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Sister just bought a house. Feeling left behind!

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  • This topic has 8 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by Ange.
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  • #1110848 Reply

    Hi all,

    Wonder if you could give me some advice. I’m 30 and live with my partner (we rent). I have a good salary however I’m struggling with some debts so buying a house is not on the cards for me. My sister has just bought a house with her fiancée and even though I know it’s not physically possible for me to buy a house yet (and it’s not what my partner is thinking about yet either – he’s same age as me), I can’t help but feel a bit sad and anxious about the fact that I feel super left behind. I’m not even sure I WANT to ever own a house if I’m honest, but I really feel like I’m being left behind in life, you know? I’m the only one of my friendship group who doesn’t have a house and I feel like I’m falling behind – I keep trying to put savings away but with my debts I can only manage a small amount each month (which is embarrassing in itself and a whole other thing) but everyone thinks I’m doing great so why wouldn’t I be looking to put a deposit down on a house you know? Ugh, it’s such a mess! Does anyone have any advice to help me stop feeling so anxious all the time? I can’t get debt help cos my salary is too high for a DMP etc which would ruin my credit rating anyway so how do I make peace with the fact that this is where I am in life and it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m being left behind, I’m just on a different path or whatever? I’m so happy for my sis but everyone keeps saying how proud they are of her and I keep feeling like they’re not proud of me because I’ve not hit that milestone you know?

    #1110856 Reply

    I think you just have to look at the happiness in your life. Owning or renting doesn’t equate happiness. And owning a house is a huge financial and physical responsibility – there’s a set mortgage to pay to each month and there’s the cost and physical labor of maintenance of the home…not to mention lawn mowing, tree pruning, water and sewer bills, driveway sealing, appliance repairs, on and on. Sometimes it’s very draining being a homeowner and you have to budget to the point you’re not spending money on vacations, going out for dinner, or even clothing. I have many friends single and married – some own homes and some rent. None of us have ever thought that the homeowners are in a better spot. Actually, one couple rents a townhouse and they have the nicest house of all of us and they don’t have to to do any lawn maintenance at all. And their rental come with use of the pool and walking trails. They have all the amenities they want and enjoy life every day.
    Take this time to pay down your debts. Also, as time passes you might even learn what you truly want in a home or in another rental. So many people don’t consider the quality of the school systems or the high property tax bills when they buy their first home. When it’s time for you to buy or rent again you’ll know exactly what you want, and that’s a good thing!

    #1110857 Reply

    To build on Laura’s point above, owning can be basically the same as renting, depending on all kinds of market factors and how long you’re going to be there.

    And yeah, in the long term I think the return on investment for real estate is usually solid, but you’d make more money investing in mutual funds.

    #1110860 Reply

    Why feel left behind if you’re not sure you even want to buy? I mean, I get the fleeting thought. But this sounds like a weird grass is greener situation. You’re really young. Don’t feel bad for not having a house or complete financial security at 30. You know it’s an issue or an are you’d like to improve, so get better about your money. Do something, don’t feel bad.
    Good luck.

    #1110861 Reply


    #1110862 Reply

    Others have good points, but I wanted to mention that speaking to a therapist can help you managing your urge to compare and the anxiety this is making you feel. You may also want to look into finding a financial professional who can help you get a plan in place to tackle your debt.

    If any of your comparing is driven by social media, take a break from it. (I know you don’t mention social media, but it’s been proven that it makes people feel less than by comparison.)

    I think a lot of people imagine where they’ll be at 30 when they’re younger — it seems so far away and “old” — only to find they’re nowhere near where they imagined themselves. It may help to remind yourself that everyone deals with this in one way or another. I had some friends freaking out for still being single as 30 approached. I know around 26-27 I felt down on myself for not having a better job/title at work or higher salary.

    #1110863 Reply

    Oh I have been in your shoes. I am 10 years older than my sister and she has husband, kid, house, cars, etc. etc. None of which I have. I chose to live alone in NYC and the numbers never made it reasonable to buy vs. rent. So I get the frustration and the anxiety.

    My dad was a divorce attorney. 30-40 years ago he told us about a couple that made $500K + per year. So we’re talking equivalent to a few million per year now. When they divorced, all they were splitting up was debt. They spent everything they had on private schools, vacations, the right nanny, the right this, the right that.

    Don’t try to compare yourself to anyone because you don’t know what their bank account actually says. You don’t know if that Lexus is a lease or if it’s owned.

    You have your own journey. It’s different than your sister’s. It’s different than every other person on this planet. It’s yours. As long as you’re moving forward, at your own pace, you’re fine. One foot, then the other. That’s it. You don’t have to measure yourself against anyone because you never know what anyone else is going through.

    #1110864 Reply

    Yes, we are in a growing housing bubble and some will by hurt when it breaks, but that is not the main point. You write:

    ” I can’t help but feel a bit sad and anxious about the fact that I feel super left behind. I’m not even sure I WANT to ever own a house if I’m honest, but I really feel like I’m being left behind in life,”

    You need to stop being so jealous of your sister’s house. You are way to competitive. Throughout your life, friends and family and acquaintances are going to acquire possessions and hit ‘milestones’ which you were never interested in owning or hitting. Someone gets a Porsche. Someone buys a time-share in the Bahamas, somebody gets a sailboat, somebody has their 6th child, somebody gets a PhD in English lit, somebody else wins a culinary award. Are you going to be jealous and feel sad as others you know have these achievements? Even if you don’t even want most of them?

    Decide what is important to you. Live your own life. Don’t compare yourself to others. Celebrate your and your partner’s achievements, which are meaningful to the two of you. That’s the route to happiness, not comparing yourself to your sister with regard to when conventional milestones are achieved — milestones you have no interest in achieving.

    Or perhaps, because your partner feels that way, you have convinced yourself that you don’t want to ever own a house and your sister buying one reminds you that you’ve been lying to yourself and this really is a dream of yours, which you’ve buried to please another.

    Just be you and stop worrying about what others do or have. Be sure that you and your partner have enough wants, goals, and values in common to plot a life course that both of you can be happy with.

    #1110865 Reply

    I just bought my very first house with my husband at the ripe old age of 41 after nearly nine years of marriage, the market is bonkers. It’s not being left behind, it’s being prudent mostly I feel. Even now we’ve reconciled ourselves to a much more restricted life for quite a few years. We’re happy we did it but all those times I felt similar to you seem silly in retrospect lol.

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