A hot water pipe bursts in a dorm room

A hot water pipe burst in two athletes’ dorm room last week while they were asleep. By 5 a.m. several inches of boiling hot water had accumulated on the floor, and when they woke up to a room full of steam they realized something was wrong.

Everything on the floor was ruined, laptops and textbooks included, and they’re staying in a hotel until the problem is fixed.

This isn’t a big deal in the long run: lost possessions will be reimbursed and and life will go on. There’s a bigger question to consider though: do you want a future where you’re dealing with these inconveniences all the time?

This life is called home ownership. As my mom put it to me recently, “if you’re going to own a home you either need to like fixing things, or you need like paying other people to fix things.”

We take it for granted that once you reach a certain age and accumulate a certain amount of wealth you should buy a home. After all, it saves you money (not necessarily true) and makes you happier (not necessarily true). It does the opposite just as often.

Last year the CBC published a popular segment about a couple who shunned home ownership, helping them accumulate enough wealth to retire early and travel the world.

This ideal isn’t out of reach for most middle-class people, particularly young middle-class people. It just requires some thoughtfulness about how you spend your money.

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