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Didn't Your Parents Have A Mortgage?

September 18th, 2010 at 05:09 pm

I just skimmed thru a blog posting, written by a blogger making a living by giving out good financial advice, who was doing some self-rationalization on why he is (probably) going to buy a house with no down payment. He made the usual good points about prices going down, interest rates going down, wanting to build equity etc. etc. Followed by 60+ comments warning him of everything from appliance failures to sudden hurricanes, all of which HE, and not a landlord, would now be responsible! True, all true. But my question is this, didn't most of us grow up in a household where our parents were paying a mortgage? Did the fact that they were also responsible for all of the various and sundry, repairs/bills that go along with that escape some of us? I can't imagine how? Our dinner table conversation was liberally peppered with comments about the washer being on the fritz again, and how much did it cost to have it fixed the last time. Patching that bathroom roof one more time, until the money was there to re-roof the whole house. Yikes, the insurance went up again! Didn't we just tweak the policy to get a better price? Helping Uncle Ed fix a couple of windows, and then he was going to help Dad with the porch floor. How has (apparently) an entire generation missed all of this? Now admittedly, the economy is far different than it was 30 or even 20 years ago, but I can't believe that an entire generation has grown up in rental housing, chasing the landlord (or ducking, as the case may be) blithely ignorant of the realities of owning something! If you own a car, you are responsible for repairs, maintainence etc. Why would you not realize that a house is the same principle? I grew up in farming country, I remember the comments about people who moved on because they just "couldn't make it" on the farm. Families lost their homes then, just like now. Now, I will admit (loudly) that being able to find a job and regroup WAS a lot easier in past days, but no one, at any time is guaranteed a perfect life. Sorry, I digress. (often) I just can't imagine how they missed all that!

7 Responses to “Didn't Your Parents Have A Mortgage?”

  1. baselle Says:

    Part of the reason the comments might have come up is that the home mortgage is only the beginning of the costs of owning a home. Well and good to buy a house completely with cash, just make sure you have something left when the issues intrude.

    I'm not quite sure what my parents had with the farm - I think dad bought/inherited the farm from his dad so the money was kept in the family. But other family members had mortgages, with down payments, local bank assuming the note, local bank using the rule of thumb that house price should be 2-3X household income, and the general atmosphere of lending tinted from the horrors of the Great Depression, which had happened only 20-30 years hence.

    More like a lot of people grew up relatively sheltered. When I was in college, many of my classmates grew up with the Bank of Mom and Dad. Anything that happened, next came a "withdrawl" from BMAD. I don't know how old you are, but its quite conceivable that they are backed up by the BGMAGD (Bank of Grandma and Granddad). Now doubly generationally sheltered.

  2. Single Guy Says:

    I got some money from Bank of Grandma to pay for tuition for college, but there was no way I was asking for more than the bare minimum. Though I remember some kids seemingly having as much money as they wanted without issue, or so it seemed.

    Problem is the fear of people to even *try* to do things themselves. I got some plumbing supplies today, and plan on updating the tub drain. I may fail (its ok, I have two tubs in the house), but at least I will try first before I call in a plumber.

  3. Petunia Says:

    You know, I NEVER remember my parents having discussions like that - how much it would cost to fix things, what the financial priorities were, how to make the money stretch farther, etc. (They also never fixed anything themselves.) I do remember my dad telling me they had a sum of money set aside for my college (I was at least 17 by then) but since I had no idea how much any college cost, or even where I should go, the dollar figure was meaningless!

    Fortunately I still managed to have some common sense, and even though I spent years working at low paying jobs I never acquired debt and lived within my means. I also had learned not to ask my parents for money, and never did once I was out of the house.

    The unfortunate thing in it all is that my dad worked in a finance-related job and was pretty financially astute. We all could have benefitted from his knowledge if he'd been able to share it with us.

    Daisy hears way more about personal finance than I ever did. I think she will be the wiser for it.

  4. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    What blog were you reading, GT?

  5. My English Castle Says:

    My parents' mortgage was $57.12/month. They were thrifty, worked hard, and comfortable in retirement. But like for most of us, money was sometimes tight. I clearly remember my mom putting the bills on the table and picking this week's "lucky winner."

    They had a healthy attitude toward money, perhaps should've taken a few more risks, but their attitudes have grounded me, I think.

  6. girltherapy Says:

    Sorry, I couldn't remember the site, so I had to surf around a bit. It was on Wisebread.com and the article was called Buying A House Without The Money.

  7. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Thanks. Wink

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