What do you fear about retirement?

Sep 21, 2009

A Small Retirement Home Will Hold More Happiness Than a Large Retirement Home

Perhaps you have let the concept that your creativity is worth at least a cool million dollars go to your head. There is no question in your mind that you are destined for financial greatness and you won't require Social Security as a secure safety net.

And what better way is there to feel prosperous than to live in a nice home located in an exclusive superb? You have convinced yourself that a spacious, comfortable house will make you more creative and productive in your
occupational pursuits.

Another reason for buying this home is that you will be inspired by the successful people living in this area. Still another reason is the larger the house you buy, the more it will go up in value, and the wealthier you will become in the future, providing you with a nice Retirement Income when you are Joyfully Retired.

With all this in mind, you have decided to buy the largest house that can be financed with first, second, and even third mortgages. Your decision to purchase a swanky home will be supported by many financial wizards. They advocate that you should never extend yourself to buy a car; however, if there is one thing for which you can go out on a financial limb, it's a house.

This concept is supported by Harvey Mackay who advises us to, "Buy cheap cars and expensive houses." The basis behind this strategy is the opportunity for long-term gain. Chances are fairly high that the value of the house will escalate and it's almost certain that the value of the car will do the opposite. Because houses don't normally depreciate, financing the purchase of a house is a good forced-savings plan which builds wealth for the future.

Zen Rich philosophy advocates restraint when acquiring a house, however. Purchasing too expensive of a home can make you "house poor." even when prices are going up. With the high monthly mortgage payments, you won't be able to enjoy some of life's little pleasures. As you can well imagine, it's difficult to feel relaxed and prosperous (while having fun at work) if you are concerned whether you can make next month's mortgage payment every time you take the family out to dinner.

The idea that there is a big profit potential with a large house may not hold anymore. Experts are now predicting that prices don't go up nearly as fast as they did in the past. Moreover, demographics indicate that, due to the aging population, the trend will be towards smaller homes. Thus, selling prices of large homes could easily come down due to lower demand. So much for profit potential as a reason to purchase a large home! The point is, it's easy to rationalize any purchase without giving it much thought.

Unlike these crazed status-seekers, you, as a Zen-Rich individual wishing to simplify your life, should question why you would want to buy a much bigger and fancier house than you need. Houses in certain suburbs are now 3000 to 4000 square feet, when 1500 square feet will be more than enough for the typical family. Who really needs four bedrooms, three baths, a dining room, a den, a family room, and a living room?

This is not to say that all luxury should be avoided. Some luxury is a good way of rewarding oneself for being creative and productive, but it's amazing how many people don't ever use their fireplaces, family rooms, and swimming pools. In this regard, William Morris offers some wise advice: "If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

Realistically, houses will always play some role in our self-image, personal identity, and social standing. For this reason, it's important that you get in touch with all the factors that may influence you to choose the house you want, especially if it is large and luxuriously equipped. You must ask yourself, "Beyond the physical functions, what are the psychological functions that this house serves?"

Remember that true or complete ownership isn't realized until the day that the mortgage is paid off. To the degree your ego drives you to purchase a larger house than you can afford will determine when, if ever, you attain true ownership.

Contrary to popular belief, the largest and most luxuriously equipped house in the most exclusive neighborhood doesn't guarantee personal satisfaction and fulfillment. In terms of physical features, it's important to like your house and neighborhood and have it well-suited for your needs and lifestyle. However, for a house to be truly a home, it must be filled with strong human relationships, family cohesiveness, and meaningful life experiences.

The bottom line is, bigger and fancier houses don't mean happier homes.

Here are some quotes and poems relating to houses:

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