Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Debt is Wealth -- look at all the great societies the world has produced and you see one thing in common: debt. Debt builds wealth. Imagine if there was no debt and no ability to borrow. Want a $50K BMW? You have to pay cash. Want a plasma TV? You have to pay cash. Want a house? You have to pay cash. How long would most people be able to function in such a world? It would be a nightmarish place filled with poor, unhappy people. However by introducing debt into people's lives you gain the ability to procure wealth. People can leverage that debt to purchase homes, cars, needed consumer goods, etc. The debt allows people to create wealth for themselves and also for other people too. Everyone wins in a debt fueled society except perhaps the gold hoarding no debt renter who keeps expecting civilization to collapse. For them the debt fueled world is a nightmare in which they fill up their minds with imaginary gloom and rationalize why all this wealth will lead to disaster.

Slavery is Freedom -- I remember reading once someone saying that they did not want to become a slave to their home. They felt the seeming high prices of homes today means they are slaves to the house, spending weekends fixing up the house or working second jobs to make the mortgage payment. But what they don't realize is the freedom the home gives you. You see, every hour spent putting in granite countertops or fixing the yard is money in your pocket. You are using your time to create wealth. And every nickel you put into that mortgage from that second or third job comes back to you dressed up as a twenty dollar bill. This wealth creation gives you freedom. If you need $100K to give your child an Ivy League education you can use the wealth created by your home to fund it. Try doing that with your canceled rent checks and see how far that gets you. If you need Bruno Magli shoes and an Armani suit for a social function you can tap your home equity line of credit and the best part is you get to deduct it all from your taxes. Thank you Uncle Sam! This so called slavery leads to the greatest freedom a human can possess: the freedom to do anything.

Fear is Happiness -- one of the main reasons why people stay renters is fear of failure. They are afraid if they buy a house they might lose everything. They see isolated instances of this happening and assume that they will be one of these unlucky few. However, by embracing the fear and buying one or multiple homes you open the door the complete and joyous happiness. Every home owner is afraid the first time they buy a house. They have those lingering doubts that perhaps it is a mistake. But as time passes, and the massive equity builds, they realize that the fear of success has been supplanted by happiness at their wisdom of purchasing a home.

But enough sloganeering, let's talk some real world numbers for a bit. Let's say you do something wise, you purchase a home in California for $500,000. This beautiful and desirable home will appreciate by about 20% per year. Therefore after 30 years that home that the renter unwisely turned his nose up to will be worth a little over $100 million. Now let's say you are even wiser than this. Let's say you use the rapidly rising equity in this dream home to purchase another undervalued home every year. So you'll earn 30*$100 million or over 3 BILLION dollars. That's right, you'll become one of the richest people in the world and all you did was sit back and let debt work for you. Imagine all of the wondrous things you could do with $3 billion. You could buy a whole fleet of Hummers, a plasma TV for every room of your house. Perhaps lunch in Paris and dinner in Tokyo while you jet around in your private plane? Whatever your heart desired all brought about by the magic of home ownership.

Now, some of you embittered renters probably think this is some unrealistic fantasy. But let's try to understand what the future will hold (we are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives) by looking at the past. If you look at history there has never been any period of time where home prices declined. Never. Even if you go back to Ugh selling the first cave to Ooog for 3 rocks and a wooden club, I guarantee you Ooog made money. No matter when, where, or how you look at it, home prices always go up in the long term. Sure, you might find some isolated instances where home prices declined for a short period of time but even after that aberration prices returned to their normal higher trend.

So what will the future be like? It will be a lot like the middle ages. You will have a landed aristocracy (home owners) and you will have the poor, embittered, masses (renters). These few, these happy few, these home owners, will have everything their heart desires because either they or their parents/grandparents/etc were able to see the coming changes in society and intelligently using debt were able to buy mountains of wealth for themselves and their decedents. Since 70% of Americans now own their own home, we will be an amazingly wealthy nation. We will leverage this wealth to run the rest of the world. But, sadly, 30% of Americans will be left behind with no hope of a better life. And like the serf of the middle ages they will leave to their children nothing but ashes. Ashes of dreams. Ashes of hopes. Nothing but servitude to their landed betters. What a hopeless existence they will have.

Unfortunately, a lot of reckless people are throwing about words like "bubble" to try to ruin people's lives. They are trying to use fear and ignorance as a weapon to destroy the lives of this future aristocracy. I believe they have one of two motives. Either they are looking into the abyss and see that they will never own a home so like an angry two year old they want to destroy the hopes of everyone else. Or they are greedy and want to drive prices down temporarily so they can snatch up this wealth from those foolish enough to heed their advice. But remember friend, when a man looks into the abyss he finds his character. For most of us, it strengthens our resolve to do whatever it takes to become one of these rich, happy landowners. For the frightened renter/bubble advocate, it causes fear and resentment to want to ruin other people's lives. Don't become one of these pathetic wretches.

That is why I'm writing this blog, to educate the few redeemable renters out there. To let them know that if they take a chance and let debt, slavery, and fear into their lives they'll find wealth, freedom, and happiness.