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Can I Afford It?

With certain purchases I ask myself if I can afford it – but not with all.

I went and had pho today and I didn’t care what the price of the dishes were. I walked in, sat down, opened the menu, and ordered fresh spring rolls and a bowl of vegan pho. I left paying $20, including tip. It never once crossed my mind whether I could afford this.

When I first purchased a condo, I was still in residency and moonlighting. I questioned whether I could afford $288,000. Figured the bank would know best.

If my buddy invites me out to a bar to shoot pool, I don’t hesitate for a moment and I don’t ask myself what if I can afford it. If he asked me to join him on an overseas trip then I’d be back at the decision tree.

I have a feeling that someone worth 10’s of millions wouldn’t hesitate to make that vacation decision. They may not have the time but they won’t be wondering if they can afford it.

Wondering if I can afford something often means that I can’t afford it. Doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t spend it – that’s a personal decision. But that momentary doubt settles the affordability dilemma.

When I was paying $800 a month in rent here in Portland, I did the math to see how much I could afford in mortgage payments for the same monthly payment. I came across a few condos selling for under $200,000. But even at $200k, I wasn’t sure I could afford it. But $140k, for some reason, wasn’t even a question.

So I guess the whole purpose of this post is to give more credence to us questioning our purchases. When the affordability question pops up, maybe that’s an answer in and of itself.

If you’re stuck wondering whether something that you already own is affordable, I would peg that it’s not.

I wonder what kind of wheels are turning in my subconscious. Is there a little gremlin in my cranium churning out the math on an abacus? What equation are they using? Is it based on my net worth off of what I take home every month?


One reply on “Can I Afford It?”

It is nice to get to a certain financial level where you can dismiss the cost automatically in your head. The more 0’s in your portfolio, the higher the item can be without causing too much consternation.

If you ever have that issue in the future again about a bigger ticket item, feel free to do a submission to a segment on my blog called The Doctor’s Bill: Can I Afford It?

Johanna Fox Turner, A wealth management expert has graciously offered her services in analyzing various items and both her and I weigh in on whether or not that person can afford it. So far we have had multiple posted submissions and have had great feedback.

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