If getting the house you long for requires the appearance of a fairy godmother, an inheritance from out of the blue, a winning lottery ticket, or stretching your finances to the point that the dream is destined to become a nightmare, then you need to reshape your dreams. What good are they if they have little chance of coming true or will lead you into a financial mess? The best are the kind we can make a reality. And I'm here to tell you that you can make them happen—if you learn how to dream the right dream, the one that makes sense for you. What I call practical dreaming.
It wasn't so long ago (okay, 33 years) that I graduated from living in a van—yes, yours truly once called a Ford Econoline home—to renting an apartment. As great as that move was, I had bigger ambitions. I wanted to own a home. But at the time, I was earning barely enough to cover my rent and other basic living expenses. That's when my first practical dream came to me: I realized the only way I'd be able to get a place was if I partnered with someone else. So I bought a house with a friend and her mother. Well, to be accurate, all the money came from the mom—we just split the mortgage payments with her—but it was a start. And it worked.