For many years my wife and I have been trapped in a financial nightmare, which systematically snubbed out all our hopes and dreams. This grim situation has had a massive effect on our physical and mental health. To put it in modern parlance – debt fucks you up!.
Background to why we are selling
So how did I get into such a predicament? Briefly it was primarily due to a well intentioned, but I guess ultimately misguided effort to ease the burden and guilt of my father. You see like so many people in traditional businesses my father failed to see the world was changing fast and sadly paid the ultimate price for his lack of foresight. He lost his beloved family business, home and some years later his mind.
Being the dutiful offspring is often a frustrating task, while trying your best to appease parents you also have to deal with the unforgiving world that sadly seems to have no time for the old and confused. Luckily I guess, unlike my father I had seen that my family would all soon be homeless. While I was unable to stop them losing everything, I was able to secure a mortgage and so create a lifeboat for everyone to fall into. In reality this was a far from satisfactory arrangement, my parents, my brother,his girlfriend and my wife all packed into a small modern three bedroom house. In short by trying to help everyone out my wife and I screwed ourselves financially, emotionally and felt very little thanks for our trouble.
Two years ago both my parents sadly died within just three months of each other. In many ways it was a relief for them I guess they had come to resent the world and at times even each other. My mother died first of a stroke and my father simply faded away of heartbreak and dementia. Their deaths while a massive blow left us with more problems, for they had not put much money aside for funerals. While all this was going on my wife’s family was also dropping like flies. Then to top it all off my wife was diagnosed with the chronic version of a little known autoimmune disease, sarcoidosis. With my own Bipolar raging out of control (stress will do that to you) our life looked like a car wreck on the M25 on a cold foggy morning. For over 18 months we have been battling to keep our home (because of all the debt) until one day we both woke up to the realisation that it was time to just let it all go.
In the next few weeks our home of 13 years goes up on the market and it’s a bloody relief. I have always believed and was told that owning one’s home was the only way to live. It is only when you look at the world through eyes awakened to ones own mortality, that home ownership can seem just like a massive inflexible weight around one’s neck. In fact that is almost exactly what my grandad had told my dad when he was buying his first house in the 60’s (if only he had listened)
So my wife and I will be renting soon and I must confess to being a little scared of that, in ‘Great’ Britain renting is a bloody logistical nightmare especially if like us you have a dog. Oh if only we were both still living in America where renting is the norm and on the whole a very easy and straightforward process. While I know many in the UK look down on renting and renters it offers us a whole host of benefits, not least the flexibility to move wherever we like and often to homes we simply could never afford to buy. Gone will be the sleep depriving worry of those expensive and unforeseen house repairs ,or necessary house upgrades to keep the property value up. Homeownership is grand idea if you have the bank balance that can cope with it, but for the financially stretched it can often seem like debt slavery or a prison sentence with no hope of parole.
A mortgage in truth until it is payed off is still just a glorified rental agreement, start missing too many payments and then see what you really ‘own’. With houses getting ever more expensive and mortgages longer by the time the bloody thing is paid off your be just the right age to check into a care home. At this point it will become evitant that owning your own home should you need care is far less of an advantage than you would think.
I fully understand that renting has it’s downsides, yes it can often be more expensive per month than buying, but when you think about the money most people plough into a house over it’s lifetime it often evens itself out. I must come back to the one thing that is important to us Freedom! The ability to move and move again if need or whim comes up. The ability to finally be free of debt after so many soul crushing years, outweighs all the downsides we may have to face over the coming month .
I shall post more as events unfold.