Wednesday, October 24, 2012

False economy

Recently, one of my family members who inherited my late grandmother's property (the only thing she owned).  The place needs some major repairs.  The bricks weren't sealed, and a lot of them are rotting in place.  My grandmother went on a tree-planting frenzy, and didn't really pay attention to how big the trees would get, or to how far apart they needed to be placed, and the now-mature trees really need pruned and thinned out.  One of the bathrooms needs the toilet (and the floor) replaced, and pretty much everything needs at least a little attention.

"Oh, but I can't afford to do any of that!!!"

My grandmother's house is almost three thousand square feet, on twenty-one acres.  It was appraised, during my childhood, at around $350 grand.  It was appraised, last year, at less than $90.

And worse, my aunt also "can't afford" home owner's insurance. 

She doesn't make a bad salary.  She makes about half again more than what Odysseus and I both make put together.  Yet, somehow, she can't afford to pay for home owner's insurance--which nearly had her homeless, last week.*  Somehow, she can't afford to do any of the repairs, none of which are that expensive to do, if you take it one project at a time. 

Somehow, she can't see that by whinging that she "can't afford" to keep up her home, she's not only losing money in the home's value, she's risking homelessness, and risking having to afford to set up a new household somewhere else--a truly expensive proposition, when you consider deposits for utilities, replacing furniture, and buying all of the basics of living from the ground up. 

And somehow, we don't have problems affording the things that my aunt claims are too expensive for her.

*My aunt's home--specifically, a sattellite dish on the roof--was struck by lightning.  It traveled in and blew decorations off the wall behind her television, burned out her television, and burned out the phone and phone jack on that wall.  If my sister hadn't run up and turned off the master switch while my aunt was frozen in indecision, her home would have burned.  There are a lot more repairs that need to be done, now.  I mentioned to my mother that her home owners insurance should cover some of it, and Mom told me that she didn't have any, because she "couldn't afford" it.

She can't afford to replace it out of cash, so she can't really afford not to have insurance. 

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