I was listening to my favorite Podcast this morning (Bulletproof Radio) and in the mix of discussing how to make the world a better place, the subject of housing came up. Odd for this biohacking lifestyle podcast but I was of course interested. I’m usually 100% in line with the author Dave Asprey’s philosophies but today I was sort like ... what? Wait a minute. No way. The person being interviewed is a millennial and they were discussing societal problems that millennial's have and of course housing was near the top of the list along with student loans, saving money or lack thereof and the cost of child care. Dave (paraphrasing) said that if leasing a car makes more sense than buying, why would people want to buy a house? Why wouldn’t they just find a good rental and pay less instead of tying up all that capital? Go on vacation with the savings! Maybe this was staged to prompt the next thread of conversation but I’m driving thinking ... you are killing me right now. But, during the conversation they did visit the ideas of building equity, tax benefits, better or larger accommodations and neighborhoods and lastly control over expenses (versus increased rents). All valid points. However, they didn’t discuss my own personal concern and that is life itself i.e. hopefully we will all get older. And we’ll retire. And then what? You can click here to see the rankings last year state by state showing average Social Security payouts. California is #37 out of 51! Yes, a measly #37 with an average social security check of just $1,377.54. Even if you had retirement funds, apparently with two people getting a similar check, you still couldn’t afford to rent even a condo in most if not all of this state. Which leads me to my point which is, if you aren’t debt free on housing, how can you ever retire (please don’t say you will never retire because that is a fantasy unless you die unexpectedly). That subject of retirement housing never came up in the subject podcast. Look, I’m not a financial analyst or planner (and you should consult one) but I can add 1+1. To me, the single biggest reason to own your own home is to pay it off either through keeping it for a long time and paying it off, downsizing and paying cash for something smaller or moving away to somewhere or something cheaper and taking your equity with you (consider buying a less expensive home here or somewhere else that you like and renting it out until you need it thereby chipping away at the mortgage on that) - thereby having a secure, inexpensive and predicable place to live after you retire or cut down to part time. Making these sacrifices hurts but having to make even harder decisions when you get sick or are forced to retire and are looking at a big mortgage or rental payment with just $1300 coming in every month hurts more! Here is a great article on the NewRetirement website that estimates the average Babyboomer has $164,000 in retirement savings. Let’s say conservatively a 20 year payout (age 65 to 85), that’s $8,200 per year $684 per month. Maybe you as a single person can live ok with a combined monthly income of $2,061 ($1337 + 684) or married $4,042 ($1337 x 2 + $684 x 2) but not if you still have a $3,000 per month house payment or an escalating rental amount of the same or more. Many people do not know that if your spouse dies, you do not get to continue to collect both social security payments but instead will only get the higher of the two (see the AARP article here). This is not just me preaching. I’m walking the walk I suggest all of you walk. Own your own home. Be smart, conservative and willing to make sacrifices. Have an exit strategy. Be housing debt free when you retire. You will have a whole jump start on that if you start home ownership as a millennial or if not, have an exit strategy (downsize or move). Allowing yourself to limp along never knowing how much your rent will escalate to is no way to live and certainly gets in the way of prosperity and happiness in your golden years. Thank you to all of you who read this whole thing. It’s a subject near and dear to my heart. Sometimes people actually listen. I’m sure my kids are tired of hearing it but I promise they will begin home ownership early and have an exit strategy. They’ll thank me one day.
2538 Elk Grove Road, Solvang (3/3 on 1 acre) Was $1,265,000 with a new price of $1,185,000. Some upgrades including a 40 year roof which believe me is no small expense on a home this large (2800 sq ft +). Superior location at the very end of the lane for no drive by traffic and a truly quiet and relaxing vibe. You know what they say ... you can change the house but the location is something you have to live with. This location is very desirable. Listed by Kris Johnston of Engel and Volkers.
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