Is purchasing a home worth the sacrifices?

You struggle to acquire at the prime of your youth only for heirs to sell

In Summary

• Decades of high interest rates and mortgages are the bane of our existence

Illustration of mortgage payments
Illustration of mortgage payments

I've lived in my apartment for a little over a year now. In that little time, I lost two neighbours. My neighbour to the south died a month after I moved in. The neighbour to the east died about eight months later.

I didn't know them, they didn't know me. In all honesty, I concluded they were dead after not seeing them for a while. You see, where we live, people don't wail and scream when people die. In fact, even mourners coming to the house of the deceased is unheard of.

This is not about death, rather about life. These neighbours of mine clearly owned their homes. They were elderly people way past their prime, so they lived a long and, I presume, successful life. Since they owned their homes, the assets have clearly been passed down to their next of kin.

However, these two prime real estate homes remain vacant to date! In fact, it took several months for the next of kin to clear up these apartments. With furniture and remnants of the deceased's lives being scattered in the streets for strangers to take or thrown into bins to be collected for disposal.

It got me thinking…

Some 50 years ago, my dead neighbours were probably in the same predicament I am in now. Faced with the pressures of being a homeowner in your mid-thirties to ‘secure the future’. At the same time, going through the roughest patch of your life just so you can meet the societal expectation of being a homeowner.

Being a homeowner has been turned into a somewhat rite of passage. Our families and societies at large expect us to have ‘something to show’ as a measure of success. They've turned these unrealistic expectations into milestones that will remain a far-fetched dream for many.

Buying assets or real estate is not an easy feat for many. In fact, if you are not from generational wealth or earning upwards of six figures, you might as well forget it. Otherwise, just like most inexperienced buyers, prepare yourself for the high interest rates and mortgages that bind you for decades.

For one to get a foot in the game, they must prepare for the long game. The endless sacrifices and struggles one has to battle with in the name of buying a house. People often forget that purchase price is the end game when buying property. There are so many hidden costs and taxes that will make your head spin. Some of these recurring costs are for life.

I've seen people go hungry and live like misers in the name of being ‘debt-free’. I've heard how financial planners encourage youngsters to live frugally and just save. The whole idea is that they will live a better tomorrow. The thing is, no one is guaranteed a tomorrow. There are people who have lived like misers their entire lives only for the wealth to be devoured by a pack of hungry wolves called family when they are dead.

I know that most of us do what's best for us in the long run. For instance, I'm sure most home buyers are of the same mind: that they do not wish to be renters or be without shelter and security in their old age. To some extent, that is why I also made the same sacrifices. However, now that I have seen how insignificant those sacrifices are to the innocent inheritors who will treat what we leave behind like easy money, I find myself questioning my decision.

Is it right for me to struggle so much at the prime of my youth for an unknown future? Should I keep on sacrificing at my age when I do not know how long I will live? All I know for certain is that life is for the living. I need to live my life to the fullest while I can still walk and breathe freely.

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