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Old 30 November 2022, 06:43 PM   #1
minute_man
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Debt and quality of life.

More of a philosophical question but curious about your views:

Provided you had a decent income and owned some property to begin with, which route would you prefer:

Owning a modest / ordinary place, driving a used car, buying only what you can afford to pay for outright and upgrading / improving things over time, while saving and keeping debt-free?

Or

Enjoy an arguably better living standard, up front, in a fancy home, a new car, new everything but being in debt with a mortgage, monthly installments etc. and whatever long term obligations, commitments and compromises these entail?
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Old 30 November 2022, 06:47 PM   #2
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Former 100% unless I knew an inheritance or lotto was on its way.

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Old 30 November 2022, 06:53 PM   #3
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my partner went to the most expensive areas of Hollywood and that area.
no owners to be seen just loads of mexicans tending everything
owners out working 16 hours a day to pay for the place. Once you realise a big house is a huge burden your life becomes your own. I know several multi millionaires here who lived the dream and bought the nightmare. One sold his house for 3.5m and us currently in the market for a 2-3 bed semi in a nice area.
he once said to me "I'm a prisoner to this place I'm either sorting out shit or sorting out someone else's fook up"
We also downsized from a largish house to a l bed apartment and life hasn't been better

no one cares if you have a bigger house or if they do they are not people worth associating with
good luck
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Old 30 November 2022, 07:00 PM   #4
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At this time in my life, I am at the former, mortgage paid etc, but I have lived hand to mouth for some of my existence. I don't mind either, normal people don't just have a spare couple of hundred K in the bank to buy their own house and car. Before I bought (mortgage) my first house, a friend advised me to get the biggest mortgage I could afford and that it would kill me for the first couple of years but it would be worth it. I didn't take his advice, I wish I had, my eventual "house for life" would have been bigger and better as a result. I don't have any regrets though, it's worked out okay.
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Old 30 November 2022, 07:06 PM   #5
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Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery"
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Old 1 December 2022, 10:30 AM   #6
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Before I bought (mortgage) my first house, a friend advised me to get the biggest mortgage I could afford and that it would kill me for the first couple of years but it would be worth it.
My CPA told me to do this and we took his advise. Those first couple years were very lean, but things get better. I now tell my children to do the same and expect lean times until raises and inflation make that "FIXED" rate easier to handle.

Paying off one's mortgage not only frees up funds for other things, including retirement savings, but more importantly psychologically comes with a sense of weight off the shoulders.

Fast forward and just a couple months ago I took out a loan for the first time in decades on an average commuter car rather than pay cash. Why? Arbitrage. The interest rate was lower than what I could make in a safe, guaranteed Tbill.
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Old 1 December 2022, 10:43 AM   #7
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My CPA told me to do this and we took his advise. Those first couple years were very lean, but things get better. I now tell my children to do the same and expect lean times until raises and inflation make that "FIXED" rate easier to handle.

Paying off one's mortgage not only frees up funds for other things, including retirement savings, but more importantly psychologically comes with a sense of weight off the shoulders.

Fast forward and just a couple months ago I took out a loan for the first time in decades on an average commuter car rather than pay cash. Why? Arbitrage. The interest rate was lower than what I could make in a safe, guaranteed Tbill.

I would disagree. Get a mortgage you can afford and pay extra payments, I can see and advocate for. Getting a mortgage you can barely afford is not a great idea imo and Iím surprised a CPA told you that.


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Old 1 December 2022, 10:51 AM   #8
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I would disagree. Get a mortgage you can afford and pay extra payments, I can see and advocate for. Getting a mortgage you can barely afford is not a great idea imo and Iím surprised a CPA told you that.


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It's actually worked out tremendously well. He told me that at 29 years old as my future earnings growth would be on the upswing. I highly doubt he would tell me that at 59 yo. As long as you get a fixed rate with the potential to refi to a lower rate down the road and live within your means, you'll be fine. Within 10 years, the house payment was less than my contemporaries were paying on a 2 bedroom apt. rental.
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Old 30 November 2022, 07:34 PM   #9
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I live by option A, option B is living for others.

Eventually I do hope to own a large custom stone and log cabin in the middle of nowhere, my own private little air strip with a piper cub to fly in and out of to get supplies. But I think that's pretty attainable in most peoples lives with a bit of planning.
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Old 30 November 2022, 07:50 PM   #10
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The only debt I have is my mortgage.
I never finance or borrow money for consumer goods nor for luxury stuff like watches, cars or holidays.
If my savings are not enough I just wait
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Old 30 November 2022, 08:12 PM   #11
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The only debt I have is my mortgage.
I never finance or borrow money for consumer goods nor for luxury stuff like watches, cars or holidays.
If my savings are not enough I just wait
This exactly.
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Old 2 December 2022, 05:11 AM   #12
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The only debt I have is my mortgage.
I never finance or borrow money for consumer goods nor for luxury stuff like watches, cars or holidays.
If my savings are not enough I just wait
Same here. When you finance items you are paying a much higher price for them as opposed to investing the money until you have enough and earning on it while you are waiting.

I have a friend who is deep in credit card debt and pays about $10,000 in interest a year. I keep trying to make him understand that if he catches up once, that will give him another $10,000 per year to spend on things other than interest. He doesn't seem to care and will probably die deep in debt. He has no assets so there will be nothing for his creditors to go after.
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Old 2 December 2022, 05:59 AM   #13
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Same here. When you finance items you are paying a much higher price for them as opposed to investing the money until you have enough and earning on it while you are waiting.

I have a friend who is deep in credit card debt and pays about $10,000 in interest a year. I keep trying to make him understand that if he catches up once, that will give him another $10,000 per year to spend on things other than interest. He doesn't seem to care and will probably die deep in debt. He has no assets so there will be nothing for his creditors to go after.
WTF is he spending it on?
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Old 30 November 2022, 08:26 PM   #14
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If you are paying so much for shelter and transportation that you canít afford to order delivery food, take a trip, or pay an emergency expenseÖ that is no fun. Itís how a lot of people live, though. McMansion, luxury car, and Ramen noodles.
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Old 30 November 2022, 09:03 PM   #15
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I am very anti debt.

My dream as a kid (early 20’s) was to have a very modest place with a yard big enough for my dog.

When I sold my yoga studios, I bought a modest townhouse in cash. It was right behind a Midas tire supply shop. Everyone said, are you crazy, buy a nice home. I said no way, I can’t afford it. They suggested I could afford it with a mortgage, I said I prefer to have something I own outright.

About two years ago I bought a house on the bay at the jersey shore. I was convinced to get a mortgage because crates were so low. I paid 50% and mortgaged the rest at 2.625%. I just sold that home last week.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand using a mortgage. I understand good debt. I get it.

Even good debt, I don’t want it. If I can’t afford it, I don’t buy it. In fact, I just sold a bunch of “stuff”. I don’t want it or need it anymore.

I do believe that stuff starts to own you. I also believe that the more you get, the more you want. Always chasing the rush.

I don’t fault people for living it up. I understand it. You can’t take it with you. And you never know when you are going to go. I think finding a balance is for the best. And everyone has a different set of priorities and therefore a different balance point.

So yeah, no debt for me. No living larger than what’s right in front of me.
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Old 30 November 2022, 09:14 PM   #16
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I am very anti debt.

My dream as a kid (early 20ís) was to have a very modest place with a yard big enough for my dog.

When I sold my yoga studios, I bought a modest townhouse in cash. It was right behind a Midas tire supply shop. Everyone said, are you crazy, buy a nice home. I said no way, I canít afford it. They suggested I could afford it with a mortgage, I said I prefer to have something I own outright.

About two years ago I bought a house on the bay at the jersey shore. I was convinced to get a mortgage because crates were so low. I paid 50% and mortgaged the rest at 2.625%. I just sold that home last week.

Donít get me wrong, I understand using a mortgage. I understand good debt. I get it.

Even good debt, I donít want it. If I canít afford it, I donít buy it. In fact, I just sold a bunch of ďstuffĒ. I donít want it or need it anymore.

I do believe that stuff starts to own you. I also believe that the more you get, the more you want. Always chasing the rush.

I donít fault people for living it up. I understand it. You canít take it with you. And you never know when you are going to go. I think finding a balance is for the best. And everyone has a different set of priorities and therefore a different balance point.

So yeah, no debt for me. No living larger than whatís right in front of me.
Exactly this....I sleep waaaaay better at night
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Old 1 December 2022, 12:28 AM   #17
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I do believe that stuff starts to own you. I also believe that the more you get, the more you want. Always chasing the rush.
These words ring so true for me. I have recently been on a major getting rid of stuff streak and I have never felt more relieved. Not only do I get the same "rush" from selling that I do buying, but I also find that the items I decide to keep I enjoy them that much more.

I am in the modest home, used car & as close to no debt as possible way of thinking. I find this to be a less stressful way to live especially with 2 small kids at home.
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Old 30 November 2022, 09:12 PM   #18
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I think this really comes down to stage of life for most.

30 years ago I had debt, had to borrow for everything including a mortgage, car etc. we worked hard to pay it all off, and then we downsized into a more modest bungalow.


We cleared off all our debt in our early 40’s and at this stage (mid 50’s), we are focused on sending both kids to university and helping them get established.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with ramping up the debt as long as it’s affordable and you have a plan to pay it off
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Old 30 November 2022, 10:13 PM   #19
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Former.

Of course you could make debt work for you, yet many are not good at mathematics and financial planning in the short, medium, and long term. The good news is that, except for student loans, you can claim bankruptcy and walk away from most debt without much worry.

In 2007/2008 it was called "Jingle Mail' when home debtors stopped paying their mortgage and (proverbially) sent their home's keys back to the bank. In the USA today (2022), the Federal Reserve and their banking partners BlackRock, etc have purchased a lot of real estate in hopes of avoiding their 2007/2008 mistakes / miscalculations.
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Old 30 November 2022, 10:13 PM   #20
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Former now for sure, latter many years ago. Only debt I have now is student loans and I only carry them because 3% interest and need something on credit report.

Used to be massively in debt trying to keep up with the Joneses and being a general short sighted idiot. Love the feeling of casting off the chains of debt, will never go back.

Nothing wrong with being in debt though, as long it’s paid back. Being in debt is as American as apple pie.
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Old 30 November 2022, 10:15 PM   #21
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Iím the first guy. Only debt is the mortgage for a modest 4/2 and the mortgage was acquired when I couldnít afford it out right. Doesnít make sense to me now to take that cash and pay it off at this point with the market the way it is. I want that cash to dump into as many foreclosures as I can get my hands on when the house of cards falls.


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Old 30 November 2022, 11:05 PM   #22
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I have no problem letting the banks fund my lavish lifestyle while my money earns meager interest. With some good financial planning my goal is to kick the bucket with as much debt as possible while protecting the estate. I paid off one mortgage and have another 2 left. I would at a minimum like to leave the real estate to my kids free and clear. Credit cards and other small debt can pound sand.
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Old 30 November 2022, 11:06 PM   #23
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I am somewhere in the middle. I have no issue with debt that is manageable and for an asset that has some return value. My watches, that's how I somewhat justify them even though I don't have any debt associated with them. One of my biggest struggles has always been finding balance. Doing enough to enjoy myself but not so much that it creates a problem either personally or financially. Life was very simple as a younger person with limited to no assets. The path was clear and the goals were on the horizon and hard work and time would take care of them. It did, but the more assets you have and the more options you possess the more complicated it can become. It is also not as much fun when you are financially secure and have a safety net, achieved through hard work, fortune and time. Once again back to balance and even today, more than 40 years into being what I consider an adult it is still there. Just my thoughts. I also enjoy reading my fellow TRF Members thoughts on this. Good topic.
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Old 30 November 2022, 11:09 PM   #24
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First, as many have said, our attitudes change as we get older. Secondly, few 20-somethings can buy a house for cash. You get into your 50s and 60s and it may be more possible. We here tend to be far above average (IMHO) in income and intelligence.

OK, maybe just in income. LOL

j/k

Debt is a tool. Use it wisely.

When my Mom retired, she had a financial advisor that I met with, and I asked him about the logic of her paying off her mortgage, which was from the early 70s and had something like a 2% rate. And she was in the last years of it, so it was mostly principle anyway. He said that it was very common for retirees to want to eliminate debt like that.
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Old 1 December 2022, 02:46 AM   #25
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First, as many have said, our attitudes change as we get older. Secondly, few 20-somethings can buy a house for cash. You get into your 50s and 60s and it may be more possible. We here tend to be far above average (IMHO) in income and intelligence.

OK, maybe just in income. LOL
Personally Iím bum average at both. But I got approved for a personal loan, and if Rolex investment prices continue to temporarily decline, it might be enough to buy the dip with a vintage DateJust from the Duty Free on a Carnival cruise ship. Any Pledge Members or financially astute gentlemen have any thoughts on my investment plan?
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Old 30 November 2022, 11:45 PM   #26
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If it's a binary choice, I'd go with the former.

That being said, life isn't so black and white. I'd be more likely to have some mix of the two. Maybe a more modest house with a slightly nicer car (they're a passion of mine). Financially I always lean conservative though.
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Old 30 November 2022, 11:48 PM   #27
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Thanks everybody for your input. Some very interesting views shared so far.

Indeed seems to me that one's stage in life would be a deciding factor but then it's also where one wants to be, after all.

I left home right after completing my military service obligations, on a small loan, which helped me take my first steps away from the nest, rent my own place and allowed me ample time searching for employment.
That loan amounted, roughly, to a month's salary from my profession.

I was eventually employed, followed a career, paid off the loan, got married and, at some point, ended up with some significant savings in my mid to late twenties.

So I seriously began considering a place of my own on a mortgage and had some quarter million approved for a house that I liked. I never, ever thought of, or counted on, existing family property. Wasn't mine at the time anyway.

I could comfortably pay for my mortgage on monthly basis and perhaps pay off a good part of it rather soon, as the house's price was less than 180K so not all of the approved amount was needed and still had my savings...

Then, the week just before signing, I lost my dad. Which forced me to reconsider. I canceled the purchase, continued to rent while spending a good chunk of my savings repairing and remodeling the family house as well as other taxes, inherited debts, etc.

Looking back, I somewhat regret not pulling the trigger on that house but that was before the 2010 crisis here and quite frankly, I can't help but feel as if I had actually dodged a bullet.

Because although I never intended paying installments for the next three decades, paying off the mortgage in just a few (4) years, was certainly not on the table.

Ever since, I've landed firmly on the 1st camp / school of thought and try to avoid debt at all costs. Even if I'm missing out on some pleasures this life has to offer.
I find it much more liberating not having to put up with things and situations I do not consciously decide getting myself into.
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Old 30 November 2022, 11:55 PM   #28
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Thanks everybody for your input. Some very interesting views shared so far.

Indeed seems to me that one's stage in life would be a deciding factor but then it's also where one wants to be, after all.

I left home right after completing my military service obligations, on a small loan, which helped me take my first steps away from the nest, rent my own place and allowed me ample time searching for employment.
That loan amounted, roughly, to a month's salary from my profession.

I was eventually employed, followed a career, paid off the loan, got married and, at some point, ended up with some significant savings in my mid to late twenties.

So I seriously began considering a place of my own on a mortgage and had some quarter million approved for a house that I liked. I never, ever thought of, or counted on, existing family property. Wasn't mine at the time anyway.

I could comfortably pay for my mortgage on monthly basis and perhaps pay off a good part of it rather soon, as the house's price was less than 180K so not all of the approved amount was needed and still had my savings...

Then, the week just before signing, I lost my dad. Which forced me to reconsider. I canceled the purchase, continued to rent while spending a good chunk of my savings repairing and remodeling the family house as well as other taxes, inherited debts, etc.

Looking back, I somewhat regret not pulling the trigger on that house but that was before the 2010 crisis here and quite frankly, I can't help but feel as if I had actually dodged a bullet.

Because although I never intended paying installments for the next three decades, paying off the mortgage in just a few (4) years, was certainly not on the table.

Ever since, I've landed firmly on the 1st camp / school of thought and try to avoid debt at all costs. Even if I'm missing out on some pleasures this life has to offer.
I find it much more liberating not having to put up with things and situations I do not consciously decide getting myself into.
Good for you Basil.

Itís different for everyone for sure. Age / stage, and risk tolerance are the biggest determining factors IMO.

Thereís no right or wrong answer, but Iíve met more people who are happier following the first formula later on down the line.
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Old 30 November 2022, 11:53 PM   #29
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A or B, I go A. But as we grew older and more affluent, we let it rip more.
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Old 30 November 2022, 11:53 PM   #30
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is Debt only bad in the scenario ?

If my mortgage is so high that it is a struggle each month, I would not be comfortable

If my mortgage is low enough to be easily paid for (1week salary or less for example) then I wouldn’t consider it a negative) principal would be being paid While equity was being earned and capital remains liquid… this strategy could set you up for option one down the road

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