As a twenty something after the recession, there is nothing more stressful than money management. I find most months my checking account is down to the last dollar. I live well within my means, have a great full time job with benefits, turn a lot of my hobbies into side ventures, and even contribute regularly to my 401k and my CD tree. Yet, every month a slight panic sets in. How much longer can I afford living in the 2nd most expensive city in America? Will I ever become a homeowner? When will my debt clear so I don’t have to think twice before going out?
Buying a house has always been an important goal for me — the feeling of security, a yard for my pets and the freedom to renovate. The S.O. and I have had a lot of stress and repetitive conversations on the subject. It usually starts with me wondering if we have surpassed our budgets. We talk about how we are never going to get anywhere if we don’t earn more and that is what is keeping us treading water. We overanalyze our statements and self-made reports rationalizing each purchase. We realize that we actually are in a slightly better position than a few months ago and there is progress. We move on.
The last time this talk came up was right after I got in my first LA fender bender. No one was hurt or even stopped but what looked like a small dent ended up being $1,000 out of my savings account. I was furious because it had taken me almost all year to add that money to my account. I was back to broke with nothing new to show for it. That’s when the S.O. pulled up some facts about the generation that never uses the term millennials to make me feel better. While American wages have decreased since the 90s, the cost of living remains the same.
There was almost a sense of calmness that came over me listening to how we are all basically fucked. I suppose it felt more out of reach but also more attainable at the same time. I didn’t want to continue living like a poor miser. So I used my exceptional credit score to open a new account and booked a trip to Iceland.
I decided that experiencing life was going to be put in front of financial gain. While this trip might set us back several months on affording our dream home, I get to check off another dream of mine — seeing the Northern Lights in person.