Today's letter comes from Fatima in Framingham, Massachusetts. Fatima writes:
Dear Dr Wang,
I have been renting the same apartment for the past five years and love where I live. I have been trying to save up to buy a condo but am not ready yet. Two weeks ago I received some disturbing news from my landlord. He told me that he is planning to put an addition onto each of the units to make them bigger, and be able to charge a lot more rent. I am upset by this because I really don't want to move and I don't think I'm ready to buy a place yet. I started shopping for a place to buy but, I'm nervous about the financial commitment and my ability to pay a hefty mortgage. Should I agree to pay the higher rent in my apartment or should I try to buy a place of my own? I'm happy where I am and don't want to move. I need some objective advice.
Dr Wang responds: Dear Fatima,
Your situation reminds me of a time when I lived in just a small bowl. I was comfortable and felt quite safe. One day my caretaker decided it was time for me to move into a nicer tank. I resisted the move, and flip-flopped around about the idea. I hid in the plants and tried to avoid the reality of the situation. Eventually I came to the realization that the time had come for me to leave my comfort zone and move into the bigger tank. I couldn't afford to even decorate the spacious new tank, but I allowed myself to be relocated, and I've never looked back since. I started writing an advice column for extra money and eventually was able to furnish my own place in the splendor that I now call home. I can't afford a cleaning fish,(such as a Plecostomus) so I do my own windows. The point is I made it work. But anyway I digress...so back to your question.
There are many details that you did not share about your situation (age, employment status, income, debt, etc) so I have consulted The Great Bubble Wall in my tank for insight into your future. Do not pay higher rent in your apartment, you should move. You must embrace this change in your life and prepare to transition to a new residence. There are some minor changes in your spending habits you should make that will dramatically improve your cash flow and help afford a mortgage. For example, eliminate sushi night. It's expensive and from my perspective, is really in bad taste to eat raw fish anyway.
You must shop for the right mortgage broker. Look for a broker with blond hair and nine fingers. He will find the right mortgage you can afford. Be sure to review his math calculations carefully. Since he is missing a finger he sometimes makes keying errors on his calculator. This move to your own home will be a good thing for you, but you must plan for the future. Remember, it is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret. Good luck, and...
keep swimming upstream,
"Wisdom Wednesdays" features the sage advice of our resident oracle, psychic betta fish "Dr Sidney Wang". Believed to be a reincarnated descendant of King Rama II of Siam, Dr Wang responds to e-mail submissions with advice, predictions of the future and conveys ancient proverbs to provide guidance and support. Dr Sidney Wang's 24 Hour Wisdom, Advice and Inspiration service is also available from the left side navigation for this feature