Looking back and looking forward…

I feel rather old, when I think about our life, and that I am in theory a grown adult, with adult responsibilities. I remember looking at my own parents making what seemed like very grown up decisions about life, like buying a house, and thinking that I would never be old or have to do that sort of thing and I didn’t worry about things like house prices and the cost of buying or selling a house.

Of course, now I am an adult myself, I realise how silly that was, but I think we all feel like that.

I remember my parents coming home to the UK and going about the process of buying us a house. We had lived abroad for a long time and came back needing somewhere to call home.

When our home was eventually sold, it seemed to me at the time that it sold for a lot of money, but when I look back then to now and property prices, it makes me laugh, because back then what seemed like a lot of money would most likely be considered just about enough for a deposit on a house, these days.

You don’t need to be a financial expert to know that the value of property has increased dramatically, and our parents’ generation were very fortunate to be able to get into the property market before the housing market began to change dramatically. I think to be honest it was a lot easier for that generation to get on the housing market ladder and to manage day to day with costs although I am sure it didn’t feel that way at the time to them.

For us, as a family, owning a home and the day to day, and long-term costs are vastly different. Whilst house property values have increased, the cost of living, and what we spend our money on has changed a lot and it seems a lot hard to manage now, then when I look back to when my own parents were a similar age to me and in similar circumstances.

Looking at a family home in an area we would like to live in, with good schools and access to the amenities we want is dramatically different to when my parents bought their house. I found this calculator that shows how much their property has increased and it is quite surprising.

To be fair, my parents faced costs and expenses that we face, but I do think we, as this generation do have to deal with more and increased expenses and different future costs to think about. For example, when I went to university, we didn’t have to pay tuition fees, and now, we need to think about our children going to university and planning for that. My parents planned to help me with university costs but they were much less, and whilst it was part of their financial planning, it wasn’t as big a cost to look at for them. Family holidays were something they budgeted for, and they also planned for long term house needs, and for emergencies, but again, whilst we face these things, the numbers we face when we look at our budget are very different from back then.

The general day to day costs have increased too, with things like fuel bills and council tax, and the cost of improving or maintaining a house, and even things like buying a car have all changed a lot from when my parents were doing their financial planning and looking at their future.

Even retiring now is more expensive and we will be older and worked for longer than our parents did, in order to be able to retire in a reasonably comfortable way and not be reliant on our own children to provide for us.

So, it is very different, and we do have to plan very carefully, and make sure we are looking at our costs and the future. When we sit down to discuss these things I think back to my own parents doing this, and now I understand why and although I feel a bit old, I realise it’s a part of adult life that we have to take seriously.

It seems weird to look back our parents lives and compare, but it can be a good thing, that helps us to plan more carefully for our own futures. I think it is something everyone should be doing.

*this is a collaborative post*



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