At times I look back and reflect on what a dumbass I was, taking thirty years to stop paying rent ( a mortgage is just paying rent but ending up with a money pit at the end ). When I look back at my previous city of residence and think of the fifteen grand I dropped to rent a trailer spot, my teeth itch. Well, to try and stop that mean spiteful voice in my head, and to prepare for this article, I put pencil to paper for the first time. How much did I throw away in thirty years? As it turns out, as much as I chastise myself, not all that much relatively speaking. In the last twenty years my rent was on average about the same as my tax withholding. Only twenty percent. About the same as food and entertainment combined. I lived as cheap as possible the entire time, roommates and travel trailers being the norm. So, yes, while I wasted thirty years ( and, it’s actually only a bit over twenty years since I’ve been paying off my currant land or living for free in the military the other times ), I wasted as little as possible. But the important thing isn’t what a stud I am ( although feel free to take that lesson with you if you’d like ), but the total dollar amount in annual income I’ve wasted. And why you should care.
I’ve wasted almost a hundred grand over the years on “housing”. At my average income, that is six years of wages. If I were you, and made closer to thirty grand after some kind of schooling and career, I’d have wasted almost two hundred thousand dollars. And here is why I bring this up. Most “survivalists”, and I use the term loosely to describe the big pussy’s who live in the suburbs with a case of MRE’s and three semi-auto’s, use the excuse of their home equity to stay in place. They can’t just throw away all that invested money, they say. They can’t start over because of that “investment”. A house is not a home, folks. It is a bankers honey trap ( an old spy term- look it up and figure out who is the whore and who is getting humped ). You are not giving up any equity if you give up your house. You are just bailing on your money pit. Home equity is nothing more than an overpriced stock you bought hoping a bigger sucker comes along with wishful thinking he will make a profit. Whatever you paid on your house, and I’d wager it was below two hundred grand in most places, was just a dumbass bet on your part. You bet on the economy NOT crashing, and you lost. Just think of it as a cost for shelter, not as an investment. Walk away from it, get the hell out of your overpopulated area, if that is what you need to do. Sometimes, a paid for house is the best security in the world, and you don’t budge from it with a stick of dynamite. It all depends on your area and your government. I’m not presenting a one size fits all. I’m saying, don’t use a home “investment” as an excuse for staying in the way of danger. If you only lost 20% of your wages over two or three decades, it is no more than the cost of taxes. Don’t try to hold on to it so tightly.
The same with money. Don’t look at your paycheck as wealth. It is just a Company Store chit to be used to buy the necessities. You thought you could fool the Company, by investing in something rather than consuming, but the Company just stole all your equity. As for the rest, just pre-buy future necessities. That’s what the whole “beans, bullets, band-aids” mantra is. Buying necessities. You aren’t necessarily investing, or beating inflation. This time you are buying before the items disappear forever. I thought I would be on Easy Street last summer when my land was paid, my Pit was built and no more child support was due. I figured I had at last reduced my needs to food and energy. And I had. And I still can if needed. But it sure wasn’t like suddenly having $600 savings ( out of $1100 wages/writing income ) every month. Suddenly, I was almost spending the same, they just went to different places. The wife, having put up with living like an animal for over a decade, watching all my wages being diverted to the ex, and living in primitive shelter, rightfully started demanding a bigger cut to 20%. My transportation bill, you would think being close to zero because I pedal to town, is a whopping 25% ( a large portion is to the wife, getting her into town-where I get my total of 30% of my wages to her- some to my bi-annual trips to visit my parents ). Taxes the usual 20%. Food, over 20%, even with my two meal a day nuke bread. Energy is barely factored, being one or two percent now. My entertainment budget about equals my writing income at 10% ( books for research are also my amusement ).
My point? Even with NO bills, you end up with nearly no savings. Your bills seem to always equate with your wages, even with no debt or no rent or off grid. No matter what you do, you end up cashing in all your chits. So, why be concerned with earning more? Move from the city. In the end, your new wages will balance with your new bills. And, if you earn less, after an adjustment, you won’t notice the difference. By staying in harms way, tenaciously clinging to “home equity” and “decent wages”, you loose everything in the end anyway. But by divorcing yourself from that paradigm, you are soon no worse off and usually better off. You don’t loose an investment, you just start on a newer, cheaper one. A house takes thirty years to buy. Junk land, one hundredth that. A lot less income is suddenly a lot more without a mortgage. You gain in quality of life and in security. Take the “loss”.
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