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Against the American Dream: Why Buying a Home is the Worst

Against the American Dream: Why Buying a Home is the Worst

Traditionally, buying a home was considered to be The American Dream. It was the ultimate proof of financial stability. However, buying a home is not all that it is cracked up to be.

Here are some reasons why home ownership isn’t the best choice for a lot of Americans.

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Houses are Poor Investments

The housing crisis of 2008 demonstrated that buying a home is not necessarily the good investment that it is touted to be. The housing crisis was triggered by a large decline in home prices, leading to a high number of mortgage foreclosures and delinquencies. The housing crisis also caused housing-related securities to be significantly de-valuated. Nobel Prize economist Robert Shiller agrees that houses are poor investments.

Although conventional wisdom says our homes are a great investment because the value of a house will certainly appreciate, Shiller found that the opposite is actually true. Between the late 1890s and 1990, the actual rate of return on owning a home has been virtually zero. This award winning economist argues that stocks have historically shown much higher returns than the housing market. Therefore, if accumulating wealth is your goal, it is probably a better idea to rent and put money in stocks.

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The Equity in Your Home Is Not Liquid

While you might have $100,000 in equity in your home, it is not easily accessible if you really need it. If you lose your job and need cash, you can forget about getting it quickly from your home. Although you might be able to get a home equity loan, it will just saddle you with even more debt. There are much better places to invest your assets, such as a money market account. These allow you to earn interest and have relativity easy access to the cash if it is needed in an emergency.

Buying a House Typically Involves Debt

Most people take out a mortgage to buy a home, and many of those people borrow more than they really need. When buying new furniture or a pair of shoes, people usually focus on the cost of the item alone to determine how much they should spend. However, when it comes to mortgages, people often justify taking out a larger loan because they believe they are making an investment.

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Banks may approve customers for mortgages that they cannot truly afford. This is what partially contributed to the housing bust of 2008. People purchased houses with mortgages that they could not really afford by using subprime mortgage lenders. Subprime lenders make mortgages to people with low down-payment and poor or no credit.

People are often emotionally attached to the idea of buying into The American Dream. They are tempted to take the bait and sign for a mortgage even though it might not be affordable. When you are truly debt free, you have much more freedom. A mortgage is a commitment that involves being saddled with debt for decades.

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Houses Require Constant Time and Attention

Not only will you probably end up having to move across the country to find a more affordable area to live in, the costs and hard work only begin once you say goodbye to the long distance movers (NY to LA is no easy feat on your own). Homes need regular TLC to keep them in good condition. This upkeep requires both money and time. Eventually, you will need to replace the carpet. Even before replacing it, you will probably have to steam clean it every so often to remove dirt and grime. Rooms will need to be repainted every so often. Landscaping can require huge amounts of time and money. These small things add up, both in time and money.

Conclusion

As you can see from the above points, home ownership isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. In fact, it may be a far worse option for many people than renting.

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK/Old House Window in Colorful Retro via picjumbo.com

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Bethany Cleg

Photographer, Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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