Part of The American Dream is supposed to be owning your own home. I am a homeowner and was a long-time renter. Recently, I noticed a chart in MS Money that made me take notice. It was the "Net Worth Over Time" chart.
Can you tell when I became a homeowner? It was February 2007. The beginning of a steady climb in my net worth. Prior to this, I was a renter, and the chart shows, my net worth growth was pretty stagnant. Sure it went up as I put more in my retirement accounts and paid down debt, but not like the climb after becoming a homeowner.
Some argue that the expenses of owning a home outweigh the benefits, since rent covers all housing expenses. As the chart shows, even with the expenses of a house, the value still grows. This is equity. When you buy a house, you have a property worth $x.xx, but you have a loan worth $x.xx, too. It’s net zero. Current housing conditions aside, as you pay down the loan, one side of the equation goes down, and one remains constant. Whereas when you rent, you have property of $0.00 and a loan of $0.00. As you pay your rent, neither side changes (for you. It does for the rental property owner). You remain at zero.
I just thought I’d make a small post to say that this small visual reminder showed the value of home ownership to me.