How Big Is Your Moat?
The madness that COVID-19 has created has made me reanalyze my family's financial strategy. Every time I turn on the news, my heart breaks since people are dying and since millions of people are losing their jobs. As a Realtor, this has weighed heavy on me since I'm concerned about the wellbeing of my family, friends, and clients.
As a first-time homebuyer, my wife and I had a major decision to make when we bought our first home. When we analyzed our pre-qualification from our mortgage lender, we decided to purchase at the bottom of our range. Rates were relatively low -- money was cheap to borrow -- and we were targeting a few 2-bed units in Kakaako. As we conducted our home search, we stumbled on a non-luxury condo located in town. All our non-negotiables were met and we were able to purchase the unit below list price.
Although living in Kakaako attracted us, we opted to play things financially safe by having a smaller mortgage and a reasonable maintenance fee. Although we did not foresee a pandemic like COVID-19, we had a plan in place in case something like this did happen. That is, we wanted to make sure our financial moat was wide enough during unstable times like this.
One thing my great grandma taught me was to save and have no debt. My high school personal finance teacher, Col. Richard Rankin, taught me the value of long term investing. And my broker, Trevor Benn, once told me, "Building wealth is easy. I find it easier than losing weight. The formula is the same. If you take in more money than you spend, you'll build wealth." By applying all these things, my wife and I are constantly increasing the size of our moat.
Our moat is our financial competitive edge against during COVID-19. One major milestone was paying off my student loans. We quickly realize the importance of financial stability, especially during uncertain times.
Stay safe and healthy. We are in it together.