Q&A: Why is “my home equity doesn’t count unless I sell” a terrible thing to say?

Q. Why is “my home equity doesn’t count [as real wealth] unless I decide to sell” a terrible thing to say?

A.  Because :

Four out of five working households have retirement savings of less than one times their annual income.

Four out of five households have a net worth of $110,000 or less.

Nearly half (47 percent) of households would have trouble covering an unexpected $400 expense…

If you’re a middle-income homeowner who bought prior to Seattle’s boom, it may very well be the case that you don’t feel wealthy.  But if you are sitting on a quarter million (or more) in home equity, you  aren’t sharing the experience of  your peers who aren’t lucky enough to be in your shoes.

You may not want to tap your equity, but you can.

You may not want to take profits and move to a less expensive home, but you could.

The vast majority of them do not and will not ever have those options.

(Where’d these numbers come from? National Institute on Retirement Security U.S. Census  and Federal Reserve)

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