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YES You Can Afford a Home: Practical Things You Can Do to Plan for a Home Purchase

The month my parents were to close on their first house, my father was laid off. NYC was in a terrible recession. Interest rates approached 18%. Were they disappointed, angry, scared? Probably. I don’t know. We were kids- loved and clothed and ran around the neighborhood with other kids. We never spoke about money.

Graph showing mortgage interest rates with the text "Reality is Relative" written across it
Graph showing mortgage interest rates for the last several decades

They had to make quick decisions.

My mother went back to work and they choose to keep us in the one bedroom apartment because the rent was stable, we could go to good public schools and they had easy access to the City for work.

They chose that and they lived their choice.

They never fought about it or expressed discontent - It was a fact of life.

Money is relative and emotional.

Relative to my grandparents, who lost children to disease and war, I suppose my parents felt lucky.

They chose to be frugal because that is what they knew.

There were no questions about lattes, just a automatic coffee pot on the counter. We ate well balanced, fresh meals made at home. If there was Chinese or Pizza, it was because my mother had the flu.

The more we can look at our situation and be more grateful than angry, the clearer our decisions become and the better our mindset and health.

We all have internal narratives. What are the expectations and stories you have concocted that are restraining you from making the best choices for your own life?

Are you irritated enough to make changes to your daily habits?

Are you ready to accept living in a smaller place than you dreamed, or in a new county, new state, new country...?

They did eventually buy a house - and we burnt the mortgage deed when it was paid off.

Doing nothing is still a decision.

Practical Things You Can Do:

✔ Adjust your lifestyle and your habits until there is money each month for savings - aim for 20% of your take home. Make it a game.

✔ Beat Interest Rates at their own game. Consider investment vehicles like Treasury Bills and Bonds to lock in higher interest rates than your savings account. *Make sure to match up their expiration dates with when you may want your money. See Bills - Bonds - Notes on this website.

✔ Educate yourself on market prices in various areas. Start with Zillow

✔ Talk to people - it’s cathartic AND it can help generate new ideas

“Every decision you make reflects your evaluation of who you are.”

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, American author, speaker, and politician

As always have any questions, send us an email at we'll be happy to help you along your financial journey!

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