By many standards, you haven’t truly attained grown-up status until you have moved out and can fully support yourself without retreating back to your parents’ basement. That said, there are steps you should take as a youngster to prepare for homeownership.
At 19, though I’m legally recognized as an adult and can indulge in privileges exclusive to those 18-and-up, I am not yet equipped to tackle all of the responsibilities that accompany adulthood. And as I gradually grow past my teen years and approach my twenties, the momentous milestone of moving out still feels slightly out of reach.
It’s not that I would rather spend my skrill schmoozing and boozing like the subject of Toronto Life’s controversial Millennial Manifesto, I just can’t fathom how I would make ends meet while worrying about colossal mortgage payments looming month after month.
By the time I graduate from university, I am projected to have almost $30,000 in student loans. Although the government is taking measures to lessen the burden of OSAP, student debt is still a harrowing reality that will follow some people to the grave (grim, but true). When coupled with mortgage payments, it can create an avalanche of arrears bound to devour my paycheques.
I’m hopeful that I will get a job after graduation but when I find success in my field, I want to be able to enjoy it.
Still, one of the plights of adolescence (and existence) is having to constantly consider the future. Will my choices have negative ramifications when I grow up? Am I setting myself up for success or am I damning myself to a jobless, homeless, friendless future?
The spectrum is stark but even as a Snap-this-Tweet-that teenager, I understand the importance of planning ahead. Homeownership sounds like a major headache to me at 19 but I still want to take the measures required to be prepared so that I have the luxury of making a decision about the matter in my late twenties.
In order to maintain that luxury, I am making some subtle tweaks to my lifestyle so that I can prepare myself to be a responsible homeowner. These changes include:
1) Shifting my priorities
It’s unfair to say that partying is of utmost importance to all college and university students but it’s accurate to say that many post-secondary pupils struggle to prioritize. Learning to properly prioritize essentials over extracurriculars will help in every aspect of adulting, not just when it’s time to take on a mortgage. Even renting is now a financial burden that many millennials can’t afford, so I need to learn to cut back on some non-essentials.
2) Learning to cook
It’s not surprising that most students see the bulk of their money going towards food. You obviously need to eat, but working grocery shopping into your schedule is a way to save big bucks in the long run. Why buy a $15 sandwich when you can spend less on a whole loaf of bread and any toppings you want to make multiple sandwiches?
While it’s not essential, knowing how to cook becomes very useful as you age. Once you can finally say no to fast food and expensive on-the-go meals, you will save heaps of money and you can also take control of your health by getting total jurisdiction over everything that goes into your body.
3) Getting my hands dirty
Can you unclog a toilet? Do you know how to clean gutters? Can you paint a room yourself? It’s easy to be disinterested in these pesky details when you are living in a home that you don’t own, but grunt work is what keeps a house in working order.
Even if you aren’t ready to own, it’s important to familiarize yourself with these tasks to make sure that you’re a bonafide expert by the time you’re ready to move out. Homeownership is daunting but when you can perform maintenance tasks by yourself, you can tackle the experience with confidence and avoid some major anxiety.
I hope that these tips encourage you to take the first step towards owning your first home!