Author Topic: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house  (Read 4354 times)

talltexan

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2198
This article starts out seeming smart, but contains so many hidden fallacies that I could barely read to the end without throwing up.

https://slate.com/business/2018/07/does-buying-a-home-count-as-saving-for-retirement.html

YttriumNitrate

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 489
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2018, 08:35:49 AM »
This article reminds me of articles from 2006 and 2007 that proclaimed that housing would continue to appreciate at 8-10% a year forever and that your only chance of being able to afford shelter in the future was to buy NOW regardless of the cost.

Dabnasty

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1439
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2018, 09:41:26 AM »
Man, I didn't know I was supposed to feel guilty about using my 401k account for it's intended purpose. Oh, and don't forget to itemize your mortgage interest!

Aside from the extremely optimistic 8% appreciation and completely ignoring home ownership costs like insurance and taxes, the time to 1M by 401k was off pretty badly. Maxing at $18,500 at the 8% interest he cites would take 21 year to reach 1M the 30-40 years he suggests would equate to 2.2M-5.1M.

stimepy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 110
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Middle of Nowhere
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2018, 10:07:09 AM »
My favorite paragraph:

Quote
Start with the same $63,000, and rent somewhere cheap—say, $1,200 a month. Take the other $728 a month and put that into the stock market. Compound it all at the same aggressive 8 percent growth rate, and at the end of 15 years you have $437,000—and you still have to pay rent every month for the rest of your life. Also, consider that over the course of 15 years, there are probably going to be plenty of months when you can’t spare $728 to put into the stock market.

Apparently you can spare it for a house purchase, but when it comes to a 401k, nope, not gonna happen cause..... reasons.

PoutineLover

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1062
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2018, 10:16:22 AM »
"If you’re the kind of person who can max out your 401(k) every year for 30 or 40 years straight—disciplined, frugal, and apparently immune to misfortune—then, well, congratulations on your great good luck, and I hope you’re at least a little bit embarrassed at how much of a tax break you’re getting compared to people who need government support much more than you do. Just remember that your achievement is not easily replicable."

I hope almost everyone here is embarrassed. How dare you be financially responsible and use government programs as intended. SHAME ON YOU.

grandep

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 107
  • Location: New Mexico
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2018, 10:54:14 AM »
If someone took the advice of this article and put nothing into their 401(k) and considered their home equity their primary retirement savings, how would that generate actual income in retirement? Sure, you'd save anywhere from $1-2k a month on rent (less that when considering insurance, property taxes, maintenance, etc) but you still have to buy food.

thd7t

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1245
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2018, 11:09:50 AM »
It's also baffling to think that they don't even consider that someone could buy a home and save for retirement!

rbuck

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 86
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2018, 11:11:41 AM »
There is so much bad information in such a long article. Starting out with the whole "you will make more money in life if you go to college". I wish this thought would just die out. It depends on what your major is and what salary demands in the market when compared to what you would do without a college degree. If you deciding to go to trade school to learn HVAC or a degree in puppet arts  go to trade school.

Then there is the idea that you have to live in an expensive city in order to make a good salary. Which is stupid wrong. There are plenty of midsized cities where you can make a good salary without the high costs of living. The other problem is how to unlock all this wealth you are going to create with buying a home. For the sake of the argument we can concede the 8% annual appreciation without any corrections and you are a millionaire but to have cash you would either need to pull equity out of the house and incur debt or sell the home. The question then is where do you live? With appreciation you are going to have to sink a good amount of wealth into another home or take out an even bigger mortgage. Does the author then believe you should rent or move to a LOC.

Funnily I am not ashamed at all. Probably not going to be ashamed in a year and a half when my wife and I start maxing out our 401(k) and our IRA.

merula

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1180
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2018, 11:46:52 AM »
There is so much bad information in such a long article. Starting out with the whole "you will make more money in life if you go to college". I wish this thought would just die out. It depends on what your major is and what salary demands in the market when compared to what you would do without a college degree. If you deciding to go to trade school to learn HVAC or a degree in puppet arts  go to trade school.

That statement won't die out because people are terrible with nuance. The statement "On average, people with college degrees earn far more over the course of their working lives than people without college degrees, even accounting for the cost of higher education" is true. People see themselves as above average, so they translate that to "If I get a college degree I will earn more than if I don't" and "Getting a degree in anything is better than any non-degree training or work". Those translations are not true, but that doesn't mean that the original statement is any less true.

I have a family of three cousins. One got an HVAC certification, the second got a degree in accounting and the third got a degree in education. They are all employed full time in their respective fields. The HVAC one is the highest-earning. It's not just that HVAC will earn more than puppet arts, it's that HVAC will earn more than many white-collar professional career paths.

(To be fair, though, the accountant didn't want to work somewhere boring (???) so they got a job doing essentially bookkeeping at a friend's small business. Bookkeeping is another career that doesn't require a degree. On average, I'd expect an accountant to outearn an HVAC specialist.)

cloudsail

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 275
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2018, 11:59:44 AM »
Quote
Yes, you’ll need money when you retire; you’ll also need a place to live.

But with a paid off house, you'll only have one of those things, not both..... *super confused face*

Poobearius Maximus

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2018, 01:05:36 PM »
There is so much bad information in such a long article. Starting out with the whole "you will make more money in life if you go to college". I wish this thought would just die out. It depends on what your major is and what salary demands in the market when compared to what you would do without a college degree. If you deciding to go to trade school to learn HVAC or a degree in puppet arts  go to trade school.

Then there is the idea that you have to live in an expensive city in order to make a good salary. Which is stupid wrong. There are plenty of midsized cities where you can make a good salary without the high costs of living. The other problem is how to unlock all this wealth you are going to create with buying a home. For the sake of the argument we can concede the 8% annual appreciation without any corrections and you are a millionaire but to have cash you would either need to pull equity out of the house and incur debt or sell the home. The question then is where do you live? With appreciation you are going to have to sink a good amount of wealth into another home or take out an even bigger mortgage. Does the author then believe you should rent or move to a LOC.

Funnily I am not ashamed at all. Probably not going to be ashamed in a year and a half when my wife and I start maxing out our 401(k) and our IRA.

Amen RBuck - I too quit reading at this paragraph:

"To put it in less abstract terms: If you go to college you’ll earn more money, even after taking into account the cost of student loans. But in order to earn more money, the chances are you’re going to have to live in a pretty rich city. And if you’re living in a pretty rich city, then you’re going to have to spend a lot on housing. The extra money you spend on housing is going to cut quite deeply into whatever extra money you make by dint of having gone to college—and make it hard to keep making those 401(k) contributions every month. "

Only to continue to finish after making this post because it's so hard not to look.  Oh I can't stop:

"So what’s my point? Just that when it comes to saving for retirement it’s silly to concentrate on mathematics rather than messy reality. Do stocks have a higher return than houses? Sure, if you actually buy them every month" 

I think I missed that point.

Thank you all for posting these - they do make me chuckle.

-PB

MilesTeg

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 661
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2018, 01:30:16 PM »

"So what’s my point? Just that when it comes to saving for retirement it’s silly to concentrate on mathematics rather than messy reality. Do stocks have a higher return than houses? Sure, if you actually buy them every month" 

I think I missed that point.

Thank you all for posting these - they do make me chuckle.

-PB

Concentrating on the math/optimum solution/etc. is indeed, for most people, a potential show stopper for success. As a highly technical person (software engineer) the hardest thing for me to learn was not any particular technical skill, but how to accommodate the "human factor".

The most successful strategy is the one that can actually be executed. For most people that's a strategy that doesn't require a high level of financial literacy, discipline and other financial & life skills that are prevalent amongst the self-selected sub-population of MMMers but much less so in the general population.

Sometimes you have to write code that the user understands & can operate, even if there is a technically faster/better way...

Poobearius Maximus

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2018, 01:50:39 PM »
Concentrating on the math/optimum solution/etc. is indeed, for most people, a potential show stopper for success. As a highly technical person (software engineer) the hardest thing for me to learn was not any particular technical skill, but how to accommodate the "human factor".

The most successful strategy is the one that can actually be executed. For most people that's a strategy that doesn't require a high level of financial literacy, discipline and other financial & life skills that are prevalent amongst the self-selected sub-population of MMMers but much less so in the general population.

Sometimes you have to write code that the user understands & can operate, even if there is a technically faster/better way...

A very fair point there Miles, thank you for a wise view point.  As a technical person myself I think I too sometimes forget that it can at times be easy to get caught up in the MMM world where "why doesn't everyone do this?!?!" tone comes out a lot - guilty myself. 

Just poking fun at a quote I thought could have been more informative.  I guess I lean more towards the school of just because it works doesn't mean you should settle, but in the end that's just my view point!

Regards,
-PB

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1242
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2018, 01:56:17 PM »
So much financial illiteracy and logical fallacy in one article - it's like a microcosm of 'Merica wrapped up in a nice little package.

His entire premise is predicated on a repeat of the run-up of urban home prices from 1996 to 2017...a period in which boomers started becoming empty nesters, downsizing, and moving from the burbs to the city. That trend could very well reverse as younger generations find their footing and desire SFHs w/ yards for their growing families, and as some cities furiously build more inventory.

Also, regularly saving to a 401(k) requires no discipline whatsoever. Just set automatic deductions and with the tax bennies many people will not even notice much of a difference in their paycheck.

Shocking that this guy is a regular contributor and host of the Slate Money podcast. 

Dabnasty

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1439
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2018, 02:01:07 PM »
Concentrating on the math/optimum solution/etc. is indeed, for most people, a potential show stopper for success. As a highly technical person (software engineer) the hardest thing for me to learn was not any particular technical skill, but how to accommodate the "human factor".

The most successful strategy is the one that can actually be executed. For most people that's a strategy that doesn't require a high level of financial literacy, discipline and other financial & life skills that are prevalent amongst the self-selected sub-population of MMMers but much less so in the general population.

Sometimes you have to write code that the user understands & can operate, even if there is a technically faster/better way...

A very fair point there Miles, thank you for a wise view point.  As a technical person myself I think I too sometimes forget that it can at times be easy to get caught up in the MMM world where "why doesn't everyone do this?!?!" tone comes out a lot - guilty myself. 

Just poking fun at a quote I thought could have been more informative.  I guess I lean more towards the school of just because it works doesn't mean you should settle, but in the end that's just my view point!

Regards,
-PB

The idea of investing in a house to lock in savings in the form of a mortgage payment is indeed a reasonable solution for people who don't have the discipline to not spend "extra" money.

While reading I was thinking if that was the angle the author was pushing for I would agree (and maybe roll my eyes a bit, but I try to understand). But instead of focusing on that idea he made wild claims about 8% appreciation, ignored recurring home ownership costs, and used bad math on compounding interest in the stock market. He should've just cut out 80% of the article and stuck with this one idea.

Psychstache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 731
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2018, 02:23:29 PM »


The most successful strategy is the one that can actually be executed.

+1. Learning this has probably been the single best improvement to my life as an adult.

Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk


RWD

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2898
  • Location: Mississippi
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2018, 02:30:17 PM »
"If you’re the kind of person who can max out your 401(k) every year for 30 or 40 years straight—disciplined, frugal, and apparently immune to misfortune—then, well, congratulations on your great good luck, and I hope you’re at least a little bit embarrassed at how much of a tax break you’re getting compared to people who need government support much more than you do. Just remember that your achievement is not easily replicable."

I hope almost everyone here is embarrassed. How dare you be financially responsible and use government programs as intended. SHAME ON YOU.

I would be super embarrassed to have maxed out my 401(k) for 30+ years and still not be retired.

stoaX

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 461
  • Location: SoCal
  • 'tis nothing good nor bad but thinking makes it so
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2018, 03:00:37 PM »
"If you’re the kind of person who can max out your 401(k) every year for 30 or 40 years straight—disciplined, frugal, and apparently immune to misfortune—then, well, congratulations on your great good luck, and I hope you’re at least a little bit embarrassed at how much of a tax break you’re getting compared to people who need government support much more than you do. Just remember that your achievement is not easily replicable."

I hope almost everyone here is embarrassed. How dare you be financially responsible and use government programs as intended. SHAME ON YOU.

Yeah...don't know why the author felt compelled to put that snarky comment in there.  I guess if you're the crab climbing out of the bucket he's the crab who will pull you back down. 

AccidentalMiser

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 652
  • Age: 51
  • Location: SE Tenn
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2018, 06:05:51 PM »
"If you’re the kind of person who can max out your 401(k) every year for 30 or 40 years straight—disciplined, frugal, and apparently immune to misfortune—then, well, congratulations on your great good luck, and I hope you’re at least a little bit embarrassed at how much of a tax break you’re getting compared to people who need government support much more than you do. Just remember that your achievement is not easily replicable."

I hope almost everyone here is embarrassed. How dare you be financially responsible and use government programs as intended. SHAME ON YOU.

I would be super embarrassed to have maxed out my 401(k) for 30+ years and still not be retired.

Yep.  DW and I started with NOTHING ten years ago.  Maxed out the 401k for 9 years straight plus saved a little more.  Now a millionaire.  It is easily replicable if you have the discipline (which many folks do not.)  Oh, and I'm not embarrassed at all...

talltexan

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2198
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2018, 07:13:01 AM »
I think the commentors here are nicely balanced, but there are other MMM threads in which people forget that there's a whole wide world of people who don't think a 30%+ savings rate is optimal.

FireHiker

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 912
  • Location: So Cal
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2018, 09:58:33 AM »
I would be super embarrassed to have maxed out my 401(k) for 30+ years and still not be retired.

That's exactly what I was thinking!

fatcow240

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Dallas
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2018, 09:59:36 AM »
Quote
The 8 percent appreciation rate is aggressive, but not entirely unrealistic: It’s lower than the 8.3 percent appreciation rate from 2011 through 2017, and also lower than the 9 percent appreciation rate from 1996 to 2007.


Returns are great if you cherry pick good runs and skip the bad years.

FindingFI

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 109
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2018, 11:26:37 AM »
At least the comment section was mostly "This article is full of a bunch of BS!" for the most part, so not too many people are falling for the shitty advice.

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8040
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2018, 11:42:39 AM »
This article reminds me of articles from 2006 and 2007 that proclaimed that housing would continue to appreciate at 8-10% a year forever and that your only chance of being able to afford shelter in the future was to buy NOW regardless of the cost.

Why not?  What's wrong with that argument?

This forum routinely makes the identical argument about healthcare costs (that they will continue to grow faster than the economy forever and that this is something you should plan for).

Alternatively, we all make the same argument about the stock market and nobody blinks.  Exponential growth can't continue forever, but it can certainly continue for centuries under the right conditions.

The industrial revolution has unleashed new wonders upon humanity.  Basic necessitates like food and clothing have never been cheaper.  More goods are available to more people than every before.  We are vastly richer than we were just a few decades ago, and all of that excess wealth and productivity has to go somewhere.  Why should it go into securities or medical services but not real estate?

For the record I basically agree with you.  I just think that the obvious silliness you pointed out isn't really so obvious after all.  I have my own ideas about why RE won't appreciate at the same rate as the stock market, but they are all depressing.

thd7t

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1245
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2018, 12:37:31 PM »
Quote
The 8 percent appreciation rate is aggressive, but not entirely unrealistic: It’s lower than the 8.3 percent appreciation rate from 2011 through 2017, and also lower than the 9 percent appreciation rate from 1996 to 2007.


Returns are great if you cherry pick good runs and skip the bad years.
Wow, those 8.3% returns from 2011-17 look so great next to stocks...or not.  It's a weird way to cherry pick when you also need to skip data that shows your system to be bad.

swampwiz

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 451
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2018, 09:32:29 AM »
Back in the late '80s at my job with a SoCal defense contractor, I can remember talking to a colleague who was saying how his home that he had just bought for $200K was going to be worth $2M by the early 00s.  I said that before it got to that ridiculous point, folks deciding whether to move to this locale would see how ridiculous the housing prices were, and decide no F-ing way, which would reduce demand enough to keep the prices lower than his goal.  His home now might be worth $600K, which is still good, but it's at that level where folks moving in can barely put up with the high costs of housing.  (I couldn't put up with it back then, and I moved away soon thereafter to a normal housing market.)  I suppose that folks in the Bay Area got a little closer, but at the price levels now, there is just not going to be much appreciation; at some point, the employers who need to pay well to attract folks to live in such expensive areas are going to say WTF, and move to a cheaper area (like Amazon is doing).

Poobearius Maximus

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2018, 12:45:06 PM »
"If you’re the kind of person who can max out your 401(k) every year for 30 or 40 years straight—disciplined, frugal, and apparently immune to misfortune—then, well, congratulations on your great good luck, and I hope you’re at least a little bit embarrassed at how much of a tax break you’re getting compared to people who need government support much more than you do. Just remember that your achievement is not easily replicable."

I hope almost everyone here is embarrassed. How dare you be financially responsible and use government programs as intended. SHAME ON YOU.

All I wanted to say is - I also love Poutine.

damyst

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 148
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Canada
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2018, 02:54:23 AM »
If someone took the advice of this article and put nothing into their 401(k) and considered their home equity their primary retirement savings, how would that generate actual income in retirement? Sure, you'd save anywhere from $1-2k a month on rent (less that when considering insurance, property taxes, maintenance, etc) but you still have to buy food.

You can eat your house! Read up on reverse mortgages and HELOCs.
That part of the plan isn't necessarily bad.

The real issue is, as many others have noted, that you have to squint very hard at the data to conclude that buying your own house is a wise investment strategy.

Here is an interesting interactive chart of house prices in major U.S. cities from 1980-2016. If you switch to the "Prices in real terms" tab and play around, you'll find that the country average, and many of the major cities, remained almost flat on an inflation-adjusted basis over the entire period. That's a terrible result as an investor, even if we ignore the maintenance costs and property taxes that homeowners incur.
The biggest winner, San Francisco, gained about 160%. Not bad! Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index gained 530% (inflation-adjusted) over the same time frame.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2018, 02:58:08 AM by damyst »

Not There Yet

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2018, 02:02:56 PM »
Something the author apparently misses is people who are not disciplined enough to contribute to their 401Ks (or other retirement accounts) are probably not disciplined enough to refrain from tapping the equity in their house and are not likely to arrive at retirement with a paid-off house.

talltexan

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2198
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #29 on: July 30, 2018, 06:39:34 AM »
Discipline is important, which is why we need to be aware of the frictions and nudges that move money.

My employer recently changed to a new HR interface. To my shame (as a knowledge worker), it's a lot harder-to-use than the old one, so I just don't bother to go in and change my % of pay going to 401K like I would if it were easy.

Making mortgage payments is easy. Setting up the infrastructure via a HELOC or refinance to take out equity from a house...well that sounds like a lot of work!

thd7t

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1245
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #30 on: July 30, 2018, 06:44:39 AM »
Discipline is important, which is why we need to be aware of the frictions and nudges that move money.

My employer recently changed to a new HR interface. To my shame (as a knowledge worker), it's a lot harder-to-use than the old one, so I just don't bother to go in and change my % of pay going to 401K like I would if it were easy.

Making mortgage payments is easy. Setting up the infrastructure via a HELOC or refinance to take out equity from a house...well that sounds like a lot of work!
While it's challenging to take equity out of a house, a lot of people are eager to try to make it look easy, because they get a cut of it. 

penguintroopers

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 138
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #31 on: July 30, 2018, 02:06:57 PM »
Quote
You’ll be a millionaire, for a cost of $63,000 down and $1,928 a month in mortgage payments at an interest rate of 4.5 percent. (Plus you’ll have a place to live not just for 15 years but, if you want it, for the rest of your life.) Total outlay: $410,000.

Quote
ow consider what you would need to do to become a millionaire through your investments. Start with the same $63,000, and rent somewhere cheap—say, $1,200 a month. Take the other $728 a month and put that into the stock market. Compound it all at the same aggressive 8 percent growth rate, and at the end of 15 years you have $437,000—and you still have to pay rent every month for the rest of your life. Also, consider that over the course of 15 years, there are probably going to be plenty of months when you can’t spare $728 to put into the stock market.

I personally had to laugh at this one, because he assumes you have a house that can magically pay itself every month, while renting makes you strapped for cash and can't spare the $728 to invest. Never mind that the net result of housing and savings is the same amount.


Abe

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1203
Re: Terrible article about retirement saving and buying a house
« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2018, 12:32:46 AM »
"Yes, you’ll need money when you retire; you’ll also need a place to live. And if you want to live in a city when you’re no longer working, you’re going to be competing for shelter with a bunch of high earners—unless you own your own place."

This articles has so many assumptions that I just randomly picked a paragraph to critique. Money is more liquid than housing, but housing is fairly illiquid and can't necessarily provide money. Isn't that the big lesson we were supposed to learn from the Great Recession?

Slate is definitely the USA Today of liberal editorial websites. Interesting while waiting for your plane to board, but not a source for life lessons.