A few weeks ago I was invited over a buddy’s apartment for a little poker game with a few guys I went to college with. One of the guys, we’ll call him Lenny, had just recently married and bought a house with his wife. Lenny had told me about the house and where the neighborhood was. Sounded like a nice place, a newer construction home in a development right near a golf course in the greater New York metro area. On the way back home to Manhattan one of the guys was telling me how he feels bad for Lenny, as he is having trouble paying his bills with the wife and the big mortgage.
So obviously as soon as I got home I Zilllowed the neighborhood where Lenny and his wife bought their house. What I found was a neighborhood where the houses start around $500k, 2,500 square feet, and $10k per year for property taxes.
What ever happened to the starter home I thought people bought when they were young and just got married? Lenny and his wife are in their late 20’s, don’t have any plans of little Lenny’s in the near future I believe (and hope for their sake), and Lenny was complaining about his student loans as well. What gives!?!?
I don’t know Lenny all that well, but besides the ginormous mortgage payment and his student loans, who else knows what he is dealing with. Maybe a car payment? Most likely not contributing a healthy amount to his retirement with all those bills to pay, and probably is lacking in the emergency fund department as well. But who am I to judge? Everyone is different and have different goals and aspirations, risk tolerance, backgrounds, personal finance knowledge, etc. Lenny has a degree from a good undergrad business school, and therefore I can’t understand why he didn’t figure out his budget before he made the big leap into a large mortgage? If you’re having trouble paying the bills when you are DINKs*, maybe you overreached… just a little.
* A DINK is “dual-income, no kids”