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Hamish Telford, 49, a West Coast political science professor, is a study in the financial challenges facing even households that are at the upper end of the middle class. He makes about $86,000 a year and, as his Real Life Ratio affirms, he can barely afford his modest life as a homeowner. The Real Life Ratio was introduced in a Rob Carrick column this month as a way to help people see if they can afford a house and all the other costs of living a financially responsible life (download the spreadsheet). Mr. Telford used the spreadsheet we created to help readers calculate their ratio and came up with a worst-case score of 89, which means he faces an overload of financial stress.

Download the Real Life Ratio interactive spreadsheet and fill in your own numbers here.

Read the full article by Rob Carrick.