Modern Slavery

Dearest Reader,

I’m at the luxurious point in my life where I have paid off my student loan, and I am finally able to keep the hard-earned dollars to myself.

It is so nice to see your first real savings grow, owing nothing to nobody!

But as I listen and learn from the people around me, what strikes me is how many are so ready and willing to jump right back into overwhelming figures of debt to buy a home. 

Especially if you live in an urban area like I do, a small apartment can easily cost $500,000 and above, in fact I recently saw a garage in Sydney being advertised for $40,000. This saddened me as I realised I could not even afford a garage, let a lone the house it belongs to.

As a matter of fact, I’d be surprised if you found a house in Sydney below $1 million. If you do, it was probably the movie location for the Saw franchise, or the previous owner died in there and was eaten by her cats (which, incidentally, could also be the plot for the next Saw movie).

But think about it – how many of us are currently millionaires, or half-millionaires or will be millionaires by the time we die?

Indeed, all around me people are signing their lives away and committing to several decades of paying off mortgages. Most importantly, if they ever miss a day of work, they’ll be in serious trouble, and at the end of it all, they will have paid for three houses because of all the interest they will have paid to the bank.

Yet, this is completely normal. Everyone does it. And what’s worse, they pressure you to do it, too, because the market is going up, and if you don’t join it you’ll rent forever!!

The underlying message is “Enter the property market at all cost!!”

As I was contemplating this, I came across the Dave Ramsey Show and I admittedly only started watching because both Dave and all his guests tend to have these really stereotypical southern US accents which amuse me (as a linguist). I especially like it when Dave gets a call from someone in Kentucky, I could spend the whole day listening to that conversation and being fascinated.

In any case, he was making interesting points about buying a home, the two simple messages being “Stop pretending to be rich” and “If you can’t afford the house, don’t buy it.”

And I wondered why these messages aren’t the norm.

Why do we prefer being miserably indebted forever and a slave to the lender, rather than leading a simpler life and being free?

Imagine what it would be like to buy property that is within your financial means, and never paying rent or a mortgage again?

Imagine the freedom and independence you’d have! You could work part-time and retire whenever you like!

So, dearest reader, if you are like me and don’t want to sign up for a life of debt despite all the pressure, you don’t have to.

You have other options.

You can live in a garage and start a band while you’re there.

You can move to rural Kentucky where homes are cheap and socialise with some chickens.

You can lease your crappy house to horror movie producers and get some extra cash.

If you really want a $500,000 inner-city home, you need to get a job that pays such dimensions.

Whatever you do, live within your means, and find a way of living that you can afford without asking anyone for money.

Because remember, even if you buy expensive property, and you spend a lifetime anxiously paying off debt, you’ll eventually die and not live in that house, but in some hole in the ground that you don’t need to worry paying for.

And your children, who will inherit your home, will also die, and in fact we will all die when the sun explodes, and none of this will have mattered, and you made yourself all miserable for nothing.


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