As I was sipping my coffee this morning I turned on HGTV and started watching 'Sweat Equity'. typical HG show, fix up your house, make it worth more, etc. The couple was in the process of fixing up the yard (looked like the house was maybe in a city surrounded by factory-type buildings or something. The yard was just a rectangle of dirt/cement enclosed with wire fencing). Anyway, they are going to the garden store to get the plantings. The host says 'landscaping is one of those things that you can add-on too as you have more money. Unlike say a kitchen remodel, where you can't add some cabints now and finish in in a year, you can do this with landscaping'. Scene cuts to garden-expert on the show and they are at the garden store. They want to keep to a $500 budget; they do not take the hosts advice and go over-budget by $160 bucks. Cut back to the house where they rented a rototiller for $100, have yard fixings (mulch, soil additive, rocks, etc) around $900 plus add in the cost of the plants, etc. Keep in mind the logical, sound advice given 5 minutes prior of 'you can always add-on with landscaping in the future, as money permits'. Then the host says 'one way to make the expensive project of landscaping affordable is to . . . . . take out a home equity loan!' A dumber statement I have never heard. Bad enough people live beyond their means, bad enough lenders lend to those who cannot afford the payments, bad enough 'no down payment' was deemed ok, bad enough advice of 'don't worrry about that ARM. You'll be in a better place financially when it hits'. Now there's a weekend fixer-upper show encouraging taking out a home equity loan . . for landscaping? Years ago I asked my dad what a home equity loan was. He told me and also told me they were not something to do. I asked why. 'Because if you fail to pay the loan back they will take your house. Nothing is worth losing your house over'. I had a great business teacher in college who basically said the same thing as my dad. He said that the only people who should take out home equity loans are people who have the money in the bank to pay it back. I don't see how some people think taking out a home equity loan for things like vacations, home improvements, new cars, college, etc. is a good idea. Other than a life-or-death medial situation I can't think of anything that is worth losing your home over. I may be in the minority here but . . . . if most folks think their house is an ATM, no wonder this country is in the mess it is right now. Yes I realize that the mess is by no means just these folk's fault but . . . with this 'ATM' mentality that lenders and borrowers have, it's no wonder things are falling apart.