finance

'It's depressing.' Why I refuse to sacrifice my 20s for financial security.

Home ownership and financial security require huge sacrifices for my generation, and I've realised they aren't sacrifices I'm prepared to make. I'm sorry, I'm just too busy living my best life, and I'm not prepared to apologise for that.

I'm constantly inundated with people around my age, in their 20s, sharing how they managed to scrape together a house deposit. These are the kind of stories I get to read about online constantly, or my nan can corner me about it over Mother's Day lunch, "See, you could buy a house, Mary!"

It's often presented as inspiring, but I always find the stories depressing. I could attempt to own a home but at what cost?

Saving up for a house deposit with rising house prices and slow wage growth means people my age who are buying homes aren't just not over-indulging in their 20s; they aren't indulging at all. It usually involves limited nights out, no takeaway coffees and limited or no travel. I suppose they've weighed it up and decided financial security is more important than these things, and maybe it is for them? Each to their own, right? But it just doesn't feel like the right thing for me. 

While you're here, watch the 5 money lessons your parents taught you that you should probably forget. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

I should also point out that I think it's depressing that this is the choice my generation has been presented with. There's no balanced way to live your life at the moment and get into the housing market - we can not have our $4.50 coffee and drink it too.

I've been friends with people saving up for a house in our challenging financial climate, and it's not easy. I should also be clear that it isn't just not buying a coffee every day. I'd probably give up one coffee a day for a house; it's about making life-altering decisions that often sitting out on things for the sake of your bank balance and not just little things, big things.

I've watched these friends bow out of social events, count how much they spend at the bar and stop themselves from buying a fabulous outfit. Obviously, that is their choice, and perhaps the end goal makes it worth it? But isn't half the fun of life the journey, and surely the journey should include a few cocktails and the occasional same-day order from The Iconic.

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I'm sorry, but I'm not prepared to do it. It's not because I'm busy living like Paris Hilton. Sadly, I'm still paying inner-city rent, and I'm not making a huge salary. I still have to make practical choices based on my income every day, but I am not ready to crack down on my spending. Honestly, I understand that life is not guaranteed. You could do all the right things in your 20s only to die in your 30s and never reap the benefits of your hard work. I know that is pessimistic and unlikely, but I really believe in enjoying the now.

I grew up with a parent who is chronically, sometimes catastrophically ill. Life could be perfect one day and absolute sh** the next. Living in the moment was the only way to survive. Not in a crazy, hedonistic way but with an ability to cherish the present and an understanding that life really is "what happens when you are busy making other plans." I can see the big picture, but I'm also dedicated to appreciating the smaller images that can create happiness and joy.

I love getting cocktails with my girlfriend, my cafe bought morning coffee is the highlight of my day and the idea of travelling after two years of a pandemic frankly feels good for my soul. I also love buying the people I love presents, deciding on a random Tuesday to grab some Ramen with a mate and buying a new lipstick to boost my day. I know that I'm meant to scrimp, save and sacrifice, buy a home, and work towards my future, but I feel like I'm neglecting the now if I do.

Listen to What The Finance where Mel Browne and Pallavi Sharda take you through the entire process of buying a house, step by step. Post continues after podcast.


The now is so bloody important to me. I understand the opposing view. Surely giving up a few things to own a home is worth it? But I'd say that's devaluing how much those things matter to me. Buying an outfit makes me feel good, fabulous and confident. Going out for dinners with my mates fills my cup and makes me feel refreshed, and you'll have to pry the avocado and toast out of my cold dead hands - I love delicious snacks!

Now, this isn't shade on people that have made those sacrifices; well done you! But I also don't think I should be judged or shamed for deciding that isn't how I want to spend or use my money. I want to enjoy my 20s to the full extent I can, and part of that enjoyment for me is going out, buying things and, yes, always drinking my coffee. I don't want to scrimp, save and sacrifice. I want to drink, party and be fabulous.

Feature Image: Instagram @maryrosem.

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