To Rent or Mortgage Part 2

To Rent or Mortgage Part 1
To Rent or Mortgage Part 2
To Rent or Mortgage Part 3
To Rent or Mortgage (A Third Way) Part 4

There were a few comments left on my last post which got me thinking about a few other things This isn’t so much of a financial battle for me as it is a spiritual one. It’s hard for me to decide to ‘plan for the future’ when sometimes I think I don’t have a lot of room for that in my worldview. I don’t know how I feel about RRSP’s, savings bonds, investing in myself for later, personal equity and other things in that nature. I don’t want to demonize any of them, that isn’t my point, I do however want to tread lightly because I’ve seen firsthand what these types of decisions can do to someone, and while they are probably unaware of their present state it isn’t exactly that direction that I want to head towards.

Why would I invest in myself when there is people in need all around me? People say to invest now so I can give more later, but that doesn’t seem or feel right at all. Jesus didn’t seem to withhold giving someone to something because he wanted to keep it for himself so he could have lots and then decide to give it away at a later time. Then the question arises with what happens when I have kids? Shouldn’t I plan and save for their future so I don’t leave them out to dry? Or do I teach and train them how to survive and make wise decisions and teach them strong morals in how to look at money instead, or both/and?

I’ve had a few people mention to me the parable of the talents as a valid reason to get a mortgage or to save up for the future. I don’t think that the parable of the talents has anything to do at all with how we use money today and investing it into a bank account. In fact I’d be more inclined to read the parable of the talents as a reason for not getting a mortgage. The parable is all about using what they’ve been given wisely and in the time granted instead of sitting on it because of fear or what may happen. Here is a cool article on the parable of the talents that will send your head spinning. I’m just not convinced that this is the best argument for preparing for the future.

Jaci posted an interesting comment about ‘taking’ houses from lower income families by moving into the poorer neighbourhoods. Not sure where I stand with that one. I can understand it if all the Christians were taking up the subsidized housing in a city, but that argument really could be said about anything then. Why shop at Dollerama if we are taking cheap necessities away from those that need it? I’d be interested to hear if there was any examples of cities or areas where Christians were moving into them and grabbing them up before people in hard financial positions were able to attain them.

When it comes down to it, my uneasiness isn’t with saving money, or preparing for the future. All of those can be good and healthy things in the right context I think. I think the biggest thing that doesn’t sit right with me is getting debt. Achieving something I haven’t paid for and working towards paying it off over the course of fifteen years. Is debt/mortgages a healthy thing? Are they just the epitome of our culture that gives us what we want when we want it without ever learning to save. Or can they be good things? It’s not like the Bible says nothing about debt. Debt seemed to be a regular part of their lives (even though they have a seven year solutions to it). Is it OK for debt to be part of my life? Is it ok to get something before I can afford it? Any more thoughts?

7 Comments

  • Where do you sense God leading you in this? There’s no wrong answer except the one that leads you away from him. I could see you trusting him with mortgage or rent. It’s the trust that’s important here.

  • In the eyes of God, money has never been a problem. It’s the love of money that causes problems. The question of do we control our money or does our money control us underlies a lot of your struggles. I’m not sure that there is a right or wrong answer for the question of to buy or to rent. We are called to be good stewards of what God has given to us. I beleive that the putting into practise of being a good steward is different for each of us. It will depend on our calling, our motives and what the desired outcome is. There is an interesting book out called “The Blessed Life”, the whole premise is that we give in order to give more. The principle at work is that the more we give to the Kingdom of God, the more we recieve back, so that in turn we can give more. Check it out.

    There is a church in New York City, unfortunately I do not know the name of the church, that is doing an incredible work on reaching out and helping the people in it’s neighborhood. They are meeting with the family in need, helping them to get our of debt, buy a home and then turn around and help the next person to do the same thing. I will attempt to get the name of the church.
    I’ve heard debt defined as owing more money than you are able to pay off. If you own a house and have enough equity in it to sell and pay off your mortgage, then is it really debt.

  • Hey Nathan! Thanks for posting these thoughts, I am going through the same thing. Trying to figure out whether to buy or keep on renting.

    I am not sure if you track with The Meeting House via podcasts – but Brux and others are teaching a 5 part series right now on Com(passion) and he just talked about this subject this past Sunday. He talked about debt, buying houses ect…in referance to “Stewarding the surplus” which for us in the West (as you know) is so much.
    Might not give you concrete answers, but at least it will be another voice in this conversation. I pray you work through this and find some shalom!

    Podcasts: http://www.themeetinghouse.ca/themeetinghouse/myweb.php?hls=1000093

  • Nathan my boy, a few thoughts if you please.
    In 1978 or so, evangelicals were convinced that Christ’s return was extremely imminent. Some 30 yrs. later I’m planning for early retirement!
    Having said that, ignore, run from, be very afraid of investment people. You don’t need nearly as much for retirement as they would have you believe. The lady who lives in the top penthouse of our building works in the investment firm on the first floor. Her place is probably worth $1,000,000.00. Where do you suppose she got all of that money? It used to belong to all of the people who believed her when she told them what they needed for retirement. The best thing you could do for your future is to buy an affordable house & pay it off asap but there’s no hurry. Most importantly, don’t sweat it. You are correct, don’t worry about tomorrow it will take care of itself. Enjoy yourself while you are young & healthy. If the right house comes along, you’ll know it & you won’t feel guilty when you buy it. If it doesn’t come along, well, life goes on doesn’t it?
    …..Peace

  • My wife was responsible for the purchase of our house. I was the same as you terrified with debt. However Corrie wanted a house and I did the good husband thing and got her what she wanted and it has proved to be a great forced savings investment. We now have something thats ours. MAybe we will give it away?

  • my home isn’t costing that much more than rent… bonus: I can do whatever I want to it, I can host people – like you and Joe when they’re in town a little easier than in an apartment, I can save $ through it and not worry about rent in about 16 years from now, and I am setting roots into a community – which usually doesn’t happen as well with an apartment, it’s more transient.

    all that to say: only do it if it fits your budget and values (plans); there’s no shame in renting, especially if you can’t afford a house; and there’s no shame in renting if your research tells you not to; and realize that once you have a house you’ll want to upgrade it once and a while, which costs more money.

  • Hey Nathan….

    If I find where I saw that line of thinking on the “taking houses” I’ll let you know. I don’t remember exactly where it was. Not sure if applied to everywhere or a specific area – I’ll try to find it!

    Jac

Join the Discussion