This past weekend I had the chance to meet with several alternative housing folks to talk about various issues. It sparked some introspection and then I read a post over at Earthbag Building Blog which pointed out if you were to account for the time the average American spends earning money just to pay for standard home in the US, you work 15 years of your life just for your house. Fifteen years!
More than a third of the average American’s after-tax income is devoted to shelter, usually rent or mortgage payments. If a person works from age 20 to age 65, it can be fairly argued that he or she has put in 15 years (20 in California) just to keep a roof over their head.
It struck me how the cost of a traditional home is not only money, but your time and what is time, but it is our lives, that precious commodity that we cannot buy more of. That said the case made for alternative housing based only money alone is pretty compelling. Here is the breakdown of what the average American ends up spending on their standard sized home. (source: Wall St. Journal, 2007)
So when you can buy a home for $10,000 or 30,000 or even $50,000, the amount you save and the life you gain back, the numbers are pretty compelling. Add to that the risk involved with taking a mortage, if you mess up once at any time over 30 years, all your money is gone and your credit ruined.
So let’s take back our lives and put that money to a better use!