What’s the Point of Buying a House?

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For people in my parents’ age, buying a house — or building one — is the ultimate goal. Life had a basic structure: education, job, house, EMI, marriage, EMI, kids, EMI, kids’ education, and (phew) retiring into the house they built all those EMIs ago.

By the time they move into their home, they’d have grown too old to climb the spiral stairs they’d so wanted. Sure, it would’ve looked sexy in movies or when Holmes darted up a stairwell with Watson at his heels, but the knee ache would be just too real.

It’s funny how my parents still think that that’s the way to go. Build a house, they say, and you’re set for life. It’s a good investment, a future-proof solution for when you’re much too old to work any longer. According to them, we need something we could fall back to when things get rough and soreness starts to show.

With the way my generation lives, with all the soda, the extra-cheesy burgers, and sitting on our asses, I doubt we’ll even live long enough to hit retirement. Besides, what’s the fun in spending all your youthful vigour saving for an unforeseeable future?

I’d rather spend my money and time on a road trip I’d enjoy now than agonise over interest for the next 5 years. I’d rather spend my money on a good bottle of wine than go over patterned tiles for the bathroom of a house I can’t afford.

And I’d choose Netflix today than fretting over a 27-inch television that would’ve gone off-style by the time I’m ready to kick back, debt-free.

Even though I explain all this to my parents as I’d explain the art of cereal-eating to a toddler, they still fall back to, “Buying a house will free up your future.” Our society has hammered the idea into their skulls for far too long.

And as I look into the eyes that plead me to save more and buy a house, I end up smiling, “Sure, mom.”

In my heart, though, I know buying a house is the last thing I’d do.

I’ve been living in my current rented house for almost a year and I’m itching to move already. If I’d have to spend hoards on a single house and live in it forever, that’d be punishment and not freedom.

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