Sometimes I get a bit embarrassed when my Upstate house comes up. I’m not rich, and I know rich people love to say that, but I swear on my publishing job income that it’s true. I don’t come from family money (my dad was a bartender, my mom an office assistant), although I did, admittedly, pay for the down payment on my Upstate house after I came into a very modest sum after my father’s death, added to a couple years’ worth of savings.
Perhaps because of all this, I’m really sensitive about appearing ostentatious, but at the same time, I’ve found being able to have this second home so rewarding emotionally and so empowering from a personal finance point of view that I tend to get a little evangelical about it all. Lisa wrote a few days back about the economics of buying a second home, and Brownstoner responded with a thoughtful rebuttal, basically deciding that in terms of the bottom line, second home ownership just doesn’t make sense. Perhaps, but neither of these arguments take into account that a second home is an investment—one that will hopefully appreciate in value—just as your primary residence ideally would. Of course, much has been written about whether to rent or buy, and my decision to buy was based in a basic faith in the latter, which is about as middle class as you can get. Read the rest of this entry