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.