To mortgage or not to mortgage

That is the current question.

Looking around at the experiences of my peers, the whole owning your own house seems to be a life goal. If you don’t own your own home, then how can you be truly successful? The consensus is that you haven’t made it until you own a piece of land that comes with a mortgage, land taxes and never ending maintenance work.

What happens when that has never really been your dream? When you have bought into that because it makes others happy and gives them a tangible stick by which to measure you. It always strikes me as funny as no matter what the house looks like – it is just not as good as the one so-and-so has. Or it is missing something that the onlooker would have preferred to make their own experience better. Always something to maintain, something to renovate to be up to the latest trends, new decorating to be done, and the list goes on.

Breaking into the housing market in Australia is like trying to find the lost city of Atlantis. You think you are close and it once again becomes an ephemeral thing. A bit like wandering the desert and you see this beautiful oasis just in the distance, only for it to be a mirage that shimmers away as you draw close, and reappear just over there. Never ending cycle of always just out of reach.

I see those in their 60s signing up million dollar mortgages that are over 30 years, and I wonder if it is worth it? You won’t pay it off in time, you can’t leave it to the kids (thanks inheritance tax) and you can’t do much because the house needs work, the mortgage needs paying and you don’t have much time left to be in a job (unless self-employed and that too has an expiry date).

I never was big on the mortgage thing, even way back in my first marriage. It just felt like I was tied to this one spot, and because it is such a big expense, everything else suffered. Somewhere in my ancestry I am sure there are gypsies! I couldn’t then, and still can’t now, imagine being tied to one place forever. I want to explore, live in different places and not feel tied down.

So I suppose there lies the whole crux of this for me. After a while in a place I feel stifled and suffocated. It drains my energy to be stuck in one place and renting allows me to move around and be in different suburbs – not that I have moved that much thanks to kids and schooling. Having a mortgage and being tied to that would inevitably suffocate me.

I am going to be going against the whole “this shows you’ve made it” genre and instead find a cheap rental in some rural spot so that I have a base and invest in a decent caravan. I am super lucky that I can work from almost anywhere, so I can travel and be in places that are not home for a weekend. I want to visit those wild remote areas of Australia, and save to visit the wild remote areas of the world. I don’t want to be stuck sending my money into a home, that although sounds great and stable, will eventually create more anxiety and stress and unhappiness.

It’s definitely a not to mortgage for me. And definitely not what most do. It is right for who I am, and what I want. I envy those, to a degree, that find placing roots permanently is the best option for them. My roots are not in a place, but people.


6 thoughts on “To mortgage or not to mortgage”

  1. I cannot imagine getting a mortgage just as I’m about to retire. That’s just bonkers. Such people must be made out of money. Here in sunny CA of the USA, the financial benefits of a mortgage are incredible but inflation has boosted the cost of buying a home way beyond what an average person can afford. Today’s young people cannot do what we once did 35 years ago.

    Wife and I are glad we bought a home when we did. Our mortgage is less than the rental for a studio apartment today while property values have tripled. The home mortgage interest deduction is about the only big tax deduction left for ordinary people. In California, they can’t increase the assessed valuation by more than 2% per year or property tax above 1% of the assessed value.

    I have a sister who is a nomad. She establishes her residency in whatever state is convenient and travels around the country in a truck and a trailer. If I hadn’t got married I might have done the same.

    The truth is that to the extent you own something it also owns you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If it is your own home (as in you live in it) there are no deductions on taxes. Only if it is an investment home.

      Here a home requires a deposit of up to 20% of the value of the house. You can get lower deposits, but that is just a false economy as you take out a personal loan for the difference. With homes starting at $350K, this is just way out of reach.

      I agree with the truth. Certainly is the way


  2. I definitely see your point, with the freedom of not being tied down to one particular dwelling or locale. I love to travel, and I often feel the pull to just chuck it all and be mobile the rest of my life, finding and creating living adventures near and far.

    I’m in a somewhat unique situation in that I paid off the mortgage on Bonnywood almost a decade ago. There’s no monthly chunk out of my budget, although I still have to deal with property taxes and upkeep. Still, it’s done and paid for, so at any point I can move on to the next phase without much of a financial hit. And since I’ve never been a big fan of Texas (too many conservatives and violent weather; I’m only here because of no-longer applicable career circumstances and I’m just waiting for Partner to retire), I suspect that there’s a big move in my future…

    Liked by 1 person

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