Several family members and their huge houses - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 57 Old 08-06-2010, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So recently several family members who already had big newer homes bought even bigger newer beautiful homes with pools etc... I'm happy for them that they are happy. They work hard for what they have. They had the feeling that they needed "more room". OK, whatever. 3500 sq ft for a family of four? That would be a palace for us!

But part of me is envious. We live in an older home (everything needs fixing) 2 bed 1 bath. We're a family of six. I am blessed to have a house to begin with! I will be visiting these families in about another month. I feel like their homes are a sign of their accomplishments in life which is frustrating because dh and I work so hard. I wonder if they look at us and think we're losers.

Just had to get that off my chest. I'm truly excited for them. But my evil twin head reappears and says some not so nice things.
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#2 of 57 Old 08-06-2010, 02:34 PM
 
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Try not to judge. If they can clean it, pay for it and are happy... why should you care?

I have a family of four. I increased my home by renovation from 1800 sq feet to 2300 sq feet. This makes a huge difference in the quality of our lives. My kids have an office for their computers and homework. My guests have a guest bed and I one more powder room/bathroom in the house that casual visitors use. No need for folks to see my birth control pills or my feminine products.
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#3 of 57 Old 08-06-2010, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Guest bathroom would be great! Not knocking them, really just feel sort of like a failure because I can't provide such a nice house for my own kids. I know we will visit and they will say, "I wish we could have a house like this." And you know I'm thinking the same thing!
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#4 of 57 Old 08-06-2010, 02:52 PM
 
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So recently several family members who already had big newer homes bought even bigger newer beautiful homes with pools etc... I'm happy for them that they are happy. They work hard for what they have. They had the feeling that they needed "more room". OK, whatever. 3500 sq ft for a family of four? That would be a palace for us!

But part of me is envious. We live in an older home (everything needs fixing) 2 bed 1 bath. We're a family of six. I am blessed to have a house to begin with! I will be visiting these families in about another month. I feel like their homes are a sign of their accomplishments in life which is frustrating because dh and I work so hard. I wonder if they look at us and think we're losers.

Just had to get that off my chest. I'm truly excited for them. But my evil twin head reappears and says some not so nice things.
We have an older home, too. We are a family of six. We work hard to fix all the stuff that our house needs and it never seems to end. We get looked down upon too, fwiw.

But....our children are kind, honest, responsible, smart, and fun. Our marriage has weathered a lot and is strong, honest, and intimate. We love God deeply and try to love others well. THAT IS ALL THAT REALLY MATTERS IN LIFE.

I will say that I have my moments where I see the dishonest and mean getting away with so much and/or amassing wealth from dishonest means. It is hard to see arrogant people flaunt around while their children are suffering.

But if that is not what is going on with your extended family...please try not to compare or be jealous. If they love their children well and are honest and kind people....who cares what size house they live in. If they actually look down on you...that would mean that they are not as kind as they appear.
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#5 of 57 Old 08-06-2010, 03:03 PM
 
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I really doubt they will look down on you for having a smaller home. That's silly. Try not to worry about what they think, just enjoy your visit with them. I do think if you find yourself feeling jealous, it's a normal emotion. I mean, like the "I would love to have this much space" kind of jealousy, not the kind that depresses you or harbors ill feeling towards your family members.

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#6 of 57 Old 08-06-2010, 03:13 PM
 
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If they look down on you for having a smaller home then shame on them.

I say go, enjoy the company and try to look past the envy part.
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#7 of 57 Old 08-06-2010, 03:47 PM
 
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Can I just join the vent, if that's what it was? Most of my siblings have much bigger, nicer homes than I do. . .my sister keeps nagging me to come out to visit her family and my parents (they live near each other) on the opposite side of the country. And I explained that our extra money is going towards home repairs. So she says, "Oh! We have to make that choice too, and it's so hard, but we really think visiting family/traveling is worth it. . ."

Seriously? Her home was a brand-new, half-million dollar home in an area where real estate is cheaper than where we live. Her home is somewhere around 4000 sq feet - more than twice the size of our house! So what if everything is still "builder's beige?" She doesn't understand living in a 30-year-old home that has not been well maintained, and having to live with the stained, yucky carpet of the previous occupants. So it kinda irks me when she pretends we're in the same boat. WE'RE NOT.

But I try to remember that none of this is important, in the long run. . .
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#8 of 57 Old 08-06-2010, 03:57 PM
 
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If they look down on you for having a smaller home then shame on them.
This.

DH and I also have a family of six. We live in a 1250 sq.ft. townhouse (maybe a row house? I've discovered that different home types are called different things in different places). We have almost no storage space. I look at some of dh's friends, who live in large-ish houses, with smaller familes, and sometimes I feel a twinge. I look at some of my friends, who didn't even manage their money as well as I did when we were younger (but who also have no kids and didn't make a financially disastrous first marriage), but who own their own places, and I feel a twinge.

But, occasionally feeling as though I'm a failure is one thing. Having someone else look down on me for my lack of material success is something else again.

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#9 of 57 Old 08-06-2010, 04:04 PM
 
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I think anyone should feel free to add to the vent. And it is vent-worthy.

I have a nice (I think anyways) house but I get house envy all the time. A friend just bought a new house. I think it is about 100 sq feet bigger than mine - so really the same size. And the layout would never work for us. But it is gorgeous and has great character and she has the most awesome laundry room I've ever seen. Of course I walked through there with envy. But not the green-eyed monster kind, just the wishful kind.

Lately my big thing is landscaping envy.
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#10 of 57 Old 08-06-2010, 04:07 PM
 
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mama get that thought out of your head. stop that poor me thingy. it really will eat you up.

yeah it will be hard. you will have to do a lot of selp discipline where thinking is concerned, but it is doable.

you just never, never know. they may find something in you that they are completely envious of and would rather have that instead of their huge properties. look back and see what kind of compliments they have paid you.

i have a friend like that. million dollar house with everything. yet she envies my roommate poor situation because my life is not as complicated as hers. she would love to simplify her life, but she is not willing to give up what it takes to do so and feels trapped sometimes. and i envy her because she has been able to take her kids to disneyland multiple times and i havent still been able to afford to take my almost 8 year old to disneyland even once. its ONE place my dd really wants to go. its the one thing she has ever wanted. her personality is not a disneyland kinda one. maybe legoland, but not disneyland. and i want to take her at least once to go and get over it.

so to each his own.

just go there, see it as a vacation and enjoy yourself.

to each his own.

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#11 of 57 Old 08-06-2010, 04:39 PM
 
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I think anyone should feel free to add to the vent. And it is vent-worthy.

I have a nice (I think anyways) house but I get house envy all the time. A friend just bought a new house. I think it is about 100 sq feet bigger than mine - so really the same size. And the layout would never work for us. But it is gorgeous and has great character and she has the most awesome laundry room I've ever seen. Of course I walked through there with envy. But not the green-eyed monster kind, just the wishful kind.

Lately my big thing is landscaping envy.

Me, too! When I go inside other homes in our area (some are bigger, some aren't) I get jealous about their furniture, or pool, or outdoor kitchen. Really, I think is normal. I'm sure there are people living in multimillionaire homes who feel envy at times.

The feeling superior or looking down on others thing isn't cool. But I really hope the OP family members don't have those thoughts. I bet they'd be mortified that someone suspected it.

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#12 of 57 Old 08-06-2010, 05:41 PM
 
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I used to think I'd want a huge house. turns out the 2000 sq ft "starter home" we bought is too much for me to handle. I can't keep up with the cleaning. We're looking at downsizing. A single bathroom would be one less than I currently have to clean on a regular basis. It's all in your perspective

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#13 of 57 Old 08-06-2010, 05:59 PM
 
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I get the same way, especially with all the trouble this house has given us. We have a perfectly awesome house in a prefectly awful town, that won't sell, yet we live here in this tiny junkhole so we can be close to everything we need to do. I feel like we can't win.

In our situation it almost always comes down to how much money somebody gave the people I am envious of, where we have done it ALL by ourselves. I like that feeling.

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#14 of 57 Old 08-06-2010, 09:35 PM
 
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I think its perfectly normal to be envious or jealous of folks who have something you want. But I think a PP phrased it well- you should try to keep your feelings in the "wishful" realm, not the "crazy green-eyed monster" realm.

Plus, you don't know what's going on behind their closed doors. Maybe they're 120% financed and can't really afford their big house. Maybe they have zillions of dollars of credit card debt. Maybe they feel stuck in jobs they hate just so they can keep making their house payments.

You just never know. Try to enjoy your vacation.

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#15 of 57 Old 08-06-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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I'm just envious of everyone who actually owns their home. We have a niceish place, but they haven't kept it up as well as it should be...and it's not OURS.

I still keep thinking 'maybe one day, somehow', but I really don't know how.

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#16 of 57 Old 08-06-2010, 10:15 PM
 
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We live in a 3 bdr apartment amidst mini- mansions in a very well off neighborhood. I think we've got the best deal. We get the best schools and amenities and live cozy & simply. Also we can afford to have weekly cleaners. That's all I care about.

Oh yea--- and my family owns big homes. We go over and enjoy. Then come home and enjoy. It's all good.

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#17 of 57 Old 08-07-2010, 12:17 AM
 
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OP, I just want to say, I really, really get this. And I do think it is totally normal to feel that twinge, especially when you feel like you are working really hard, and other people, well, don't seem to have it that hard.

In the case of DH and I, his family is loaded. All of them. SIL in particular, and her husband, live in one of the most expensive areas in the U.S. and still have an incredible home on a golf course, etc.They do not have debt. They make loads of money. BIL never went to college. His dad got him a great job in his early 20's and he has excelled at it. This makes my DH quite jealous because he is currently getting his masters and we are flat broke.

FIL & MIL are also loaded, and move every couple of years to whichever beautiful place they like best.

Here's the kicker though. They DO look down on us. They actually have told DH that he is a loser. SIL too. They all do. Even his aunts and uncles.

But here is the thing that I ultimately come around to. IL's are constantly on the verge of divorce. DN and the cousins are always running wild and seem like such insecure, demanding kids. None of them seem to have a good grip on what's really important. They all base their own self worth on their houses and cars and clothes and purses!

DH and I, on the other hand, love each other and our son dearly and above all else we have each other, and we have our faith in God. So maybe we just have one car and they all have BMW's. Maybe we can't take luxurious vacations and maybe we live in a tiny house compared to them, and we just rent it. BUT WE HAVE EACH OTHER. And somehow, that's worth more than the big beautiful house.

Which is not to say I don't still hold out hope that one day we will also have a beautiful place with plenty of space for my son (and hopefully future kids too). It's just that I have to focus on the GOOD things in our lives, which are not material things.

Good luck OP. I know it is really hard, especially when it seems totally unfair.
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#18 of 57 Old 08-07-2010, 01:26 AM
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My small house was built in 1937. Most of my siblings have huge new houses. I know how you feel!!

Just keep reminding yourself that your mortgage is (hopefully) lower than theirs!!

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#19 of 57 Old 08-07-2010, 01:33 AM
 
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This is maybe a little zany of an idea, but what's an internet forum for, after all.... OP, is the main issue that you are self-conscious, or do you actually really like big houses? If you actually would enjoy having a bigger house, have you considered moving to an area with a lower cost of living? There are some areas where salaries are not much lower than average, if you have a job, but where the housing prices are quite low. If you and/ or your DH could find a situation like that, would that be nice for you?
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#20 of 57 Old 08-07-2010, 02:04 AM
 
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I have a larger home. I have to admit, I love it. I grew up poor and homeless at times, and it wasn't so much the size that made me fall in love, it was just the layout and the fact that everything has a place...or should were we tidier. Plus our home has room to grow through the many stages of our lives. Did we work harder than anyone else? Not necessarily, we did work hard, but we also had great opportunities and made some good choices and had some good luck thrown in the mixture.

Really, I don't care about what other people have, it's not a big deal. The way I grew up, what you have, even if it's a miniscule amount, you share it, so my house is often filled with friends and family dropping in.


If people are looking down on you because of material goods, then I wouldn't have those folks in my life. I spent a great deal of my life being looked down on by family and folks because we were so poor and lived in the "ghetto" I wouldn't tolerate that kind of nonsense now.

If I'm feeling a little green because someone has a nicer this or cooler that, then that's my thing and I have to own it and put it into perspective.

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#21 of 57 Old 08-07-2010, 04:43 AM
 
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I'm just envious of everyone who actually owns their home. We have a niceish place, but they haven't kept it up as well as it should be...and it's not OURS.

I still keep thinking 'maybe one day, somehow', but I really don't know how.
Ditto this completely! My sister and her bf own 2 homes now (by age 25) and I always worry people are comparing us. But different strokes for different folks - I know there's no way I'd be able to stay home for a year with this little one if we had a mortgage in our area, so I tell myself we made the right choices for our little family.

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#22 of 57 Old 08-07-2010, 09:13 AM
 
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I have a larger home. I have to admit, I love it. I grew up poor and homeless at times, and it wasn't so much the size that made me fall in love, it was just the layout and the fact that everything has a place...or should were we tidier. Plus our home has room to grow through the many stages of our lives. Did we work harder than anyone else? Not necessarily, we did work hard, but we also had great opportunities and made some good choices and had some good luck thrown in the mixture.

Really, I don't care about what other people have, it's not a big deal. The way I grew up, what you have, even if it's a miniscule amount, you share it, so my house is often filled with friends and family dropping in.


If people are looking down on you because of material goods, then I wouldn't have those folks in my life. I spent a great deal of my life being looked down on by family and folks because we were so poor and lived in the "ghetto" I wouldn't tolerate that kind of nonsense now.

If I'm feeling a little green because someone has a nicer this or cooler that, then that's my thing and I have to own it and put it into perspective.

(((Hugs)))

I know exactly where you are coming from. Exactly.

I now take a very small, very guilty pleasure in a certain family member who held her financial status over my mom and I my entire childhood. Then my mom started making more than her husband. Then I grew up. I believe she's learned to eat her words.

Our home is often filled with friends. I love that. I love that people find us welcoming. We make fun of where we live on a regular basis - partly because we aren't completely comfortable with it but also because we'd never ever want guests/friends to think we took it seriously or held it over them. We lovingly call our neighborhood Bushwood, we even found Bushwood tshirts for next year's 4th party.

We did have an issue with a couple of people when we moved to our current house (our last house was deceptively *normal* unless you really knew the housing prices of the area) and, well, their loss. We really tried.

OP, I bet your hosts would be mortified to know you felt out of place at all. I'm guessing they want you to be comfortable and feel welcomed in their home. Gush over things you love. I've done that in other homes - I went into DH's old partner's house with a custom, circular wine celler - ***drool*** - I let the owner know how gorgeous it was and how much I wanted one. I don't have a turret, no way I can have one without some mega structural changes. But that's ok, feel free to gush! Just don't have that twinge of jealousy to your voice, just appreciation.

And remember, there's always someone with a bigger, more expensively decorated house. But that's really not what is important.
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#23 of 57 Old 08-07-2010, 12:57 PM
 
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I just wanted to add to the convo. I live in a 777 square foot 2/1 home. It is certainly the smallest in the neighborhood, and needs a new paint job in and out, carpets, and the kitchen is original to '47.

My brother lives in a million dollar condo in the city and honestly I'm not the least bit jealous. They give up so much of their lives to make money, their daughter is left to CIO because they don't have the time/energy/care to meet her needs. They have her in full-time daycare so they can afford that life.

Us, we are comfortable enough for me to be a homemaker (I still work part-time 5 hours a week). We have time to love each other and meet each others needs. We also do all home improvements ourselves which gives us a great sense of accomplishment and gets us working and playing together, instead of hiring out for everything.

And the best part is our tiny little home is always full of guests. And no one is EVER out of earshot. Having a small house keeps us living to our principals of low-impact and simplicity.

I grew up in a 3,000 sq foot plus house with a miserable family and almost no sense of home.

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#24 of 57 Old 08-07-2010, 01:36 PM
 
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Ahhhh home is where the heart is! I used to get that tingle of jealousness until I had my home totally deep cleaned I realized this little shack ain't so bad
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#25 of 57 Old 08-07-2010, 06:33 PM
 
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Ahhhh home is where the heart is! I used to get that tingle of jealousness until I had my home totally deep cleaned I realized this little shack ain't so bad

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#26 of 57 Old 08-07-2010, 06:42 PM
 
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I would rather have a smaller home that I can pay for than a big home that I can "make ends meet". I work in the real estate business and I cannot tell you how many people can barely afford their mortgage. They live off of credit, have no savings, and the parents work tons of hours just to pay the bills. It looks great on the outside, but get into the nitty gritty and it's very gloomy.

My idea of success is having a loving home, money in the bank and good friends and family over to enjoy the warmth of the home. You can always add on to a smaller home and expand it slowly.

There is more to life than who has the biggest/best of things and it's sad to see that people still get caught up in the "image" that they forget the important stuff in life.

Of course, there are people who really truly can afford those houses and still have everything important taken care of (kids, etc). Success means different things to different people and the people who would "look down" on you are not the people you want in your life anyways.
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#27 of 57 Old 08-07-2010, 06:58 PM
 
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I'm just envious of everyone who actually owns their home. We have a niceish place, but they haven't kept it up as well as it should be...and it's not OURS.

I still keep thinking 'maybe one day, somehow', but I really don't know how.


But I'm not going to stress it. We have a comfortable place to call home, and that's good enough.
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#28 of 57 Old 08-07-2010, 07:13 PM
 
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I feel like their homes are a sign of their accomplishments in life which is frustrating because dh and I work so hard. I wonder if they look at us and think we're losers.
Had to respond!



I'm sorry you feel this way. Big houses aren't a sign of hard work. Success isn't always linked to hard work. A lot of it is luck. It often takes money to make money, at least big money.

I definitely don't want to be poor, but I always think (and I know in my heart) that I would not do what most other people do with money if I had it. I know that for sure because I once had money (well, a nice savings from being really frugal) and I did not do what other people do with money. What I did is save and help other people less fortunate than myself. I once had more than $50,000 in savings from earnings and I still shopped at Goodwill and helped other people. So, I know that if I had $100k or $1 million I would not buy a big house or fancy car or anything like that.

That helps me make peace (a little) with where I am in life. We don't have everything we need, and we're far from everything we want. My goal is to some time get to having everything we need. That would make me happy.

I also think a lot about ecological footprint. I mean, sure, a person may be able to afford a 3500 square foot house and 4 or 5 kids, but can the planet? If you can afford a Hummer or Escalade, should you get a Hummer or Escalade? Should we maximize the finite resources just because we can afford them in today's dollars? I'd argue no, but it's a value choice.

As for feeling like losers, I guess you just have to look at your work and if it feels like hard, honest work, I wouldn't label yourself a loser. Like I said, there is a lot of luck involved in accumulating "things" in life, including big houses.



Good luck!
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#29 of 57 Old 08-07-2010, 07:19 PM
 
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I feel like their homes are a sign of their accomplishments in life which is frustrating because dh and I work so hard. I wonder if they look at us and think we're losers.
I also wanted to respond to this and say that home ownership does not always equate to 'accomplishments in life.' The only reason my hubby and I own a home is because of my parents. My dad gifted us 5K and mom loaned us the 8k tax credit and we had our closing costs covered by the seller. I'm not saying that my we don't work hard to be financially responsible because we do, but I am saying that if it wasn't for my parents we probably wouldn't own a home for another 10 years.

Julia, mama to Bumpa 2008, and The Mole 2011

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#30 of 57 Old 08-07-2010, 07:26 PM
 
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I also wanted to respond to this and say that home ownership does not always equate to 'accomplishments in life.' The only reason my hubby and I own a home is because of my parents. My dad gifted us 5K and mom loaned us the 8k tax credit and we had our closing costs covered by the seller. I'm not saying that my we don't work hard to be financially responsible because we do, but I am saying that if it wasn't for my parents we probably wouldn't own a home for another 10 years.
Yeah, I echo that. DH and I are the only couple we know who had a downpayment that we saved on our own from paychecks. Everyone else we know either had zero down or they received a gift.

I really think home ownership is all about luck. Seriously. Luck with when you buy in, luck with when you sell, luck with having a down payment.

I don't think home ownership is a sign of accomplishments at all, especially if it's a large home. You know there is more than hard work at play there, 9 times out of 10.

Also, it always seems like people who make a lot of money (I'm talking a lot) who aren't, I don't know actors or musicians or sports stars, probably made their money off other people in a way I might not be comfortable making money. Some of the richest people in our world are some of the least ethical. That's not a given, but it seems to be a rule in general. Given that, it seems like big houses and fancy cars should indicate shadiness more often than success.
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