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Laura Hunt

Romance & Money

Creating Financial Health

Set realistic financial goals!

Karen in Lake Oswego, Oregon:
"We have been married for two years and have never been able to save a dime. We want to buy a house, but we don't seem to agree on what our financial goals should be. How can we develop some kind of a mutually agreed upon game plan for buying a home?"

Well, Karen, first you must agree that you both want a home. I'll assume that's been done. If it hasn't, then you must discuss that issue first.

Then you need to understand where you are now in your spending habits. I've attached a sample budget so you can keep records of every dime you spend in a one month period. This exercise is for BOTH of you.

At the end of one month, sit down on a relaxing Saturday morning with a pot of coffee and some scones. In my experience blackberry jam makes this session go more smoothly. Establish where you might be able to cut some of your expenses; lattes, movies, manicures, football games, lunches in restaurants, etc. You decide what you can forgo in order to have the house you want.

Once you've tracked your spending habits, you should contact a mortgage banker or your local bank and have them pre-qualify you for a mortgage. This session with a banker will teach you far more than you can learn on your own. It should cost you little to nothing for this appointment. Let them know you are planning on buying in the future and need to know where to start. They will tell you how your credit report looks; whether you qualify for a home loan; and, if so, at what amount.

Then you can set realistic financial goals and develop a game plan for buying a home.

This all takes some work and some education. Nothing worthwhile comes easily. I have had couples sit down with me only to learn they are two to three years form purchasing a home. Many others are happily surprised to learn they are ready to purchase that weekend if they choose.

“It's choice-not chance that determines your destiny.”
Jean Nidetch

Additional information on this topic:

Read Earlier Articles
Editorial Calendar & Monthly Budget Worksheet
Important Financial Help Websites and Phone Numbers


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