**Today is the last day to save 20% on an annual subscription to the Never Retire newsletter. Go here for that deal or opt for the $5/month or founding member plan. **

**On the low end, here’s how much it could cost you to secure the American dream today:**

*20% down payment of $72,600 on the median priced home of $363,000 nationally.**Monthly mortgage payment, including taxes and insurance, of $2,310 at 6.4% interest.**Additional monthly housing expenses (improvements, maintenance, utilities) of roughly $1,000 a month.**A new car in your driveway: $716 a month on a loan of $41,445 at 6.1% interest over 69 months (this represents the current averages).***Your total monthly outlay for all of the above: $4,026, not to mention the $72,600 you parted with for the right to take on a 30-year mortgage.**

Run those same numbers in a place such as California, where the median home price is closer to $736,000 and the housing estimates you see above pretty much double. Absolutely unthinkable numbers. **So we’ll just stick with $4,026 before you even put gas in the car, pay for insurance on it, pay for healthcare, buy groceries, save and do some discretionary spending.**

**$4,026 a month. For the base of the American dream. The house and the car. With $72,600 upfront. **

How much money do you have to make to afford just the base of the American dream?

I did the math. *The answer is just over $10,000 a month to come in at 40% of your income.*

That’s 40% of your income on just housing and some of your transportation (30% for housing/10% for the car). Of course, you can run the math any number of ways, but this is pretty much a standard calculation that has become so insane it looks unreal.

*This back of the envelope math is the #1 reason why everything in my personal finance comes back to having and maintaining a low cost of living.*

**But it’s not because I want to save more and obtain so-called financial freedom.**

There are two bigger, more honest reasons that can pave the way for you to save more. But they come with a qualifier, a disclaimer, a caveat.