One of the benefits of owning a home is that a mortgage instills financial discipline. And when it is paid off, you have a big chunk of savings in the form of real estate. But there is no reason why long-term renters cannot save too, in 401(k)s and elsewhere. Indeed, as the recent real estate market illustrated, homeowners take a risk if too much of their net worth is tied up in a house. Renters who make it a priority to save can often have a more balanced portfolio.