Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Remember when a house was a shelter?

As part of our move away from Western Financialism we must undertake skeptical review of widely held beliefs, and thoroughly debunk and debase false fiscal sentiments held by unsophisticated people that we may buttress the foundations of our capitalist system.

I briefly alluded to this idea here:
If secondary schools made the effort to blend focus on life skills like personal finance (balancing checkbooks, credit card interest policy, how mortgages work) with esoterics like higher order mathematics I submit that we would be empowering a generation of doers capable of anything and structurally buttressing the future economy.
From the time of the cavemen until some point in the last few decades a house was nothing more than a shelter from the elements.  Having a properly sized shelter meant that precious daylight hours could be optimized between hunting, trading, trekking, and searching for firewood.  If a shelter was on a north facing hill in Montana during November, that firewood search became a lot more important than hunting.  Likewise, having a well constructed, efficient house (square footage, insulating properties, etc.) today means diverting climate conditioning and cost to own per square foot dollars to more important fiscal needs.

I never figured out why companies got into pushing 401k programs so hard, but speculate that the management companies give fee kickbacks to upper management.  Did you know that it's allowable to own property in tax deferred accounts?  Bet you never heard "corporate" telling you to pick up a rent house on the cheap, finance it for 4% in a tax deferred account and let renters pay your asset off, did you?  The managers want you indexed by risk profile so they can run you and your money down the sluice, dropping your fees in their pockets along the way, no matter how poorly they do over time.

Invest in yourself.  Invest in your future.  We need to encourage fiscal stability.  Cut up the credit cards, get a house that meets your needs, and start paying that fucker down.  In this way one is not tied to the stock market or the economic idiocy forced upon him by politicians with no concept of a real world future without a government pension.  It doesn't matter if every bank in the country implodes, if one or both jobs are lost, or if gold becomes the only currency by which to conduct trade, the value of a home comes from the knowledge that the owner will always have a place to keep his tailfeathers out of the rain.  Assessing sheltering value simply, as the delta between present and future selling price is near-sighted, greedy, and stupid.

Besides, after fees, even with matching, should an unsophisticated investor expect to realize more than 6% compounding returns in a Kmart brand 401k program?