While homeownership has often been cited as the American dream, more would-be buyers are calling foul, saying that, in many cases, renting is the more financially prudent path. In an American Public Radio segment, one couple said that some people pity them because they rent rather than buy, in part because they equate renting with penny-pinching and buying with financial bounty. Nicolas Retsinas, head of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, said that there is often a stigma attached to renting. “Rent could be, not to be too glib… a four-letter word,” Retsinas said. But with about a quarter of U.S. homes underwater, and expected to make that list this year, financial experts say that renters may have the last laugh.