For younger people generally, but especially for Millennials, the future can be very uncertain. Many millennials are dealing with troubles simply finding an affordable place to rent an apartment in the city they want to live in, and an increasing trend shows more and more people choosing to live with their parents instead of striking out on their own. But is that just an unavoidable fate for young people in the modern world? It doesn’t have to be.
If you’re under 25 and dream of owning your own home, or even if you’re above that age and still want to see what steps you can take to put you on the fast-track to being truly independent, it can be summarized fairly simply: Keep your debts low, build good credit, practice fiscal responsibility. Everything we’re going to be talking about today starts from those three basic points, and unless a large amount of money miraculously falls into your lap, applying those three things to your life is a must if you want to own your own home at a young age. Not only will you not have to worry about renting, you also won’t have to answer anyone about the parties you throw! Well, as long as there aren’t too many noise complaints.
A major barrier to young people today is debt. Particularly debt gained from taking out student loans. In the United States alone, student debt is over one TRILLION dollars, making it a tremendous hurdle for young people who want a higher education to overcome. The best way to get past this is to avoid it entirely. There are a few methods to do so. First, you can apply to as many grant and scholarship programs as you can, and if you have the grades for it, you can even have your entire tuition covered!
However, if that’s not an option for you, and you don’t mind giving a few years of your life in exchange for it, flexible military service such as the National Guard or the Army/Air Force Reserve have programs where you can attend school on their dime in return for a few years’ service. Most of these programs would have you employed as an officer after you graduate too, so you wouldn’t have to worry about employment, you’d have a decent salary, and have most of your living expenses paid for, allowing you to save up much more than you normally would. If you’re so inclined, the military isn’t a bad route to early financial independence.
If you graduate from college normally and have either little or no debt, you’re going to want to start working immediately to pay off whatever debt you have quickly and start building up some savings. Start with whatever job you can get, and always be on the lookout for a better one in your field. Once you’re in your field, the general rule many people use is to switch to a better-paying company every year, so that you’re always increasing the money you make and updating your value.
Once you have a respectable amount saved up, however, having it just sit in your account gathering dust is just wasting potential. Depending on your tolerance for risk, you can either invest your money in stocks, or for the more cautious, a high-yield savings account or government bonds. Any of these are viable options, and at the very least, the potential to make some money isn’t going to waste.
Hopefully this gave you the framework of what you need to know! Continue to do more reading about specific topics we covered, and if you apply those three things: Keeping your debts low, building good credit, and practicing some fiscal responsibility, there’s no reason you can’t own a home worth being proud of by 25! And even if you’re above that age, it’s never too late to get on the path to owning your own home!