My Parents Don't Understand Why Their Millennial Son Isn't Buying a Home
My parent's don't understand me.
Let me clarify - this isn't a "woe is me" sort of post (because parents are meant not to understand their children and vice-versa).
But it's in a way that is from what I understand very much a generational gap.
We see a lot of articles about Millennials not buying homes. It's not a surprise. With many of us saddled with student loan debt, soaring prices of fixed-cost items like healthcare and housing and a difficult job market, it's not like a lot of us have the finances to even think about buying a home.
My parents don't understand this.
I mean, maybe if we didn't eat so much avocado toast we might be able to afford homes, but at this point in time, I may not be purchasing a home because I don't want to buy a home - independent of my financial ability to purchase homes.
Why would this be? Why would anyone not want to buy a home?
Aren't we wasting our money on rent? We're not building equity in the investment of a home, right? You can't rent forever?
While I appreciate the concern from my parents (they honestly do only mean their best) there's a lot of things that may be contributing to the fact that a lot of millennials such as myself may not be choosing to buy a home, and not all of them are necessarily bad.
Millennials are so different from our baby boomer parents in many ways.
Take work for example.
Our generation is the one where we work multiple jobs. Not even multiple part-time jobs, but a main job, and then another part-time job, and sometimes another one on top of that. Sometimes due to financial reasons, sometimes due to wanting to find meaning in our work, sometimes because we love the hustle and being an entrepreneur.
Whether that's being an Instagram influencer, being an Uber driver, starting up a part-time dog walking business or teaching online courses on knitting or graphic design, so many of us are doing so much more than just going to our 9-5. This means less time spent at home, or thinking of using our homes in a different way than our parents.
Take for example, the use of homes as status symbols. While our parents were all about the typical signs of success - status and positions, square feet of home, time shares in the Caribbean, big cars and big screen televisions - we may have different status symbols to show our success or personal fulfillment.
Maybe it's a collection of tropical houseplants and our urban jungle that is independent of the home we live in. Or having a successful Snapchat account with thousands and thousands of followers that doesn't require a cookie-cutter home to fulfill us. Or maybe we prefer to travel from city to city and don't care to own a home because we're having the absolutely time of our life seeing the world.
While my parents may not understand why I'm not purchasing a home, I know differently - it makes me happy, and what makes me happy is so much more important than trying to impress other people with the amount and size of house that I own.
Instead of pursuing the purchase of a five bedroom McMansion house in the suburbs, it's more important to me to be located in the city where things are happening. I'd rather hit up a street truck for street tacos (al pastor of course!) than a sit-down restaurant where the only vegetarian option is pasta primavera. Instead of a cable package, I watch my favorite Youtube creators.
Taking it even further, as a workaholic I don't just come home and watch TV or mindless surf the internet. I'm hustling, I'm posting, I'm liking and following and commenting and emailing and getting invoices.
My parents are concerned that I'm always working and that I don't own a home, but I've never felt more alive in my life.
You know what else takes hustle? A five bedroom McMansion house in the suburbs. Vacuuming, dusting, cleaning, mowing, painting and repainting, decluttering, redecorating and decluttering again.
While our parents may have had time to vacuum four thousand square feet of house (or at least had the financial means to hire a cleaning person to do so), we may not have that time. Or at least, would like to spend that time elsewhere.
No longer are we judging each other on the square footage of our homes. In fact, too much square footage might be seen these days as an indulgence or excess - the same as ordering a five pound hamburger or having a golden bathroom might be. Gaudy, impractical, wasteful, excessive, and frankly, outdated.
With the rise of popularity of tiny homes, AirBnB, ridesharing and car-sharing programs, the mobile demands of work and more and more of us moving to larger metropolitan areas, the suburban homes with a lawn and white picket fence and 2.5 children just doesn't make sense to many of us anymore.
The trend is only accelerating. GenX'ers and baby boomers are getting on this trend as well. I have a friend whose inlaws sold their home and just travel in an RV across the country. I have another set of friends who just move to any city they want and rent a nice apartment - when they get tired of the city, they just move to the next one without being tied down by a mortgage.