Materialism and property

I was talking with a buddy today about materialism, property and whats sometimes referred to “adult points”. He's currently looking for a house to buy, and I recently moved out of my studio apartment, so naturally our current events morphed together.

When I moved out of my apartment I realized how much unnecessary stuff I own, so much so that I was tempted to throw away almost everything and start from scratch. There are some things I would like to keep however.

Why do I still have a lot of stuff?

Short answer: The endowment effect, loss aversion.

I'm by no means a big time hoarder, but I hang onto stuff that I rarely use “just in case” I need it in like 2 years (i.e soldering iron, PS3 etc). With the stuff I have unconsciously “increased my wealth” by accumulating personal property. What I really have done though is grow roots to a place and my lifestyle. Moving becomes a hassle and so does changing my way of life, which is why I'm working towards getting rid of a lot of it. I came to this conclusion after I turned down the opportunity to study journalism because it was more comfortable to continue in the same tracks, meaning not moving, but continue to study something I had lost interest in. Now I have to wait until 2021 to apply again, because I thought I turned it down because I didn't want to study journalism when in reality I just didn't want to move.

My thoughts on owning property

Contrary to popular belief and goals in life, I do not want to buy a house or an apartment. Its not on my plans for the near future, nor is it on my bucket list at all. I'm perfectly content with not owning land or an apt. before I die. I'm open to the possibility that it might change in the future, but I highly doubt it. To me, buying a (non moving) place to live means putting down roots and restricting my freedom to travel, be spontaneous and live as a freelancer. To others it might mean “no longer paying rent”, the freedom to do changes to their living space (will touch on why this notion is not necessarily true in a later post), accumulating wealth, investing and higher social status, as well as bragging rights.

If things were different, if selling a house was as easy as ending a rental agreement I would probably consider it, but without the intention of living there for a long time. If that were the case, buying an apartment would be almost identical to paying rent to yourself, without the commitment that comes with having to sell the apartment before moving. I don't see that as a possibility when one person is allowed to own indefinite numbers of apartments though. This is why I don't see an issue with renting instead of buying (meaning I have issues with renting in other ways). For me, renting means more freedom to live my life as I want to. Some might argue that I'm afraid of commitment, and I'm the first to admit that they're right in this regard, but on the other hand I'm not afraid to go against the common way of life.

This isn't some “why you should be a minimalist” post. Its just my opinion, what others do is no concern of mine, people are free to follow the common path and do as they please. I don't judge people for that, its the safest way to go and it makes you fit in. What others do rarely affects me, with the exception of bureaucracy and unjust laws people are directly or indirectly supporting. I do however like to respond to that mentality when people try discourage me from doing what I want because of their personal fears they have if they were the ones planning to do it. I'll write a post on this phenomenon later.