When the media, financial “experts”, or the government are discussing items like ‘cost of living’, ‘housing affordability’, and retirement, I find they tend to categorise society into very neat boxes. You have your younger generation, who apparently blow all their money on coffee and smashed avocado (because apparently buying a coffee every day is akin to having an expensive cocaine habit and should be considered a luxury), and who should have plenty of income to save for retirement. These kids apparently need help to get into the housing market, whether it be first home buyer grants, use of super, or somehow addressing affordability. Then there is the older generation, who apparently should be just fine. They own houses, get pensions or have enough super. Then there is everyone else left out in the cold, because they sure as hell pretend the rest of us don’t exist.
Given the divorce rates, I can only imagine how many people out there like me, are no longer “first home buyers”, yet don’t have any cash or assets to show from a divorce. Therefore we are ineligible for any of these potential schemes to assist getting into the housing market. Also, apparently we have bundles of cash we could just invest in the share market or into super. This would supposedly make up for us not owning property. Sure, invest your cash and when you stop working, move to Mt Isa, or the back end of Cooper Pedy, because you sure as hell won’t have enough retirement funds for capital city rent!
Again, I think the government is oblivious to what it costs to give children a basic home life. I’m not talking the ‘go skiing every year, and have an international holiday every couple of years’ life. I’m talking ‘decent food on the table, eat out once in a while, allow limited out of school paid activities, live in something other than a shoe box’ lifestyle. If we did what was necessary to scrimp and save for a house deposit, the kids would have to go without most everything, and live in uncomfortable conditions, for many years. You can’t whip up 10 or 20% of a deposit in a year or two by not buying a coffee, and I sure as shit won’t feed my kids budget fatty mince or chicken wings with limited frozen veg every day to save money. The kids DESERVE a childhood of reasonable standards. If we turn around and take on every saving mechanism we can, it will take years to save up what is required for a deposit *now*, let alone accounting for the increase of housing prices in those years. Which means, the kids spend their childhood paying the price for my other half and I to own something later. Not acceptable. They derive no benefit, and don’t get to enjoy their childhood as much. Personally, I will deal with what I have to, when the kids are grown and making it on their own. I won’t sacrifice their childhood for my future.
Just yesterday, my daughter re-organised her room and when she proudly showed it to me, I complimented her on how awesome it felt to be in her room. The room felt like an extension of her personality. It was fun, and warm, and colourful and smart. Why would I want to take that away from her and have her share a room with one, two, or three other kids of various ages? It would mean constant fighting, no sense of ‘space’ and removal of her haven from everyone.
This rant highlights how us ‘regular’ families are left behind in government thinking. The obvious housing scheme tossed around for years is letting families access their super for a deposit. Regardless of the risks, we *should* be given that chance. The greatest expense for Sydney residents is rent or mortgage. The only way to truly make retirement work is by outright owning a property, which will greatly reduce your daily drain on your pension/super. If we weren’t so overlooked for being ‘ordinary’, the government might understand and let us do what we need to do. It’s not like it would even be hard to plug the risk to people rorting the system. If someone used their super, then sold the property, the government could put a stop gap in place which intercepts the funds and ensure their super account is ‘paid back (with interest)’, as effectively the agreed purpose of accessing your super for a deposit for you to have somewhere to live, has now been broken.
Kids don’t deserve to pay the price because of a shitty economy where property prices are out of the reach of your ordinary person. They deserve at least a basic ‘play in the street, ride your bike, play in the back yard’ type childhood that Australia has always prided itself on. Those basics of Aussie life are far removed if you try to meet the modern day Australian dream.