By Quentin Fottrell, MarketWatch
My wife and I purchased a home a year ago. I believe we overpaid by 20%, but the appraisal matched what we paid. I do not like the house. It is attached. There is noise pollution, and I don’t think the neighborhood is the safest. We spent most of our savings on the down payment, and the rest we invested in her business and a little in stocks.
The process of getting the house was rushed because, at the time, my wife and I were living with my parents in their house to save money. After a year of living there, my wife was adamant in moving out as soon as possible. We were looking for a house for less than a month when she decided on the house we are living in now.
As she had money from a divorce, she contributed two-thirds of the down payment. Because of this I felt as though her opinion carried more weight than mine. Although I wanted to get a multi-family property to help with expenses, I agreed to this single-family house. We put 50% down.
I still feel resentful about this house almost a year later. I wanted to save money to buy more investment properties. I know it is still possible to do that, but I believe we wasted a perfect opportunity, and have been set back at least five years before we can invest in another property.
My dream is to have investment properties so I have the option of not working and living in other locations without worrying about income. I am currently an accountant, which I hate. We are now expecting our first child, which just adds to our financial responsibilities. I know I sound like an ass. Please help me see the light.
First World Problems
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Do you want your early married years to be marred by what you could have done? You are trying to control the past and, unless you have a DeLorean, a town clock and a few electric wires, you can either make peace with the fact that you both did your best with the information you had at the time, or waste the next five years looking back.
Forgive your wife for perhaps plowing ahead with a decision that you were maybe not wholly comfortable with, and forgive yourself for allowing your wife’s money to sway your thinking, and not speaking up more at the time. She may have provided nearly 70% of the down payment, but you are each 50% responsible for making this choice. Own it.
Ditch the abacus and stop adding up who had the most money, how much you did or didn’t overpay and how much time you might have lost before you achieve financial independence. Even if you did buy a multi-family home, you could be stuck with repairs, a tenant from hell or other unforeseen circumstances that ruin your timeline.
It also seems like your unhappiness with your choice of career — a choice for which you are also 100% responsible — has gotten mixed up with this house. You must identify the dry rot before removing it. Your job is not your wife’s fault either. If you are unhappy with your job, take action to change it. Change doesn’t take time. It takes work.
You are shadow boxing with your own hopes and dreams. But I don’t know who exactly you are in competition with — the person you think you ought to be by now? Here’s what I know for sure: You may earn or save enough to turn the key in the door of a house that is more to your taste, but behind that door you will find another door, and another one behind that.
Few first homes are perfect. If you are fortunate enough to have a job and a home, being happy with what you have is a choice. You are in a better position than most people, with 50% of your home paid off. Be grateful for what you have, and sit down with your wife to make a realistic plan that allows you to plan for the future and enjoy your life now.
If you are spending your time luxuriating in shoulda-woulda-coulda, it will no longer matter where you live because you will not be present for your wife, your child or yourself.
I will leave you with these wise words:
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;<BREAK />I know the voices dying with a dying fall<BREAK />Beneath the music from a farther room.<BREAK />So how should I presume?
“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot
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