You Don’t Own Anything

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You’ve probably figured out by now the main way to Get Rich is to Stop Buying Shit. Many of us, myself included, purchase stuff because we want the convenience of services on demand. Think about it: If you OWN something, it’s able to perform a service for you at any time. You’re not really buying the Thing, you’re buying Convenience. You don’t really want “a blender”, you want blended drinks at the touch of a button. You could easily go over to a friend’s place and use their blender, but you don’t. You buy the blender because you don’t want to go next door and bug your buddy. You now OWN the blender. Go, you. Have a kale shake.

BUT WAIT! What if I told you you don’t own the blender at all? Remember, you’re buying Convenience, not the Thing. What if I told you the only time your investment is paying off is when you’re actively using it? Deep down, you know it’s true. The rest of the time, the Thing just takes up space and gets in the way. Let’s crunch some numbers.

I’m a massive PlayStation dork. I’ve already mentioned my $5,000 video game habit, and here’s my half-assed attempt to justify it. My roommate and I play together on two screens in our living room. With games like Minecraft and Diablo III, we’ve logged about 200 hours playing together, so 400 man-hours. I’ve also played roughly 400 hours on my own, so we’re looking at 800 man-hours of entertainment. If you look at that from a rental perspective, I’ve “rented” access to PlayStation media at $6.25/man-hour so far. Not great, and probably worse after we account for electricity usage. I’m gonna use good ol’ Ballpark Math and put the total at $7.50/man-hour. This is, so far, a Bad Investment, and if I hadn’t paid $5,000 up front, I certainly wouldn’t rent entertainment today for $7.50/hour. Every man-hour cost me as much as a movie ticket, which could’ve been entertainment for TWO hours. Yikes. This is especially bad because I have access to free entertainment. I could go to the library and read a book instead of chasing PlayStation trophies. Based on this example alone, I’m a huge dumbass!

But what about you? Let’s say you buy a book for $20. Already not the greatest investment because you can just borrow one from a library, but you like the way new books smell so you do it anyway. You finish it in four hours, so $5/hour. You put that book on your shelf like a reading trophy and never pick it up again. In this example, you’re basically renting the book for four hours at $5/hour, and then the book takes up residence in your life until you decide to get rid of it. So is it worth it? Some of you will say, “Yeah, at least I’m not as stupid as Ben and his bajillion PlayStations,” but what I’m HOPING you might say is, “Maybe this is a good argument to not buy things at all and look for low-cost, non-ownership options to meet my temporary needs.” Maybe a bit of inconvenience – in this case, hunting down a copy to borrow from a friend – is good! Maybe this is why you should take public transit instead of buying a car and save yourself shitloads of money! Maybe now, instead of thinking you “own” something, you’ll understand you’re really just renting shit, then storing it at your expense when you’re not using it!

The next time you buy something, I want you to repeat this: “I do not and will never ‘own’ this Thing. This is strictly a temporary Service I am purchasing. I can use it lots to maximize my Investment, but do I need it? Can something else provide this Service for free?”

The Wealthy are willing to overcome a bit of inconvenience on their road to riches. The question is: Are you?

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My 99-Year Leasehold and Why It’s Fucking Awesome

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Here, read this.

Are you back? Good. Most people aren’t even aware of 99-year leaseholds. If this sounds right for you, like if you never intend to have kids, I may have just saved you a few hundred thousand. Buy me a beer sometime!

Anyway, I have an enviable Home for my age. I’m 27 and I have 71+ years of Rent paid off with my leasehold. That’s what 99-year leaseholds are: paying ≤99 years of Rent all in one go, and reaping the benefits of Home Ownership. Mine worked out to $170,000, or $199.53/month. I own my property and the right to live there until 2087. Technically, I don’t own the land underneath it, but I’ll be dead by 99 and really don’t care. I’ll never need a mortgage, and I’ll never need a freehold. I don’t plan on having kids. I guess I’m set! Even if I change my mind and sell the remaining years when I’m 65, there’ll still be 33+ years left on the lease! I estimate I’ll be able to get AT LEAST $120,000 for the remaining years. $50,000 to live somewhere for 38 years? That’s $109.65/month.

Wait, it gets crazier. My place is over 1,000 square feet and has two bedrooms. My girlfriend’s moving in on May 1, and with my current roommate staying, I’ll be collecting $950.43 from them in Rent. $633.62 of that gets eaten up by miscellaneous building maintenance fees, and the remaining $316.81 pays literally ALL MY BILLS. Electrics, Internet, Netflix, Rogers. Right now, I have zero Expenses aside from Food, Alcohol and Entertainment, and I was able to pull it off with my Rental Property.

A key thing to note about this is you don’t live forever. Take a moment and ask yourself why you REALLY want to own your place, freehold and all. Is it an investment? Is it for status? Are you hoping to pass it down? Now ask yourself: Is this worth extending your career OVER 33% MORE?

My Home is modest. It probably wouldn’t impress anyone. Secretly, that’s another reason it rocks. We’ve already talked about how Shiny Things Are Stupid, and that applies DOUBLY to a Home. Realistically, even if you were the friendliest gal in town and you loved showing off your place, you’d invite maybe 100 different people to it over a number of years. Is having an expensive Home – and in Vancouver, we’re talking at least $1M – worth briefly impressing 100 people? There’s always the argument that it’s not about THEM, it’s about YOU, but isn’t that even dumber? WHY WOULD YOU SPEND A 40+ YEAR CAREER MAKING $1M JUST SO YOU CAN MAKE COFFEE ON A GRANITE COUNTERTOP? FYI, poor people drink the same damn coffee. You’d be happier with more Time and Experiences, not heated toilet seats. Snap out of it.

The insane thing is I’m not even leveraging my Home to its full potential. I sometimes leave the country for weeks at a time and I’ve been told I should Airbnb my place out to make even more Money while I Travel. I COULD GET PAID TO TRAVEL. You can too! Read this.

Home Ownership isn’t black and white. 99-year leaseholds are the happy grey area where dreams are made. It seems silly to me that someone would spend their entire Life working towards a beautiful Home only to live there for 10 years before they croak. Wouldn’t it be better to have an average leasehold Home and shorten your Career voluntarily?

Additional perspective: You may “own” 2,500 square feet someday but outside, there are 197 million square MILES that you can explore. Guess what? Those 197 million square miles look the same to you as they do to Bill Gates.

Go outside. You must already be rich as fuck if you share 197 million square miles with Bill Effing Gates. Just remember, you owe me a beer.