Monday, October 07, 2013

I know it's rude - but I still do it.

I live in a little pocket of of blocks where a good portion of my neighbors are original owners. I actually didn't know this still existed to be honest. Before the recession we were a very mobile nation. My husband is the only person I know IRL who's parent still lives in the house they grew up in. It's not so common in California. We are a revolving door.

I sort of accidentally discovered it. Obviously there are a ton of old people in my neighborhood. And I knew they had all lived here much longer than I have. Which is 6 years now. Normally I would start thinking about trying to find another house by now. When you grow up moving every year (even when you grow roots) - you still have an urge to live someplace new.

Anyway. I started asking to make myself feel better about holding on to my two anchors of a house when everyone else was saying they would never be worth anything in my lifetime. No matter what you think - if the whole world is saying the opposite of what you believe - it tests your resolve.

This weekend I got up the nerve to be rude enough to ask the neighbor to my right how much they paid for their house when they originally bought it. Which was apparently in the early 70's. When she told me 32 grand - it was like a wave of pain medication. The last four years have been terrifying. Even in the darkest hours of the recession their house was worth more than 10 times what they paid for it. My neighbor to the back is almost an original owner and they paid 40 grand. And it's funny because every one of them I ask says the same thing - "it was a lot of money at the time".

One time I was in the hardware store and this guy started up a conversation with me. I don't even remember what the topic was. He said to me - don't let old people fool you. They act like they are all poor, but they all have their houses paid for. I remember thinking the guy must be wrong. But, not only do they have their houses paid off if they are smart - they are sitting on gold mines. And they wont even pay for their own health care!


  1. There is more to it than that too:

    When they bought that house, it was three times cheaper than it would be today - EVEN AFTER YOU CORRECT FOR INFLATION. Today's market is due for a correction of biblical proportions.

    In those days you took on as much debt as you could - because cost of living increases effectively made those debts nothing in a couple years. Can you imagine being given a '10% cost of living increase' at work today? My parents received three of them.

    As for health care? Pish-tosh! You should be paying for their green fees and motorhomes too, to hear them tell it! Ungrateful bastids!

    It may be small comfort - but hard times breed very, very good people. You WILL have a good future ahead of you, Snark.

  2. That is a very kind thing for you to say. Welcome Glen!

    Honestly if it was only green fees and motor homes I might be more on board. It might be less expensive! I think it might keep them healthier and happier than sitting at home wondering why their kids never call. I think a lot of seniors replace human contact with doctors visits and to a lot of them, it becomes a social outing.

    I'm starting to wonder if the market will ever correct. Our government and wall street in a death dance. I mean, how will they keep the illusion alive if the market caves?