Like all children of parents, arguments happen. It probably happened as a kid when you were denied that thing you wanted – and for good reason. You probably didn’t need that thing. Your parents were smart, you were just a kid. But as you get older, the arguments start to get a personal – like marriage, homeownership, and children.
This is a shocking progression. Within 20 years we went from your parents telling you why owning a Batman action figure was a bad idea, to why not owning a home is a bad idea. That’s an argument justifying saving $20 to justifying why you ought to spend over a million. In my father’s words: “You need to grow up. Real adults get married, buy houses, start families.”
I get that. Adults certainly do those things at varying degrees. But as a now 28-year-old male – you want all those things now? In this market? Who flipped the sudden shame-game switch?
On my Facebook, I see posts from my friends: sad emoticons and cries of helplessness about how Toronto is so unaffordable to own a house in. Why is there a general feeling of millennial malcontent when it comes to homeownership? If basically every economist told you that Toronto housing market is a bubble, why would you ignore it? Haven’t we always been told to buy low and sell high? Why does that go out the window?
We frequently confuse the acquisition of goods as necessary rites of passage in our life: the car, the house. We don’t need those things now, but social ideology tells you that you ought to get those things to show people you are “#adulting”. But at what sacrifice?
What if I told you that if you got that house in Toronto, you would be eliminating your ability to travel internationally for the foreseeable future? That you have assigned yourself a life sentence of mortgage payments? That you’d have to go from tenant to property manager overnight? (My sister’s laundry machine broke recently. That sucks. She has to pay for it on top of her mortgage. If my laundry machine breaks? It’s not my problem. It’s my superintendent’s.)
Growing up isn’t buying things you can’t realistically afford to manage or pay for. Growing up is understanding what you can manage and what you can afford without sacrificing your life.
Don’t let other people tell you what it means to be a grown up. You’re an adult already. You can figure that out for yourself.
Only you can know when you’re ready.
Note: I remain pro-home ownership, but only when the time is right for the individual. No need to let others pressure you into a big financial decision!