Roots v. Wings: Considering Home Ownership

“Sold” now hangs below the real estate sign in front of our house. All the contingencies have been cleared and it should be smooth sailing until the closing date about a month from now.

In the next few weeks we’ll be going thru the myriad of chores involved: Packing, finding a mover, switching services, dropping our homeowners insurance, picking up renters insurance, selling stuff on Craigslist. That last is an adventure worthy of its own post. Maybe with the money we raise, we’ll even buy a new mattress.

The other day a lovely young couple stopped by to pick up a variety of garden tools we are unloading. They were very excited, as they just bought their first house. It is, as she described it, a “fixer-upper” and they got it in a short sale. They are happy with the deal and busy shopping garage sales and Craigslist for all the stuff they’ll need.  She can’t wait to put in a garden. They are putting down Roots.

I’ve owned this house we’ve now sold for 13 years. The one before it for 15 years. That’s 28 years of homeownership for a guy who really doesn’t much like owning houses. As houses usually are when you run the numbers, they were lousy investments. But, I’ve no regrets. They served their purpose both as a place to raise our daughter in a great school district and just because we wanted the ownership lifestyle at the time.

Critical to making this work was that in both cases we bought far less house than the world of real estate agents and lenders told us we could. 1/2 to 2/3 less. Given the reaction of these professionals we may have been the only people in human history not to have bought the absolute maximum house we could afford.

Now we are on the verge of returning to the blissful, carefree, unencumbered life of renting. Instantly, we’ll have far more flexibility and far more mobility. We are spreading our Wings.

Roots & Wings.

Many years ago when our daughter was still very young I read, or was told, that good parenting boiled down to giving kids roots and wings. Made sense to me then. Still does.

She’s just a couple of weeks shy of her 21st birthday now and has already traveled to almost as many countries and continents as I. At the moment she is in France completing her junior year of college. While there, and part of the point of going, she’s seen a fair amount of Europe. She’s just back from a weekend in Geneva. At the end of April we’ll head over to spend a week with her in Prague.

Clearly, we’ve done well on the wings side of things. And our close family relationship provides the roots. But she’ll never really have the “old family homestead” sort of roots. We are more wing type people.

The whole rent v. own financial conversation tends to generate very strong and very emotional reactions. That always seemed a bit odd to me. It is, after all, exceedingly simple to run the numbers and see which is the more financially prudent course in any given case. From there you’ll know if your preference will cost or save you money. If it saves, you need only celebrate and do what you wanted anyway. If it is going to cost, you are able to decide if you want to spend the extra money your living preferences require.

In our case, the numbers always pointed to renting as the better financial path.

Right now that’s a beautiful thing. We get what we want and it costs us less.

But even when what we wanted was a house that cost more, that was fine. What was critical at the time was understanding how much more that buying choice would cost. It was that understanding that lead to us always buy less house than we could “afford,” and that in turn made for a far more comfortable home ownership experience.*

Not being privy to the numbers, I have no way of knowing if the young couple who bought my tools have made the best financial choice. But what is clear is that they are very excited about putting down roots. They certainly have made the best emotional choice.

That being the case, and assuming they’ve not spread themselves too thin, even if the house costs more over time they will have made the “right” choice. Life choices are not always about the money, but you should always be clear about the money choice you are making.

Anthropologists tell us that we humans, Homo Sapiens, have been running around the planet for just about 200,000 years and that we have been “behaviorally modern” for the last 50,000 or so. For the vast majority of that time, we were nomadic hunter-gatherers. More wings than roots.

But then some 10,000 years ago something very profound changed. After 190,000 years of roaming around, we began farming. We began settling down. We began building cities. We began to go to war over territory. We began to put down roots.

Why this occurred is the subject of much debate and research, but nobody really knows. But occur it clearly did. It has become hard wired in our historical myths and stories:

Abel v. Cain

Hunters v. Farmers

Nomads v. Settlers

Own v. Rent

Abel v. Cain

Did “Able v. Cain” sound odd to your ear just now? It does to mine. “Cain v. Abel” is how I’ve always heard it. The farmer is named first. The farmer survived and reproduced. The hunter is killed off. The west is settled. The nomads exterminated or rounded up. Hunter-gatherers teeter on the brink of extinction. No wonder this debate is so emotionally charged. Our biases are showing.

They are even written into our tax code. Mortgage interest and real estate taxes are deductible. Home ownership is a national good and as such is rewarded. It’s worth noting that both these deductions, and the very concept of mortgages being widely available, grew out of the Great Depression. It was time of dangerous unrest. The fact that a settled population is more docile was not lost on the policy makers of the day.

We might also look at this as…

Expansiveness v. Efficiency

Personally, we fall on the side of Efficiency. We like owning exactly what we want, need and value and not a single thing else. The apartment we’ll be moving to has a bit more than 1/3 the space we are leaving. It is exactly what we need and not a square foot more. Maybe even a few square feet less. But I’d rather pare down to fit.

The problem with houses is that, even for people like us, there is the relentless tendency to expand to fill them. For those who value Expansiveness, that’s just one of their charms.

The far side of Expansiveness can be found on the TV show:

American Pickers

If you haven’t seen it, the program follows two guys who drive around the country looking for old things they can buy and resell at a profit in their stores. They seek out places filled to the rafters and across the fields with junk that owners have collected, most often for decades. The people who own these places and all this crap are the pinnacles of the Expansiveness motif. Once the house is filled, the barn is next. Then the out-buildings, fields and trailers they’ve hauled onto their land to hold still more.

It is hard to imagine a more different mindset than my own, and that’s likely what makes it endlessly fascinating to me. Well that, and the idea of buying low and selling high, of course.

The beauty of our lives is the endless variety of how we can choose to live them. The point of this blog is fundamentally to discuss how and why to accumulate F-you Money and the freedom it provides in making those choices.

Roots or Wings.

The choice is yours. But as with everything you chose to buy, be sure you take the time to know what it will cost.

Addendum I:

My pal the Mad Fientist and his wife are definitely “wings” people. Here’s his plan for achieving FI with a brilliant insight into how renting will help: The Shortest Path to FI.

Addendum II:

Post — Why your house is a terrible investment 

Podcast —Why your house is a terrible investment

*Addendum III:

Recently reader John commented in this post asking about how I bought the houses I’ve owned:

Hi Jim,

You often mentioned that you’ve always bought homes that cost significantly less than what a lender was willing to give you. How have you personally gone about deciding how much home you could afford–and how much you were willing to borrow? I’m not looking to purchase for the next probably two or three years, but being debt averse makes me wary of purchasing something expensive…and where I live everything is expensive with high property taxes. Sorry if this is the wrong post to ask this question (and if you’ve answered this before…you have SO much content) but it’s sort of a debt question!

My reply:

Hi John…

That’s a great question and one I don’t recall being asked before.

How much you can afford is easy. Any real estate agent or lender will be happy to take your income and calculate it. Figuring out the maximum you can borrow and spend is what they are geared up to do. What rattles their collective cages is when you intend to spend less. They get very confused. :)

In our case, we’ve always been much more interested in buying the best house for our needs rather than the most house. We’ve done it two different ways.

When we moved to Cleveland we rented for three years. For the last two of those years we made a hobby out of going to look at houses. We looked in all different communities and neighborhoods, in all different price ranges. Including those we couldn’t afford. Mostly we went to open houses and avoided getting tied to an agent who would push to see get a deal done. We weren’t in any rush. It was fun and we would not have done it this way otherwise.

We figured, we’ll know it when we see it.

In the end we found and fell in love with a beautiful old century home with all the details intact. It cost about a third of what our max was and it wasn’t in the fancy towns my work peers had chosen. The agent never knew we could have afforded more. We lived there for 15 years.

When we moved to NH we were looking to buy immediately and so didn’t have the luxury of a long slow search. Instead we selected a town based on commuting time to my work and school reputation as our daughter was in second grade.

We then looked at virtually every house for sale in that town up to our max. Drove our agent nuts. We found one we loved at about 1/3rd max but it was sold before we could get our bid in. The market was red hot at the time. The next one was ~1/2 max and we snagged it with even a small discount. It wasn’t as nice as the other place, but still very nice indeed and served our needs just fine. We lived there for 13 years.

The first property I ever bought was a sad tale, and one I describe in detail beginning here. I also bought a condo for my mother as I described in this post. Before moving to Cleveland, I bought a 2-flat in Chicago, but that was purchased as an investment and I’ve yet to write about it here.

Because we are now renting again, if I ever buy another house I’ll again use the slow and easy “Cleveland technique.” :)


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  1. RobDiesel says


    I’m torn, because I *like* the home ownership. Being able to put in a new garden, not like it, put in a paver walkway, nope, let’s use gravel. Let’s build a shed, let’s paint the garage floor, let’s put in new windows, solar panels, CFLs, etc etc etc.

    I like that it’s mine to do whatever I want with.

    But I love travelling and moving about. For me buying a house is costly. It has allowed me to do the “root” thing for a bit, but who knows what the future holds. Will I do what the money and common sense tells me to, or do I want to do what I *want*?

    Ideally, if I could find a house in an area I will always want to come back to, then have a full basement with private entry that I can rent out for the full cost of the mortgage, then I’m set. A “free” house (plus tax deductions) and the money to travel.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Interesting dilema, Rob.

      The good news is that you don’t have to make a lifetime choice. I suspect many, like we have been, are sometimes roots, sometimes wings.

      Let us know what you decide!

  2. AspiringYogini says

    Congrats, Mr. JL, on a seemingly quick and efficient home sale and all the best to you as you take flight! I have also run my numbers and it makes sense and feels good for us to begin to debulk as we can make our flight plan to Central America. I’m interested to hear how downsizing and soaring experience is for you as you go along.

    Buen suerte y buen vuelo!


    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks AY…

      The house sold in one weekend. Of course, it took me two years of trying to sell it before to figure out how to make that happen!

      Where in Central America are you headed?

      Buen suerte y buen vuelo! para usted tambien!

  3. Jacob@CashCowCouple says

    Moving is just such a headache… but maybe you’ll kill it on Craigslist sales.

    Luckily for my wife and I, owning seems out of the questions right now. We may be moving again within 5 years.


    • jlcollinsnh says


      But with each downsizing it should get easier.

      Craig’s has been an adventure. More on that to come.

      For now, the secret seems to be very low prices if you are serious about selling. Also, you never know what will move and what will not.

  4. bc says

    I’ll be 37 years old next week and have never owned a home before. I’ve lived in 5 states and have spent approximately $200,000 in rent over the past 17 years ($115k of that was in the pricey Boston area).

    I have a great life: young child, husband, career, education. We are finally ready to settle down into our new home state, and yes, really ready to buy a home and lay down some roots. It’s an extremely exciting time for us. For many people it’s a first step, but we’re doing things differently. I am worried that we are in for some shocks being homeowners, but our desire to try it out is so strong. Thanks for the balanced perspective and wise advice as we head into a new (to us) adventure!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Congrats, bc!

      Sounds like you are another with both roots and wings at work.

      Enjoy your new home and keep it as long as you do. If the time comes you don’t, you can always sell.

  5. Alice says

    Congrats on selling, I’ve owned for 20 years and I plan to run the numbers to see if it was a good financial decision.

    The reader in me can’t help it, it’s spelled “Abel” not Able.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks, Alice…

      I’ll be interested in what you conclude after you look at the numbers.

      Of course it is.

      And now it is even here.

      Thanks for catching what I and spell-check were unable (unabel?) to. 🙂

  6. Tom Kemper says

    Great as always Jim. Selling the old shack on the river after 15 years (it’s filled to the rafters with junk) and moving in with Christina. Will be liberating selling off/donating/tossing out, all the “stuff” the kids don’t want. Take care old friend.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Tom…

      Glad you’re still reading these posts!

      Congratulations on the pending house sale and moving in with Christina. Give her my love.

      It is great fun unload this stuff. And a great favor to our kids who won’t get stuck dealing with it all. 😉

  7. Mad Fientist says

    Thanks for the mention, Jim! Yes, my wife and I are definitely ‘wings’ people. We’ve tried putting down roots twice: the first time we sold our house after just 2.5 years living there (luckily, just weeks before the real estate market came crashing down) and now we’ve been in the latest house we purchased for just under 2 years and we’re already planning our exit. The world is too big and exciting to just live in one place for too long so I think we’ve finally learned our lesson and will be renters for the foreseeable future.

    I can’t wait until your wings take you from the apartment you mentioned to some of the other destinations that you discussed in previous posts (i.e. Ecuador). I can envision many leisurely days in Cuenca, for instance, sipping coffee with you in one of those amazing cafes you described, reminiscing about those crazy days when we actually owned houses in New England!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      We got hit with a pretty big snow storm over these last couple of days. Digging out what kept a smile on my face was the thought that this very likely is the last time I’ll have to do it.

      I used to love storms before I was a home owner. I look forward to loving them again now!

      Ecuador, if Ecuador turns out to be the place, is about three years off. For now we’ll be finding cool little cafes in Manchester, NH. Have found one already, in fact! Next time you’re down this way we’ll have a cuppa.

  8. smedleyb says

    I’m very excited for you and your wife JLC. Where are your wings taking you, if I may ask? Hopefully somewhere fucking amazing.

    And I hope my daughter grows up to be as cool as yours.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Smedley!

      For now, we are moving into a loft apartment in downtown Manchester NH. In a few years, who knows?

      A bit less than two hundred years ago textiles were a huge business around here and massive brick and stone mill buildings went up along the banks of the Merrimack River.

      More recently these have been converted into business offices and storage facilities. And now apartments. The University of NH will be our neighbor in the next mill building over.

      Last week there was a nice article about the project in the Union Leader newspaper. The city is excited as the building will have 110 units filling downtown with “young professionals.”

      Guess they didn’t count on a couple of geezers slipping in. 😉

  9. Johnny Moneyseed says

    I feel like I’m a more “wings” kinda guy, while my wife is definitely more of a “roots” girl. Once we retire I would like to have the most mobility possible. I’m not big on material things. I used to be able to move with only loading my car up once with my stuff. That’s certainly not the case anymore. And the size of our house dictates the amount of stuff that we need to fill it. I’d be fine with living out of a backpack, as long as I can see the world.

  10. Giddings Plaza FI says

    Yup, running the numbers shows that at least in certain markets, renting can be less expensive than owning over the long run. Especially when you factor in repairs. Knowing that, I still bought a place about 2 1/5 years ago. Like you, I also took a significantly smaller mortgage out than I was eligible for. I wanted a small house that was easy to care for, and for which I would pay low utilities, taxes, furnishing costs….

  11. arebelspy says

    Owning makes too much sense where I live mathematically (my tenants, for example, pay about 1000/mo rent.. My PITI on that same house is about $400/mo.).

    But when the wife and I FIRE, we’re planning on tearing up those roots and living for 3-6 months at a time all over the world. Will be a great adventure, and only a few years to go.

  12. SavvyFinancialLatina says

    Ahh home ownership. I am a believer a home is a home not an “investment.”
    I have calculated how much I am willing to pay on mortgage, taxes, and insurance. It’s actually the same amount we pay in rent right now.

    Will not buy more than the house I can afford. Around $130K. Good thing I live in Texas!

  13. Dtree says

    Not as much related to the content (although it is a great perspective), but wanted to just comment on your writing style-it rocks!! Have you ever considered putting a book together? I’ll be the first to sign up for a few dozen copies. All family and friends would be getting it for next holiday. Great post!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thank you so very much for that Dtree.

      I put a lot of work into writing these posts and am always delighted to hear from people who appreciate not just the concepts but the presentation.

      A book is on my to do list and has been for awhile:

      Many of the things that have me swamped at the moment — house selling, Craigslisting, moving, VITA, Prague– will be in the rear view by May. After some downtime recuperation the book project will move up the list.

      Knowing I’ve sold a couple dozen already helps!

  14. Mr. Risky Startup says

    As usual, awesomely written post.

    As everything, both options for housing are good, depending on the person and the situation. Still, very timely post.

    This past weekend my wife and I checked out some houses in our neighbourhood, thinking about using our savings to buy a house. We have a 3 year old and living in a very nice rented condo with great landlord who takes good care of us.

    After looking over just one house, dear wife and I looked at each other and declared – we are not buying. We remembered basement floods, landscaping, repairs, filling out unused space with furniture, cracked driveways, pest control, utility bills for unused “guest rooms”…

    As an immigrant from Europe, 1100 square feet for 3 people is a luxury for me. My wife is an American so she needed to get used to condo living. But, because we live in a condo, she was able to afford to “retire” and spend majority of her hours being a mom (which she prefers to working). We are able to travel for weeks at the time and take advantage of opportunities that we could not if we had a house to worry about. Now she is a convert – she is more condo-loving, urban hippy than I ever was 🙂

    Seven years ago when we moved into this condo it was valued at $150K (high for our area with cheapest housing in Canada). Since then, value of the condo dropped by $25K. At the same time, my money returned healthy returns, so at least for us, renting worked out great.

    Good luck with the move. It is stressful but cleansing experience.

    P.S. When in Prague, take a 2-3 hour drive to visit Karlovy Vary and its famous mineral springs. Have a local Plzen beer – original lager. In the communist days we would invite friends from then Czechoslovakia to stay at our house in Croatia each summer. We provided room and board for free, but only condition was that each guest had to bring 1 case of Plzen 🙂

    • jlcollinsnh says

      “basement floods, landscaping, repairs, filling out unused space with furniture, cracked driveways, pest control, utility bills for unused “guest rooms”…”

      Sounds like our house (every house really) except the floods. We’re on top of a hill.

      As it happens, our new digs will be 1119 SF and, at least when our daughter is home, there will be three of us there. Maybe not a “luxury” but certainly no hardship either.

      Moving: “It is stressful but cleansing experience.” Beautifully said!

      Thanks for the tip on Prague!

  15. 101 Centavos says

    That’s right, a modern home is not an investment, but a depreciating, decaying asset in constant need of maintenance. A well-managed farm, on the other hand, should be an appreciating asset.
    What made humans give up hunter-gathering and settle down? Good question. A couple of authors are of the learned opinion that it was nothing more than beer. Grow some seeds, ferment them, have a few brewskis, sober up, repeat.
    Sounds like a good theory.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Yep. Farms and rental RE are entirely different things.

      The beer theory has gotten great traction of late and, of course, has an instant appeal.

      But the more interesting question to me is not “What?” but “Why?”

      Why this change after 190,000 years? Hard to imagine it took that long to figure out you could plant seeds or, for that matter, ferment stuff.

      • 101 Centavos says

        That’s a good question, one that proponents of ancestral-type lyfestyle are also asking. Settled agriculture begat a surplus of food which begat non-productive members of society: shamans and politicians.

  16. CashRebel says

    This is a great characterization of the choice to rent or own. My mom s afraid that if us kids don’t own, we somehow wont make it into the middle class. I see what she’s saying, but like you say, her opinion is mire emotional than numbers based.

  17. Emily says

    Very interesting post. I love the way you compute the numbers on rent vs own and advise others to do the same. Americans are just too tied to owning and the status that they think a large suburban home and all its contents give them. I’m in the midwest and it’s all to apparent here. However there is a time for home ownership, particularly in the midwest. And that’s when you have more than one child living with you. We own a small (about less than half what we could “afford”) traditional brick cape cod with four small bedrooms and a finished basement. All together about 1,500 square feet. In a moderate but safe neighborhood. We have two small children. Our interst rate is 3.25% on our mortgage of about $123k. We have a mortgage to leave the $123k invested. I just ran all the numbers and including taxes, opportunity cost on our equity, heat, water, maint, insurance (over renters ins) and I’d have to find a place for the four of us for about $1,000 a month and that would have to include heat and water!!! I can tell you that is impossible. The house across from us rents for $1,800. And that doesn’t include any utilities.
    So for us, at this point in our life we will own. Good to have stability for the kids anyway. The key is to be in a cheap area in as small of a home as you can. Once the kids are out, a two bedroom rental might be the answer. Hey we can give them our stuff so they can start their own “nest” at low cost!

  18. Sparky L says

    Great article! You have inspired me to action. I am going to jump-start our Fix It Up and Sell It Plan this spring. As I was clearing the driveway and sidewalks of snow this past Tuesday, I realized that I am so over it! We are in very nearly an identical situation as yours. We raised our family in a nice house in a town with an excellent school system. Our youngest is in his sophomore year of college. I’m ready to grow some wings. I never did the financial rent v. buy analysis, but it makes absolute sense now. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Good luck in the transition, Sparky.

      As I said above to MF, shoveling out of this last snow storm I had the happy thought it might well be my last.

      And, to my great surprise, I did all that shoveling all these years and never had the coronary I kept expecting. It was like my annual physical: “oh? That didn’t kill me? Guess I’m good for another year…” 🙂

  19. Ms. Rants says

    Congratulations on selling the house! It must be such a relief to finally have it sold and to be able to move on.

    I want to throw out another idea: a roots person who rents. I love being in one place. I’ve been in my current apartment for 7 years and I don’t want to move. But I also have no desire to own a house. I see the headaches my family and friends deal with. I’d much rather let my landlords deal with shoveling the walkway after a storm, fixing a leaky sink, and repairing the broken washer. Sure, it would be nice to have a garden or paint the walls, but I’m happy to give up those luxuries in exchange for less hassle. Add in the huge added expense to own a home, even a tiny condo, in the Boston area, and it’s the easiest choice ever.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Ms. R…

      It is and will be even more post closing.

      Good point. No reason you can’t be a roots person and rent. I also know at least one home owner (talking about you there Trisha) who’s definitely a wings person.

  20. Chipamogli says

    Great post, long time lurker here!
    I bought a small condo about three years ago.. in my case it just made sense. Rent where I lived cost the same as owning, and at least I get back some of it in equity. I hope that will be the case, anyway 🙂
    I won’t lie though, there was definitely an emotional component to the purchase as well, and I would’ve probably done things differently knowing what I know now.
    Real estate doesn’t time me down at all though. The condo is in a great area and it took me about two weeks to find an excellent tenant who is paying for all my ownership costs. In the meantime I am living in South America. Maybe someday we’ll meet on one of your retreats in Ecuador!

  21. Darrow@CanIRetireYet says

    Thanks for the fine metaphor for life and parenting, Jim. Certainly applies in our case. Think I’m a wings person, who put down roots when it made sense. But we’ll be following in your footsteps shortly! I’ve appreciated your tips on the downsizing process, and will be interested in your experience in the new rental place….

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hey Darrow…

      Most of us, I think, are roots and wings at very stages.

      I’ll definitely be writing more about the new rental life and I look forward to hearing how your plans unfold…

  22. Mrs. Pop @ Planting says

    First time here, so hello!

    I like the characterization of roots versus wings, but I think for us it’s more of a what works best for the current moment (and isn’t closing off future opportunities). When real estate was cheap, we bought. In five or six years when we reach financial independence we’ll want to travel, in which case we’ll probably rent out our current home and rent wherever we end up.

    Given our propensity for renting places even smaller than our current home (which is a whopping 1100sqft), there’s a decent chance we’d even come out ahead in the equation.
    But part of this is not putting too many emotional roots in our house. Right now if we wanted to move out and rent it out for a year or two, we’d do it. Renters aren’t going to destroy the place. We’d come back, give it a good cleaning and it’d be fine. It wouldn’t bother me emotionally the way I think it would other people.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Well hello Mrs. PoP!

      Very nice to see you here. Welcome!

      Especially with such an astute observation regarding renting your home and the detachment that requires. It is a wonderfully effective concept, and very pragmatic. This is something I’ve observed in others but have never mastered myself.

      It does strike me as an ideal way to own a home and the freedom to spread your wings whenever the spirit moves you.

      Hat’s off!

  23. Shilpan says

    I just came back from my trip to India. I love your new blog look, Jim! Congratulations for selling your home. I know it means quadrupling your freedom and happiness.

  24. RW says

    Congrats Jim!
    Can’t wait to hear some of your new adventures with your freed wings. Have just retired myself end of last year and was inspired by your list of things to do in 2013. Just started taking Spanish lessons myself on recommended by MMM.
    All the best

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks RW and congrats on your retirement.

      I look forward to hearing about yours, too!

      Thanks, too, for the tip. I’ll have to check out

  25. Naomi says

    What if you’re both? What if you want to spend 6 months finding adventure, then come home for 6 months? How do you reconcile that?

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Naomi…

      Seems to me anyone spending six months a year out finding adventure has a pretty fully developed set of wings.

      The only question is what kind of living arrangement do you want to come home to? That’s entirely up to you, of course. But the post and some of its links might help you in thinking about it.

      What arrangement do you have now?

      • Naomi says

        We have a house with a mortgage. We have enough equity to buy a smaller house outright, but we haven’t figured out if that is the right path. Another option is sell the house and use the interest from the equity to pay rent. I feel like a deer in the headlights, unable to figure out the right path to take!

  26. Jeremy says

    Congrats on selling. I had just posted on your old Rent vs Own post asking about it

    My wife and I are flapping our wings like crazy right now, traveling permanently. We are at the early stages of a whole Latin America tour, who knows maybe we will be in Ecuador at the same time. Before we hit the road, we rented. The math made it a no brainier. “Moving” was actually quite easy, we even sold all of our furniture for at least what we paid for it, basically using furniture for free for a few years

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Jeremy…

      …and congrats on your journey!

      My wife and I were just talking this evening about how much easier our next move will be: Rental to rental. Far less stuff.

      Houses have a certain gravity to them and the more stuff we fill them with the stronger that gravity becomes.

  27. ZJ Thorne says

    I definitely am not keen on owning, because of all of the headaches and how it ties up money. I’m planning my finances for a small condo in a part of the city with worse access to public transportation. That area is easily 300,000 less than other areas without being dangerous. I just want a place without roommates, which is my main impetus. I will definitely purchase much less than I can afford. I want a tiny mortgage that makes my current rent look huge. Just a place to drop in from my adventures.

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