If you’re like me, you’ve been brought up being told that buying your own home is life’s ultimate goal; a rite of passage that all young people should strive to achieve. After all, it’s the ‘Australian Dream’ right? But in today’s day and age, is signing the next 30 years of your income away and locking yourself into the same location REALLY at the top of your to do-list, is that really what most GEN Y’s dream of doing right now?
For some, this version of the Australian Dream; the 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house atop an 800m2 block of land still rings true. But for many of us (me included), our goals and dreams have shifted dramatically and the idea of handing over hundreds, if not thousands of our hard earned dollars in monthly mortgage repayments is becoming less and less appealing. At least in our twenties anyway.
I battled this concept for a while, asking myself what should I do? Turns out, I have been asking myself the wrong question. Instead of asking what ‘should’ I do, the real question is, what do I WANT to do?
I am 26 and I love travelling. There is still so many places I want to see and things I want to experience but it seems there’s been a niggling voice inside my head trying to question my every move.
“Ok Em, you’ve done the big 2 year trip overseas, isn’t it time to put your big girl pants on and start setting yourself up for the future?”.
But what does my ideal future look like? Well I guess that depends who you ask. A baby boomer (like a grand parent or parent) would probably tell me that ‘yesterday’ is the time to get my foot into the property market and start building my ‘nest egg’ for the future. Someone else might tell me that I’d be crazy not to find myself a good ‘career’ job again and start putting away money for a house deposit. But ask ME what my ideal future looks like and I would tell you something like this:
To me, my ideal future means waking up every single morning with no regrets for the things that I DIDN’T do and the adventures I DIDN’T chase while I had the opportunity. You will never hear me say “I wish I had of done (insert amazing experience here) when I had the chance”. Setting myself up for the future means being rich in experiences, not things. That’s not to say I don’t want to be successful in my life and in business, but my idea of ‘success’ and the ‘Australian dream’ does not only come in the form of 4 walls and a garage.
A baby boomer’s heart would probably skip a beat reading the above paragraph, as the mentality they grew up with is so left field to what I am suggesting. But that’s ok, times were different back then. But us Gen Y’s, we’re different. We’re lucky enough to be the generation of choice. We’re the tech savvy millennial’s and we’re ambitious. There has never been an easier or more affordable time to go and do the things your grandparents and parents wished they had of done when they were younger. For the first time, freedom of choice is the clear and achievable alternative to the way things have always been done.
It takes a lot to step out of the box and move away from the ‘norm’ and I will be honest, at times it’s been a constant battle reminding myself that I am 100% doing what is right for me, not what other people think is right for me and that takes courage. When someone questions my motive to once again, pack up my life and venture overseas; instead of letting their concerns and opinions find their way into my subconscious, I instead think of a time or event when I was truly living and doing exactly what I wanted to do in that moment. Usually a unique travelling experience comes to mind, like hiking up to Machu Picchu. And that is as good a reminder as any that I am on the right track.
The New Australian Dream…
So give yourself permission to be selfish in your twenties, you only get these precious years once. There is no benefit in getting caught up in what other people think you should do. The important question to ask yourself is what do you want to do? Maybe one day I will want the house and the crippling mortgage that comes with it. But for now, all I want is to explore as much of the world as I can, document my experiences and hopefully inspire you to chase the things that set off the fireworks in your stomach.
If exploring the world is on higher on your to-do list right now than buying your own home, here are some juicy ideas that will inspire you to just go for it… (psst, the second link is my absolute favourite!)