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Why Rent Money Isn’t Dead Money

Of all the catch phrases and one liners my Mum has repeated to me over the years, this is the one I ignore the most. I also think my aversion to this particular phrase has never been more relevant and as a millennial floating about in this weird sea we all call life I have to say, I am finally at peace. I will probably never buy a house and I am oh so ok with that. Unless of course it’s one of those cool hip tiny houses and I’m suddenly being featured in Vogue living for all of the cool hip things I’m doing for myself and for the environment but that’s another story entirely and something I won’t go into just now. Just this morning whilst scrolling through Facebook, as everyone tends to absentmindedly do on a Sunday morning, I came across at least six stories on houses for sale. I also came across two Instagram photos of friends of friends who have just buried themselves in amongst a life time of debt bought a house.

My gripe with the age old saying of “rent money is dead money’ come from two very distinct points of argument. Location as well as an innate sense of restlessness and money. I’m not someone who was built for the burbs. My skin goes all weird as soon as I lose sight of the ocean breeze and I just can’t help but ask myself (or my partner for that matter) yeah but what do people do. At the moment, I can walk downstairs with some swimmers, a light t-shirt draped over my shoulders and that’s about it. I remember going to the beach as a little kid and having both of my parents having to prep the flipping night before just to take myself and my sister to the beach. We could never just duck down for a quick swim after work or school either. The burbs are just that, the burbs and it’s not exactly on the way to circle the ocean loop before heading home. Unless of course you want to just fall into bed at 8:30 after the longest day of your life. It never really seemed worth it. I’m saying all of this because I’m a realist, as well as a bit of an idealist. I love the idea of walking to the beach, or leaving the car at home and walking out to dinner or out for a quick drank after work. I also know to purchase any of the properties that would fit my lifestyle wants and needs (ok mostly wants) are so far out of my price range it’s almost laughable to think about that as a concept.

I have friends who have saved for forever and a day, missing drinks and social engagements and missing out on well, life, (more on this later) just to save for a deposit for them to say “oh yeah we know it’s a little bit far out, and away from everything but that’s ok because we own the house”. I personally couldn’t think of anything worse. I also have no deserve to paint my walls or knock down or rebuild anything. I just need a roof over my head that happens to be close enough to the beach, and close enough to the things I like to enjoy doing because life isn’t about squirrelling away until you have enough for a house deposit to then spend the rest of your life paying it off. You still need to fork over money to someone, somewhere each week. Just because banks don’t really have faces, unless you count Scrooge McDuck or that guy from the Aussie Home Loan ads, you’re still paying money to someone, for somewhere to live. With renting, you pay rent. It’s as simple and complicated as that. You also, get looked after (if you get lucky with a good landlord), repairs get done, and surprise surprise, you can afford to live somewhere you actually want to live.

I am so against the idea of saving every penny, missing out on the life I want to live just for a deposit for a house, to then sign a contract that states pretty darn clearly bitch you don’t own this house we own you for 30+ years pay up or else. Being in escrow sounds pretty neat though right? Nah. If I had 20 grand in the band (let’s be honest it’s 2018 more like 40 grand in the bank) for a deposit I’d book a plane ticket for me and my partner and see the world for as long as we could. That is the kind of life I’m all about. Good thing we’re both renting too because that way we can pick up and leave whenever we like and have our cake and smashed avo too.

So no, I’m not in the market to buy a house right now, I don’t want to discuss paint colours with you, and although as a friend I am so proud of your achievements, I’m happy renting in a run-down apartment on the beach for 135 bucks a week, thanks very much.

Written by Laura Kebby

I write words about talented people doing talented things, and translate chatter by putting pen to paper.


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  1. I enjoyed your article but all I could really focus on were the wrong words. Spell check is great but if it puts the wrong word in it detracts from your message.

  2. Yeah it’s all good and well except rent goes up over time and mortgages don’t. If your paying $500 a week now for a mortgage ($250 a week if there are two of you) that will pretty much stay the same for the rest of your life. Rent on the other hand will keep going up pretty much every year or so. Took me until I was 37yrs old to work that out 🙂

  3. Nice article.
    I hope you’re putting some of your money into savings, investments, or putting more into your super.
    Renting your whole life is fine, but you’ll be left with zero assets by retirement. You need to make sure you plan for your retirement now, before it’s too late. You don’t want to be a drain on society living off an aged pension, with only minimal superannuation put away.

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