Why You Shouldn’t Buy a House in Your Early 20s

I’ve been to many cities in my life. Saigon, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Phnom Penh, Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Dallas, Milwaukee, Chicago… the list goes on and on. Only now, am I starting to get some kind of idea of the city I’d like to live in when I’m older. Before I started traveling in 2015, I would’ve had no idea what place I’d want to live in.

That’s the simple and biggest reason you shouldn’t buy a house in your early 20s. You don’t want to commit yourself to living somewhere before you know it’s the best place for you. Your location impacts your happiness almost as much as your career and the people you spend time with.

Do you want to live in a city that’s always warm or that has four distinct seasons? Is living in a primarily English speaking city important to you? Is air pollution a deal breaker? What’s the dating culture like in your potential dream cities? Do you require vegetarian restaurants? Is nightlife important to you? Would you rather live near the mountains, or the beach? Are you a laid back small town guy, or a big city hustler? Is being in close proximity to other countries important for your occupation? Are there likeminded entrepreneurs, a tech scene, real estate opportunities, or something else business related that’s important for your city to provide you? How important is being near your parents when they retire?

We could go on and on and on. I wouldn’t recommend buying a house for residential purposes at a young age at all, but if you decide you’re at that phase in your life, these questions and more are all important for you to consider.

Unfortunately, many of these questions are difficult to answer if you don’t have a wide perspective from living or at least visiting dozens of towns/cities in your life. It can also be difficult to know which city will provide you the best economic opportunities before settling into a specific industry yourself.

For that reason, you’re generally better off delaying a house purchase until you’re older and more established. Rent and explore when you’re young. You’ll have plenty of time to settle down and own a house when you’re older… if you even want to at that point.