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t3knomanser's Fustian Deposits

The Myth of Home

How Random Babbling Becomes Corporate Policy

run the fuck away

Mad science gone horribly, horribly wrong(or right).

The Myth of Home

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run the fuck away
There's this "myth" of home; the bourgeois, middle class, "American Dream" of owning your own home. It's this abstract idea that basically breaks down residence into two categories: (a space you own == home)(everything else != home).

When I get in discussions with others about the benefits or disadvantages of home ownership, almost always, someone brings up the special feeling of having a home.

I bring this up, just because John McCain is perpetuating this myth.

I'm not even going to address the sentimental aspects; renting vs. owning, or what have you. Because sentiment doesn't really enter into it. Buying a house is an investment of at least tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands for most folks. This translates not to a mere investment of money, but of years of your life. Sentiment should inform your decision- you have to absolutely love the place you're buying. You're stuck with it for a long time.

But it can't be the entire driving force. $100K + 6% interest over thirty years is a lot of money to pay for a feeling. In the long run, marijuana is a better choice, if all you want is to feel good.

I'm not trying to get down on home ownership. But the idea that it's this American dream, and that everyone wants to, and should, buy a home, is absurd. It's an emotional appeal in a situation where you need to have a clear head.

It all ties into the automatic nature of growing up in our society. You grow up, you get married, you buy a house, and then you have kids. There's nothing wrong with that plan, per se (it's certainly not the only plan), but it draws people into a major error of thinking:
Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Just because you can get a mortgage and find a house doesn't mean you should. There are so many other factors to take into account: the market, your future job prospects, the likeliness that you're going to move in the next ten years, the rate of saving and your other financial goals (going back to school? investing? starting a business?). Just because you can pop out a kid doesn't mean you should- god gave us condoms and birth control for a reason!

It's okay to rent. It's okay to be a DINK. You don't have to rush through your life according to the instruction manual, but you do have to be smart about your finances. Of course there are things more important than money- but having money makes it a hell of alot easier to enjoy them.

Money is like physical attractiveness: it's not about what you've got, it's about how you use it.
  • One thing which was very big in the past in the UK was "council houses" - houses which were owned by the local council, and rented as a not-for-profit business, with all proceeds going on upkeep and maintenance. It was like a private landlord, but generally much cheaper and there was no chance of getting moved on unless you did something particularly bad.

    Then during the 80s the "you must own your own house" fad came on thick and fast as part of Thatchernomics, and she launched a plan for council tenants to buy their houses at a fraction of their true value. This led to lots of social housing becoming unavailable, increase in housing prices and rents etc.

    Labour then compounded this by encouraging councils to sell off their remaining social housing stock to private developers, claiming that property ownership wasn't a council's job (though ensuring the availability of affordable rented accomodation still is).

    So with all that, there's a lot of desire in the UK to buy - the not-for-profit council landlords have gone, and private landlords are by-and-large scumbags. I'm buying because my landlord is selling the house I'm renting, and I've had enough of being jerked around by my landpersons and moving every few years.
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