Why “Forever Home” Should be Removed from our Vocabulary

I know the White Coat Investor advocates for the One House rule. However, there are times when it may be to your financial—or otherwise—benefit to move. 

1) A house is a container in which memories are made. It’s okay to select a new vessel to create new memories in. See below for reasons why this might be needed.

2) You can limit yourself financially if you’re obsessed with staying in one particular “forever home.” I made the mistake of wanting a “forever” house when we lived in New York. One where we could have a family and grow old in. The banks and realtors got the last laugh on that one. Not even two years later, we sold that McMansion and moved out—and thank God we did! Leaving a HCOL (high cost of living) state with poor pay to move to a LCOL state with a much higher pay was the best financial decision we ever made!

If I had tied us to that one house, we would still have a negative net worth instead of where we are today.

3) Maybe you feel trapped by your current lifestyle, and you want to try on a new one. Like my amazing cousin who is moving into a Casita with her husband so they can explore RV life. I am in awe of this strong woman. She couldn’t be starting off on this new adventure if she was emotionally tied to one physical housing structure.

4) Maybe it’s time to right-size your housing. Could you FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) earlier if you had a smaller house that was cheaper—and easier—to maintain? Our NY house was huge and had the tax, utility, maintenance bills, etc. to go along with a two doctor McMansion. It was ridiculous folks! FI is easier to reach when your housing costs are only a tenth of your annual spending. Reading this book on housing has saved us untold money in ongoing housing costs. This book should be required reading for anyone who is thinking of buying, building, or renovating a house.

5) Untreated mental illness can not only destroy families but neighborhoods. Having a mentally ill family member who isn’t getting help is difficult. You know, that relative who intentionally sets your mom’s kitchen on fire at Christmas dinner, the cops are called, and your new fiancé questions his recent decision to marry into this crazy family? (You think your family has issues? Hold my beer!).

Untreated mental illness is tolerable in family when you have limited contact with them. Tolerating the drama that swirls around untreated mental illness is a whole lot less doable when you’re living next door it (true story from a friend who recently sold her house).

6) In the same vein: geographic distance creates healthier boundaries. If nearby family has issues they haven’t dealt with that have put the mental and/or physical health of your nuclear family in danger, then it’s time to leave that “forever house.”

7) Maybe you bought a house with bad mojo. I know, this makes me sound wonky, but after working in the hospice field, I’ve seen some weird stuff. Like downright strange, can’t-make-this-up. There’s some type of cosmic energy inhabiting certain places. Sometimes that vibe is kind and loving (like in a video a family of a dying man showed me of a flashing light zipping around his hospital bed) but sometimes that energy is…well…evil. Maybe bad things keep happening in a particular house. Before you buy a home, perhaps you should ask the neighbors if, over the years, awful stuff keeps happening to the families that own that structure.

8) Right-sizing has financial gains because you can put the money you save into investments with a higher rate of return. A house you live in (as opposed to you renting a home to others) is usually a poor return on your investment.
Take home point: Be willing to be brave and be flexible about how you think about housing. Sometimes it’s best to move on to a new phase in life if it’s in the best interest of your emotional, career, family, and financial growth. I believe in you, you got this!

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    8 Responses

    1. Kpeds says:

      We are in the midst of buying our first home. We go back and forth about it being a “starter home” vs the “forever home.” We are in one of those HCOL areas that make it very hard to find a nice home for a sane amount or money.

      I’m not a fan of either description of a home. The former because of the hedonic treadmill like sound of ‘starter hone” and the intentional over spending needed to get the forever home!

      • bckrygowski says:

        PLEASE read “the Not so big house” before you buy. It will save you a lot of money AND it will help you understand housing better. Best of luck and thanks for stopping by.

    2. xrayvsn says:

      I agree that some of the “Financial Rules/Tenets” we have heard (like the one house, one spouse, one job one) are often too generalized and you can do more harm than good if you force yourself to live by it. Your housing situation is a perfect example.

      This ties in perfectly with a project I have going on. I am looking for submission for people who have actually broke one or more of these rules and it sounds like B.C. You would be a perfect candidate to share your story if you want to:

      https://xrayvsn.com/looking-for-guest-post-i-broke-the-golden-rule-of-finance-and-still-did-fine/

      • bckrygowski says:

        Thanks for stopping by and I love reading your stuff because you also “broke” some rules along the way 😉 I’ll PM you about the series. Thanks for the invite! I loved reading SHS’s interview (but was called away by the kids so lost the Twitter thread I was reading it on, so alas, I didn’t get back to comment).

    3. Crispy Doc says:

      I daydream often about taking our equity it of the house as soon as the kids depart for college and using it to travel half time and rent something local the other half.

      On the one hand, we’d like to stay in a community we love and feel connected to. A right size home for empty nest stage would make that so much easier.

      I’m going to look for that book at the library, B.C.!

      Enjoyed this post,

      CD

      • bckrygowski says:

        Thanks for stopping by CD! Hopefully you can find a “right sized” place in your community later on—if not, it’s like I told DH when we left NY: “There are nice people everywhere!”

    4. wealthydocmd says:

      I think that “one house, one job, one spouse rule” is kind of silly. I chose to have one wife and I have been extremely lucky in love. Not everyone is though and sometimes divorce is the best or only option. I have had three different doctor jobs and I think four houses in three or four different cities.

      Sure there are transaction costs. But you have to live your life. Money isn’t everything. Also, sometimes a move or a job change opens up whole new worlds that inadvertently provide more income in the long run.

      We never thought about the forever home idea. I’ve heard people say that, but it never applied to me. A house is where we live. I love my house and my neighborhood. Will I live there forever? I’m not sure. It makes sense now, but when things change that should be reassessed like every big decision.

    1. February 10, 2019

      […] of people who prioritize family over work, BC Krygowski has many good reasons Why “Forever Home” Should be Removed from our Vocabulary.  Personal finance purists would say violating the One Spouse/One House/One Job rule is sacrilege, […]

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