Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A House within Our Means Should be a Safe Refuge

It is troubling to hear about so many people being forced out of their homes because of financial trouble. Regardless of whether people got into difficulties due to a lost job, medical bills, or just bad spending habits, people still need a place to live and no one likes to see such turmoil.

A home is a unique investment. It is a financial asset but it is also much more than that. Perhaps more people should value their homes for the intangible benefits that they provide than simply a financial instrument. A home bought with forethought and a long term view can help one’s financial status by allowing them to build equity but this should be a secondary benefit rather than the primary goal. Generally speaking, with time on their side, the right purchase can create equity by paying down the loan as well as by price appreciation and receiving certain tax benefits. But when people focus on only what they can gain from buying their home, some get greedy and create added risks that run against the stability that a good home in a good neighborhood should provide.

Not having a place to live is a terrible position to be in. We have all seen the images of families living out on the streets, in their cars, or in shelters. No one expects to be in this situation but many are today that never imagined that it could happen to them. With the benefit of history and hindsight, isn’t living within our means a more reasonable way to live? Shouldn’t we be providing ourselves and our families with a safe and secure roof over our heads before just thinking about the payoff we can get from our homes? Shouldn’t we be focusing on building memories and enjoying our friends and families in our homes more than worrying about financial gains that will come with patience and prudence?

While patience and prudence don’t sound like a lot of fun, those that do exercise such traits are the ones who are truly independent. They are the ones who own their homes and don’t let their homes own them. They buy and finance what they can reasonably afford and don’t try to “keep us with the Jones’”. By living well within their means and deciding that living within their means is living well, they have established their own high standard of living without the trappings of being overextended. They will always have a house because the house (or the bank) doesn’t own them.

We are taught that we can and should always buy up. In today’s world it is becoming more fashionable to buy right for our own circumstances. This may mean buying down or buying up, but it needs to mean buying a house within our financial means.

Buy modestly to get a start in life.
Buy modestly to have a place to raise your family.
Buy modestly to help you save for future needs.
Buy modestly to live well in retirement.
Buy modestly to get more out of life than being a slave to your property.

At Jensen communities we offer a lifestyle that over 4,600 families consider one of the best. Visit or call 800-458-6832 to see how you can Get in on the Good Life!

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