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How to be Rich

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live a richly rewarding life by owning your own home

“There are two ways to be rich. One is by acquiring much, the other is by desiring little.”
  Jackie French Coller

As hubby and I go through the motions of looking for our first home (loan through Endeavour Mutual Bank of course!) and consider relocating to a whole new city, things feel a bit unpredictable, a bit unsteady. We don’t know where we’ll end up, which of the endless properties we shortlist will be the one we call home, or how we will fit all of our stuff into what will likely be a much smaller abode. We’re not entirely sure how long we will stay in our present home, as it all depends on when we find ‘the one’ elsewhere, so there’s a sense of loose-ends-lingering, a holding of one’s breath while-we-wait. But one thing is certain, change is a-coming, and so is a new financial commitment. A mortgage!

It’s got me looking all around my home at my possessions, many of which I truly cherish and worked hard to source. Other things I used to love but I’ve outgrown or become nonplussed by. And then there is the clutter, the tide of ‘stuff’ that doesn’t really have a home, it just surges and swells and spills over surfaces, floors and fills drawers with its insidious ‘too hard basket’ status and hurts your feet when you stand on it in the middle of the night. That’s the stuff I want to leave behind. I want to start a new clean slate without the weight of the web-browsing-add-to-carts or the ‘one-day-I’ll-fix-that’ dust collectors.

Then there’s the things we might sell as we wait to finalise a property. We can downsize AND boost the savings at the same time, win win! In fact as I write this I’m already making a mental note of what to sell…already feeling lighter as I let go of what no longer serves me.

Buying a property for most people means making compromises in some way or another. It might mean more outgoings each month, so the need to work harder and earn more money. Perhaps it means downsizing and having to be creative about how you accommodate all your stuff (or let some of it go, as is my intention). For some it might mean upsizing and in turn the perceived need to ‘fill’ it with more stuff. It could be that you’ll move to a whole new suburb or city and there will be no best buddies in the nearby streets or familiar faces at your local cafe. Perhaps you'll have to move away from family support, only to move closer to the unruly cousin who you think might be a bad influence. It could be leaving your carefully tended garden to live in a south facing apartment with no sun and no place to even keep pot plants alive. For some it will mean a much longer commute, and less time with the family.

For many people, buying a property (provided it is a wise investment and you’ve done your homework and can afford it) is often worth the compromises that come with it, because it is your asset, your own piece of the pie (with help from the Bank of course). Big life decisions like buying property are opportunities to take stock of what you truly value, to assess what is important to you. For me, having rented for 20 years (yup you read that right) I’m well and truly over paying someone else’s mortgage and funding someone else’s retirement plan. I’m over never feeling like I can fully nest or make a place entirely my own. Hubby who turns 40 next month wants very much for his 40th year to be able to walk through the front door of a home he can call his own. Even if it means he has to commute for up to 3 hours at a time several times a week.

And so we have looked at our priorities and our desires, and what we are willing to give up to have what we truly value. And we’ve decided it will be worth it. We will live richly with less, rather than depleted with more. There will be letting go of some things we quite like, objects and wonderful people and experiences we will miss without a doubt. But we don’t need to have it all, we’ve shortlisted our desires, we’ve limited it to what we can easily and enjoyably achieve. And it’s just one of many chapters of our life, who knows what the ending will be, but as long as we keep chasing only that which brings us joy and fulfilment, not all the ‘stuff’ that people will try to sell to us along the way, I think we’ll be just fine.  

Alison Gallagher is a freelance writer, resourcefulness expert and entrepreneur. She has been featured in various publications including Stellar Magazine, Australian Health and Fitness Magazine, and Cleo Magazine. Alison is particularly passionate about sharing practical tips on how to live simply, sustainably and seasonally.