My friend Mark raised a good question about whether living simply means not buying a house.

This is a tough issue to make a call on, as there are lots of good reasons to own a house and lots of reasons against it too. And everyone has their own context with which to decide in.

For us right now we have decided owning property isn’t a priority.

We prioritised an overseas trip, which we took over January and February. The reason was that we felt the experiences we could have travelling was more valuable than committing to a mortgage.

But what about your retirement you might ask? The government won’t be paying pensions out forever, so how will you support yourself?

That’s a pertinent question and my answer is simply that life is in session and we have to be present, as the alternative could be straining for a future that may never eventuate.

When I was a reporter for a community newspaper I interviewed countless couples who had the same story, of working hard all their adult lives and reaching their 60s only to be struck down with a terminal disease or to have their investments ruined by a variety of things out of their control.

So by living in the present we hopefully will have less regrets in the future.

The second reason is that a mortgage requires a commitment to an area, a job, and a lifestyle for at least 15 to 20 years.

Choosing the area is the easy part, but deciding on a career for such a long period of time is not something I’m prepared to do at this stage. One of my thoughts since moving to Mangere is that I’d like the place I’m living in to choose what I should do, rather than I choose what I think it needs me to do. And if that means trying out some different things, to see where I can fit and what needs there are that I can fill then so be it.

Thirdly, there is a lot of anectdotal evidence out there ( which is obviously not enough to form a thesis on but still somewhat relevant) that being tied into a hefty mortgage is detrimental; to a healthy marriage, to recreation and to being able to contribute to community projects as the priority is in paying off this monumental debt. But I’d like to add we have also seen many couples who are able to organise their mortgage in such a way that isn’t so taxing.

Fourthly, I’d like to think there are other ways to save for retirement, eg the stock market and in your own skills. So another part of the plan is to be skilled in a variety of areas. Instead of locking myself into one career path, I think using my 20s and 30s to gain experience in a number of areas will mean I’m useful in a variety of ways which should prolong my employ-ability in an age where medical science is able to prolong our work lives. I guess I also don’t intend to hang up my work clothes at 60 and play golf for the rest of my days, as I’d like to think I can still contribute to society into my 70s and possibly longer.

So while i’m aiming to be present in the now, I also plan to be just as present in whatever endeavour I take up in the future, and if the need arises to buy a house then we will do it, but not as a necessity to ensure our retirement is comfortable but to serve our needs at that time if that is the requirement.

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