Consider a single person with a net worth of N where N is between one and ten million dollars. He is retired and has no source of income other than his investments. He wants to buy a home which means he must sell assets. As a function of N, how much of a home can he buy? Is 20% of N to high? I think it is.
Consider property taxes (school, municipal, county, etc.) summing to 10% of the property value. So each year, another
.02N is removed. Assume the property value rises with inflation. Allow for a 5% after inflation return on a 70/30 stock bond mix for
After inflation return.
N * .05 = .05N
Let's assume a 20% rate. And let's bump the
.05N after inflation to
.07N before inflation. Inflation is still taxable.
.07N * .2 = .014N
.05N - .014N = .036N
Drop in value of investment funds due to purchase.
N - .2N = .8N
Return after inflation.
.8N * .05 = .04N
After-inflation return minus property taxes.
.04N - .02N = .02N
Taxes are on the return including inflation, so we'll assume
.06N and a 20% rate (may be lower than that, but better safe than sorry).
.06N * .2 = .012N
.02N - .012N = .008N
If no property, you would have
.036N to live on after taxes. But with the property, that drops to
.008N. Given the constraints of the problem,
.008N could be anywhere from $8k to $80k.
So if we ignore housing, can you live on $8k a year? If so, then no problem. If not, then you need to constrain
N more or make do with less house.
On the bright side, you don't have to pay rent out of the
.008N. You still need housing out of the
.036N without the house.
These formulas should be considered examples. I don't know how much your property taxes might be. Nor do I know how much you'll pay in taxes. Heck, I don't know that you'll average a 5% return after inflation. You may have to put some of the money into cash equivalents with negligible return. But this should allow you to research more what your situation really is.
If we set returns to 3.5% after inflation and 2.4% after inflation and taxes, that changes the numbers slightly but importantly. The "no house" number becomes
.024N. The "with house" number becomes
.024N * .8 - .02N = .0192N - .02N = -.0008N
So that's $24,000 (which needs to include rent) versus -$800 (no rent needed). There is not enough money in that plan to have any remainder to live on in the "with house" option. Given the constraints for
N and these assumptions about returns, you would be $800 to $8000 short every year.
This continues to assume that property taxes are 10% of the property value annually. Lower property taxes would of course make this better. Higher property taxes would be even less feasible.
When comparing to people with homes, remember the option of selling the home. If you sell your
.2N home for
.2N and buy a
.08N condo instead, that's not just
.12N more that is invested. You'll also have less tied up with property taxes. It's a lot easier to live on $20k than $8k.
Or do a reverse mortgage where the lender pays the property taxes. You'll get some more savings up front, have a place to live while you're alive, and save money annually.
There are options with a house that you don't have without one.
Consider a single person with a net worth of N where N is between one and ten million dollars.
has no source of income other than his investments
How much dividends and interest do your investments return every year? At 5%, a US$10M investment returns $500K/annum. Assuming you have no tax shelters, you'd pay about $50% (fed and state) income tax.
A prudent income multiplier for home ownership is 3x gross income. Thus, you should be able to comfortably afford a $1.5M house.
Of course, huge CC debt load, ginormous property taxes and the (full) 5 car garage needed to maintain your status with the Joneses will rapidly eat into that $500K.