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Why Singles Aren't Worth Much

Single Scene Newspaper Scottsdale AZ  May 1996 issue
by Harlan Jacobsen

copyright 1996 by Single Scene Newspaper

        When single people die at eighty and have been single for some time, 
they seem to leave an estate of either a tremendous  fortune, or very little at all - 
most often very little at all.  More singles end up being supported by the 
country in their old age  than marrieds.
        Why?  Because most long-time singles put their money in things over 
a lifetime that depreciated instead of things that  appreciate. 
Conversely, if they got the other habit early, they would amass a fortune.
        When they are single, they think they may meet Mr. or Ms. Right next 
week so there is no need to buy a house or other  property that would "tie 
them down."  Result: they live in apartments and spend their money on cars 
and other things that depreciate.
        An example would be a single who puts $5,000 down on a new car. 
They pay out another $10,000 over three years in interest  and payments 
and wind up in ten years with something worth $1,000.  The car 
depreciates and becomes worthless.
        A married couple at the same time put down $5,000 on a house. 
In ten years that $50,000 house could be worth 75,000.   They owe
$40,000 at this point, have paid no more total payments on the house
than Mr. Single paid average rent for his apartment  (remember, his
rent has gone up every year for ten years; their payment has stayed
nearly the same).  His $5,000 original down  payment plus his $10,000
in payments has become $1,000.  Their $5,000 down payment has become
$35,000 equity in a house they can  readily convert to cash anytime.
        Mr. Single has a misfortune and has no cash value or reserve to
borrow or fall back on.  They do.
        Had Mr. and Mrs. Married Couple bought a trailer house with
their $5,000 down, it would also be down to little in value  after ten
years.  Trailers depreciate in value (go down), usually, and houses
appreciate (go up in value) as time passes.
        Singles need to own and get involved in property and things
that appreciate in value.  Spend less on things that become  worthless
over time.
        If you kept the house after your divorce, though maybe a little
more difficult initially, it will get easier and easier as  inflation
goes up but the house payment rises only very slightly.  Your $50,000
house again rises in value in ten years to $75,000.   This, along with
your former $5,000 equity and paying down on your mortgage for ten
years, will give you an improvement in your net  worth.  Your net worth
increases primarily through owning property, not beating your brains
out on your job.
        1. Keeping or owning a house ties down and keeps your housing
expense from going up as fast as inflation.  (My four  bedroom
Scottsdale house payment is under $300 a month.)
        2. Interest is deductible from your income tax, and the
majority of your house payment is interest.  You get credit on  your
income tax now; you get to keep more of your income.
        3. Your net worth increases yearly with no additional effort on
your part.
        Singles are freer to move about and have less tendency to take
roots by buying property.  With inflation, you should keep  the house
and latch on to any other real property you can that is self-supporting
through rental, etc.