In our group of friends, most have at least one investment property, and some even have a few. They are not holiday homes, they are properties that they have bought, and are renting out for future investment, setting up their kids for a decent life in the future. Some of them even struggle to pay them, but persevere so that they have either a safety net when they get old to save them from trying to live on a pension, or so they can look after their kids futures.
I've never been too interested in being a property magnate. We've always had one house, and then sold it to move on and up to the next step in our lives. Each time something big happens in our lives, its usually reflected in a change in house and lifestyle. We started with a 3 bedder out west as out starter home, which was pretty exciting. We built it through AV Jennings, so got to pick out the design and colours, and then decide on our yards and gardens. For the first time we had been out of home and as newlyweds it was an exciting time, but expensive! We just happened to buy our first property when the interest rates were through the roof, around 20%. Imagine that on starter salaries. But we got by.
Eventually we sold there, and stayed with Craig's Mum & Dad for a while to save money (aka, big bludge,no saving and being carefree kids again). We bought a play property of 35 acres, camped on weekends and enjoyed this for a bit, but then realised it was time to be grown ups. That meant a stretch of a mortgage by building a beautiful double storey home on a big block in the suburbs. And next on the agenda was the kids. Along came Bethany less than a year after we had moved in. If anyone else has done this, you will understand that you do not get any breaks from the bank in the first year of your mortgage, so we done it tough. 3 months later, and I was back at work (and continued to breast feed morning and night for another year, but thats another story).
A couple of years later, Ben arrived but things were a little different by then. Salaries had started to increase so a little more comfortable and I was able to stretch to a year off, but it was a tough gig towards the end.
Just before Ben started school, we decided we wanted to give the kids a better life (it's most parents motivation when there is the opportunity). We sold up again, and rented while we built our dream house on a few acres in a beautiful rural area of Sydney. Sure, it was further to travel, but the peaceful lifestyle and space was the ultimate motivator. We wanted somewhere where the kids could ride their bikes in the street, grow up with mates they could hang out with, go to smaller size local schools and enjoy the serenity of living a country life. Plus we could get minibikes and a rope swing!
I've never been motivated to have more than one house. Being lucky enough to have one nice one was always enough for me. I know its going to be hard for the next generation when it comes to owning their own homes. Prices are crazy out of reach, especially in Sydney. But how far do you go to make their lives better?
I think our kids live a privileged life. Maybe not compared to some, but if I compare my life growing up, I know they have it good. Perhaps too good. So maybe buying property for them now isn't a smart move. I know it will be better for them if they have to work for it, you always appreciate things when you earn them for yourself. Even if you don't realise it at the time. Funny, same goes for their first car although I think you can just scrape in a car in the justification stakes.
I've always told the kids that as soon as you start working you have to contribute to the house, and also save a portion. This horrifies them, and they think its too hard. But I know they will be grateful later on when this is a habit that helps them achieve what they want out of life. And I also teach them to have goals, work and personal, so that they have things to aim for.
All of this thinking is because Craigie wants us to buy some land which we could use for camping, and hanging out with friends. We like to camp, and don't mind a bit of roughing it but really it would be a lads hangout, drinking, motorbikes and bonfires. It just feels like a big commitment to do this.
I'm not sure what we will do, but whatever happens, it makes you appreciate life is good, and how lucky we are that this is the worst of our problems.
So who knows? Perhaps all our future holidays might be camping! Would be sad to give up the cruising. Just saying...