Why howdy, sorry for that blip. Yesterday I was in and out like a fiddlers elbow, people wanting a slice of my time, me being unable to say no, trying to please everybody, getting my knickers in a twist trying to fit everything in. This morning I've been out, so now I'm in, for a while. Mustn't complain, I'd rather be busy than have nothing to do.
In between jobs I managed to watch a programme on the bbc iplayer, while eating my dinner last night. 'Make me a German', (link) is a documentary about a British family with young children going to live in Germany for a week, to learn about how their lifestyles differ from ours. Germany is supposed to be doing a lot better than us regarding economic growth, their manufacturing industry is not suffering the same downturn as ours is. The Germans work shorter ours than we do, yet take home more pay, and have a better work life balance.
Owning your own home in this country is something to strive for, not so in Germany. They are happy to rent long term, often for life. Whereas we see rent as dead money, they don't, possibly because their rents are cheaper and more affordable than ours. They are able to spend more of their income on leisure because they don't have any of the bills associated with home ownership.
Some of you might remember that I have a German brother. He has spent many years in rented accommodation yet seems to have a more comfortable lifestyle than me. I think he planned very carefully for retirement, and I didn't. It's interesting to compare how our two lives have panned out, being brought up in two different countries.
So, is it better to buy, or is it better to rent? I've been trying to work this one out. I was brought up in a Council house, my parents hadn't a hope in hell of ever buying a property. My mum was in charge of the family finances, my dad handed a sum of money over to her every week for housekeeping, it was barely enough due to my dad keeping a good chunk for himself to spend in the pub. Most people rented in those days, only the very well paid could afford to buy. Our village had large Council estates, and a few posh bought houses.
I rented when I first left home, bedsits, flats, and a shared house. I couldn't see me ever being able to afford to buy, I wasn't from a posh family, we didn't buy houses. Fast forward to the age of 27 when I started to earn a decent wage truck driving, and I had a part time job bus driving. My bank balance began to look quite healthy, I wondered what I was going to do with all the money which was accumulating in my account. I had a word with my boss about it, and his immediate response was buy a house, you can't go wrong with property.
I mulled it over, but the thought of being tied into a mortgage for the next 30odd years terrified me. I was a free spirit, how would I cope being shackled to a frightening debt. What would I do if I wanted to take off on a whim, up sticks and go. I wouldn't be able to, I would be stuck. Eventually the fear subsided, the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. I could sell up and move, and besides I couldn't think of anything else to do with my money. I took the plunge, and found a two bedroomed terraced house on the edge of the town, halfway up a hill, in a nice area.
From then on I never had any spare money. It all went into the house, and the next house, and the third house. Each time I moved I stretched myself to the limit, putting down as much as I could for a deposit, leaving me skint again. Luckily I bought at the right time, and the value of my houses have increased. I wonder what position I would be in now if I hadn't bought, if I had paid rent all my life. Maybe I would be where my German brother is, with a nice nest egg saved up, brand new car, foreign holidays, and a good pension.
I wonder if I did the right thing in buying, because now all my money is in the house. It's an ex Council house, and needs work doing to it. I could afford to do some small jobs, but I would have to skint myself yet again and save up to pay for the big jobs. At this stage in my life I am not prepared to do that. When my house is eventually sold the price will reflect the condition it's in.
Saying that, I have no plans to dispose of it at the present. I have worked bloomin hard to get in the position I am in. I am going to enjoy a good few years living in relative cheapness. At the moment I couldn't afford to downsize to a smaller property in a village location, because there isn't enough equity in my house, so as long as the walls are standing, and the roof doesn't fall in, it will do me just fine. When I am ready, in my own time, God willing that I have got some more time on this planet, I will get the money out of the house and spend the chuffin lot. I am a firm believer that we all come into this world with nothing, I aim to go out with nothing. A new born baby does not own a bean when it is born, I hope to get rid of all the beans I have saved, and that will be a job well done.
So, to rent, or to buy, that is the question.
Two Places In the Sun
3 hours ago