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Botox, travel and eating out: I’m nowhere near buying my own property and I love it

By the end of May, I’ll be a single 35-year-old woman with very few assets and no dependents. And I love my life.

There’s a dull ache in my forehead but I don’t mind because it means the Botox is working its magic.

I’ve just walked home from my three-monthly appointment with my favourite GP and don’t even give the $540 invoice a second thought when it pops through on email.

It’s a little higher than usual this time, but I’m heading to India on Monday and I want to look back on the hundreds of holiday snaps and smile at my non-existent frown lines.

Tara standing on a bridge in Seville (left) and Tara at a lookout in Dubrovnik (right) - Tara has no mortgage
I'd take good times and memories over a mortgage any day. (Source: Supplied) (Supplied)

Do you have a story to tell? Contact yahoo.finance.au@yahooinc.com

The trip was a spur-of-the-moment decision I made while home in Perth for Christmas. My best friend had been eyeing off the 13-day tour and India had always been on my bucket list.

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So, 'What the heck', I thought to myself and slapped down $1,872 for the trip and $1,238 to get me there.

A few weeks later, I was back on Skyscanner, picking up flights for my annual Euro summer trip. The return to Heathrow came in at $2,431.

"It’s pretty standard," I told my GP, having not even batted an eyelid as I entered my credit card details. I work very hard and had the money, I had the time, and it’s not like I’m saving up for a house or anything.

'I love my life'

By the time my mum was 29, she had the husband, the house, and the two kids. The picture-perfect existence in 1991.

By the end of May 2024, I’ll be a single 35-year-old woman with very few assets and no dependents, except a fluffy cat called Maisie. And I love my life.

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Living in the enviable eastern Sydney suburb of Coogee, I can hear the waves crash from inside my one-bedroom apartment. Sure, it’s costly, with rent coming in at $600 a week, but I know I’m paying for the lifestyle to live one street back from the beach, around the corner from the Pav (a pub that boasts customers like Margot Robbie and Kourtney Kardashian), and - maybe most importantly - just down the road from my Botox wizard.

Coogee beach with property in the background.
There's no way I would be able to afford property in Coogee. (Source: Getty) (Getty Iamges)

Not to mention, I can take off on international holidays whenever I fancy it.

Life is dreamy, and the more I write about cost-of-living pressures and soaring property prices with no end in sight, the more I don’t want to own my own home.

It doesn't help that I live in Sydney where the median house price has almost reached $1.6 million, while that of a unit is $795,994.

And I’m not alone. It turns out more people than ever are choosing not to buy a house and are staying in rentals for longer.

Many young people choosing lifestyle over property

Dale Gillham, chief analyst at financial services company Wealth Within, confirmed to Yahoo Finance that many young people were choosing to rent.

“Ten to 15 years ago, you just had to get your first home but, nowadays, especially with these interest rate rises, we are seeing a lot more under-35s saying that they don’t want to own a home and instead want to keep renting and travelling and having that lifestyle," Gillham said.

He called it “living for today”, aka YOLO, and said he was seeing a lot of younger people who’d “almost given up on the whole idea of buying a home”, which is kind of sad. Is the Aussie homeowner dream now dead? Perhaps. But what about our levels of happiness?

If I were to even contemplate the idea of purchasing property, you can bet that I would not be able to afford an apartment one street back from Coogee Beach. I’d have to live somewhere I didn’t want to, just for the sake of having my name on a mortgage, and many, many bills.

And forget the smashed avocados and oat lattes. I would have to absolutely bid farewell to my multiple holidays a year, which is exactly how I measure my wealth - good times and memories.

Tara's loungeroom (left) and bedroom (right).
I adore my one-bedroom apartment in Sydney's east and don't mind spending $600 a week for the beachside lifestyle. (Source: Supplied) (Supplied)

Don't let fear of missing out push you into overwhelming mortgage

It’s not to say that I’m not a little panicked, however. Not having any deed to my title and being almost 35 without a square inch of property does make me feel like I’m behind in life.

Then Gillham put the fear of retirement into me because, as we’re all being told time and time again, your government pension and superannuation fund won’t be enough to keep you going.

The answer, he said, lies in investment, rather than living in your own property - which won’t give you any returns.

Dropping in the fact he’s been renting for more than 30 years, Gillham suddenly made me feel better.

“To me, the first property any young person should buy is a rental property,” he said, adding that “buying your own home to live in is not an investment but a cost of living and bad debt”.

Even if you’re getting $500 a week from your rental property and paying $500 a week in rent yourself, you’re still better off, according to Gillham, because you’re getting capital gain, tax benefits and interest.

But if that’s out of your ballpark right now, Gillham said get into the stock market.

“Because you can rent for cheaper than you can own a home, whatever the extra is that you're not paying on a mortgage, you should be putting that into the stock market and building that up," he said.

Now, as a highly competitive person, this might just be right up my alley.

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