Buying and Owning Things Going Out of Style

I came across an article in the Futurist Magazine that shares their top ten forecasts for 2014 and beyond.  I was a pleasantly surprised to see their number five prediction:

5. Buying and owning things will go out of style.

The forecast: “The markets for housing, automobiles, music, books, and many other products show a common trend: Younger consumers opting to rent or subscribe to pay-per-use arrangements instead of buying and owning the physical products. Shared facilities will overtake established offices, renting units will become more common than owning a home, and sales of books and music might never become popular again.” From “Consumption 2.0,” by Hugo Garcia, January–February, 2013.

How’s that for an interesting prediction?  I could see how this could happen in the future, but I feel like it might take a while before the prediction comes true.  There are a number of us that have already found the benefit of renting or borrowing versus buying and owning.  

I love all the benefits of renting.  We find we have much more freedom when we aren’t tied down with all the responsibilities of owning.  I also like subscriptions versus owning things as in the case of using Netflix or Amazon Prime rather than owning DVD movies. 

It will be interesting to see where the future takes us in terms of rent versus own.  What are your thoughts?


  1. Joanna says

    Hmmm… My husband and I are in the “young” demographic and we rent our home, borrow from the library, and typically buy secondhand as much as possible. We do own our used cars, but that makes a whole lot more sense financially than leasing a car. (Unfortunately, our city is not pedestrian or bike friendly and has no reliable public transit.)

    However, I live in the buckle of the Bible Belt and “traditional” buying habits are still strong here for white, middle class young people. I know at least 15 couples that:

    – Buy a house because they are getting married
    – Have a baby
    – Immediately buy a newer, bigger house in a better school district without selling the first one
    – Buy a new minivan and a new SUV
    – Buy all new furniture and stuff to fill the new house
    – Can’t find a buyer for the old house, so they rent it for less than the mortgage.
    – Begin pressuring us to buy a house because misery loves company. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Maybe we are just waaaay ahead of the trend. I’m going to tell my husband that according to the Internet, we are trendsetters instead of oddballs.

    • says

      You are trendsetters! I know many people like that as well. My wife and I often wonder how these people can afford all the stuff they have. From the outside it always looks as though they are doing really well financially. Sadly it’s often smoke and mirrors, with the truth being they are up to their eyeballs in debt.

      It would be nice to see a societal shift away from rampant consumerism. I feel like people have the potential to be so much happier and lead more fulfilling lives if we could break free from the desire to accumulate stuff.

  2. says

    There are some definite advantages to renting. We owned a 4-bedroom house for 10 years. We didn’t like all the obligations–the upkeep, the yard work, and the lack of mobility. We finally signed our house back over to the bank, and moved to an apartment 1200 miles away. We love the free time we have now. We own few items that are available to rent or borrow. Weekly library trips have replaced ordering books for my daughter, for example.
    Bethany @ Journey to Ithaca´s last blog post ..Another Storm

    • says

      Isn’t it crazy how much stuff we accumulate and then form attachments to? Decluttering and purging in pieces is a great way to go about it. It lets you feel like you’re making progress while at the same time feel like you aren’t losing big chunks of your life.

  3. says

    Hmmmm…interesting article and thanks for bringing it to our attention :)

    As you know I am a big fan of apartment renting so there’s no argument there! I also am a huge fan of second hand goods and, with the exception of a couple of ridiculous low priced Blu Rays from the James Bond Collection, I haven’t bought anything new in the past three years.

    Truth be told, I am not a huge fan of Netflix and streaming sites as I like to own the (used) physical media outright. And DON’T get me started on The Cloud Storage idea :)

    Mind you, this just may be the fact that I am 52 and enjoy “traveling” through both worlds of old-school and new-school. I can see the popularity of new tech and sometimes opt for that model…but mostly I enjoy old tech. But that’s just me?

    Take care Freedom and I hope all is well with you and yours.

    Lyle @ The Joy of Simple´s last blog post ..Happy Halloween And Guest Post #2 :)

  4. frank says

    We have a 3 season room, about 15×40. Since our house is small, over the years it has basically become a defacto storage area, with stuff buried and stacked every which way. But instead of attacking it in chunks, we went beast mode using simple rules. If the item had no monetary or sentimental value, it goes. If dumpit could be used by someone, give it to them or bring it tothe swap area at the dump. Everything else got tossed. The trash guys must have been horrified, but now we have a carpeted workout area with a bench, heavy bag and weights and a rowing machine. All of this stuff was buried under the detritus of years of aquired stuff, 80 percent of which was crap. Now it feels like we had an addition put on!

    • says

      Hey Frank,
      Awesome! I love beast mode. We attacked my daughter’s room in beast mode last night and got rid of everything that wasn’t Barbie, Stuffed Animals, or Legos. It’s a lot of work, but it’s nice to get it all done and out of the way quickly.

      I had the same thoughts about the trash guys when we were purging our house. We had bag after bag of trash. It’s amazing how much of that stuff we just have to hold onto ends up being trash.

      Good work on the clean-out, do you have plans to keep going with more of the house?


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