I never thought much about home ownership. I always felt secure in my own parents’ home – I lived in the same house since I was seven months old. And although I dabbled in living “on my own,” first in residence at University, and then in a house that I rented with five friends, my parents were paying my rent and I always knew I could return home.
I finished my last two years commuting from home. And even then my parents provided me with a car after I realized my plan to take the bus to the next town was delusional. I had their full support. This is making me sound like the spoiled only child stereotype, I realize, but I did work all through high school and full-time each summer during University. And I also knew how lucky I was. Maybe I was spoiled, but I hope I was not a spoiled brat.
After graduation Nerdguy and I got engaged and moved to an apartment in Ottawa. I had three more courses to complete so he moved out there at the beginning of the summer and I joined him at the end. It was an apartment that he and his mom picked out. I’m reluctant to mention that it was because I was in Cancun for spring break at the time, on a trip fully funded by my parents…I think this seals the deal on the whole spoiled debate. Nerdguy’s name was on the lease. I didn’t have a job for the first three months so he was the one paying the rent as well. I had money from my summer job, so I was still contributing financially, but never did I feel like I was responsible for housing us.
I soon found a job as an accountant. Luckily I was not in charge of budgeting in any way for clients or I feel sure I could have single-handedly been responsible for the demise of Ottawa’s economy. We fell into a nice groove over the next year 0f working, seeing friends on weekends, and I was still studying.
And then he dropped a bomb.
We were out for one of our many meals out (the restaurant economy likely had a boom during our stint in the Capital). We were at Perkins and I was elbow-deep in a ham and cheddar omelette while eyeing the pie display.
“I think we should buy a house.”
I started to cry.
I don’t think there was one real reason. There were several. I don’t like change. His ideas are often unconventional and seem to come out of nowhere. He never prepares me by dropping hints. My parents were going to kill me because it was with a huge amount of reluctance that they carted my belongings out there in the uHaul in the first place. A house means we’re here for more than a phase. Worse, they’re going to kill him!
But I did have one overriding thought.
Grown-ups buy houses!
I didn’t feel like a grown-up yet. A mortgage with my name on it sounded terrifying! Was there any way I could sign my parents’ names?
In the end, we found a house that we loved.
Nerdguy was right, as he often is. He’s a smart guy and knows when to push me through my fear. The market jumped during the three years we owned our house and we made enough to buy a house in my hometown – we wouldn’t have been able to afford the downpayment otherwise.
And again he made a smart suggestion of which house we should buy. I totally discounted ours because it was in such dreadful condition (much like it is again now 13 years later), but he saw it for the value. The structure was fine, it was in a great neighbourhood, and we were able to buy a larger house than we otherwise could have.
What I have learned from all this is that you have to know when to take the leap, listen to someone you trust when you are scared, and think about whether what you are doing now contributes to your long-term goal. Oh, we also learned to put a boatload of money into RESPs and an RDSP because with three kids, it seems it’s almost payback time!
Also, I am coming to terms with the fact that we are grown-ups. Sort of. We still laugh at fart jokes.
It’s hard to believe how much our lives have changed from when we met in the dorms to the house we live in now with our three amazing kids.
Ferris was right – life does move pretty fast!
Share & Win Contest
Post a photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram of a physical door in your past, present or future and tell Manulife why it’s important for you. Use the hashtag #ManulifeReady and post as many photos as you like before the end of Saturday March 22nd (midnight EST or 9pm Pacific). You could win $2,500!!!! I can think of some doors I would be running through with that kind of spending money! Manulife will also be sharing some of their favourites so be sure to check their Facebook and Twitter to join the conversation! See the full rules here.
Join the #ManulifeReady twitter chat on Tuesday March 24th at 9pm EST to chat about being ready for the future. I’ll be there, possibly breathing into a paper bag and looking for a grown-up to plan my future for me. As you can tell – I need this chat! There are over $3,000 in cash prizes to be won, so I know you want to be there too!!! Full rules here.
RSVP for Manulife’s twitter party here:
Disclosure – I have been compensated to participate in this campaign – and no, not by my parents!