Not Just About Money: Renting vs Owning

In his latest book titled At Home, Bill Bryson says “Houses aren’t refuges from history. They are where history ends up.” I love this quote for many reasons – not the least of which is the way it touches on the key to my biggest passion: real estate.

My continued fascination with how people use their personal space lies at the heart of why I love my job. I can show the same property to a dozen different clients and they will all have slightly different plans for how they would adapt it to make it their home.

Although I am an owner at heart, I do not believe one requires legal title to their space in order to call it their home. This follows a strong belief that everyone ends up living where they do because of a history of events – good or bad – that leads to decisions about where they need to be at a given point in time. Hence my assertion that renters often have just as much invested in their personal living space as do owners and the decision to rent versus buy is sometimes loaded with considerations that have nothing to do with affordability.

Change in philosophy

This is reflected in a recent episode of my audio podcast series where my producer and I are joined by a retiree who made the philosophical switch from owner to renter in order to match his current stage in life. He freely admits that when he was first married and starting a family, he could not imagine anything other than owning a home. In his view, this represented security, practicality and the status that comes with owning property. In other words, he felt all grown up. The stereotypical owner is someone who is established, settled and trustworthy.

The renter, by contrast is usually considered flighty, unreliable and in need of some stability. In other words, owning property demonstrates maturity. Like all stereotypes, there is much more to it than meets the eye.

Later in life – that is, once the kids had flown the coop – our retiree and his wife decided it was time to re-think their living space and how they wanted to live out their golden years. The result has been a significant shift in philosophy.
Footloose and fancy free

The yard he so proudly tended all those years had become burdensome and the uncertain costs of maintaining an aging structure suddenly overshadowed the pride of ownership he had harboured his entire adult life. Their decision to rent a condo apartment has given them the freedom to travel without fretting about returning to a flooded basement or piles of snow to shovel. They have access to a pool and expansive garden space tended to by others (the management company). Although he claims he is also way ahead financially (which I dispute), the shift in lifestyle has left him and his spouse feeling rather footloose and fancy free.

They are no doubt dream tenants, something I suspect reflects all those years as proud owners. But, make no mistake, they’re proud of this home too. It just happens to be someone else’s responsibility.

Hair style battles for over 50s Spot the $500 do

What do you notice first on a woman: hair or shoes? I’m in the hair first camp because it really does make a big statement about us, and within the first two seconds of meeting. Bad hair can drain your confidence – we rely on our hairstyles to make us feel, well, great.

Admittedly, with peri-menopause, hair texture seems to change – hormonal changes can cause hair to fall out, so it gets thinner. But these days there are no rules about hair length and hair style for baby boomers any more.

Canadian women spend a lot on hair – products and styling – to enhance our look. Have you noticed a big gap between what different stylists charge us?
What a difference a hairstyle can make

Getting to the point – a war between stylists. Not just on price, you understand, but on what you end up with for your money. I had a shocking surprise recently. It compelled me to ask can you tell the difference between a $500 style and a $45 do? Here’s a test … take a look at these two photos, and see if you can spot which cost the most. (These are not salon standard, retouched professional photos, so apologies for the quality … as long as you can see the hair.)

From Confusion to Clarity In 7 Words or Less

Ken Aber and Ian Chamandy form the powerhouse behind The Blueprint. This is not a product or service, but a dynamic and innovative process that allows businesses and individuals to enact great vision by “stripping away layers of varnish until the real wood is revealed”. Spend just 30-minutes in their company, and you instantly want them to help you create a new blueprint for your business. They’re irresistible.

They are fun, they are dynamic, they are highly intelligent. Being seasoned in business, and highly successful in their own right, they are also extremely good at what they do, with an amazing track record behind them.

Implemented right, The Blueprint is one way to get to profitability sooner.

Ian Chamandy is a proud strategist, quick to cut through the chaff to get to the wheat. Equally adept at business planning, Ken Aber is the type to listen and observe, then, in concert with his partner, lead businesses to find their cores, their corporate DNA: in other words, a brilliant tactician with a strategic mindset. What a dream team!

By the end of The Blueprint business planning process, an entire organization (or an individual) can succinctly answer the “Why should I chose you?” question in seven words or less. Two or three words are even better.

It’s not as simple as creating a catchy ‘tag-line’, although that is one salient part of the process. It’s more about getting to the core dialogue of a business and creating a plan, a business architecture, so that everyone involved in a business changes their perception of a company’s core proposition in mere minutes, and starts living the company story in every moment. This is a radical change that penetrates deep into the heart of corporate culture – in the best of possible ways.

Getting on for seven years ago, Ken and Ian started having a conversation about business planning – in the upper level of Balzac, purveyor of excellent coffee in Toronto’s Distillery District. They realized they had a shared passion for strategic planning, and shared frustration about the conventional planning process. They intuitively knew there was a better way to go about this – a way in which people would be so inspired by the plan that they are similarly inspired to implement it, and live and breathe it every moment of their working lives.
Business planning is broken

To better understand how the business planning process was broken – and if you’ve ever spent two or three days with fellow executives in an off-site strategic planning meeting, bored out of your mind, and convinced that you could spend your time better, you would understand the ‘broken’ description – this pair stripped it down to its simplest terms.
Who are you?
Where are you going?
How are you going to get there?

“This is effective for organizations, charities, individuals or even people like politicians”, said Chamandy. “We have a conversation that revolves around why I should choose, you, donate to you, work for your organization, or vote for you. Even why I should hire you. It’s the single most important question in business. You may have the greatest product, service, people or business, but if you cannot answer the ‘Why should I choose you?’ question, you are going to fail.”
Clarity and brevity are all that really matter

Ken Aber & Ian Chamandy The BLueprintHow Blueprint works is to hold between four and six half-day sessions with a leadership team (or individual) to guide them through the Blueprint process. Well described on their website, the four components are Core Proposition (what defines you at the ‘DNA’ level), Business Architecture, Core Dialogue (which allows everyone in the company to articulate answers to questions in ways that are meaningful to them) and the Company Story.

According to Aber, all of this is arrived at following “three or four hours of Ian and I, in a collaborative process of course, asking questions and saying “bull” to most of the long-winded answers, until we have stripped away all the layers of varnish. We believe that business leaders have all the answers, and that The Blueprint is the process for extracting it, getting to clarity quickly and creating succinct core propositions, core dialogues and company stories.”

Ask any of their clients, and they will tell you that it works. And it works extraordinarily effectively. If only they’d been around 20 years ago when I was a senior executive in a software company: we could never quite put our finger on our core differentiator. The Blueprint would have been perfect.
Blueprint: core propositions that work
United Van Lines – a higher standard of care
Interiors Inc. – opening sooner
Famous People Players – we inspire people to achieve more
A cancer charity – more birthdays