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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 May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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