As a gift over the holidays, Mindy and I received the book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It had been recommended to me before and I had browsed the first chapter but hadn’t picked it up.
I’m currently a good chunk of the way through it and it brought up an interesting financial issue that I have. In the book Robert Kiyosaki will give examples of was that he made money. The two primary ways have been small stocks and Real Estate. I’ve read my fair share of money making and finance books and a lot of them, as well as plenty of people say there is money to be made in Real Estate.
You look at the ideas, me being somewhat of an entrepuneur, and your mind start whirling through all the possiblities and the idea of being able to make a ton of money quite quickly through buying and selling real estate (I know some of you are surprised by me talking like this). When I think only about the financial side of the real estate business, it’s quite tempting to try and jump in. And that’s when I step back and think about some of the social implications.
I’ll start with a typical example. Pick up your average ‘Make millions in Real Estate’ book and one of it’s tips will be to go to the bankruptcy office, or look for foreclosure notices, those are places to get houses for dirt cheap. Never have I seen in ANY book or tape or information anything that addresses the needs or situation of the person that is bankrupt or foreclosing. If anything it might mention that they’ll be glad to have the money, but I highly doubt they are glad to lose their house. “Your misfortune is my fortune,” that’s basically what it is, and that just doesn’t sound right to me.
The other major problem with real estate that I see is the power it has to push people around, particularly poor people. Gentrification is somewhat of a buzzword, but it’s happening and it’s frustrating and sad. Pick any major city and what’s happening is people with low incomes, but people who had a stable home, are being pushed out of their residence and left to move somewhere else. Now that the city has become popular again, those with money are forcing (I’ll explain in another post) out those without money. This includes housing projects (Cabrini Green of Chicago is now condos). This troubles me.
I like the idea of buying a house some day. I like the idea of living in community with people in a place that we own. I worry that my purchasing and profiting will be at the expense of others. There is oppression in the way we do real estate and I want to have no part of it. I only hope I can find out a way that is possible.