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<<if you own your house, they can't come kicking you out when you're late with the mortgage.>>

This is certainly true, but it doesn't encompass everything. If you need a sudden large chunk of money (to pay for an operation, to bribe your way out of a South American jail, etc.), the assets locked in your house will not be any help. With your assets in stocks, you can raise the cash with one phone call to your broker.

Having no mortgage won't be of much use if they decide to run a freeway through your next-door neighbor's property. Or a gravel pit. On my way to work, I drive past several houses that I'm sure the owner wished he had sold years ago--because it is unsalable now due to road-widening, industrial park one block away, etc. No matter what they think, their equity is zero, because they can never sell the house. Pretty nice houses, too.

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