Sunday, October 18, 2009

Are the homeless better investors than the rest of us?

I know that sounds like a dumb question, but what for many of us is our biggest investment isn't a sure bet,'s Sheyna Steiner reported recently.

Far more people believe their homes are better investment than the stock market, even though the investment return historically is only half as large, she found. Home real estate prices aren't dropping as fast as several months ago, but they are still a long way from whippy.

Remember all that advice we heard about diversifying our investments to reduce risk? We've pretty much blown it, according to a study that researchers at Millman Inc. recently prepared for the Society of Actuaries. Many of have nearly 70 percent of our wealth tied up in one asset - our homes. And there are not many convenient ways to pull that money out, even in the best of times, writes MarketWatch's Robert Powell.

Even the optimists think we're maybe a year away from the bottom of the home and mortgage markets, writes Luke Mullins at US Meantime, we pulled so much wealth out of our homes when prices were rising that it may be a long time before our homes make us 'wealthy' again, says Bruce Bartlett at Forbes.

So what can a little guy do? Question everything, says Consumer Reports. What was good advice not long ago may be lame now. You may want to spiff up your place too. You may be there awhile if foreclosure doesn't get you.

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