What’s your definition of ‘rich’ … would being a highly-paid professional (such as a doctor) or a high-flying executive (such as a high-tech sales rep) earning megabucks-per-year do it for you?
To start, here is an excerpt from an e-mail that I received from docsd (you may need to register and log-in to see his Networth IQ Profile):
I have been awaiting approval on a home that I am purchasing and just received word today that I was approved for the loan and that the closing process will proceed. My wife and I plan on staying in the home for many years to come, as it is an older historic horse farm on several acres outside of Louisville, KY and this home fulfills my wife’s dreams of being able to have horses. I actually came to a compromise with her regarding this house because my goal has always been to live as far below my means as possible while accumulating wealth and her goal was to have a considerable and high-end horse estate on several acres (obviously not inexpensive living, especially if this is a 500k-million dollar home that you plan on staying in). The compromise we made was to wait as long as we could to find the best deal possible so that we can fulfill both of our desires between the property and the low personal overhead to help with wealth accumulation. That time has come and we found the property, basically stole it for tens of thousands below its most recent appraisal and we qualified to purchase it while still holding on to our current home. We are purchasing the new home for 325k and our current home is valued at between 307k and 314k.
I feel I am in a unique position as the owner of 2 homes this early in starting my career and have a feeling I can make a much better situation out of my current home by holding on to it instead of selling it quickly in this market….however, I am worried that it is too pricey to be able use as a rental property investment at this time. Provided I refinance it to the going rate, around 6%, which is considerably better than the 8% we qualified for when we bought it just over 2 years ago, the total monthly liability for us would be just over 2k per month and I’m just not confident we can get that much monthly for rent here at the moment. This house is a very nice and large house in one of the more exclusive parts of town (in an area that has been averaging nearly 10% appreciation for homes per year across several years and not impacted near
What would you do if you were the ‘Doc’?
Obviously, we don’t know nearly enough about his situation … and, we can’t give specific financial advice, anyway … but, we can make some general observations:
Firstly, we can see a hard working professional (we presume) earning over $150k per year … easy street!
Then we see the problems that go along with it: too much house, too much lifestyle, too much debt … even though our ‘Doc’ says that he is focused on saving and wealth creation.
But, Doc has some bigger issues to deal with:
1. Student debt and other debt (plus his mortgage) of nearly $160k that must be paid off!
The ONLY reason not to concentrate solely on paying it off now is if (a) the interest rates on these loans are lower than mortgage rates, and (b) the money that should be used for paying off these loans will instead go into long-term, buy-and-hold, income producing rental property.
2. The ‘doc’ has a negative Net Worth!
Now, that’s always understandable for a professional with large student loans to pay off early in their career; I don’t know how long ‘our doc’ has been working, but to be looking to compound this Net Worth deficit by upgrading lifestyle is not something that I would usually recommend.
But, there is also an emotional/lifestyle decision to be made here:
For example, we need a wife who is onside, so it would be tempting to simply swap one home for the other (keeping in mind it’s probably ‘only’ a $50k – $100k ‘swap’ … new house is slightly more expensive than the existing, but there will also be closing costs and selling costs, etc.).
But, I have a question around the horses … this house comes with a new lifestyle: are the horses just an expense (i.e. buy, feed, maintain) or also an income (e.g. agisting other people’s horses, selling horses, giving riding lessons, etc.)?
If the latter, I would consider upgrading just to keep the ‘little missus’ happy, but only if I was committed to earning more and using that extra income to accelerate debt repayment … if the former … hmmmm.
Given that we are not really assessing the Doc’s situation, because we don’t know enough, we need to realize that high income = high wealth only when that income is put to:
a. Debt reduction, then
b. Passive Investments
Lifestyle comes from the perpetually sustainable income that good passive investments should spin off … at least, that’s how I live.
In Part II, we’ll look at the super-high-flying-sales-rep …