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How Far Will you Go?

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Being “financially secure” is just one of those phrases that’s impossible to define because each person has their own version of what being secure means. To some, if they have no debt outside their mortgage, they consider themselves financially secure. After all, a mortgage is about as close as you’ll ever get to “good” debt.

I can’t help but disagree with the above sentiment. To me financial security is defined as being able to weather any serious financial curveballs that may come your way. Let’s say, for example, that the doom and gloom bears out there in the market right now are right, and the country hits not only a recession, but marches on into a depression. If you lost your job, how long could you sustain yourself? If you couldn’t find work for awhile, and worked at say, a 10$ an hour job, would you be able to keep your head above water? Will the thought that you’re financially secure except for that $200,000 mortgage ring hollow when the bank comes to take your house?

I’m an optimist by nature, but the idea of the mortgage has always rubbed me the wrong way. A house is one of the largest, if not THE largest, purchases you will ever make in your lifetime. Do you really want to borrow the money to make this purchase? The interest that you end up paying over the course of the loan is downright appalling, but what choice do you have? Mortgage lenders have you against a rock and a hard place, and they know this. If you don’t take out a loan for your house, you’ll have to rent, potentially throwing away money that could be used to build equity instead, until you have enough to buy the house outright. While this strategy works for a car, doing so with a house could take well over a decade.

Alternatives, then. That’s what I need. I’ve been researching alternative ways to find a more permanent housing solution without dropping what equates to many to be a life savings worth of money. Unfortunately finding a viable solution isn’t the easiest thing ever. There’s a sort of “minimum space” requirement that most people have in their heads. So most people would likely not be comfortable in a house like this one.

Where that happy medium falls for me, I’m not entirely sure, but I also have a girlfriend that lives with me, and so it’s not just my own tastes that I have to take into account. As it stands I think optimally we’d prefer a small single home, somewhere in the realm of 400-1000 sqft (and 1,000 would be pushing it). What’s comfortable for you?

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