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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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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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