Some of you might find this hard to believe, but when I was in high school I was a manager of an Arthur Treacher's fast food restaurant. They're out of business now -- I could very well be the reason. But more on that in a second.
Imagine that, me around free food. But one of the things I liked about being manager at the time was I really did get free food. And not only me. The storeowner was very generous and provided this little benefit for anyone who worked there. Pretty soon, we all came to expect that. And boy, did I take advantage!
Imagine our shock then when he announced we had to start paying for what we ate -- not full price, but half price. Still not bad.
"We have to keep an eye on inventory," he said.
I thought it was fair, but it upset a lot of people. We had all gotten used to these freebies and we saw them as our culinary birthright, I guess.
I think the housing market today is the same way. Believe me, I have a point, so stick with me.
I think people have gotten spoiled with these obscenely low interest rates (search). They got so low and stayed so low for so long, that everyone started thinking 5 percent 30-year mortgage rates were the norm.
Well, they're not. And they're moving up again. But they're hardly horrible again.
Now a 30-year mortgages are over 6 percent. But I can remember not too long ago, when they were at 8 percent. And when a fellow named Jimmy Carter was president, they were darn near 20 percent.
Perspective is everything.
Imagine if when I started working at that Arthur Treacher's, I was told, "Oh yeah, you can eat the food for half-price." Good deal, right? Absolutely, but not when it started out being free.
We've all been teased, tempted and spoiled by rates that sounded a lot like free food. Trust me, we're all still getting a good deal. We're just now digesting the fact it's not "as" good a deal. It's hard to swallow and like my Arthur Treacher's experience, it even sounds fishy.
Just something to chew on the next time you want some economic food for thought.
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