Thursday, May 6, 2010

Stocks vs. Houses

I happened to turn on CNN this afternoon just as the stocks were flying down. I was washing the dishes, and I looked out the window and wondered if I were witnessing the crash of everything. Riots in Athens, earlier the flooding in Nashville, Great Britain possibly unable to form a new government, oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico near my cousins' retirement homes and lovely Fairhope, Alabama.

Buy real estate, is always the cry when stocks go down. Housing is considered the safer bet - and it is all betting. And as I looked outside I saw why - the grass and trees are real, you can see them and touch them. My stocks - such as they are - are on paper. I get a monthly statement and I send my financial person money in the spring to offset taxes.

Land is everything - I remember that incredible moment in Gone With the Wind, when Scarlett reaches down and picks up the soil. She knows the value of the land and will do whatever it takes to keep it. Stockowners do what - reach into the pantry for Proctor & Gamble products? Somehow it's not the same.

So as I leave the office now to go show - nay, sell! - a house this evening I am sure we will talk about the market, and I am sure I will voice my opinion that it's in real estate that investments should be made - both financial and emotional.