look back 10-20 years later and wonder where their life, marriage and kids have gone. It’s The American Way.
Your quality of life will never be determined by the things you have, but by the things you DO. So, when you are deciding what you can afford in a home, budget the things in life that are most important to you FIRST, and then see what you have left to spend on a home.
Why is this important? Most families blow all of their money on a house, and then find it difficult (or impossible) to pay for college, take an amazing vacation, save for the future or do anything valuable (without racking up credit card debt). Also, the lower your cost of living, the fewer hours you have to work to keep up with your bills – which of course puts less stress on your soul and gives you more time to spend with your family.
So, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE use the calculator below before buying a new house. It will help you keep your priorities straight, help you live below your means, help you avoid foreclosure and allow you to live a quality life!
The Raidt Way Mortgage Calculator
Step # 1: Write down all the things that are important and valuable to your family.
▪ Retirement planning $ per month $ per year
▪ IRA or other investments $ per month $ per year
▪ College funds $ per month $ per year
▪ Health insurance $ per month $ per year
▪ Disability / catastrophic insurance $ per month $ per year
▪ Life insurance $ per month $ per year
▪ Long-term care $ per month $ per year
▪ Will / trust $ per month $ per year
▪ Day care, pre-k or private school (per child) $ per month $ per year
▪ Education, seminars for Mom and Dad $ per year
Travel and Vacations
▪ Vacation 1 $ per year
▪ Vacation 2 $ per year
Entertainment, Sports and Leisure
▪ Tickets to theme parks, zoos $ per year
▪ Tickets to sporting events $ per year
▪ Tickets to museums, theater, concerts $ per year
▪ Sports programs for the kids $ per year
▪ Summer camp, swim lessons $ per year
▪ Entertainment or “date nights” for Mom and Dad $ per year
▪ Gifts for weddings, birthday parties, baby showers, etc. $ per year
▪ Gym memberships $ per month
▪ Haircuts and styling $ per month
▪ Donations to service organizations $ per month
▪ Donations to needy families $ per month
▪ Church tithes $ per month
▪ Licensing $ per month Accounting $ per month
▪ Legal fees $ per month
▪ Advertising $ per month
▪ Web Hosting $________per month
Home Repairs and Upgrades
▪ Exterior maintenance $ per month
▪ Interior maintenance $ per month
▪ Landscaping and lawn service $ per month
▪ Plumbing and Electrical $ per month $ per year
▪ Music, sports, cooking $ per month $ per year
Step # 2: Add the above expenses together. Annual total $_________________
Step # 3: Divide the annual total by 12 to get a monthly average $________________
Step # 4: If you are married, write down one (yes, only one) spouse’s take-home income $__________________________
Step # 5: Subtract your average monthly total from one spouse’s take-home income $_______________
Step # 6: This number above ____________________ equals what you can afford in a mortgage payment, including taxes and homeowner’s association fees.
If your mortgage payment is more than the above-calculated number, then you are living above your means and you’re not able to afford to use cash to pay for most valuable things in life for you and your family.