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I firmly believe that Roth-type IRA's are for retirement only. Although owning a home can be wonderful, keep in mind that owning a house is a major responsibiity and is not always a good idea.

As a former homeowner in his early-40's and now a very happy apartment renter, I now know that owning a home has numerous financial risks that unfortunately, in my opinion, many so-called professionals in the real estate industry fail to tell prospective home buyers. In my opinion, the overwhelming majority of real estate agents and brokers are more interested in making commissions than in truly serving the average consumer. Why do most (if not all) states require licensure of real estate agents and brokers? Licensure is required to protect the public from illegal and other unethical behavior by real estate agents and brokers. In my opinion, most real estate agents and brokers belong in jail or prison for ripping off the vast majority of home sellers and particularly home buyers. Real estate agents and brokers often engage in tricky, sneaky, and underhanded techniques just to make commissions and collect other income that separate home buyers and sellers from their hard earned money.

In California, where I live, the home prices are among the highest in the United States. Furthermore, the economy in California is subject to numerous up's and down's, such as the State's severe recession between 1989 and 1996 during which time real estate residental property values in the Los Angeles area declined precipitously. In fact, the decline was so bad that it was not unusual for the home values to be less than the outstanding loan balances.

Furthermore, almost all areas of the world are subject to natural disasters. For example, California is notorious for major earthquakes, such as the January 1994 Northridge earthquake which caused major damage in the urban and suburban portions of the Greater Los Angeles area. I was told that the Northridge earthquake was so strong that it was felt as far away as Las Vegas (Nevada), approximately 285 miles northeast of Los Angeles. In fact, that earthquake was among the most financially expensive natural disasters in United States history. Earthquake insurance, when available, is extremely expensive and has very high deductibles.

Homeowners, in addition to making any loan payments, also have other expenses, such as property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and utility costs. These costs all add up especially over a period of years. People who lose their jobs or suffer from other calamities with serious financial implications either must sell their properties often at a financial loss (which is what happened to me), which Federal income tax laws permit no deduction or they end up losing their homes to foreclosure (or deed the property to the lender in lieu of foreclosure). Fortunately, when I sold my home and paid the expenses of selling, I had enough money left to pay off the loan. I promised myself that I never again would buy a home in California unless I could pay cash for it. The house would have to be seismically stable and overall be of sound construction. Of course, foreclosures usually will be posted on a person's credit report and may affect that person's ability to borrow money for many years to come.

I suggest that you discuss with your wife about the financial and personal perils and other risks of home ownership. Do not think that you are wasting money by renting. If you or your wife believe that line, you probably have been brainwashed into believing that by the real estate brokerage industry. Of course, you need to have a place to live. However, renting provides flexibility and you probably would not be responsible for damage caused by an unforeseen event, such as an earthquake, tornado, flood, landslide, or hurricane. Be very careful out there. Your financial stability and peace of mind very well may depend on it.

Best wishes to you and your family.
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