Although I’ve said that overpaying for a car is the #1 wealth killer for the middle class, paying ever rising rent over the long run could actually be way worse. Inflation is an unstoppable juggernaut that will smash your retirement dreams to smithereens if you aren’t on the right side.
There’s a general guideline that says renters shouldn’t spend more than 30% of their net income on rent. The 30% recommendation comes from the Brooke Amendment passed in 1969 which determined the point where a family living in public housing was considered financially burdened by housing costs.
As for homeowners, few banks will lend beyond a 43% debt-to-gross income ratio (10% too high IMO). For example, if you pay $2,000 a month for your mortgage and another $300 a month for an auto loan and $300 a month for student loans, your monthly debt payments are $2600. If your gross monthly income is $8,000, then your debt-to-income ratio is 33 percent.
In this article, I’d like to layout a housing expense framework to help folks reach financial independence sooner. I’ll go through my own housing expense history to reveal some nuggets of wisdom.