Can anyone own a rock? I know that sounds like a ridiculous question. And on some level, it is. You can pick up an interesting rock, take it home, wash it off, and give it a name. Really, pet rocks were once quite a thing. People paid good money for them. But at the end of the day, what does it mean to own a rock? What could it mean? You just as well try to lay claim to a mountain. I assure you, no mountain, or government, will recognize your claim.
In the US, we feel the need to lay claim to everything within reach. We don’t just want to use nice things. We need to own them. That incessant need to own everything creates a number of problems including the following:
- We spend more than we should for limited return on investment.
- We create more waste than the environment can sustain.
- We elevate material gain over human connection.
Somehow, renting or leasing has become synonymous with being less accomplished. Everyone from insurance companies to credit bureaus reward owners and punish renters. This madness has to stop. Here are some ways you can stop the madness of ownership one baby step at a time:
Sell Your Home
Okay, that’s not a baby step. That is a giant leap, and for many, a bridge too far. After all, the American dream is not home rentership, but home ownership. That said, let’s take a moment to think about it. You are probably not going to live in that house for the rest of your life. If you finance the house with a typical mortgage, you only kind of own the place. The bank is the real owner. All you have to do is miss a few payments to figure that out.
With an arrangement like a sale leaseback, you can sell your home without moving out of it. You get 75% of the cash price up front to do with as you please. The rest is devoted to the leaseback option. You can even buy it back at a later time if you choose. Or you can walk away at any time knowing that the house has been sold. You can live in the home of your dreams without feeling like you need to lay some type of permanent claim on the property. Billions of people around the world live this way without any diminishment in their quality of life. With a little time to get used to the idea, you could, too.
Recognize the Benefits of Non-Ownership
You believe there are some great benefits to ownership. And you’re right. There are. But there are probably more benefits to non-ownership than you realize. One of those benefits of renting over ownership is that you are not locked down to one location for all of your life’s adventures. You can pick up and take a job in another city or state. There is no implied loyalty or lock in. If you are enjoying your options where you are, stay for as long as you like. But when you are ready to try something else, there is no 30 year mortgage tying you down. Ultimate freedom might well be the greatest benefit of walking away from ownership culture.
Life Is Not Always Stable
Home ownership assumes a certain stability that many people no longer have. The pandemic was a real wakeup call for a lot of people. More people than ever have income instability and are concerned about foreclosure. Gone are the days when one can just assume that income is going to stay essentially where it is, or better, for the rest of one’s life. For all too many people, it doesn’t work out that way. By moving away from an ownership model, you can move to a place where the rent and lifestyle is more affordable until things settle down. You will learn to acquire fewer objects that you have to lug around. And be more capable of living in the moment, whatever that moment throws at you.
Even if you shine it up and call it Wilson, you can’t really own a rock. When that realization trickles down to the core of the way you live your life, you will be able to enjoy a home without the burden of a 30-year mortgage, recognize the benefits of non-ownership, and be better situated to deal with income fluctuations.