Peer pressure, or "mind your own damned business"
I was just informed that in order to be a member of the Expatriates/Former expatriates/Returnee club in Jamaica, I have to own real estate ON Jamaican soil. I was also threatened with ostracism if I failed to comply. My financial assets are no one's business, so I was shocked when I was told what a failure I am because I don't own a house ON Jamaican soil. The last time I checked this blog, I was not vying for the Miss Jamaica Popularity contest, so why would I give a rat's ass what anyone thinks?
Two years ago, I had a conversation with a friend of mine, a North African diamond trader with 1 1/2 wives. I told him that I wanted to buy a house in JM. He laughed at me when I told him how much it would cost, and gave me the information on a house in Tuscany for a little less than that, with literally zero red tape. Just last week I talked myself out of buying a boat because although I fantasise about living on the bay, I get terribly sea-sick, so I can forget about piloting it myself. I bought myself a custom-built laptop computer instead. There is always a good reason to buy a new laptop.
If I don't buy the house in Jamaica, people will think I'm poor. That's okay. I'm an international hobo. My "friends" promised not to talk to me when (if) I visit Jamaica without stories about difficult tenants, property tax and mortgage rates.
The fact is, these people don't realise that what they really own are multiple mortgages. You don't own the house if mortgage deed is not in your possession. Don't bother boasting about what you own if you're still making payments on it.
Years ago, a client who was closing out his mortgage told me that if he had known how long it would have taken to repay a mortgage from a Jamaican financial institution, he would have bought his house with cash. I learnt from his mistake.
Furthermore, I'm not doing any business in Jamaica because the moment my name appears on a mortgage document, I'll be the subject of gossip. A: "Shaggy's girl is buying a house in Jamaica mi dear" B: "Lawks-a-massy missis she couldn' buy a bigga one? She a come back yah so?" A: "Mi nu know still" B: "She nuh have nuh 'ouse inna OOOOOO?" A: "Mi nuh know still".
Two years after I left home, I was traumatised once when a financial officer was bold enough to divulge my financial information to an inquisitive member of the Public. It's funny how no-one reprimanded her about that.
I feel that the persons who have threatened to ostracise me, are buying mortgages (not property) to prove that they are in the it crowd. Nothing wrong with that, although it really is an expensive way to buy your self-esteem
Fact is, they can't afford to live in any of the number of houses they've so grandly purchased. Nothing wrong with that.
All of them still live with their parents. Nothing wrong with that.
And they have no disposable income because they had to borrow money to make downpayments, which they're still paying back with part time work. Nothing wrong with that.
Some have even had to auction off their possessions so that they can afford to eat lunch at KFC. So they're both debt-ridden and obese. No comment.
Should I listen to these people bully me because I don't want to keep up appearances, because I'm honest about my financial situation?
I don't think so.