Many people face a difficult choice. They can either afford buying a home or spend their money traveling the world, but they can’t financially handle both at the same time. Figuring out which option should take precedence isn’t easy, especially if they find both of those goals important. However, that doesn’t mean coming to a decision isn’t possible. Here’s how to decide between buying a home or traveling.
Consider Your Priorities-Buying A Home or Traveling
As with many major decisions in life, you have to look inward. Often, people know which road they’d rather take. It could be a gut feeling or an intellectual choice, but they are fully aware of the option that appeals to them most.
Typically, your priorities play a big role. Some people put a significant amount of value on experiences. They prefer to spend their money on activities or adventures over things. Others may need a higher degree of stability or have a need for a place that they can call home.
It’s important to understand that neither choice is technically right or wrong. However, one may align better with your priorities than others. If you value experiences, traveling may be a better fit. If you crave stability, then a home may give you that.
Unless you are making this decision with others – such as a spouse – then you may also need to make sure that the priorities of others aren’t influencing you. For example, your family or friends may dislike the idea of you traveling. Some may view it as frivolous, while others would simply like you to stay close by so that they don’t have to spend much time away from you or worrying about your safety.
The opposite can also be true. It is possible people in your life will think that settling down in a home is a bad move or that you’d miss out on an amazing experience by skipping out on traveling.
While you can certainly listen to their perspective, you have to focus on your priorities. Otherwise, you might make a choice that seems right to them but doesn’t feel like the best fit to you.
Envision Each Option
If you are having trouble making a decision, spend some time visualizing what you think each option would look like. What sort of life do you think each choice would bring you? What kind of benefits would you experience? How about the challenges that you’ll face?
Through this exercise, you can learn a lot about your expectations. This may help you understand why each option could be appealing or why it could be daunting.
Then Do Your Research
Once you’ve envisioned your options, do some research. Learn about the realities of each choice, as you may be overlooking something important.
For example, home ownership often costs more than first-time buyers realize. Maintenance costs, repairs, furnishings, paint, property taxes, and unexpected issues all have price tags. Look into the expenses that come with a typical house in your area and how much various items or services cost. That way, you have a better grip on the costs involved.
Then, use the same approach for traveling. Consider where you want to go and explore how much you’ll actually spend to make that happen. You also need to factor in other potential expenses. For example, what if you fall ill or are injured while in another country? What will you need to do if your wallet or passport is stolen?
While it may seem pessimistic, it’s important to know what could be in store. That way, you can figure out if you’re fully prepared or want to deal with what may come with one option or the other.
Review Your Financial Situation
After you’ve done your research, review your financial situation again. See if it actually supports what you pictured, taking into account what you’ve learned while doing your research.
Essentially, you don’t want to make a formal decision based solely on how you imagine each choice would pan out. Instead, you need to take a hard look at the realities and ensure that you would be satisfied with how things would probably go once you commit to a path.
By considering the points above, you may have greater clarity on the road you want to take. If so, then commit to your preferred path. Just making the decision formal can be a relief, and you can start pursuing the option that genuinely feels right for you.
Do you have any tips that can help people decide if they should buy a home or spend their time traveling? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Tamila McDonald has worked as a Financial Advisor for the military for past 13 years. She has taught Personal Financial classes on every subject from credit, to life insurance, as well as all other aspects of financial management. Mrs. McDonald is an AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor and has helped her clients to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals.