For eight seasons, television fans were glued to the tube watching the accident prone Tim “the Toolman” Taylor try to build it and fix it using Binford Tools and a motto of “More Power!” “Home Improvement,” which ended in 1999, can still be seen in syndication and on DVD today. While many of today’s television characters live extravagant lifestyles that seem a bit unrealistic, Tim and Jill Taylor of “Home Improvement” are one of the few couples who may actually be able to survive based on their fictional salaries.
What the Taylors have. Tim hosts a locally syndicated cable television program, “Tool Time.” He shows off and advertises the Binford Tool line, which sponsors the show. He is married to Jill, who goes back to graduate school to get a degree in psychology. Their three children attend public school. The program takes place in Michigan, where Tim and Jill own a three bedroom home with a finished basement, backyard and a garage.
What they spend. According to HousingTracker.net , the current median price of a home in Michigan is approximately $125,000. However, housing prices in Michigan have gone down significantly in just the last two years, with a median price in 2006 of $174,999, and houses in the 75th percentile at $289,999. For argument’s sake, assume that Tim and Jill purchased their home in 1990 for $200,000, putting no money down except for closing costs. A $200,000 mortgage today would run the Taylors approximately $1,500 a month, including taxes and insurance, according to Interest.com’s mortgage calculator . Bankrate.com estimates that you should spend no more than 28 percent of your gross salary on your mortgage. Tim would need to make approximately $65,000 a year to afford his home in Michigan.
In addition, much of the work done on his home, including finishing his basement, was done with the help and aid of Binford Tools, which financed many of the upgrading projects in the Taylor home in return for allowing them to air the projects.
Therefore, it does seem likely that Tim could afford his home based on his salary, thanks to the perks associated with working for Binford Tools and being surrounded by handy friends.
What else impacts the Taylors’ ability to stay afloat? In addition to his salary, which supports his family of five, Tim and his family appear to live within their means. They don’t drive extravagant cars, rarely eat out, and seem to spend within their budgets. Avoiding child care expenses by having Jill home when the children were young probably helped save a great deal of money, as well. When Jill does go back to school, she spreads her course load out over a period of years, and saved money by living at home.
While many television characters seem to live in a fictional world, the Taylors seem to be an exception. By purchasing a home in a less expensive region of the country, securing a well-paying and steady job, and avoiding extravagant living and spending, this fictional family has managed to stay afloat and set a good example for real-life families everywhere.
Bankrate.com: Mortgage Basics