Danger! From House Poor to Poor Work-Life Balance in a Flash
It’s financial literacy month in Canada and for the past few weeks we’ve been talking about ways to build a blueprint for financial stability in your house.
No, that blueprint doesn’t include debt shaming, nor does it include restricting yourself to a budget so tight you’d think you were up to your eyeballs in debt.
And hey, maybe you are, and there are a lot of different reasons why that might be the case, but there’s also several different tactics you can use to deal with it. Starving yourself and cutting back on some of life’s small, inexpensive pleasures (like fancy daily coffees, for example), isn’t necessarily a longterm fix.
Note: if you find yourself under extreme stress due to your finances, just know you’re not alone. If you just want to talk about it, give us a call, we’ll steer you in the right direction.
Financial literacy isn’t just about building budgets and counting pennies on all your receipts. Sure, managing your money and accounting for what goes out vs what comes in is important, but being financially literate is deeper than that. Think of the grassroots viewpoint of your financial state. What are you paying for? What can you afford? What do you need in your life? For most Canadians, the first thing that comes to mind when balancing their budgets is their home. Where you live accounts for the greatest chunk of your monthly spending. It’s also the base, literally, for how you live your life.
Home Is Where The Heart Is
I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of wanderlust. Think of it as the grass-is-greener syndrome for homeowners. I’m always fantasizing about living somewhere else.. One day it’s a huge acreage in the middle of nowhere. One day it’s a modern condo in the heart of the city. One day it’s somewhere in between. Wait, that’s this day, right now!
The point is that we’re all guilty from time to time of having eyes larger than our wallets. Sure, if we do the math and justify giving up this luxury or that necessity we can make the numbers work on a brand new house, but that doesn’t mean we should. We’re big believers in stripping the emotion out of the buying process.
How? By asking yourself difficult questions about a potential purchase. For a lot of people, that’s what spouses are for. Has anyone else viewed a home or attended an open house and found themselves defending their position on this or that just for the sake of defending it? It happens. We want so badly to believe we’ve found the perfect situation that we ignore any potential red flags.
The biggest red flag of them all? How constrictive will your new monthly payments be? It’s easy to justify the price tag before we start paying it. What about three months after the fact? A year? Five years?
The grass might look greener at first, but reality will eventually set in. For instance, the rain is currently pounding down here in Vancouver, and this place doesn’t look nearly as appealing as it did in the summer. In fact, no place does.
Being house poor is no fun, especially if it means you have to work more to make ends meet. Sure, we all work hard for a living. We make sacrifices to put food on the table.
But home is wherever you and your family are. It does no good to own a home if you’re never around to enjoy it.