I am going to take you through 5 reasons why “keeping up with the Joneses” will make you a horrible homeowner.
Well, first we need to ascertain what this idiom means. We all know this phrase that we’ve used forever but essentially it is looking at the accumulated wealth, assets, and gadgets that your neighbors and friends have and somehow being doggedly determined to keep up with them. This can add stress to your life because of technology, everything is always evolving so even if you get the latest iPhone or Samsung there’s something else coming three weeks later. So….can you really ever keep up? Now we’re going to look at reasons that you can’t be a good homeowner if this is the way you look at life. The aim is, after this you’re going to reset your value system and make some changes.
Go get your thinking cap out and let’s look at these points logically. Or just scroll to the bottom, click the video and listen to Alicia Als and I discuss these points.
- Keeping up often means investing in depreciating assets. You may find to keep up you’re looking for stuff makes you appear wealthy so you go for the fancy car, not a second-hand car (like I do) you want the brand new car that as soon as you drive off the lot the value goes down, sometimes as much as by 20%.
- Your lifestyle turns into one of spending, spending, spending! So, guess what’s going to happen? Lack of savings; you’re going to have high debt and of course low investment. The instruments that are meant to start seeing wealth over time you’re not focusing on. Having a high level of consumerism means less money put aside. That’s where a lot of people got caught when Covid-19 came along. There were no savings instruments, there’s not enough for emergencies and you’re more likely to go into credit card debt, and you don’t have any mutual funds put aside. So imagine now when it comes time to want to buy a house you just don’t have enough padding.
- Let’s say you did somehow make it to owning a home. What happens when you’re spending style continues? Cause you “got to look good” but the more money you spend the more home maintenance bills and utility bills are piling up. So you might have this cute little house but every month you’re stressing over money trying to keep up with society, while savings run low and bills pile up. A lot of people who get into this rat race end up playing themselves as they just can’t keep up.
- You could end up with an over renovated house and then when it’s time to sell, it is undervalued. Let me explain… you know you live in Hoodlum Heights and you decide to try out this sauna thing you saw on Pinterest, all of a sudden you have a sauna. Then you get a few coppers as a bonus at the end of the year and instead of throwing it to your mortgage, you’re like no no no, time to upgrade to some Calcutta marble in the kitchen. Later, you sell your car, and instead of reinvesting in something else that could be an appreciating asset, you decide it’s the perfect time for those $80,000.00 bedroom closets. So you might be the brightest shiniest thing in the neighborhood but when you are at the top of the ladder in the neighborhood it’s hard to get your house sold because the valuer is going to come in and he’s not valuing your house any greater than the neighborhood dictates. So the $100,000.00 that you injected in your house to look as if you had it going on means absolutely nothing when it comes time to sell it. The valuer will primarily at the condition of the house itself and make an assessment. Yes, things like kitchens and bathrooms do add value but if the houses in this neighborhood are dictating a cost a square foot, installing that marble counter and those closets doesn’t mean the price per square foot will change just for you. A lot of it is based on comparable property and the square footage price in your neighborhood so adding all that stuff must be for your sole benefit and enjoyment without the expectation that it will assist your sale price.
- How can you enjoy home ownership if you are forever exhausted. Keeping up with the Joneses is like chasing waterfalls. You never arrive and you’re living somebody else’s dream and vision. You don’t even know what your vision truly is because you never sat down with yourself and decided what you want. You’re always looking at other people trying to keep up with all the social trends. You don’t have your own system in place that is aligned with your purpose. Your home should be your peace. Somewhere you feel safe and relaxed, It is not meant to be a part of anyone else’s vision but yours.
I hope that I have shed some light on how to not only manage your expectations of what your valuer will look at when pricing your property but I do hope that “keeping up with the Joneses” means a whole lot less to you now. All the best to you in your finances and house improvements goals.
Click the video below if you would like to listen to the ” Horrible Homeowners” segment on Morning Barbados.