Homeownership In America

Questions continue to come up about home ownership in America, as well as the current state of banking. The collapse of financial services and the mortgage industry not too long ago was mainly due to unconscionable deregulation in the financial sector, and lawlessness for the benefit of very few. This gave rise and further life to questionable and unethical sub-prime mortgage lending programs designed to rip millions of misinformed and vulnerable people from their hard earned income. Most of these mortgages eventually ended up in banks and financial institutions’ portfolios while trading hands in various forms of shady transactions.

Take a look at the spike during president J.W Bush's era in the image above. This period will certainly serve as one of the darkest eras in home ownership as millions lost their homes and hard earned assets while the real culprits happily walked to their banks with smiles on their faces. Not many of the responsible and guilty were ever put to trial or investigated. 

Frankly, for many the term Homeownership merely served as a delusional and emotional terminology while “homeowners” hardly owned a significant piece of that asset. It wasn’t really about homeownership, but rather renter-ship. People were paying higher prices than the average rent rate at the time.

The U.S. homeownership rate has recently fallen to a the lowest rate since 1965 as rising prices put buying out of reach for many renters. The drop is actually an extension of year-long declines from the last housing boom because of tight credit and a shift toward renting in the aftermath of the crash. First-time buyers have been struggling to find affordable properties as low mortgage rates and an improving job market spur competition for a tight supply of listings. 

Now, banking in general is in a much stronger/healthier position than a few years ago, thanks to an enormous influx of regulations and the hard work of Barack Obama.

The biggest challenge is affordability and unfortunately home prices are rising so much faster than real incomes. This makes it really hard for buyers to save for a down payment.

On the other hand, more people opt to lend rather than own while remaining fearful about potential home value declines and another possible foreclosure crisis. 

The homeownership rate for Americans ages 18-34 fell to 34. 1 percent in the second quarter from 34.8 percent a year earlier, the Census Bureau said. 

My advice is to not simply fall into a delusional homeownership trap, but rather plan properly to truly own your future home within a few years, be aware of the long term cost of investment and never carry a mortgage on your property for too long, especially past your retirement age.

Smugglers Made 6 Billion During Refugee Crisis

This is tragic, inhumane and a clear sign of corruption. Aside from daily headlines, reading and listening to all the rhetoric, the real challenges for humanity are on the rise. But, this headline actually points to major weakness globally and not a problem of one nation only. It is the failure of all humanity; all seven billion plus. It is ultimately the ignorance of people in general who follow and allow corrupt and incompetent so called leaders to make decisions. These leaders manipulate human behavior and direction in order to fulfill their own twisted desires. The end result is a creation of powers and governments that cater to narrow interest groups while ignoring the basic needs of their citizens. 

We are now witnessing the direct results of disastrous politics, warfare strategies, economic and social dysfunctions. The migration crisis, modern slavery, child exploitation, mass unemployment, poverty, and income inequality are all results of poor leadership and self-interest.

It is no longer okay to watch, read, and look the other way. It is our moral obligation to get engaged in all forms of non-violent humane movements to stop mediocrity and not allow evil to dominate and dictate our future.

Immigrants and Holidays

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A friend had sent me the cartoon above, which made me think about the various impacts holidays have on all of us.

When it comes to holidays, I do think Immigrants are more spoiled than others. This, of course, is due to the fact that they have the opportunity to enjoy plenty of new holidays on top of their existing traditions. But, with endless holidays throughout the year and the increase of financial burdens, holidays (nowadays) can lead to bad things.

When holidays come around it is a good time to regroup and take conscious steps towards avoiding unnecessary pressures and anxieties. 

Holidays, after all, should bring joy, harmony and a genuine feeling of Gratefulness.

 Reflect on:

  •  What is most important to you and your family during the holidays?
  • Who are the best people to spend time with? Some are very close family and friends, but how about reaching out to those you have been away from for a very long time?
  •  What is an appropriate gift item?
  • What impact will the item have on the life of the potential recipient?
  • Will the gift empower the recipient to lead a better life?
  • How about doing research on what a potential recipient truly needs?
  • Are you compromising your physical and mental health to just impress others during the holidays?
  • Are you willing to avoid big feasts and instead allocate food to the needy?
  • Have you saved enough? Or, do you plan to borrow in order to impress others?
  • Are you thinking of the financial obligations in your life (education, retirement, etc.)?
  • Do you have a list of charities you can give to?
  • What are your expectations during big holiday gatherings? 
  • Do you plan to avoid noise and instead interact more with family and loved ones?
  • Are you ready to shut down and collect all electronic devices during family/social gatherings?  I honestly believe it is very rude to see so many children and adults face down glued to their phones during gatherings.
  • Do you have clear plans for carrying your best wishes and messages?
  • Do you plan to allow children to participate in discussions, storytelling and reflect on what holidays/gatherings mean to them?