The Changing American Dream

Home is the most personal of places: it’s where your loved ones are, where you sleep, where your store your most prized and personal possessions. We choose a home based on these subjective and often emotional values like comfort, aesthetics, safety, and proximity to good schools.

Yet, these factors also undermine the home as a sound part of an investment strategy, say some financial experts. Factors like new demands for mobility, recent volatility in the housing market, and increased access to a variety of investment options are driving people away from home ownership, especially as a serious part of their financial security planning.

So what does this have to do with Let’s Go News’ usual topics on mobility options?

Imagine this: if you had the ability to live within two to five miles of your workplace, you would spend much less time traveling, you would have easy options (besides driving) to get there, and you could have thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to do more of, well, anything besides sitting in traffic.

In Renting: The New American Dream, Adam Baker observes that while there’s no one-size-fits all answer, many people who decide to buy their homes rush in, don’t look at alternatives, and lock themselves in.

Nine times out of ten, housing-related costs are the largest single expense in people’s budget. Yet often, people put more thought into their car or even cell-phone purchases than their housing costs!,” Baker says. “Your primary residence should not be viewed as an investment, plain and simple.”

Here is a great tool by Smart Asset to help think about the decision of renting versus buying a home. And here’s a recent Community Impact article on the issue of affordable housing, and the fact that many residents are moving to renting.

If you put renting as well as owning back on the table for your home, then everyone will have more and better options. What if you thought about finding a home with issues like proximity and mobility in mind, instead of square footage and investment? Renting a home closer to work could be much less expensive than trying to buy, as this map developed by the Austin Business Journal shows. Check it out and see if you could afford to rent within two to five miles of your work. Access the map directly in google maps.

Screen shot 2014-10-15 at 11.07.16 AMOnce you decide “I don’t have to own it” and “I can have a sound investment plan without owning a home,” then you have many more options for where you live and what you can afford.

Once you give yourself more choice you can stop fighting traffic every day, and have more time to spend with your family, to play, and to work.

images via Austin Business Journal

 

 

 

 

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