Homebuyer Regrets: 5 Reasons Millennials Wish They Hadn’t Bought a Home

homebuyer regrets

There are a lot of reasons why you might have homebuyer regrets. Although owning a home is one of the hallmarks of success for the middle class, it’s not without its problems. Millennials, in particular, have discovered that their financial situation is shaky. As a result, more than half of millennial home owners have homebuyer regrets. Here are five key reasons:

1. The Great Recession

Research indicates that millennials are considerably more likely to have homebuyer regrets than their Baby Boomer counterparts. The younger Gen Z has plans to buy homes young. So what’s going on with millennials? The great recession is likely a huge part of the problem.

This generation was already working, but not very far along in their careers, when The Great Recession struck. As a result, they were financially hit hard. If they’d already bought a home, they likely have found themselves struggling to make mortgage payments. The rest of their financial lives has just been too precarious.

2. They Didn’t Pay Enough Down

More than two thirds of millennials paid less than 20% for the down payment on their homes. This means two things:

  • They still owe a lot of money on their home mortgages.
  • Their mortgage payments are higher than if they’d paid more down.

Both of these things have led to some big homebuyer regrets.

3. They Didn’t Plan for So Many Ongoing Home Costs

Buying a home is just the first step of the home ownership process. You also have to keep your home maintained, which costs money. You might need renovations. Additionally, you may have to use your homeowner’s insurance, which can lead to greater rates there over time. Many millennials seem to have failed to plan for these costs.

“Millennials are planning 49% more renovations than Baby Boomers over the next five years, but they’re also three times as likely to use a personal loan and twice as likely to use a credit card to finance their renovations than Baby Boomers.”

Almost half of them were surprised at the cost of maintaining their homes. And they were four times as likely as Baby Boomers to use their homeowner’s insurance in the past year. So, they are spending more money on maintaining and renovating their homes. Yet they don’t actually have that money, which means that they’re paying high interest rates on loans to cover those costs. It’s overwhelming.

4. Overall, Their Mortgages Are Too High

More than anything else, millennial homeowners resent how much money they pay towards their mortgages. Maybe they aren’t earning enough as they still try to recover from The Great Recession. Perhaps they have too many other costs in their lives, including children and exorbitant student loans. Maybe the choices they’ve made with down payments, mortgage companies, and refinancing have left them struggling financially. Whatever the reason, the number one cause of homebuyer regrets among millennials is the high cost of their mortgage.

5. They’re Still New to Home Ownership

More than 60% of millennials have only owned their homes for five years or less. Those first years are hard. You’re adjusting to paying a mortgage. You’re learning all that it takes to pay for and maintain a home. You may not be used to the higher energy bills and property taxes as compared to when you were renting. Perhaps, as time goes on, these same millennials will have fewer homebuyer regrets because they’ll have adjusted to what it means to own their homes.

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Why Aren’t Millennials Investing?

millennials investing

Why aren’t millennials investing?

Millennials investing seems to be a scarcity in this decade, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t. So what’s the problem? Why aren’t we millennials investing more?

I can’t speak for everyone, but I know personally, my top reasons for not investing in earlier years are as follows:

 

  • Lack of funds. When I first graduated college in 2009, I was feeling the recession along with many other freshly graduated college students.
  • Lack of knowledge. I never felt confidently enough to invest. I thought the risk was much too large and that the return would reflect this.
  • Lack of skill. I did not create a steady budget for myself nor did I have any type of savings. My personal finance skills were nonexistent.

Over the years, I’ve educated myself and learned the importance of investing. I’ve also improved my personal finances by taking the time to grow my savings and seek out financial opportunities. But, despite the improvement of the economy over the years, the rate of millennials investing is still low. Why is this?

Various studies show similar reasons as mentioned above as to why the amount of individuals that dedicate time to invest is lower than in previous generations. If parents were not encouraging or enforcing the investing, it seems to have rarely happened on its own. Or rather, it takes longer for it to happen on its own.

We need answers.

While this age group tends to be stereotyped as self-centered and entitled folk who are focused on instant gratification and all things digital, these studies portray a different (and more accurate) light. In addition to simply a lack of investing confidence, Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking and Investment Group’s survey on millennials and money shows that this generation is very careful in making investment choices. They want to be “shown the math.”

We want more control.

Merrill Lynch’s survey also found that trust is a big issue for millennials investing. In fact, 72% of the 153 young Americans surveyed stated that they are “self-directed in their investing.” We’d rather be the ones making the decisions than having an adviser we don’t trust working with our cash. We want to invest with people or resources we personally trust rather than just any certified professional.

We’re more conservative (when it comes to investing).

Millennials, in terms of money, have been compared to post-Great Depression era. We not only watched what happened to our parents in the early 2000’s due to the stock market crash and recession, many of us experienced it ourselves after college. Jobs were harder to come by, and therefore, our focus has shifted. We are just as concerned about our parents and their future as  they are with us. UBS Investment Bank’s 2014 survey confirms this notion. We do our research and are much less willing to take high risks with our money. Although high risk investments do often yield high returns, we are typically holding more than half of our assets in cash, according to the research.

Surprisingly, the results of these surveys show that it is more about being careful and not as much about student debt. We are still feeling the effects of the financial crisis, and this generation needs more education on the topic in order to confidently create a diversified financial portfolio. Millennials tend to have more short-term investments instead of long-term, and we also tend to care more about life experiences than substantial wealth.

The good news is that there are more online tools and resources to help educate and guide millennials on investing. WiseBanyan and Acorns are just a couple of examples of investing sites to get a beginner started. Additionally, if nothing else, young Americans should at least focus on a retirement account as their form of investing, whether it be a workplace 401(k) plan or a Roth IRA.

Knowing the importance of investing is the first step in this process, and it’s one that we need to know we can truly benefit from with the right tools and knowledge.

Are you a millennial who invests? What routes do you take?

 

Money Tips for Millennials

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Millennials and Money

Millennials follow a different path than generations before them, in more ways than one. This group is reaching milestones later in life, such as getting married and starting families, and focusing on life experiences more. We’ve been given all the job advice in the world growing up; the thought that all you need to do is work hard to make it big. However, someone along the way forgot to give more tips on money, especially given the difficulty of finding a job, especially in their field of study, for many millennials.

Although unemployment rates have been decreasing in recent years, millennials still make up roughly 40% of the unemployed in the United States, according to this Newsweek article. This fact can make it difficult for this generation to get ahead, but the good news is there are ways to leverage your finances even if you feel you are working a dead-end job.

Here are four money tips for millennials that I’ve used to help my own finances:

Make saving a social thing. 

I don’t know about you, but I can think of at least five friends off the top of my head who have yet to get that raise at work. While we all love hanging out together, sometimes that involves extra spending that we really should not be doing. But, a way to spend just as much time together without emptying your bank account is to take turns hosting a girls’ night in. Buying some cheap wine and snacks accompanied by some movies and laughter is a great alternative for a night on the town, which can be $81 per night on average.

Also, the crew can ban together to do money-free weekends together. Even if you are not physically hanging out, you can still help to keep one another accountable. Plus, it’s great to have an excuse to bond with friends, especially over common goals.

Create other streams of income. 

If you recognize that you are in a dead-end job, hopefully you are taking steps to get out in order to improve your financial situation. If you are having a difficult time finding a new job (another post for another day), another option would be to create some other sources of revenue as you continue the search.

Seasonal jobs are a great option for millennials as they are often a bit more flexible, but you can also offer to use some skills or talents you currently have to gain some extra income. House cleaning, babysitting and the like are all great ways to make cash fast, but you can also consider freelancing, especially if you want to land that dream job.

Get techy with it. 

Investing seems so unattainable and intimidating before you actually start doing it, not to mention it can also be risky. But, it is a great way to grow your wealth. There are so many online tools you can use now to improve your financial portfolio without the intimidation. These resources cost very little to get started and are great for millennials. The best part is many of them allow you to create your own minimum investment amount, giving you more control over than ever.

Be smart with your options. 

In desperate times, you may be tempted to apply for a payday loan or sign up for another credit card to pay off other expenses; however, by doing so, you are only creating more debt for yourself. These quick options may be easy to get, but they dig your hold even deeper. Don’t get caught up in these fast solutions to solve all your problems; instead develop a strategic and specific plan that will get you out of debt and get you ahead. This plan may include automating a monthly savings amount, consolidating current debt, starting a retirement fund, and cutting back on leisurely spending.

This is another reason why having an emergency savings fund is so important; it will keep you away from wanting to (or needing to) resort to these choices. Avoid accumulating credit card debt and instead work on building your assets and net worth.


 

Millennials definitely have had to face many challenges economically that may not have been expected or predicted by previous generations. By spending some time being careful about your finances, though, you can slowly but surely build a reliable and steady financial future for yourself.

These are just a few ways I’ve focused on improving my finances. What have you done that works for you?