At a crossroad - opinions wanted!

Hey all,

So I am a bit of a lurker here and don’t generally see any point of posting my personal conundrums to the interwebs but today I think that picking some impartial analytical minds but be useful. Here’s my situation in a nutshell:

  • Late 20’s - Got a job that I find quite interesting, don’t find too stressful and pays more than I need - Have saved up a little nest egg, enough to live my current lifestyle for about 5 years without working - Have been living with my girlfriend for 3 yrs

About a month ago we decided to buy a house and tomorrow is d-day to fork over the cash and seal the deal. A month ago this seemed like a great idea but in the interim I have begun to question just about every aspect of my existence, career, friends, relationship etc. Its not so much that I am unhappy with any of these but more that due to the degree of difficulty entailed in reversing the house purchase, I am trying to extrapolate a multitude of possible scenarios to ensure that I make the best choice today.

The type of decisions I am referring to are things like, doing a masters, MBA, change of industry, going travelling etc. I have to make my own decision but am sure most people on here must have faced similar life choices and would be pretty interested to hear what you chose and how it worked out, what you would do differently etc.

I have 24 hrs to decide, should I buy a house and settle into a comfortable yet possibly dull suburban existence (higher risk aversion) or embrace the last of my youth, go travelling, push myself to get another qualification and hopefully improve career prospects (lower risk aversion). Does it even matter in the long run?

Thoughts please!

Check out the Kundera Book, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” or if you are too lazy rent the movie. I don’t think either of those are wrong choices. They do come with opportunity costs. Hopefully, once you make your decision you won’t worry about those.

Looks like a good read, just ordered it, unfortunately not going to help me by tomorrow but one way or another will have to decide :wink:

life is all about cycles. You go through these difference cycles of life, the “student years”, the “young free-spirited” years, and as ppl get older you start to get into the “want stability” and later “not die alone”

Buying a full house with the GF is a pretty big commitment to where you’re anchoring down for a while. Can you see yourself very happy with say a 3+ year lock in ? If so, then it’s not a bad idea

The grass always seems greener…

who’s signing for the house and how onerous are the payments?

I’d look at it as an option and decide if there’s enough upside lifestyle-wise to warrant the financial committment. If you can easily afford the payment and you put enough money down so that you won’t have to write a check to be able to sell in 3 years if it doesn’t work out, it’s probably not putting you in too much of a box.

Only thing you’re potentially losing is how you’d otherwise spend your time, but you make that decision every day. There’s always time to go back to acting young and stupid. I know a couple guys pushing 40 who still do it.

I dunno man, it may be too late to back out on the house. That being said, you may still seriously want to reevaluate what you’re doing. A great option if you want some freedom may be to do a full time top tier MBA (given that you seem to be in a good position etc, you will probably be able to get into one), and then use the time before and the middle summer off for some serious traveling (like SE Asia or Thailand or something).

Me personally, I’d say run from the long term commitment to boringness and live hard while you still can. You only live once. But then again, that advice might just permanently f*ck up a good thing you have going. That’s for you to decide.

Is the house really the main issue, or is it more symbolic of you entering a new life stage? The house, after all, is not 100% permanent (people move), and it will probably not completely prevent you from travelling, getting a new job, new friends, or other stuff that you mentioned. However, accepting that you are entering a more mature state of existence might not be reversible - I think most people go through this at some point.

Buy house and settle down.

Smartest decision you will ever make

You are having cold feet. Buying a house is a big step and you consider several factors in making this decision. I’m sure right you are committed to your gf and looking forward to marring her and having kids. but you do have to consider if it wont turn out this way, then what is your exit strategy. Basically, look at your CF from different angles which you should have done before making the decision of buying a home.

Follow your guts. Success in life comes from taking risks.

I am signing for the house and payments will be about 35% of my monthly after tax salary (pre-bonus). The house is the main issue because although it is not permanent, it would make it much more difficult to subsequently pursue an alternative path, such as a top-tier MBA. Not sure this is for me though, I am weary of spending too much of my youth trying to be successful only to realise I wasted it climbing the ladder!

Opinions thus far are certainly helpful.

You only live once man, and you never get your youth back.

Not everyone has to go crazy partying or mountain climbing. Different people like different things. No one should force themselves to do stereotypical “youth” activities just because they think they are supposed to.

I’m not telling him he has to, just cautioning him to think about the fact that you don’t get those years back. A little contrary advice to all the advice above to just settle down and go with the flow. A wasted youth is a terrible thing to me personally. All I know is when I used to landscape for some really really wealthy doctors and lawyers, they would each pull me and my friend aside (this was in college) without fail at some point and furtively look at us desperately in the eyes like they were giving us nuclear launch codes and say “Wait AS LONG AS YOU CAN TO SETTLE DOWN!” I mean, without fail, we got a kick out of it. But it always stuck wtih me, especially because these were the guys that spent most of their youth in school doing the right things, then got trapped by some girl who saw earnings potential and moldability.

If you are buying a house, that’s not really an anchor, although getting rid of the house can be an inconvenience at times. If you’re not about to leave, and you’re not in a terrible part of the country, this might not be a bad time to buy a house. And you can rent it if you are not living in it. So, I think the house part of the deal is not so relevant, unless you are planning to pack up and move in the next year.

So the real question is how you feel about your GF of 3 years or more. I think you have had enough time to get to know her and how she thinks and reacts to things to be able to project into the future, with the caveat that people’s priorities and personalities can change over time and to make something work, you need a commitment to each other to at least attempt to grow in similar directions.

So what goes through my mind as you write this is “isn’t this woman supportive of the things you want to do in life?” And is that the source of your worries? She may be; she may not be. But I suspect your concerns come from a sense - whether justified or not - that she isn’t fully there.

I don’t mean that she has to lay down all of her hopes to satisfy yours - that’s not fair either - but she should still want to see you happy and successful on your terms. If you want to go out and sleep with a bunch of women in exotic locales, that could be a problem for her (though, surprisingly, not for everyone), but if it’s just a travel and adventure bug, then she should be willing to help you have that in your life. And you should be willing to help her on her dreams too.

So ask yourself if you think she’s there for you in that way, and make your decision accordingly. The house is more-or-less irrelevant, but maybe it is making you think longer term about other things.

Edit - Need to consider BChadwicks godly words of wisdom.

Even if you can get rid of the house, it’s still a strong psychological anchor. Even though it’s still possible to move, get an MBA, etc. , you’re less likely to do this compared to if you didn’t have the house. For visualization purposes, let’s say P(Get an MBA|House) = 25% and P(Get an MBA|No House) = 50%. The change in percentage is still relevant, even if the outcome, P(Get an MBA), is still uncertain.

Girlfriend situation is more intangible, in my opinion. For instance, is the girlfriend tied to the house (does she share the mortgage payments)? If that is the case, that’s basically like getting married - buying the house probably locks in the gain/loss.

My brothers are in their 30’s and they just love family life. I’ve never seen them happier. Honestly. So you might find yourself being like them.

Or you might find yourself wanting to shag around behind your wife’s back, anxious to get away from the pleasent hell that you have constructed for yourself, and hating yourself because you hate your job but can’t quit it.

This all has more to do with you and what you want and what you can get. I think it helps that you like your job and the money is good.

F*ck yeah! Tikka and I must have had many of the same influences. Don’t rent the movie though, the book is infinitely better. This should be required reading for any man about to get married or settle down.

Interesting perspectives, bchadwick hits the nail on the head with a lot of things. Dude you should start your own agony aunt column! Pretty impressed what you pulled out of the bag from just a few posts.

Ultimately my mind works a lot like Ohai’s though. Sure buying a house isn’t final but assuming the lack of a bull housing market, selling could result in a 5 or 6 figure loss and this is definitely going to influence my future thinking. I don’t view buying with the girlfriend as that final, since if we parted ways I can always rent it out.

I guess for a bit more context, we already live together and the only reason I am considering buying is because renting is costing me about 30% more than the monthly mortgage payment would be. Not a complete analysis as obviously purchasing involves the committment of my savings and exposure to house price fluctuations.

I think it’s because your situation is the same as my situation will be in 1 or 2 years. Similar financial situation, job situation, similar age, similar significant other, etc.