It’s beginning to fade into the mists of history a little – albeit not nearly enough, although we’ll hold off on any quasi-political talk – but it’s worth taking a moment here to realize precisely what was lost in the crash of ’07-’08.
The natural and unavoidable end to a decade-plus of unfettered housing starts, the nearly unregulated granting of mortgages, and a healthy dose of big-finance malfeasance (seriously, do a little digging; the amount of naked criminal activity in those years was sickening), the crash not only wiped out the savings and equity of millions of Americans, but also contributed to the housing crunch that we’re still living through. Most of the jobs that have returned to the economy have been created in areas that were already somewhat squeezed for housing, which has caused rents to rise dramatically; beyond that, we’re also seeing an increase in renters, for a number of factors, which contributes not only to scarcity (and prices rising even further) but also to the sad irony of houses sitting vacant in places where people can’t find apartments to rent.
All of which is to say: a lot of people are renting, more than have in quite some time, and though rents continue to skyrocket in most areas of the country, the trend shows no signs of stopping. So if you’re one of us whose major expenditure each month is the rent, you have our sincere sympathy, and it’s worth thinking about whether or not to drop a further few bucks each month to ensure that your belongings are covered in the event of some unforeseen destruction, since, sad and unsurprising as it is to say, there’s a nonzero chance your landlord really won’t care all that much – and even if he or she does, there’s no guarantee your possessions are covered by the property’s insurance.