So, everyone who reads this blog knows about my obsession with savings, but in the real world, I don’t talk too much about money. Sure, I’ll sing the praises of the Roth IRA to a coworker, but I don’t talk about my salary or my savings rate or my net worth.
Knowing this, I guess it’s not surprising that some of my relatives have tried to give me advice about money. I always kind of want to say, “Don’t you know who I am?” but then I remember that no, they don’t, and I prefer it that way.
My uncle gave me a long pep talk about buying a house, using all of the old lines, “You’re just throwing that money into someone else’s pocket,” “You need a hedge against inflation,” etc. In my family, owning your own home is Making It. My own parents traded up their houses for years, and only downsized recently to a still-spacious 3 bedroom house. Said uncle actually owns 2 houses (or… has a mortgage on two houses, but it means the same thing). Even the poorer branches of our family are made up of homeowners.
Now, Chad and I are waiting for good reasons. We could buy at least a townhouse in our current neighborhood, and it might not even cost much more than we pay in rent (except for the giant outlay of cash for a down payment). But we’re concerned about where we want to live long-term. If Chad finishes school and the job market still hasn’t improved, we’d probably move. Renting makes that much easier. Even if we stay in D.C., we don’t want to limit Chad’s options.
Personally, I waver between really wanting a place of my own (where I can paint the walls and install the walk-in closet of my dreams) and never wanting the responsibility or bloated utility bills that come with owning a house. Some days, I think I could enjoy renting for decades.
Recent developments have brought all of these issues to the forefront of my mind. My younger sister, who just got engaged, is talking about buying a house with her fiance this summer. Their situation is a little different from ours – they live & work in small towns, and both are earning healthy salaries as engineers. I still think Chad and I are making the right choice for us!
Still, when Chad asked if I’d feel bad that my sister bought a house before me, I said yes. He said, “Me too.”
We’re not going to run out and buy a house just out of some perceived competition with my baby sister, but isn’t it funny how the smartest choice isn’t always the one that makes you feel the best?