Ask anyone looking to take their first steps on the path of investment and they’ll say the modern housing market seems pretty bleak, but all financial problems often come with a suitable, achievable solution… And this solution can be achieved starting with one simple change in definition of what home ownership truly means in today’s world. 

The last ten years has seen the strengthening and rising of a commonly held, home-hitting belief for the majority of Australia’s working population – especially those below the age of 50.

It’s a belief that is backed by the trends, confirmed by the statistics and ultimately fuelled by the media, and it’s a belief that’s held at the core of what it means to live life to the fullest extent as a modern, living, breathing human being.

That core belief is the idea that we need security to feel a sense of fulfilment, perhaps most evidently expressed in today’s western world as financial more than any other factor.

And that belief would absolutely be correct.

The need for security dates right on back to our evolutionary need for survival – and it’s in fact the number one need we require to build the fundamental platform from which we can enjoy all the rest of what life has to offer.

But the belief that ongoing financial security through real estate investment is achievable today has practically been scrapped from the board, with the generic perceptions and challenges being heard from a mile away (particularly from a generation so keen on keeping their flexible lifestyle as they grow): 

“Have you seen the prices? The housing market is impossible to get into these days, and who wants to be tied down to a location even if you could get in?”

“The Baby Boomers stuffed it for the rest of us, so what’s the point of even looking into real estate anymore?”

“There isn’t much hope for a generation like ours when it comes to financial security, at least not if we want to have a lifestyle!”

But it’s fair to say that although these beliefs are as strong as the trends, statistics and media that express them, what will continue to remain just as strong is the unwavering human need for security.

Which results in a rock-and-a-hard place situation for the average working Australian.

Because if we can’t just magically stop needing financial security, and we can’t lower the real estate prices at the click of our fingers, then what are our options? Where are we to turn? What are we left with?

The answer is actually far more comforting – and easier to believe – than you’d think…

We’re left with what we’re always left with when all other external factors can’t be changed. The result when we can’t change the things around us no matter how hard we try…

We’re left with the only viable action that we always take when our back seems to be against the wall with no other options available.

We’re left with the ability to change our own perceptions.

We’re left with the ability to make our own judgements as to what’s important to us and essentially, we’re left with the most powerful ability in all of this:

The ability to change our ultimate reason for investing.

More and more Australians are now beginning to realise that the available reasons for investing in the modern market have changed significantly, and although they can’t necessarily invest for long-term, locked in security, the door is wide open to invest for a different purpose:

For example, comfort.  

Through changing our reasons for investing, we completely shift the meaning we place on the investing we are doing – which in turn allows us to be far more flexible in the way we invest overall.

Where generations past would tie themselves down to a location-specific mortgage, requiring them to adhere to the strictest of budgets just so they can achieve ‘security’ – something that was valued by their generation – the modern investor knows that current market conditions don’t necessarily suggest ‘security’ has to be the motivator for investment.

Trends show they would rather invest for their own reasons – not for the reasons bestowed upon them by generations past.

They value comfort over security.

They value certainty in the now as opposed to certainty 30 years away.

They value investing in a way that supports their lifestyle, as opposed to their lifestyle supporting the investments they feel forced to make.

Extremely fitting, wouldn’t you say, for a generation that continues to desire flexibility in lifestyle whilst also aiming to grow financially along the way – the real estate investor’s edition of having your cake and eating it too?

Modern first-time real estate investors are becoming especially keen on the idea of buying their first home not necessarily for the security that would fit the already-established financial plans of their grandparents, but for the comfort it gives them in knowing they are responsibly applying ‘forced saving’ principles to their finances to leverage their income.

What’s more, is that because they are investing not for a sense of ‘security’ but rather for a sense of comfort right now (when it matters most) they are finding they don’t need to squeeze every penny until it pops, crippling their ability to have their desired lifestyle along the way.

They are finding new reasons to invest, new ways in which to do exactly that, and are having their financial cake and eating it too as their perception of modern market conditions continues to throw them opportunity after opportunity where others see brick walls.

A brick wall may seem secure, but it’s also perceived as unattainable and unattractive in the modern, savvy investor’s mind.

And because the trends suggest that’s not changing any time soon, it results in perfect timing to change the internal factors we have the most control over:

Our reason for investing.

So what’s your reason for financial growth? Are they similar to generations past, or have you started to notice a shift in what’s possible in the mind of the modern real estate investor?

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Peter Mastroianni is a property finance expert and the co-founder of Loans Only, specialising in investment lending. He is the author of two top-selling real estate books and host of The Rentvesting Podcast. Peter is passionate about supporting the next generation of investors rethink the traditional home ownership model. He does this by championing the 'Rentvesting' strategy through www.rentvesting.com.au.

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