Growing up is full of life altering choices – forks in the proverbial road if you will. Some of these life choices have the potential to profoundly alter your financial future in ways that many of us don’t fully comprehend when we are younger.
My youngest brother is currently facing one of these life choice moments, it is a moment which may set him down the path of vastly different financial futures.
My brother is in his early 20’s and he feels that it is time for a change in his life. Currently he lives at home with his parents, he pays $50 a week board, contributes to the monthly internet bill and pays his own mobile and car expenses. He does not have to do any ironing, washing, cooking, cleaning or any other home maintenance activities.
By most peoples definition, this would be considered the easy life. Of course being in your early 20’s, there are a number of other factors which are highly important to him that are less important to myself.
One of the primary reasons why he is considering a change is that he has recently come out of a long term relationship. His entire world has been turned upside down. One minute he is living the dream, planning out a future with his girlfriend. The next minute, she has decided she wants something different from life, and it doesn’t involve my brother.
The fork in the road
A couple of weekends ago my brother and I were out fishing, and whilst we were feeding the fish he was telling me about a rental property he was looking at. It was a share accommodation close to the city, with 3 girls who were looking for a young guy to move in with them.
When I got home that afternoon my brother sent me a link to the place which he was interested in renting. I took one look at the room he would be living in, and immediately started to question the motives behind him wanting to move. The girls were asking for $150 a week for what I can only describe as a run down old shoe box with very little in the way of appeal.
Being a fairly forward person, I told him that I didn’t like the place, and that I thought he would be better off saving his money by staying at mum (yes I can spell, we here in Australia spell it mum not mom) and dads place.
He took my advice on board and went and then had an interview with the girls.
About a week later he was informed that he did not get accepted into the house.
Let’s assume for a minute he did get the rental.
At a minimum he would now have to pay for these extra things
- Rent – $150 ($50 with parents)
- Groceries – $100 ($0 with parents)
- Cooking Gas
I’m not sure what the cost of Electricity and Gas would be per week, but even just with the extra money spent on rent and groceries ($10,000 a year) I can see that moving out is going to be far more expensive than staying where he is now.
If he did get the rental then he would also now have to spend more time doing the following
Each of these items takes time, and to me my time is the most valuable thing I have. Currently he doesn’t have to do any of these items. This contributes to him having plenty of time to socialise with his friends, go to the gym and complete extra study for his job.
Looking at it from his point of view, he would have the following opportunities
- Meet a completely new social group
- Experience living life away from his parents
- Travel less time to and from work
- Enjoy the bustling lifestyle of inner city living
Being at a different stages in life, both my brother and I have differing priorities.
For me, I need as much money as possible to survive the coming year on a single wage with an extra mouth to feed whilst paying down a mortgage. My brother is single, earning good money in a professional career and has no debt.
Looking back at my own life – I wish I had saved or invested more money when I was his age. I didn’t fully appreciate just how wasteful I was being, and how much better off I could have been if I didn’t spend hundreds of dollars every weekend at the local bar. Conversely, I also have some great memories and made some new friends along the way.
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