Tuesday, 7 June 2016


Unless you're doing this on the back of a lottery win, a massive inheritance or some other incredible windfall, affordability is going to be a serious consideration.

During our boating days, we took on board a valuable lesson, widely applicable, that gives a useful insight into the true meaning of affordability. Early on, a wise man said to us, "When you come to buy a boat, don't go for the biggest you think you can afford but rather the smallest that you can live with."

A simple sounding lesson but one with enormous ramifications, which makes it possible to avoid a very common pitfall in any venture requiring a significant capital investment. Too many look simply at the funds they have, or potentially have access to (another critical distinction) and then go for the biggest/flashiest/highest spec/whatever thing they can stretch to on that 'budget'.

If the object of your desire is something that will require ongoing input/investment for maintenance/running/upgrades, whether measured in units of time, money or both, then the ongoing costs must be considered at the outset and the coat cut to fit the cloth. Bigger is not necessarily better and always comes with higher ongoing costs.

Let's get back to specifics. If you're looking to live the reasonably good life, it's no good maxing out financially to acquire the biggest property with the most land that you can possibly stretch to, if it means that you'll then have to go on working full time to be able to pay for it. Unless you happen to be one of the few truly fortunate, you'll most likely need to keep at some paid work to bring in the readies.

More than a full time job
Running a homestead, particularly when you're building it up from scratch, is more than a full time job in its own right. While it may be possible to hold down a full time paid job at the same time, the sacrifice in quality of life would wipe out most of the benefits of the lifestyle change. Something has to give!

So, minimise overheads. Depending on the quality of the land, half an acre or an acre can easily be enough to sustain a couple or a small family if the plot is intelligently laid out and worked. Choose a place that leaves you with as much financial breathing space as possible, while allowing the scope to do what you want to do with it.

Put simply, buy a place that you can afford to maintain long term, while only having to work part time at most.

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