Renting vs. Owning in the Digital Age

Renting vs. Owning in the Digital Age

Kim Lucian
May 16, 2014
(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

We live in a world where you can "rent" a movie to stream right from your TV, or pay a monthly subscription fee to listen to all the music you want. It's an amazing concept, both for convenience and for keeping free of clutter, as ownership usually requires some commitment to care for and store a physical item.

In fact, the model is practical and practically worry free. In a sense, what we are all paying for is a licensing fee to use and enjoy the content for a limited length of time in a limited scope, and then all rights revert back to the distributor or creator, making things immediate and much more affordable.

Our generation is also one of renters — people wait much later to buy homes, if they buy them at all. The concept of investing in something more permanent makes less sense as we try things out and move more fluidly through career stages and life changes.

I'm interested to see what comes next for us all. When you rent (be it a home or some other form of property), you enjoy something in the present but at the end of the day are left without anything tangible. On one hand this can be freeing; there is nothing to encumber you and you can change your mind without much consequence, but you also will never see a return on an investment.

Where do you find yourself in this? Are you comfortable "renting" things for the moment, or do you seek out the tangible and invest in ownership? Leave your response in the comments below.

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