So why is it so important to have a field (a productive asset) and a home?
“Your life will be dangling before you, and you will fear day and night, and you will not believe in your life.” The Sages read this verse as a description of someone who has no field of his own, forced to rely on others to have enough food to get by the next year, the next week, or even tomorrow. It also well describes the feeling of depression a person out of work experiences. It is thus of paramount importance to have a stream of income, and a back-up plan for when that stream runs dry.
The ancient Judean farmer accomplished this through his field. If blight threatened his pomegranate production, he could crank up his olive vat. In the modern economy, which is no less subject to cycles of boom and bust, a journalist can pivot to copywriting, a husband can rely on his wife’s income while he gets back up on his feet, and so on.
People are resilient and can overcome adversity, but having a field – be it a field of professional expertise or a field of wheat – is essential. So is a home, a financial objective far harder to achieve in the modern economy than in ancient times when land and building materials were more accessible.
The house, next on the Rambam’s list, provides a further level of security. The financial insecurity accompanying the lack of a home of one’s own has recently been shown in a Harvard study, which found that the household budgets of about one-third of Americans aged 65 or older are being ravished by the costs of housing. As we might expect, it shows Americans who own their own homes fare better than renters, and that the cohort aged 65 and up have achieved the highest rate of homeownership of any age bracket.
So what is the problem? The problem is that those within this age group who don’t own their homes, i.e., the poorer segment of American seniors, are paying nearly twice as much for their housing as their wealthy cohorts. Fully half of these “cost-burdened” households are spending 50 percent or more of their income on housing, with the remainder expending at least 30 percent.
The report also notes a consequent large increase in multigenerational housing, with the proportion of older Americans living with children, grandchildren, parents or in-laws having reached 20% of the older population.
Seniors in a financial predicament, but with a home, could at least rent out, or sell the home. In short, for long-term solvency and stability, there’s no place like home.
 Devarim 28:66.
 Menachot 103b.