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Ask Sherry: Single Home Ownership

You asked, and I am answering every Friday once I have enough questions!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1DKFg6SD0Kmb_0U5yb4OTNfkvfmsf5dWxJJbZTzUtH7M/edit

You can ask any question using the form here.

What are your thoughts on pursing home ownership as a single female like myself.

I’m in my early 30s and of Asian decent who’s parents don’t discuss finances or money. I am fortunate to able to live rent-free at home and its been a dream of mine to move out and have my own place and pursue true financial independence for many, MANY years. I’m an avid saver and investor and want to finally take the next step. I’ve been educating myself and meeting agents and brokers to get an idea of what I can afford in our unaffordable city. It has strained my relationship with my mother as I asked if she’d help co-sign but she’s unwilling. Which is fine, I think if I had marriage in my horizon she might have supported. Regardless, its been very difficult living at home with COVID quarantine and lockdown restrictions, taking both emotional and mental tole. Do you think I am wrong to want to adult and move on? My mother doesn’t see it as how I see it, building equity and wealth for myself as I’m on my own, not in any relationship. Thanks in advance if you end up reading this to the end!

You are entitled to live your life, not your parents’ life or vision of their life for you. I know this is difficult, considering filial piety and all that. I 100% support living on your own to pursue true financial independence. If it is what you want, and you have saved diligently for it (you sound like a great saver), then go for it.

The only thing your parents may be thinking, as a side note, is “why bother paying for a home when you can just live at home for free with us?”. Free beats a mortgage any day, is all she may be thinking, but I completely understand and hear the intrinsic value that would come from being on your own, having your own home and your own PLACE. I get it and I’d go for it.

Maybe, what might sway them is if you do a detailed analysis of renting versus buying, and look back at old real estate prices from the past 10, 20 years, to get a trajectory (estimated) of where you could be, versus the return on investment you’re making.

(But personally, even if it was very close, I’d likely add a big factor of – BEING ON YOUR OWN – as a major bonus).

Last thing to consider – quarantine is not forever. Everyone and their dog is moving to the ‘burbs or the boondocks to get away from city folk spreading the virus, but my gut feeling is unless you’re able to do that and not have to ever work again, people are going to migrate back to cities in the future, as that’s where jobs are. Maybe some jobs will stay permanently remote, but I suspect while telecommuting will be MORE of a norm, it will not be 100% the way it is now.

I suspect people are going to be able to work from home maybe 1-2 days a week for flexibility, and so on, but they will be expected to be in the office some of the time, and a long commute could be draining.

So.

Will you feel this way in 2 years when you’re saddled with a large mortgage that you now have to shoulder financially on your own (think: worst case scenario), and maybe feel overwhelmed with the extra costs that come with a home, including maintenance, fees, etc? Consider the VERY WORST SCENARIO and if you can handle that financially, and STILL want to move out, then go for it.

Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a couple weeks now, and feeling super inspired! Knowing your story gives me hope that one day I can be financially free. There’s one question that I would like to ask: I currently have 20,000€ on student loans to pay and gaining 1000€/month [almost minimum wage in my country], of which only 300€ to spare each month… if I were you, where would you invest that money? Thank you!

I’d consider your student loan interest rate in this. If you have to pay 5% or higher on your student loans, would it be better to put it towards clearing your debt, or investing it? Maybe half / half?

Average market return (conservative) would be 5% – 7% in the very long run. If your loans are above that, I would 100% clear your loans first.

For an investment, can’t go wrong with index funds as a starter: European index, Australasia index, and the U.S. S&P 500 Index. I couldn’t tell you what funds or where, as I am not in Europe, but an example of what I am talking about can be seen on Vanguard, where you search “index fund” and you can see the list of investments that are indices.

Still have a burning question?

You can ask any question using the form here and all of my previous Ask Sherry posts are here.

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2 Comments

  1. SarahN

    To the first question asker: I’d suggest buying, even without marriage on the horizon. I bought this time in 2011, as a single – since then I’ve had a four relationship which ended, and am in another one now. Nine years on, I only have about 10% of the original purchase left to pay on the mortgage which in in downtown Sydney, Australia (so it was just shy of $500k when I bought a one bedroom apartment). I don’t regret the decision! But my cultural baggage is that, whilst I lived at home for 3 years as an adult to save for the downpayment, there wasn’t any pressure to remain there

    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      This is fantastic advice, thank you

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