What does it all mean?

Roger Schlesinger
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Posted: Jun 05, 2007 5:22 PM

It has been almost a year now that I and every other columnist have been writing and you have been reading our work on Townhall.com. I feel that I have made some progress in getting borrowers to see the "big picture" and realize that the mortgage you get to help you purchase a house of your own can be more than simply a means to an end. It can be one of the greatest financial tools available to anyone who chooses to use it in that manner.

But really, what does that all mean?

Let's take a look at a brief history of mortgages and home owning. A hundred years ago a small percentage of people owned their own home. During the "Great Depression" a fair percentage of those who owned lost their homes. Fast forward to the end of World War 2

and all the GI's coming home wanted the better life they had fought for and having a house was one of the ways they intended to get their piece of the pie. Projects like

Levit Town began and the great move to home ownership began in earnest. It has never stopped as each year the percentage of Americans who own their own home has increased.

People bought homes with 30 year mortgages and a fair amount of these borrowers stayed put and paid off their homes. Then as my late Aunt Pearl would say " every New Years day

the folks in the east would sit by their T.V. and watch Californians enjoy the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl game in short sleeves ..... and the rest is history". People came west,

away from the cold and the snow, and the idea of moving to get a better life was born. ( The writer is not suggesting that moving west was tantamount to a better life, just perhaps moving).

The baby boomers, who were the children of those warriors who fought the big war, were in the most part the beneficiaries of the "better life" and understood the need and desire to own their own places. Economically a great percentage of these people did better than any of the recent generations before them and became the pioneers of the second home concept.

Were these boomers better financial managers, better planners or could they just dream a bigger dream and went to work to make it happen? It has been said that man cannot go to any place his mind hasn't gone before and maybe that is where their minds have been.

Education played a giant part of the new prosperity. More and more people went and graduated from college and became proficient in their work life. They earned wages and found opportunities that perhaps hadn't been there before, or at least hadn't been tapped by previous generations. A trend to unsaddle oneself from life long debt helped create new types of financing that enabled borrowers to pay off their house and put their money to more creative uses: second and third homes, boats, cars and planes, world wide travel, philanthropic endeavors, better schools for their progeny, hobbies for recreation and relaxation (I am not sure that golf fits in this) etc.

Can you envision the life you wish to create for yourself? One thing we have to realize is it is never to late. Dr. Sanjay Gupta in his book "Chasing Life" talks about a man who never did much athletically in his life until he retired. He decided to take up organized sport, running, at the age of 86 and won a 100 yard race in 30 seconds. At age 92 he is now the national record holder at 18.2 seconds. He is just one of thousands of Americans who can see themselves in a better place than they have been, health wise, educationally, financially, religiously or philanthropically. You can too!

The first step to any plan is seeing yourself in it. Get your mind in front and you will follow.

If you wish to pay off your house and have a better financial life you can do it. If you want better health and physical being you can do it. Wrap your mind around your desires and you are on your way. See the results not the process and when you are solidly there in your mind the process will begin. As the president of the Men's Warehouse always says,

"I guarantee it!"