OPINION: If Buying A Home Isn’t An Option, You’re Likely Out Of Luck

Investing in stocks and bonds is a good alternative to building up net worth instead of buying a home, but the reality is that not everyone can take that alternate route, which means some folks will inevitably fall through the cracks.

By Kristi Eckert | Updated

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In the United States, buying a home is one of the most effective ways to build one’s overall net worth. Generally speaking, homes always appreciate in value, and they do so in a relatively short amount of time. Unfortunately, buying a home is not always attainable for many young people, but thankfully there are other avenues an individual can take outside of purchasing an abode to build up their wealth. Yet, realistically there are those who may fail to ever get ahead.

The most productive and effective way to build net worth sans homeownership is to invest and invest smartly. Namely, bonds and low-risk stock purchases can help someone to grow their overall wealth as an alternative to buying a home. Suffice it to say, many of us are not financial savants well-versed in the art of trading stocks.

This is where a financial advisor comes in. It’s wise to employ the expertise of a seasoned financial advisor in order to put whatever extra capital you have into investments that will pay off in the long run. Essentially, when you can’t buy a home, you want whatever money you do have working for you. 

All that said, investments are all well and good and have the propensity to serve many renters and non-homeowners well. But what about those individuals who live paycheck to paycheck? The people who make just enough not to qualify for any government equal opportunity home-buying assistance but also just enough to skirt by paying their bills and debts and rent with very little wiggle room in between? 

The reality is unless something changes, those individuals are largely out of luck. I know this because I am a part of that statistic. To give you a bit of context and to be outright candid, I’m a 34-year-old college graduate (or perhaps a more apt description would be a cursed millennial) and a writer by profession (to overstate the obvious).

I live with my partner (he is a 42-year-old college grad and a video editor by profession) in a one-bedroom apartment that we can barely afford at $2,000/month (and that figure is reasonable for the area of the country that we live in).

Neither of us comes from money. We both put ourselves through school and have the student debt to prove it. Both of our parents are divorced and aren’t in a position to help us with the downpayment that is required when buying a house.

We work hard, we support ourselves and our three fur babies, but outside of that, it’s extremely hard to get ahead. On paper, we have it together, but that’s not the reality we are living in.

So with no money to move and no money to save, where does that leave us? It doesn’t leave us in a position to buy a home, and it doesn’t leave us in a position to properly invest either. The capital is just not there – and not for lack of trying. We are among those falling through the cracks while desperately trying to claw ourselves out of a seemingly inescapable sinkhole. 

I don’t doubt that my personal situation is the situation that countless others are facing in the US. So really, the takeaway is while there are avenues to building up your overall net worth, those avenues are not a blanket solution for every non-homeowner’s situation. Inevitably, there will always be some people that are left behind, and that’s the sad part.