What Do You Really Own?

Ownership costs your future self in money and time.

Ownership: The ultimate and exclusive right conferred by a lawful claim or title, and subject to certain restrictions to enjoy, occupy, possess, rent, sell, use, give away, or even destroy an item of property. (I only use dictionaries when I'm trying to prove a point.)

Let’s play a little game.

How many times a day do you hear someone use the word “my”? And of those times, how many times are they referring to a possession? Now, of that number of items, how many of these things did that person have to buy? Even more specific, how many of those things cost over $5,000?

Let’s say you got down to about 3 “things”. Of these 3 things, how many does this person actually own?

Now, how many things do you actually own?

Becoming a home owner, buying new furniture, and purchasing a new vehicle all cost a large amount of money. For most of us, purchasing these things requires some type of support or financial coverage. Whether you need a mortgage, a loan, or are financing, your purchase was big enough that it isn’t something you could pay for out of pocket.

So when I ask you how many things you own, I mean – how many things are in your full possession?


Buddy #1: Bought a boat on the weekend, thinking of taking her out on the water soon. Buddy #2: Oh no way, bought a Sea-Doo myself. We should hit the lake together. Me: How much did it cost? Did you pay for it up front? Did you actually “buy” it?

Okay, so I would never actually say those things, but I'm always thinking them. When did we start to believe that everything we’ve put $500 towards is actually ours? I appreciate that you are excited about the new things you purchased over the weekend, I really am. But I’m also a little bit worried.

Referring to something as your “own” is something that I am sure (not sure at all) was crafted by a really intelligent marketing and sales team.

“Become a homeowner today!” “New Owner’s Incentive if you buy a car this week!”

Did you know that only 19.9% of Americans have paid off their mortgages? And only 28.2% of Canadians have paid off their mortgages!

That means that of the 36 million people that live in Canada, only 10 million are living mortgage free. And even more shockingly, of the 300 million people that live in the US, only 64 million are living mortgage free.

When I walk or drive through my local communities and neighbourhoods I see so many large homes with a minimum of 2 vehicles per household. But of those “things”, how many of them have the family paid off?

What you “own” is only defined by what you possess. And what you want to possess can take as little or as long as you choose. Remember that ownership costs more than what you pay in this moment. Ownership costs your future self in money and time.

Next time you make a large purchase, remember that what you can afford in that moment, is what you own (and that might only be your front door).

What does ownership mean to you? Let me know in the comments.