I haven’t followed the status quo thinking regarding finances because for a long time. It seems to me like the deck is stacked against you if you follow the road that’s been laid out. Then the road is re-routed and the net cut away, and you’re left dragging a mountain of debt around for decades. I’m not a Christian but I know for a fact the Bible says “The borrower is a slave to the lender”. Not the position I want to be in, Christian or not. Been There Done That, got the t-shirt in different colors.
The old paradigm that our parents operated under is no longer viable for anyone 65 and under and the sooner you realize this the better off you’ll be.
The main one and the biggest expense…housing. What is it they always tell you? Stretch a bit to buy a house a bit bigger than you need so you can grow into it, have room for the family gatherings, traveling visitors, etc, in the best school district and it’s an investment that increases in value.
Excuse me while I find a shovel for all that poop.
Are you having family gatherings every day? Probably not. As a kid I know some of y’all remember either your grandparents, parents, or somebody in the family who had the “living room” or “dining room” with the plastic covered furniture that you only pass through to get to the main area of the house, only gets used 1-4 times a year and you betta not have your behind playing in there?!! Why call it a “living room” or “dining room”?! There was no real living or dining being done in here on a daily basis. Not even part-time living and dining. Sorry but this never made any sense to me as kid and I was not paying any bills so it made absolutely no sense to me when I was “encouraged” to leave home at 18-19 yrs of age having to live on my own.
Out of town or overnight guests every day? Probably not…and at that point they aren’t guest anymore and need to be contributing to the household. Again makes no sense to buy to have all that space because you can’t get a discount on your mortgage payment and property taxes based on this unused space for most of the year.
Buy a house in the best school district. Another play on your emotions. Your house in the best school district is no guarantee that your child is going to learn anything. Besides, most if not all schooling teaches kids to be drones and makes you a slave with no time to talk to, and teach your children about the way life really works. Then, in turn they become slaves because they don’t know what the heck is going on continuing the vicious cycle.
So, the younger generations (after the World War II generation) have been encouraged to buy too much house and renovate to have too much house with the promise of ever rising home values which they forgot to tell you meant higher prices for you. Higher prices usually means higher upkeep, higher property taxes etc.
This ideology was probably ok (emphasis on “probably” because I have my doubts that it was ever ok even for those it appeared to benefit) in an era of darn near cradle to grave job security with pensions and paid healthcare in retirement. Now unless you’ve been living under a rock, that employment scenario is rare nowadays. And if you do manage to find it, trust me in 5-10 years it will disappear one way or another. That’s a whole ‘nother post.
Alright, I’m not saying you should live somewhere that you are scared to go home each day but all the above reasons given to us to buy a house are IMHO the worse reasons to buy or even keep a house if it’s draining your budget. A house should not be bought as an investment like a stock or mutual fund. It’s not nor should it have ever been put in the same category. The stock market is basically a legalized casino. Most sane folks don’t take their bill money down to the casino every month.
What I am saying is a house should be first and foremost a safe place to lay your head and your place of operation to nourish and replenish yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. That’s the investment that propels you into a lifestyle which allows you to get further along your life path. It sounds like the same thing but here is the difference. You set the value of the investment by knowing your values, not the financial talking heads who are not paying your bills. But it does take courage to get off the beaten path.
How do you set the value? You buy with your life goals that you have determined in mind with reality firmly in mind. Choices made now have a huge effect on what the future will look like. Now this means you will have to do some work.
Is it important to you to have a place that you can show off but you are never there to enjoy it because you and your SO (significant other) have to work 80-100 hours a week to make the mortgage and upkeep? Or would you rather have more time, cash and have a place that you and everyone in the household can clean up in an 1 hr or so?
If you are already in a house, are you straining to live every month? Is it important to keep up appearances or would you rather sleep well at night? What message do you want to teach to your children if you have any especially if they are young teenagers or young adults?
Only you can and should be the determinant of what your values are, meaning what’s important to you. What’s important to me might not be what’s important to you. I don’t know for sure but I would not be surprised if my house today if I wanted to sell it, might be worth less than the price I paid for it including the interest on the mortgage and “improvements”. That does not matter to me because the skills I have learned during the 13 years I’ve been here, the peace of mind and quality of life gained over the last 7 years being totally debt free are priceless. Has it been easy, heck no. But I got some of my life back that was lost a long time ago. Also, I’ve been able to significantly lower the stress levels due to happenings within my household, mine and my husband’s family of dealing with elderly parents during that time because debt was not hanging over our heads. My house is small by today’s standards, the standards when I bought it… it’s a 2 bedroom/1 bath, I have to go outside to get to my laundry room and I have no garage. I mentioned the price and interest here.
Told ya, I don’t follow the status quo.