Why are we so driven to own stuff? Stuff which just accumulates and fills up our lives with worry and regret? Well you see, the desire to consume things has been programmed into us from the womb, and this is unfortunately how we measure success. We are conditioned to measure the worth of people in society by what and how much they own. Case in point, what do you think of when you hear that someone died penniless? Were they lazy, were they on welfare, were they an addict, did they go to Vegas two days before they died and blow it all? Maybe, maybe not. What I have come to realize is that the less you own, the more free you are. Now I am not advocating that I want to be completely free, by not owning anything, because I admit, I am interested in building wealth. However, I am interested in building wealth, not out of a desire to accumulate stuff, but to obtain the freedom to choose how I want to spend my time on earth. Having wealth and multiple income streams allows you the freedom to choose if you want to spend your days working or say, volunteering.
So, that brings me to home ownership…
Owning a home is perceived as one of the hallmarks of a free society. Being able to buy a piece of land, control it, rent it, produce income from it, is a pillar of freedom. But do you really own it when you are taxed for inhabiting it, or are you simply a tenant on your own land? Well, as homeowners, we do have property rights, we can improve it, rent it, transfer the rights to our heirs, all of which gives us the feeling of ownership, or the illusion of ownership. But in reality, we don’t own the property we make those mortgage payment for.
I say this, because if your having to pay taxes on your land then you really are just renting it from the government.
Back in the day when kings ruled, the king lived in a castle, and he would allow surfs or peasants to live on his property, while they farmed it. For them to be able to live there, they had to pay remuneration in the form of taxation. Today, the king doesn’t live in a castle, but they do live in Washington DC. Modern day kings don’t physically come take your property, if you have forgotten to pay your taxes, they outsource this duty to the DEA, The ATF, or your local sheriff. They use the collection company called the Internal Revenue Service, to determine your tax liability, and assess you accordingly. So, you tell me, If you are required by the force of law to pay taxes, do you really ever own your property? In my humble opinion, I say no.
The US Constitution grants Congress the right of eminent domain. This means that the government owns all property and you only possess it until the government “needs” it. The government is obligated to make “just compensation” for property it takes, but is itself the final judge of what ‘just compensation’ means. What it boils down to though, is we have to live somewhere. Maybe the key is to not get too attached to our homes and other stuff, which complicate our lives and ultimately limit our freedoms.
What are your thoughts on Home Ownership?