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Q&A: How much should I spend on my mortgage?

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Q: How much should I be spending on my mortgage?

A: “During the housing bubble, many people stretched to buy a house, but now many want to avoid being house poor," says Kenneth Lipner, an accountant with Lipner, Sofferman & Co., LLP in Jericho. The standard rule of thumb was to spend no more than 30 percent of your pretax monthly income on your mortgage. Now many financial experts recommend spending no more than 25 percent. But really, only you can truly figure out what you can or want to afford based on your various goals (college and retirement savings), lifestyle (kids, travel, special interests) income and debts, says Lipner. Be sure to consult an accountant or financial adviser and take the time to do the math.

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