3) More privacy and greater lifestyle flexibility. Just a few weeks ago Matt, one of our youth ministers, and his wife Elizabeth, bought their first home. About a week after closing, I asked Elizabeth how they were enjoying their new house. "Wow, I can't believe how quiet it is," she said. Then she went on to tell me how it was the first time in their married lives when they didn't have to put up with other apartment renters' stereos.

When you own your own home you set the rules. If you want it quiet at 10:00, just turn off the lights and shut the door. If you want a garden, plant one. If you don't want to listen to the CD player at 2:00 in the morning, don't turn it on. It's great!

4) Price stability. Unlike renters, who usually have to contend with annual lease increases, most homeowners enjoy greater price stability. Most fixed rate mortgage loans are structured so that the principal and interest portion of the monthly payments stay about the same for the full term of the repayment period. Historically, this has been a great advantage because, due to the effects of inflation, you repay the mortgage with "cheaper" dollars.

5) Tax advantages. Although I don't usually advise investment decisions be driven solely by tax considerations, tax benefits can be a great way to ice the cake. I believe this is especially true with home ownership. In most cases, the interest paid on your home loan is tax deductible. Additionally, there may be other tax benefits available to homeowners that renters don't get. Of course, as is the case with anything else, consult a competent advisor before making any investment or tax related decision.

Steve Diggs presents the No Debt No Sweat! Christian Money Management Seminar at churches and other venues nationwide. Visit Steve on the Web at www.stevediggs.com or call 615-834-3063. The author of several books, today Steve serves as a minister for the Antioch Church of Christ in Nashville. For 25 years he was President of the Franklin Group, Inc. Steve and Bonnie have four children whom they have home schooled. The family lives in Brentwood, Tennessee.

A complete financial compendium, 19 chapters
• What you can do today to get out of debt and kill the Debt Monster
• A,B,C's of handling your money God's way
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• How mutual funds work
• How to stop fighting over money
• What to teach your kids about money
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• How to develop a budget that works-FOREVER!
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