Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Reasons Why Wednesday: "Rising Rents"

Reason #2 - We want to invest in our own dreams.

Since December 2009 we have happily called The Great Island of New Castle home. We have loved it, mostly all the time. There's not a lot not to love about living within view of the Piscataqua River and 5 minutes from a sandy beach. The island location is the envy of many in Portsmouth and we do feel lucky to have lived here for a short time. 

But location isn't everything - The house we call home was nicknamed "The Dupe" when we first moved in because, well, it's a Duplex but the word is also closely related to the word "The Dump" because in all seriousness  - The Dupe is just that. Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely house and it has major perks - fireplace, nice little back yard for chilling and grilling, antique 'feel', good compact size.

This is ice on the INSIDE of the windows in winter
BUT the house has not been maintained at all and on an island where the average house value is $1.5 million the Dupe really stands out. Our landlords are very hands-off and though that is always welcome as tenants it's not so great for a house that was built in the late 1700's in a salty climate. She's an old lady who shows her age. Her floors all need replacing, her windows might as well be screens, her wood trim is rotted away to nothing, her paint is peeling, ceiling is cracking, foundation is sinking...she needs some SERIOUS love, patience and MONEY. The bat in our bedroom and squirrels in our walls last year - just the icing on the Dupe Cake.

We have the work ethic in us but we're not about to invest time, money and sweat into something that we don't own. Just last week the landlords informed us that they are increasing the rent on The Dupe for the second time in a year. Bottom line - We are not willing to pay any more for a house that needs so much. 

We are tired of lining other people's pockets with rent money with which they use none of it on improving the property but rather go travel to Africa and Indonesia. We want to travel to Africa and Indo, we want to spend our hard earned money on fixing up an antique boat and bringing her back to her glory, giving her the love and patience that any senior stateswoman deserves and setting sail in her to places unknown. We don't want to invest any more money in someone else's dream, we want to start paying into our own dream. 

We know that this boat plan isn't what some would call a "sound investment" (let's remember that I'm the daughter of a CFP) but we've all watched the economy take the downward spiral it has in the last few years and the idea of "investment" has taken on new meaning. We've watched retirements disappear, we've watched friends and family get hired, laid off, hired and laid off again, we've watched friends and family stuck in houses that won't sell losing money by the minute, we've watched the Wall Street vs. Main Street war play out and the 99% questioning. 

So we ask, truly, what is an "investment"? To us an investment is something that brings you happiness but maybe no wealth. Something that teaches you something new or reinforces something you already know. Something that provides for laughs and swears, failures and successes, challenges and triumphs. To us an investment needs to result in an increase in the quality of your life not just the balance in your bank account. So we're choosing not to invest anymore rent but rather invest in the stories we can tell. 

As Jimmy Buffett sings...

Talkin' to myself again
wonderin' if this traveling is good
Is they're something else a doin'
We'd be doin' if we could
All the stories we could tell
If it all blows up and goes to hell
I wish that we could sit upon the bed in some hotel
And listen to the stories we could tell

Stared at that guitar in that museum in Tennessee
Name plate on the glass brought back twenty melodies
Scars upon the face told about all the times he fell
Singin' all the stories he could tell

All the stories he could tell
And I bet you it still rings like a bell
I wish that we could sit upon the bed in some hotel
And listen to all the stories we could tell

If your on the road trackin' down your every night
Playin' for a livin' beneath the brightly colored lights
If you ever wonder why you ride the carousel
You do it for the stories you can tell

All the stories we could tell
And if it all blows up and goes to hell
I wish that we could sit upon the bed in some hotel
Just listen to the stories we could tell

- John B. Sebastian on Jimmy Buffett's A-1-A

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