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Long-time renter ahead by owning

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POSTED July 21, 2011 7:20 p.m.

She’s a single woman in Manteca in her 50s.

Three years ago she was paying $820 a month rent.

Now she has a monthly mortgage payment including property taxes and insurance of $790 a month.

Neither monthly cost includes utilities.

The last time she owned a home was in 1984.

And - while Wall Street types that are interested in investment returns are pooh-poohing home ownership - she sees it from an entirely different angle.

“I’d rather pay myself and not somebody else,” she noted, adding she doesn’t have to worry about rent going up.

In five years time her housing costs if she kept renting would have been $49,200 assuming her rent never increases. After five years of buying her home, she will have spent $47,400.

It’s a savings of $1,800.

It sounds like peanuts until she rattles off the reasons why it is more than that: She has housing set for her retirement without worrying about rent increases. She has a place she can call her own that she can make improvements to as she pleases. That savings doesn’t include tax advantages that in five years’ time could easily push her savings to well over $8,000 if not more.

She views homeownership as one should: It is a shelter and not an investment like the stock market. It also is the foundation of long-range financial planning not as a Wall Street type would think but as someone who understands controlling housing costs is a key to controlling retirement costs.

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