Buying a house is one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your life. Unless, of course, you’re into buying super and hyper cars. In which case, can we be friends?
In all seriousness though, a house purchase is a massive financial decision. I know it was for me when my partner and I took the plunge back in June. The new house buzz hasn’t really worn off yet and I kind of hope it never does.
However, buying a house has had interesting impacts on my money mindset. In some ways, these shifts were expected, but in others, I didn’t see them coming at all.
Here’s how my money mindset changed when I bought a house.
What Do You Mean, I Can’t See the Future?
Ever since we bought the house, I’ve had periodic bursts of panic about the future. Specifically, what happens if our financial situation changes? What if we lose one or both of our incomes?
This is not a fear that is unique to homeownership. But, my perception while we were renters we if we ever needed to, we could find a cheaper place in town, or find someone to take over our lease and move back to southern Ontario altogether. In my mind, renting seemed to have a lot more escape options.
Our mortgage is different. Or rather, it feels different. Sure, if it came down to it, we could sell the house and cut our losses. But that seems like a logistical, red-taped nightmare that I would like to avoid at all costs.
Mortgage means “dead pledge” – and the binding nature of that is the part that’s been weighing heavily on my mind.
Freedom, With A Side of Fries, Please
Somewhat paradoxically, owning (part) of a house has allowed me to feel a tiny bit of financial freedom that I’ve never felt before. Barring any structural or health-impacting changes that need to be done, I don’t have to do a single thing in the house that I don’t want to do. That means I can spend my money on the house however I want.
I am currently exercising the freedom to not spend money to fill the various nail holes and patch some paint left behind by the previous owners. I would never let my house fall into disrepair. But, I will sure as heck avoid filling those nail holes for as long as possible because I frankly don’t care that they’re there and I just don’t want to do it.
We also have some big plans for renos in the spring (primarily in the backyard), and it is so cool that we have control over every decision we make. Well, us, and the city permit office.
Taking My Investments Up A Notch
Brace yourself – I don’t view my house as an equity building asset. I see it as a very lovely liability – a liability that I happen to love, but a liability nonetheless. And I know some of my personal finance peeps will back me up on this.
My home is not going to be my retirement strategy. That’s what my investment portfolio is for. Right around the time we purchased the house, I upped my asset allocation in Wealthsimple from Balanced to Growth.
It might have been the most stressful thing I did with my money all year (with the exception of buying the house, of course). But, thanks in part to my awesome personal finance friends, I knew I need to take advantage of as many years of aggressive compound interest as possible.
Goodbye, money-sucking inflation.
Thank u, next.
What’s One More Trip to the Home Improvement Store?
Here’s a secret I wish homeowners had told me before we purchased our house – you’ll spend inordinate amounts of time walking aimlessly through the aisles of home improvement stores. Weekends used to be for napping and being lazy and its ‘we need this thing from the store’.
I’m no longer phased by these trips or their accompanying bills. Sometimes, they’re small, and sometimes, they’re not so small. But, at a certain point, I realized that’s just the cost of owning and maintaining a house.
I didn’t get to opt out of fixing the leak in our roof after a massive storm. It’s just part of my job now. And, watch out world because I’m adding roof repair to the skills section of my resume.
I don’t want to classify any of these money mindset shifts as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. They’re just different and new to what I’m used to dealing with as a renter.
Some of them are more productive (hello, aggressive investing), than others (looking at you, panic about the unknowable future). But, overall, it’s just my new normal.
I’m sure I’ll experience new money mindset shifts as I get further into homeownership. But, these are the ones I’ve been dealing with so far.
Have you ever experienced a money mindset shift after a big life event? How did you tackle it?
Image Credit: Tiny Ambitions
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