Tiny Homes, Bigger Lives

| 5/6/2015 9:08:13 AM

Tags: small homes, hard work, building a cabin, build it yourself, pay as you go, live with less, ,

I’m not sure how my conversation about the $250,000 mortgage came up, but it got me thinking about two very different ways that young people can get started in life. There’s the “mortgage-now-pay later” approach that’s grown so popular over the last 50 years, then there’s the old-fashioned, pay-as-you-go “bootstraps” approach that I still have faith in. Let me explain why.

 The conversation started when an old friend told me about his daughter and son-in-law and the big new home they built. I remember the day I bumped into these kids as they were walking into the bank a few years ago to get approval for their mortgage. I wasn’t sure if I should wish them luck or suggest they turn around and run. The ability to get into your own large, custom-built home before you’re 30 is an exciting and prestigious thing, but the mortgage lifestyle that makes it possible doesn’t come cheap. The price was a $250,000 debt that will end up costing nearly three quarters of a million after-tax dollars before it’s paid off – assuming the mortgage holders can hang on to their jobs for the next 30 years.

 So what’s the alternative to a mortgage for young people who don’t want to rent? Even in the credit-crazy world we live in, I still say the build-it-yourself, pay-as-you-go, live-with-less-for-a-while bootstraps approach is best if you can pull it off. And not just because it costs less and offers more freedom.

 Growing as you can afford to, and working for the things you want but don’t yet have, brings more joy and satisfaction in the end. I know this from my own experience building my homestead from scratch starting back in 1985. And my son, Robert, and his new wife Edyta, are showing me this truth all over again.

Robert is 24 years old, but when he was 18 he got the notion to build a cabin on a small corner of our homestead property. What better way for a young man to grow in competence and stamina than to take on a project like this? I was all for it. There’s nothing like struggle and sweat and accomplishment to turn a boy into a man, and that’s one of the things the cabin project has done for Robert.

5/13/2015 10:24:59 AM

I absolutely love this! My prayers for a truly joyful life and much success for your son and daughter-in-law. I'm going to show this to my own kids - I think they'll love it too :)

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