A recent article in The Atlantic jarred me yesterday when I read it: Here.
As a Millennial, I can say that we have indeed lived in apartments or condos we didn’t own until the last year when we bought a house. We actually could afford to buy, but it wasn’t financially prudent. Buying a home you don’t plan to live in for at least five years is generally just a luxury and won’t really benefit your overall financial health. At least that’s what a financial advisor told my husband in his 20’s and he agreed when he did the math himself and it’s also proven true over time.
Of course, on the other hand, we were very kindly and generously offered a lovely downtown row house/townhouse to live in and be given to own, years ago when I was first pregnant with our son, that my husband’s parents own (they have a few personal residences). But, it was out of state and we wanted to live in a specific place nearby. Perhaps many people would see refusing that gift as a very financially foolish choice, but I think when it comes to finances it’s all about balance. You don’t want to spend more than you should for appearances sake on your abode (i.e. just to convince certain people of your social status) or buy solely for the pure luxury of ownership if that’s unwise and yet you also don’t want to make your life significantly less enjoyable if you truly have a choice.
The home offered to us would have been nice and people who judged us for not owning a home would likely have been singing a very different tune if we’d accepted it from my in-laws, but again, the residence was in Pennsylvania and we lived in the Midwest. I went to college in PA and I love the East Coast, but I wouldn’t want to move back to Pennsylvania to live permanently and my husband didn’t feel he could advance as much in his career there either, unfortunately. Seattle or Boston are actually the optimal cities for what he does, but Midwestern larger cities aren’t too bad either. I also like raising my children closer to my family than Pennsylvania, although I have friends from college I still miss who live in that area.
Anyway, we fit the Millennial form, I guess.
And, when I read an article like the one above I feel panic. We have been very fortunate but as that article points out, real wealth isn’t just about specific people. It’s about the overall health of a country. Having generational blessings doesn’t make you immune to the effects of a diseased overall economy (as genuinely grateful as I am). We all affect each other.
No, as the Baby Boomers age and leave behind a crippled world, I do hope they realize that things mattered. It was all real and meaningful and worth fighting for after all. And as we wheel most of them down the hall to their lonely rooms someday (at best) hopefully they’ll have the dignity and self-worth to admit a few Godly (or moral) regrets after all.