Today, Jen asked "Is Home Ownership Still Part of the American Dream?", which, as you can imagine, brought forth many interesting, thoughtful (and varied!) comments. One of them stood out to me, less as an answer to the specific question, but as a personal point of view that is incredibly inspiring; it describes home ownership as a way to help build a more "thoughtful and communal dream". It's worth a read...
From Beltway Barbarian:
We're just now home owners. And we chose to do so in attempt to create a multi-generational home. Our parents are older and much of their savings was wiped out from the Great Recession and trying to weather it out. So in 10 - 20 years time they'll likely need help or a place to stay, if not medical help. They're selling and then pocketing the money they earned as a result. We'll then take them in and try to make do the best we can.
We, and likely any kids we have, aren't making the same money are parents were and probably never will in the Wal-mart/cheap-living era. We bought a house that allows for a few extra people, but it's still modest for modern Americans. Over the years we'll renovate and add space for the additional and aging residents. Which is okay. We made a point to buy a sturdy home in a great location (near a downtown, near a hospital, near schools, near grocery stores, decent yard). It's now our "manor" and we've adopted the aristocratic thinking of stewardship. This house isn't a possession anymore, it's a responsibility and privilege and something we're entrusted to care for.
If there are any kids we'll try to raise them to see the value in pooling assets. They can live with us as long as there is room. If they head out into the world but need to come back, that's okay, too.
In a sense, yes, our priorities shifted. We realized that a lot of the values we grew up with were built by a individualistic society and a consumer/service economy. Or that one could just buy and toss at a whim. Now we'd like to transition, through home ownership, to a more thoughtful and communal dream.
Thanks to Beltway Barbarian (specifically) and our amazing commenter community (always) for the inspiration you bring us each day!