There is a stigma associated with renting, especially when renting anything other than a house. The common thought is that people rent because they cannot afford to buy a house. This means they are lower income earners and implies they are lower class people.
We are seeing both sides of this stigma, and for a while we thought the same thing. I think we are conditioned to think that we must buy a house to show true success. This is simply not true. Now we are on the renting side of the equation, and we feel like people think less of us because we live in an apartment.
The concept of proving success through ownership of “things” is a core belief that we need to overcome in ourselves. It is a tough belief to overcome. When you strip away all the tangible items that define success, what do you have left? You end up with a bunch of intagibles that can’t be compared on simple scale.
Strip away these tangibles
Big fancy house = success ??
Brand new expensive car = success ??
The latest brand name clothing = success ??
Expensive watch = success ??
And what do you have left
Happiness = success ??
Freedom = success ??
Let’s strip away all that nonsense down to find the root of the success factor. The root of that is income. How much money do you make. If you want to make this real simple, you can poll your neighbors and ask how much money each one makes, put that in a list from lowest to highest, and all of a sudden you have a clear picture of financial success.
Why do we find the need to compare ourselves to others and to constantly compete for that top spot in financial success? I like to have enough money to do the things I enjoy doing. That doesn’t require any comparison at all. If I’m doing the things I enjoy, why should I care what my neighbor is doing?
Even so, it is tough to be judged by those that think we don’t measure up. We made some tough decisions to get our financial matters in order and to start living below our means. We are being very realistic about what we can afford and about what are the most important things in our lives.
Sometimes we feel like failures because that’s how others see us. I’m sure many of our old neighbors are wondering why we really sold our house. I’m sure that most of them think we were having some real financial difficulty. I bet that many of them think we were behind on house payments or were at the risk of foreclosure. The truth is, we were living paycheck to paycheck while making all of our payments on time. We were stable, but not in the position we wanted to be in. The house and all the bills associated with it was pulling down and we wanted more freedom to do the things we wanted and to spend our money on the things, activities, and experiences we wanted.
Living paycheck to paycheck in order to have your dream house and dream cars is no way to live. We checked out of that life and into a new one. We are working to change our core beliefs about success and failure while trying to lessen the effects of how other people view us now.