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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Single Female Home Ownership - Does it have a place in our world?



I'm tap dancing on 30 and I don't own a home. Not married, no kids, and no mortgage. For some in more family-oriented situations, the case is certainly different. But as a single person, I'm yoyo-ing back and forth on the issue of home ownership - or in my case - the prolonging thereof.

Sometimes, it makes me feel like I'm a few steps behind in sociological expectations and responsibilities. Sometimes it makes me feel foolish. Sometimes it makes me feel poor. Sometimes it makes me feel slow.

Times that these, I've got to fall back and limit the self-scrutiny, punishment and loathing. Got to remember a few things....
  1. I've never wanted to live in one place too long.
  2. I've intentionally crafted a career that has me country hopping every 2 years.
  3. I can't decide on what nail polish to wear, much less a neighborhood to settle into.
  4. I'm one person who spends perhaps 8-10 hours a day at home, and most of that time, I'm sleeping. What's the purpose of owning a home that I can't spend time in and enjoy?
  5. I don't want the headache - standards for a fixed rate mortgage, insurance, taxes, repairs and maintenance, home inspections, appraisals, land registration...it never ends.

While keeping these thoughts in mind got me back to my 100%, I was brainstorming about the investment value of a home, but came across this article, which offers a few other thoughts to consider:

  • A house can't be divided up and sold, like a stock portfolio, and it is highly correlated to the job market.
  • Also, a house is undiversified; instead, its future is tied to a single neighbourhood.
  • It's not a smart way to allocate money. In fact, it flies in the face of what decades of portfolio allocation theory have shown. "It's like a stock portfolio that consists of one stock. If I could buy a house where the bedroom is in Toronto, the kitchen is in Vancouver, and another bedroom is in South America, then that's a diversified house."
  • Real estate prices can and do fall — and they can take a long time to recover.
  • You can build wealth with a home (as opposed to paying rent to a landlord), but what if the market falls when you want to sell? You have NO control over that. A homeowner can end up with outstanding mortgage payments worth more than the house.
  • This greatest asset can't deliver in hard times.

For all the renters out there, there is substance in our madness. I've decided to wait on a few things before chasing a mortgage:

  1. God. When the time is right, He'll make the need apparent and the home available.
  2. A more suitable home price: income ratio.
  3. A community and country that screams PERMANENCE.
  4. Inheritance (fat chance on this one!)
  5. The need. By this, I mean family. When the time is right, and either my future family unit, or my mother or grandmother needs me to buy a home, that could be a good time to look into it.

Until then, happy renting!




Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Me voy a Cuba


My mom always said you need 3 signs to make a decision. I've been toying with the idea of a trip to Cuba since I was 18. Back then in '98, I was a freshman at Clemson University (South Carolina) and knee deep in the Spanish language and International Trade major. That's when my love affair with Cuba started. Unfortunately, at that time, there wasn't a lot of access to Cuban news, arts, or happenings - due to (what I believe) were social ramifications and results from the trade embargo.

Each year, I collected all the Cuban music I could - amassing a pretty impressive collection that I haven't indulged in nearly enough. My senior thesis was on the development of Afro-Cuban music, and I could only use what was available to inform the most prolific, creative, and committed research I've ever conducted. I used the music I collected and the literature that accompanied the CD's - and it was the most engaging project I've ever been involved with creating.

Fast forward 12 years and I find myself in Canada, which probably supports the hightest levels of tourism to Cuba and provides enough literature, travel guides, and support of Cuba's artists to really get my travel bug buzzing.

So back to the 3 signs, which have all transpired in the past 7 days:
  1. At Ottawa's National Arts Center, I got to see David Virelles perform. I wasn't too thrilled about his on-stage piano talent, but his Cuban roots made me Google him. Glad I did!
  2. Also at the NAC, I saw Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba. - This link might not be accessible in the US. Stupid embargo. Google her if you can't access the link.
  3. Just finished reading an article about Bobby Carcass├ęs (singer, trumpeter, pianist, conguero and connector in Cuban jazz) in the New York Times. Check out his music here.

I've detoured from working in the arts field (arts administrators, holla!), but Cuba just might bring me back.

Secret #4


I don't allow things to happen; instead, I focus on putting things into action. I've got to pull a 180 on that.

So I've done a few posts on unplugging, a deliberate opportunity to relax the mind, release priorities, put responsibilities to rest, and soothe the spirit - getting back to the natural state of a human being, not a human doing. I've found that when I schedule in my relaxation time, it's so much enjoyable - and I feel less guilty about not having a ton of things on the TO-DO list checked off.

The trick, however, will be building this as a mindset - a mindset of allowing things to be in their natural state...allowing people to be in their natural form...allowing decisions to be made according to natural factors and circumstances.

I'm an ENTJ (forceful, decisive indiviudals who are always looking for challenges to be surmounted and who constantly scan the environment for potential problems which they can turn into solutions....tireless workers who exemplify a drive for leadership, which is well-served by their quickness to grasp complexities, their ability to absorb a large amount of impersonal information, and their quick and decisive judgments. They are "take charge" people)....

a Taurus (solidity, practicality, extreme determination and strength of will)....

and a female.....not the most likely combination for allowing things to just be.

I just came across an article about allowing things to just be, and I just may try to work on a few things listed....

Monday, March 15, 2010

Alicia, you used to be my homegirl.


Dear Alicia,

I saw you in Milan back in 2008 - and you rocked the house. I saw you last Friday in Ottawa, and you delivered an outstanding performance. You've given us album after album of pure, honest, emotional immersion. In your vocals, you've carved out perspectives of how to view love, women, friends, memories, and pain. In your musical discipline, you've created original pieces whose ebbs and flows fall under your direction. Your excellence as an artist is supreme.


Of all the female performers, pop stars, and Hollywood figures, I've depended on just a few - but you especially - to represent independent, thoughtful, responsible, and righteous women everywhere. It's a standard that you set easily back in 199? when I first came across your music.


I understand, however, that you've committed an Angelia Jolie sized offense and are quite content with your homewrecking tendencies. Whether Swizz was separated, divorced, or trying his luck at fooling you to believe either, I just wish you would have waited until he was completely and unquestionably unattached before you let him put a ring on it.


I admire women like Jada Pinkett Smith, whose marriage to Will Smith brought her a "bonus son". That marriage, held in high regard, also has the experience, growth, and maturity made possible by an unsuccessful first marriage. Things don't work out - that's life. But the Smith couple, honest in their intentions, found the right puzzle pieces to create a marriage based on real life circumstances, fulfillment of responsibilities (to Will's former wife and son), and 13 years later, their marriage is one that others look to for inspiration.


As you opened last Friday's show with a personal expression of how "everyone has the right to be loved," I agreed with you, wholeheartedly. I cannot refrain from expressing any longer, however, how dissappointed I am in your decision to accept a ring from a married man. I don't have the right to judge you, but if you were my homegirl, I would have tried to steer you to a different decision, or at least a prolonged one.


You've now shown millions of girls, who model their lives and decisions after celebrities like you, that you think it's acceptable to intervene in someone else's marriage as the other woman. You've shown your audience of adoring teenagers that you think it's alright to covet what is someone else's husband (in paper, in theory, what EVER....).


Quite simply, it's not right. It's not admirable, respectable, nor honorable - all the things I once associated with you. Yes, you do have the right to be loved. But by a married man? Come on, A. I wanted more for you.


Cordially,
Allyson

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dance Cuba


WHAT A WEEKEND!!!!
My roomate is the absolute best! Months ago, I had seen the dance company Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba on Bravo! Canada - and I was speechless. Couldn't believe that they were going to make a one night appearance at Ottawa's National Arts Centre....and my roomate picked up 2 tickets!!!!
Last night's performance was just amazing - wish I could be a true groupie and follow them around North America.........

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