For decades, owning a home has been seen as a hallmark of the ‘American dream’ and a major life milestone. While we take it for granted that home ownership is good, we make the argument in today’s episode that, from the perspective of subjective well-being, owning a home isn’t necessarily the key to happiness. This conversation covers the non-financial aspects of homeownership and why owning a home isn’t necessarily superior to renting one. This is supported by data from a number of different studies that describe the relationship between experienced happiness and life evaluation, and how the decision to buy or rent relates to effective forecasting, for example. Benjamin unpacks concepts like focalism, hedonic adaptation, and buyer’s remorse, as well as social comparison and happiness when it comes to material purchases like homes. He concludes with the following words of wisdom: buying a house will not make you happy, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad decision. During the course of today’s episode, we also touch on Shane Parrish’s The Great Mental Models Volume 3: Systems and Mathematics, how individuals engage in panic selling according to the recent MIT study, ‘When Do Investors Freak Out?’, and some of the listener discussion points that arose from our in-depth conversation with John Cochrane in Episode 169. Tune in today for all this, plus so much more!
7:16 Cameron’s recommendation
17:40 Listener question: Recap John Cochrane
31:05 Does Owning a Home Make You Happy?
35:36 What the research says
47:22 Debt, Social Status and Happiness
58:06 Who is happier, the renter or the homeowner?
1:04:31 Talking Cents cards
Links From Today’s Episode:
Rational Reminder on iTunes — https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-rational-reminder-podcast/id1426530582.
Rational Reminder Website — https://rationalreminder.ca/
Shop Merch — https://shop.rationalreminder.ca/
Join the Community — https://community.rationalreminder.ca/
Follow us on Twitter — https://twitter.com/RationalRemind
Follow us on Instagram — @rationalreminder
Benjamin on Twitter — https://twitter.com/benjaminwfelix
Cameron on Twitter — https://twitter.com/CameronPassmore
Tim Ferriss Interview with Micheal Dell — https://tim.blog/2021/09/28/michael-dell/
The Knowledge Project Podcast — https://fs.blog/knowledge-project/
"When Do Investors Freak Out?: Machine Learning Predictions of Panic Selling’ — https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3898940
Episode 169 with John Cochrane — https://rationalreminder.ca/podcast
‘The American Dream or the American Delusion?’ — https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1877163
‘Home Ownership and Happiness’ — https://digitalcollection.zhaw.ch/bitstream/11475/18640/3/2019_Hofmann-Umbricht_Homeownership-and-happiness-Switzerland_SREJ.pdf
‘If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy Then You Probably Aren’t Spending it Right’ — https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/danielgilbert/files/if-money-doesnt-make-you-happy.nov-12-20101.pdf
‘The Relative Relativity of Material and Experiential Purchases’ — https://www.researchgate.net/publication/40869028_The_Relative_Relativity_of_Material_and_Experiential_Purchases
‘Is More Always Better?’ — https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167268198000894
‘The McMansion Effect’ — https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3378131
‘Portfolios for long-term investors’ — https://www.johnhcochrane.com/research-all/long-term-portfolios