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Is owning your home worth it?

Since I have lived in the Nashville, TN area on and off for most of my life, I am familiar with many of the fabulous lyrics of country songs. John Anderson’s song, “I’ve Got it Made” included the lyrics,

I’ve got a few good friends,

And my bills are paid,

I’ve got the moon and stars above,

Yeah, I’ve got it made.

What about you? What would it take for you to feel like you had it made? Online searches reveal most impressions of the phrase “to have it made” relate to financial success. The lyrics do mention that the bills are paid, but I think the songwriter, Max D. Barnes, was considering a lot more than financial issues when he said the man had it made!

So again, what would it take for you to have it made, both financially and otherwise? For many of us, peace of mind is an attribute of having it made. How much interrelationship is there between financial matters and peace of mind?

For most of us, there is quite a bit of overlap between financial matters and peace of mind.

Rather than speaking to the 50+ year-olds, first, I would like to address those in their 20’s and 30’s. What do you need to do to in your younger years to make sure you are reasonably assured you can retire with confidence?

I believe owning your own home outright should be near the top of your list. That was a normal expectation of financial success decades ago, but somehow, we have become a bit complacent about this goal. Banks encourage us to take home equity lines of credit to spend on things we want now, thereby putting home ownership on the back burner. I have a different point of view. I believe your mortgage needs to retire before you do.

For most individuals, the housing budget line item occupies 20-30% of take-home spending. What better way to enter your retirement years than by being able to reduce your spending by the amount you have been paying for principal and interest on your home?

For those in your 40’s and older, consider what steps you need to take to retire all of the debt on your home before you retire. The peace of mind of owning your own home is one that was valued by our parents and grandparents. It is a goal worth pursuing again. If you purchase a new home in your 40's or 50's, consider financing your home for 15 years rather than 30 so that you retire your mortgage debt before you retire.

In my case, and possibly yours, owning your home outright can position you to leave a financial legacy and increase the odds that you have the resources you need in retirement. It will bring you peace of mind and can position you one step closer to "having it made".

What about you? Are you strategically positioning yourself to own your home in retirement? Do you think it is a worthy goal? Why or why not?

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