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Q.

The Nest Q&A

We're trying to figure out if we can afford to buy a home. How much “leftover” money should we have each month after a mortgage payment and all of our other bills?

A.

If you have a cash cushion of at least three months' living expenses, and your income will allow for the covering of all of your other expenses and a mortgage, and still allow you to plunk 15 or so percent into savings, you may be ready to buy. But only if your income is relatively secure. Remember: Dual-income couples aren't more financially secure than single people since usually their lifestyle grows to depend on two incomes.