Don’t Let Money Rules of Thumb Get You Down

Put 20% down when buying a home. Don’t spend more than 30% of your income on housing costs. Keep child care expenses below 10% of your annual household income.

These money rules of thumb can be useful guardrails, helping you allocate spending and determine what’s affordable. They can also be incredibly defeating when they feel unattainable.

If money “rules” feel completely detached from your reality, know this: The average American doesn’t come close to hitting many of the popular money rules. And that’s OK.

“If you treat ‘rules of thumb’ as rigid rules, you’re setting yourself up for frustration,” says William O’Donnell, president of Heartland Financial Solutions in Bellevue, Nebraska. “The thing people tend to forget is that guidelines are flexible because everybody’s situation is different.”

What’s important is having a handle on your expenses and building a spending plan that works for you, not some ideal. Here’s how to view money rules of thumb in…

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This article was written by Kelsey Sheehy and originally published on www.nerdwallet.com