Things to consider regarding your pending home purchase

Flatlander

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From this article:

The U.S. housing slowdown is more severe than is being suggested and prices could fall another 10 per cent from current levels, according to National Bank Financial.
"There is currently more than 3.3 million existing single-family homes and close to 600,000 existing condos available for sale in the U.S.," he said. "Even at the current reduced price of around $225,000, it is important to keep in mind that the median single family home is still selling at 3.7 times median-family income."
That is well above the historical average of 2.8 times family income, he said, meaning that the drop in prices have yet to improve affordability.

Brief Summary: Perhaps now is not the best time to be a first time home buyer. Based upon an interest rate assumption of 5.25% and a 25 year amortization period, if your home lost 10% of it's value, your mortgage would need to be paid down for 5 years before your remaining balance was in line with the value of your home. Which is to say, you could end up in a position where your debt load was higher than your equity position. Not wise investing....


From this article:

"Instead of trying to maximize their wealth, people pay more attention to getting rid of their debt," Amromin said. "They are not a dispassionate comparer of dollars and cents. Somehow a dollar you owe is worth more than a dollar in your pocket."

The study found that U.S. households making the "wrong" choice by paying off the mortgage early cost themselves a collective $1.5 billion per year, forgoing a yield of 11 to 17 cents for each dollar misallocated.

Brief summary: If you decide to take out a mortgage, consider taking it out over the maximum allowable amortization, putting down as little as possible, so as to keep your mortgage payments as low as possible. Then, be certain to invest the difference in other types of investments, preferably a well diversified portfolio of equities. You stand to grow your wealth significantly over the long term by earning the spread between your mortgage rate and your invested rate of return.

Of course, this concept really only works when your invested rate of return > your mortgage interest rate. However, bear in mind that the deductibility of mortgage interest and taxable nature of your investment gains and distributions will play a role. Be sure to consult your tax advisor.
 

michaeledward

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I disagree.

Buy a house to live in, not as an investment.
Don't buy more house than you can afford.
Don't try to keep up with the Joneses. Buy with a 15 year fixed rate mortgage. At least check the difference between the 30 year fixed rate and the 15 year fixed rate - you may be surprised.
Tax incentives are a lousy reason to make any investment choice, but they certainly shouldn't be considered with your home.
Avoid at all cost the fancy mortgage schemes - intrest only, negative amortization loans. Look instead to a smaller house. Look to a different market.
Don't believe the line spread by realtors that you will only be in the house for 5 years.

Lastly, avoid, at almost all costs, Home Equity Loans. Once you have equity in REAL estate, don't give it away to someone else.

And for Pete's sake - cut up those ****ing Credit Cards!
 

Kacey

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I disagree. If you are buying a house as an investment - maybe. If you are buying a house you intend to sell within 5 years - maybe, but iffy, if you need to get your investment back. If you are buying a house as a place to live for the long term, advice of that nature is one of the things contributing to the foreclosure rate - 50 year mortgages, interest-only mortgages, adjustable rate mortgages, buying more house than you can afford (either now, or when the rate adjusts upwards), etc. Coloradohas the highest foreclosure rate in the country (and has, for about 6 months) because of schemes like this.

I do agree that you should pay other bills before you pay off your mortgage - credit cards (not deductible at all), car loans (not deductible, and cars depreciate MUCH faster than homes, and don't regain value over time the real estate does), student loans (only deductible for 5 years), second mortgages/home equity lines of credit, etc, should all be paid off before you worry about paying extra to your first mortgage - because unlike rent, and unlike most the other types of debts, a fixed-rate mortgage will remain the same monthly amount for the life of the loan, while your income, hopefully, will increase. If you stay in the same house for the long term, eventually you will be able to pay for it in its entirety - and then you won't have rent or a house payment, greatly easing your costs for retirement, which is my goal for my house, to have it paid off before I retire. But as michaeledward said, I bought a house to live in, a house I could afford on my income when I bought it, so it's getting better every time my income goes up, because my housing payment is a proportionately smaller part of my income.
 
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I disagree.
With what?

Buy a house to live in, not as an investment.
Then why buy? Might as well rent. People purchase houses because they'd like to build equity. I disagree with your premise. People who purchase houses are, by definition, investing in a property. People don't puchase houses in order to discard them when they're all used up.....


Don't buy more house than you can afford. Don't try to keep up with the Joneses.
Absolutely.
Buy with a 15 year fixed rate mortgage. At least check the difference between the 30 year fixed rate and the 15 year fixed rate - you may be surprised.
Why? 1 year adjustable rate mortgages nearly always beat a 15 or 30 year. Compound those differences over the life of your mortgage, and ask yourself if you're shopping wisely... In fact, here's an excellent report (in pdf.) on why one should float their mortgage as opposed to locking it in for a long period. At 35 pages, it's a long read, though.

Tax incentives are a lousy reason to make any investment choice, but they certainly shouldn't be considered with your home.
I absolutely agree. Investment decisions ought to be made based upon the merit of the investment. However, all things being equal, one ought consider the tax implications of any investment decision. Due dilligence, and all that....
Avoid at all cost the fancy mortgage schemes - intrest only,
Why avoid interest only? If one has the tolerance for risk to handle equity investing, it may be worth consideration that the relative benefit of holding an equity position in their home is costing them gains. Given that, on average over the long term, equities have outperformed interest rates, it seems to me that a fundamental tenet of wealth creation would be to invest as much as possible into the asset class that will perform the best. If we can trust our inductive reasoning and take a lesson from the past, projecting that trend forward isn't particularly unreasonable. Aside from which, we still need to observe that the gains one may have seen in the value of their home are still achieved irrespective of the debt position on the house.
Lastly, avoid, at almost all costs, Home Equity Loans. Once you have equity in REAL estate, don't give it away to someone else.
See above.
And for Pete's sake - cut up those ****ing Credit Cards!
Agreed. Credit cards are the antithesis of wealth creation.
 
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Flatlander

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If you are buying a house as a place to live for the long term, advice of that nature is one of the things contributing to the foreclosure rate - 50 year mortgages, interest-only mortgages, adjustable rate mortgages, buying more house than you can afford (either now, or when the rate adjusts upwards), etc. Coloradohas the highest foreclosure rate in the country (and has, for about 6 months) because of schemes like this.
Bull. Firstly, this isn't a scheme, it's a mathematical analysis. Secondly, the reasons for foreclosure are: poor planning, lack of due diligence when considering mortgage options, and not enough savings. People who choose to live their life in debt are idiots, I agree. But bear in mind that the current trend in the US (the ultimate consumer driven economy) is to spend too much, then pay off high interest debt with low interest debt (using a re-mortgage). In some circumstances, this is an advisable alternative in order to help people clean up their cash flow. However, it only works if people have the discipline to stick to a budget. The people who are having foreclosure issues are victims of their own irresponsibility.

The concepts that I'm espousing are predicated upon historical data, diligent planning, and discipline. It's simple math, really.
 

Kacey

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Then why buy? Might as well rent. People purchase houses because they'd like to build equity.
Not all of them. I have a friend who does fix-and-flips; she makes her money off what people pay for the refurbishment - but by definition, she has to flip the house as quickly as possible. She may create value in the property, but she certainly doesn't hold onto it long enough to build equity; the increase in value is due to new paint, windows, floor coverings, and appliances - so the house looks better - not equity. She admits it herself; the property valuations don't change, but the price does, because of the improvements she makes.

I disagree with your premise. People who purchase houses are, by definition, investing in a property. People don't puchase houses in order to discard them when they're all used up.....
Yes, they do - and to keep up with the Joneses, and because buying a new house is easier than fixing up the old one (which is how I got my house for below the appraisal - and all it needed was paint and landscaping, a good home inspector is worth paying for).

Why? 1 year adjustable rate mortgages nearly always beat a 15 or 30 year. Compound those differences over the life of your mortgage, and ask yourself if you're shopping wisely... In fact, here's an excellent report (in pdf.) on why one should float their mortgage as opposed to locking it in for a long period. At 35 pages, it's a long read, though.
The problem is, people don't pay for a house in 1 year, and the cost of refinancing will eat any interest savings if you keep refinancing year after year.

Why avoid interest only? If one has the tolerance for risk to handle equity investing, it may be worth consideration that the relative benefit of holding an equity position in their home is costing them gains. Given that, on average over the long term, equities have outperformed interest rates, it seems to me that a fundamental tenet of wealth creation would be to invest as much as possible into the asset class that will perform the best. If we can trust our inductive reasoning and take a lesson from the past, projecting that trend forward isn't particularly unreasonable. Aside from which, we still need to observe that the gains one may have seen in the value of their home are still achieved irrespective of the debt position on the house.See above.
The problem with interest only mortgages is just that: you don't pay principal, so when that portion of the loan comes due, you have more principal to pay than when you started, and a much larger monthly payment. Now, some people can handle that - but these mortgages are being targeted at people who want to buy beyond their means, and have been determined to be a key factor in the foreclosure rate; when the principal kicks into the payment, people can't pay for their houses, and end up in foreclosure.

Bull. Firstly, this isn't a scheme, it's a mathematical analysis.
For you, perhaps. For many people, no - they buy a house, assured by the mortgage broker and realtor they can afford it, live in it until the payment jumps, and lose it - because too many people lack the wherewithal to stick to a budget, and commit the money that should be going toward the mortgage when the payment rises to other things, and then can't afford the increased payment.
Secondly, the reasons for foreclosure are: poor planning, lack of due diligence when considering mortgage options, and not enough savings.
Those are prime factors, true - but I live in Denver, where every other radio ad is from a mortgage company, offering mortgages to one and all, regardless of credit history - and since owning a home is the American dream, and outdoing the Joneses is an ideal, too many people who can't afford the house they buy are buying it - because people whose job it is to find them affordable financing are helping them finance houses they can't afford in the long run, because the financiers are making money in the short run, and don't have the scruples to stop.

People who choose to live their life in debt are idiots, I agree. But bear in mind that the current trend in the US (the ultimate consumer driven economy) is to spend too much, then pay off high interest debt with low interest debt (using a re-mortgage). In some circumstances, this is an advisable alternative in order to help people clean up their cash flow. However, it only works if people have the discipline to stick to a budget. The people who are having foreclosure issues are victims of their own irresponsibility.
See above; some are, some aren't - some are convinced by financial professionals that they can afford something they can't, so the financial professional can get a commission.

The concepts that I'm espousing are predicated upon historical data, diligent planning, and discipline. It's simple math, really.
You're assuming that all people understand historical data, plan diligently, and have the discipline to stick to a budget - all of which you refute yourself in your own statements. For people who can do all those things, fine - but most people can't - or, more likely, can't be bothered.
 

michaeledward

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My short answer is 'Risk'.

With something as critical as, where you live, you should strive for the lowest risk possible. Think of it as if you are investing in Government Bonds. They don't earn much, but you're pretty sure the value will be there when it comes to term.

Careful planning assumes you can control some of the variables that are outside your control. A fixed rate mortgage eliminates some of those outside variables. (Renting, for instance, does not fix costs, nor guarantee future availability - what if the landlord converts to a condo?).

There are places where personal investments should assume greater risk, in exchange for the opportunity of higher return. In my opinion, your primary residence should not be one of those higher risk/higher return investments.


Something to watch: Over the next 18 months, many of the recent 3 year ARM and 5 year AMR mortgages sold are coming up for their first adjustment. Peoples home loans are going to go up - (US Interest Rates are a bit higher today than they were five years ago). In the interveening time, home prices have risen with the increased availability of Interest Only and Negative Amatorization Loans. So now, people who might need or choose to flip the ARM to a fixed rate are going to find they can't afford new cost of the house they are living in. I though I heard that there is about 6 Trillion dollars worth of ARM's coming due. We may be in for a big house glut.

Because many people make buying decisions on 'Payment', the special financing programs have artificially inflated house values. Invent a new way to lower the payment, and the selling price goes up. That's got to be a corrallary to the law of supply and demand, or something.
 
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My short answer is 'Risk'.
Risk, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Some people are comfortable with risk, others are not. It's important to evaluate where one is, and make decisions in the appropriate context.

There are places where personal investments should assume greater risk, in exchange for the opportunity of higher return. In my opinion, your primary residence should not be one of those higher risk/higher return investments.
It doesn't need to be. If you own the home, the mortgage details are secondary. They influence cash flow. If you have a long term mortgage, you're fixing at a higher monthly cost, with respect to the average variable rate. Really, this is all just about budgeting. Can folks handle the variability of a floating mortgage, or do they need the stability of a fixed monthly budget?

Something to watch: Over the next 18 months, many of the recent 3 year ARM and 5 year AMR mortgages sold are coming up for their first adjustment. Peoples home loans are going to go up - (US Interest Rates are a bit higher today than they were five years ago). In the interveening time, home prices have risen with the increased availability of Interest Only and Negative Amatorization Loans. So now, people who might need or choose to flip the ARM to a fixed rate are going to find they can't afford new cost of the house they are living in. I though I heard that there is about 6 Trillion dollars worth of ARM's coming due. We may be in for a big house glut.
This is a great argument here for using a variable rate mortgage. If you were to fix for 15 years or so today, you'd get hosed. Remember where rates were 4 years ago?

Because many people make buying decisions on 'Payment', the special financing programs have artificially inflated house values. Invent a new way to lower the payment, and the selling price goes up. That's got to be a corrallary to the law of supply and demand, or something.
Perhaps there ought to be some type of disclosure regulation for the mortgage broker then. Not sure if there is down there or not. Perhaps they ought to show people how the payments may go up and down with respect to changing interest rates. Nonetheless, I have very little concern for people who make what will likely be the largest purchase of their lives without fully understanding the nature of that transaction. That's just irresponsibility.
 
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Not all of them. I have a friend who does fix-and-flips; she makes her money off what people pay for the refurbishment - but by definition, she has to flip the house as quickly as possible. She may create value in the property, but she certainly doesn't hold onto it long enough to build equity; the increase in value is due to new paint, windows, floor coverings, and appliances - so the house looks better - not equity. She admits it herself; the property valuations don't change, but the price does, because of the improvements she makes.
This is just semantics. Call it sweat equity, whatever. It isn't really relevant to the discussion. I was addressing first time home buyers.


Yes, they do - and to keep up with the Joneses, and because buying a new house is easier than fixing up the old one (which is how I got my house for below the appraisal - and all it needed was paint and landscaping, a good home inspector is worth paying for).
This is just irresponsible consumerism. Really, are you making the argument that a significant number of people choose to not maintain their home? And if so, that's just fine with me. I have little concern for people who don't take responsibility for their own lives.

The problem is, people don't pay for a house in 1 year, and the cost of refinancing will eat any interest savings if you keep refinancing year after year.


The problem with interest only mortgages is just that: you don't pay principal, so when that portion of the loan comes due, you have more principal to pay than when you started, and a much larger monthly payment. Now, some people can handle that - but these mortgages are being targeted at people who want to buy beyond their means, and have been determined to be a key factor in the foreclosure rate; when the principal kicks into the payment, people can't pay for their houses, and end up in foreclosure.
I fear that you don't understand the mechanics of a mortgage. At no time would your principal increase if you're paying the interest on an interest only mortgage. The only thing that ever changes is the interest rate and the property taxes.

Also, I'm not espousing an annual 'refinance'. That would be idiotic. I'm espousing using a variable rate, or floating mortgage. The only time I suggested refinancing was as a viable means of cleaning up high interest (credit card, line of credit) debt as a means to streamline cash flow. This allows for more cash flow to be allocated to investments.

For you, perhaps. For many people, no - they buy a house, assured by the mortgage broker and realtor they can afford it, live in it until the payment jumps, and lose it - because too many people lack the wherewithal to stick to a budget, and commit the money that should be going toward the mortgage when the payment rises to other things, and then can't afford the increased payment.
Then they may be destined to mediocrity, perhaps poverty. I cannot help that people make poor choices when they don't seek the help of someone knowledgeable. I also cannot change the questionable ethics of unprincipled brokers and realtors. Again, their poor behaviour doesn't change the viability of the strategy.

Those are prime factors, true - but I live in Denver, where every other radio ad is from a mortgage company, offering mortgages to one and all, regardless of credit history - and since owning a home is the American dream, and outdoing the Joneses is an ideal, too many people who can't afford the house they buy are buying it - because people whose job it is to find them affordable financing are helping them finance houses they can't afford in the long run, because the financiers are making money in the short run, and don't have the scruples to stop.
I challenge you to demonstrate to me that a mortgage company benefits when the consumer defaults. I read somewhere that foreclosures cost the mortgage company anywhere between $20K - $50K each. Mortgage companies only make money when the consumer sticks to the contract.


See above; some are, some aren't - some are convinced by financial professionals that they can afford something they can't, so the financial professional can get a commission.
Again, this is an ethics issue, and a red herring to the discussion. Where I am, this would result in a lawsuit. Likely, where you are too....


You're assuming that all people understand historical data, plan diligently, and have the discipline to stick to a budget - all of which you refute yourself in your own statements. For people who can do all those things, fine - but most people can't - or, more likely, can't be bothered.
No, I'm assuming nothing. These types of concepts aren't for the undisciplined, I agree. However, I don't believe that all undisciplined people should be damned to remain that way, either.

The silly thing is, people complain all the time about the fees their bank charges, or about the oil companies and how they're profiteering, or about how there's a growing gap between the rich and the middle class, but they won't take the time to educate themselves as to what to do about it. So, they complain. Well, stop complaining, and take action.

Does the bank have their hand in your pocket? Buy the bank. Oil companies profiteering? Buy them too. Jump on that gravy train. Wondering how the rich are getting richer? Well, they own businesses. That's what equities are. And, they use other people's money to do it. This is called leveraging. These ideas aren't exclusive to the uber-rich. Mr. and Mrs. Average American can use these concepts too. But they have to care about wealth creation.

But of course, they'd need to have focus and discipline, and that's where the dream breaks down.
 

mrhnau

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Credit cards are the antithesis of wealth creation.

I agree with everything in your post absolutely. Except for this point.

Credit cards CAN be the antithesis of wealth. It GREATLY depends on how you use them. Are you carrying a balance on a card with more than 0% interest? Then you are likely heading for trouble. Once you get buried in card debt, its very difficult to get out.

Now, there are some nice varieties of things you can do with cards. I personally get 1% cash back on mine. I make sure I can ALWAYS pay it off each month. Otherwise, I won't use it. I've gotten a few nice sized checks back. I pay alot of things w/ my card. Groceries, power bills, gas. Alot of companies charge fees if you pay with credit card, so I steer clear of paying with card then.

on the other hand, its difficult to keep track of things, especially if there is more than one person using your card (wife, kids, etc). If one person has a different philosophy on using them, it gets difficult and I'd advise staying clear.

I think they are also good in the case of emergency. Say you have some car problems and need 2k quickly and won't be able to get to work otherwise. It provides an avenue to get funds quickly.

Overall, they have their purpose. It can turn VERY ugly VERY quickly though, if you are not careful.
 

Ping898

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Now, there are some nice varieties of things you can do with cards.

I can pay down my car loan with points from mine, not much at a time, but I am a firm believer every little bit helps.

Here is my two cents on this topic. I bought outside my means last April. Not much outside, but enough that in a few years it could become a problem. But I bought outside my means with specific thoughts in mind:
a) There is a shopping center going up across the street from me that I fully expect to increase the value of my property 10 to 15% once it is complete next summer
b) I am a 1/2 mi from where a new subway stop is going to be built, so my property is likely to at least retain it's value over the next few years.
c) I fully expect my salary to go up at least 3-4% a year and that with it I will slowly get to the point where I am within my means.
d) I fell in love with the place I got the moment I saw it and knew it wouldn't be around in 6 months once I got on beter finacial footing.

Now I have 2 mortgages right now cause I didn't do a down payment, one mortgage is a 5 year arm and the other has an obnoxious 9% interest rate and a balloon payment after 10 years and my goal is to refinance and get a de facto down payment when the shopping center finishes. And I am also carrying a bunch of credit card debt that I am slowly trying to pay off.
So even though short term I am hurting, long term I expect to make out ahead.
Obviously if I loose my job or something else happens I might end up in trouble, but that would be the case no matter when I bought. And I have myself positioned so that finding a new job *shouldn't* take too long my only problem would be I would end up with a job where I had to work more hours or take a bit of a pay cut. I think if you are willing to accept the worst case and plan for it and are not buying just to keep up with the Jones' then you should do what you think is right.

I think that in the end if you do your research, it comes down to what MichaelEdward said it is about risk and accepting a certain level of risk.
 
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Kacey

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This is just irresponsible consumerism. Really, are you making the argument that a significant number of people choose to not maintain their home? And if so, that's just fine with me. I have little concern for people who don't take responsibility for their own lives.
And yet, these are the very people who are sucked in by the "deals" you are trying to convince people are the way to go.

I fear that you don't understand the mechanics of a mortgage. At no time would your principal increase if you're paying the interest on an interest only mortgage. The only thing that ever changes is the interest rate and the property taxes.
Pardon me if I was unclear. One of the big concerns noted in articles around Denver (where the foreclosure rate is at an all-time high, and many stories refer to it) is that people buy a house they cannot afford, at a payment they can manage on an interest-only mortgage UNTIL the payment is adjusted to include principal as well - or on adjustable mortgages that they can't afford when they adjust, and can't get reasonable locked rates on - and then can't pay when the low initial payment inflates.

Also, I'm not espousing an annual 'refinance'. That would be idiotic. I'm espousing using a variable rate, or floating mortgage. The only time I suggested refinancing was as a viable means of cleaning up high interest (credit card, line of credit) debt as a means to streamline cash flow. This allows for more cash flow to be allocated to investments.
This I agree with; however, the way you stated it, it was not clear to me that this was what you meant.
Then they may be destined to mediocrity, perhaps poverty. I cannot help that people make poor choices when they don't seek the help of someone knowledgeable. I also cannot change the questionable ethics of unprincipled brokers and realtors. Again, their poor behaviour doesn't change the viability of the strategy.
I know too many people who were victims of this "viable strategy" due to circumstances beyond their control - often contractors who built crappy houses and lied... until they were caught - which still left people who bought in good faith up the creek, in houses they can't afford to pay for, and can't sell for anything close to what they owe.

I challenge you to demonstrate to me that a mortgage company benefits when the consumer defaults. I read somewhere that foreclosures cost the mortgage company anywhere between $20K - $50K each. Mortgage companies only make money when the consumer sticks to the contract.
I was not referring to mortgage companies - I was referring to mortgage brokers, many of whom work on commission.

Again, this is an ethics issue, and a red herring to the discussion. Where I am, this would result in a lawsuit. Likely, where you are too....
It is indeed - but too many people choose products against the advice of the ethical professional - even going to a different broker to get a deal that will allow them to buy the house they want instead of the house they can afford - at which point they are going against the advice of the broker, who cannot, nonetheless, refuse to provide a mortgage they can afford NOW, even if the broker knows they can't afford it later at their current levels of income... and refusing has lead to quite a few discrimination suits, some won, some lost, most settled.

No, I'm assuming nothing. These types of concepts aren't for the undisciplined, I agree. However, I don't believe that all undisciplined people should be damned to remain that way, either.
And yet, it is the undisciplined that the advertising for such products is aimed at.
I agree - and, in fact, that's pretty much what I meant. But it won't stop the advertising industry, will it?

The silly thing is, people complain all the time about the fees their bank charges, or about the oil companies and how they're profiteering, or about how there's a growing gap between the rich and the middle class, but they won't take the time to educate themselves as to what to do about it. So, they complain. Well, stop complaining, and take action.
Can't argue with that.

Does the bank have their hand in your pocket? Buy the bank. Oil companies profiteering? Buy them too. Jump on that gravy train. Wondering how the rich are getting richer? Well, they own businesses. That's what equities are. And, they use other people's money to do it. This is called leveraging. These ideas aren't exclusive to the uber-rich. Mr. and Mrs. Average American can use these concepts too. But they have to care about wealth creation.

But of course, they'd need to have focus and discipline, and that's where the dream breaks down.

I don't disagree - I bought a condo 9 years ago, on a first-time buyer's program, with a down payment of $3000, and a mortgage cosigned by my stepfather, because even though the rent I was paying was higher than the mortgage payment and association fee combined, the bank claimed I couldn't make the payment, and wanted the surety of a cosigner. Two years later I refinanced to get a lower rate, and no longer needed a cosigner. After living in my condo for 6 years, I sold it at a time when mortgage rates were at an all-time low, and bought a house - which had been my plan all along; I knew that I would get what I wanted - a house - sooner if I bought something and kept it long enough to build equity than if I tried to save a reasonable down-payment on what I was making, and because I was tired of making a house payment for my landlord, on a duplex he'd probably paid off long since. But a lot of people don't want to wait - too many people have bought into the "I want it now, and I'm going to get it even if I can't afford it" concept, and those are the people who are now paying for it.

In addition, many people lack the expertise, and the time to gain that expertise, to follow the method you espouse. It may be a good method - but it doesn't mean it's the only one, and it doesn't mean it's the best method for all people - just that it's the one that, apparently, worked for you.
 

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