Now the honeymoon is over.

When they returned from their honeymoon they found they had been burgled. Not a happy ending, nor was it a happy beginning. As ‘he’ was running a good business and ‘she’ had a good salary the easiest procedure was to secure and buy a new home So they did. Because the region was in an economic slump they were able to buy a mansion at a greatly reduced price. DINK means Double Income No Kids, but newly weds cannot assume that they will always be in this state. And such was their case; she soon needed a year off work.

Now, as I may have mentioned, the region was in an economic slump and small businesses couldn’t always bring in a steady income; extra income was needed. There was his old house; couldn’t this be let out so that the rent would help pay their mortgage? Not so easy, the home had been used by “friends” on the understanding that they would do the necessary maintenance and improvements but this hadn’t happened. The home hadn’t been trashed, but it needed repairs and a new kitchen to say the least. A land agent was consulted; he looked the place over, was unenthusiastic and made a derisory offer of about three quarters of the possible market value. Well it did need a new kitchen!

As the slump continued, his business survived, but it was getting harder and harder to meet the mortgage repayments on their new home. Time to call on ‘super mum’ and ‘super dad’. They flew across the continent to answer the urgent call for help. Well, they weren’t all that super, but nevertheless three months later the old house was spick and span, painted within and without and with gleaming new kitchen and bathroom. Fit for fairly impoverished royalty.

While the labour was cheap, about one tenth the value of the house had been spent on the fit out. But the slump meant that for a quick sale they would be lucky to get the land agent’s original derisory offer. Quick now, do your mental arithmetic. Did they lose out? Did they waste money?

The answer to the two above questions is NO! They all had an interesting time rebuilding the old home. Can you strip and repaint damaged surfaces? Can you put up and cornice a new ceiling? Can you tell an electrician what is wrong with the house circuits? Can you retrofit a bath? Can you redesign and supervise the fitting of kitchen cabinets, not in theory but in solid practice? Sure it cost money, but there is something very satisfying in buying materials that go into conspicuous places and leave a permanent reminder of money well spent.

The mum and dad agreed that their work was more interesting and exciting than paying the same money for an over organised tour under the patronising guidance of a professional tour guide. Did I mention that it was a sea side town looking out over the Indian Ocean? On many evenings the lucky couple strolled along the beaches watching the sunset enjoying the warm water and having a barbeque meal at almost no expense? This was much superior to sitting in a bar and being told how wonderful the scenery was outside the window! It also beats watching the world news on TV.

What was achieved? Somewhere computer memories indicate that next time the family looked at their bank balances different black figures will show up on the screen. This abstract data is now called ‘money’.

What if a developer buys the place and bulldozes the house down? This will not cause a problem as long as the developer pays a good price for the property. We can’t worry about the unpredictable future; we should be responsible and constructive in the present.

Will the original couple be able to use this property to help secure their new home? Whichever way you look at it the answer is yes.

What if a family of battlers come along looking desperately for a home in the lower price range? They will be very lucky.

GOD, give us:
The serenity to accept what we cannot change;
The courage to change what we can, and
The wisdom to know the difference.

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