03 June 2011

Need a House? Hit Up Your Grandparents!

Need to avoid the inheritance tax?  Perhaps you are looking to make some return OF your money (note the not "on" your money) and you are considered old enough to be "retired."  The best investment?  Buy your grandkids a house!  At least that's the mantra in England.

It seems as though that is what all the hipster g-ma's and g-dad's are doing these days, never mind that house prices are falling faster in Britain than in nearing debt default Spain!  You are guaranteed a good return if you lend to your grandparents (or just buy the house outright).  What is bound to go wrong?  At least with this model, the big banks don't get fatter, and it might put a floor under prices, but what happens if the grandparents default?  Chances are grandma and grandpa just might need those funds tied up in a grandkid's house to cover medical expenses for something like say, oh, cancer?  I bet that will support the housing market for the old country, huh?

Obviously, this is so ludicrous it isn't funny.  The whole idea is to encourage investment, and thus savings for retirement is so that every generation of citizen is self reliant and self sufficient.  With this model, we've completely blown up the traditional cycle of economics, and created a systemic problem waiting to happen (like say, morally worse and on a greater social scale than even mortgage fraud and the housing collapse that started this whole mess).

But ya know, it just means that as we plug along in our debt, deflation spiral, what's a little more gasoline on the fire?

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