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For first time Australian real estate investors, the modern housing market looks undeniably difficult to get into. But quite often buying into this perception needs to be handled with care, as those preaching the overwhelming difficulty of such a thing are forgetting one important factor in what it means to be a modern investor. 

Go to school, go to university or get a trade, get married and have two kids with a dog and a white picket fence – just make sure to follow what everyone else is doing along the way.

Sound familiar? 

Most people under the age of 50 will respond with a resounding ‘YES!’ followed by a confession that begs the question, “… and why on earth would anyone want that?”

Contrastingly of course, there are those over the age of 50 who will follow the choir with the resounding ‘YES!’, and only this time follow it with the slightly confused inquisition of “… what, you mean there’s another way people would rather do it?”

It’s hardly a revelation to realise that it’s not only the years on this earth that separate the quality of lives from one generation to the next.

The likes, dislikes, values and preferences of one generation are also practically always significantly different from the one preceding it, but what so many can fail to notice is that sometimes the behaviours and the values of adjacent generations can find themselves being mistakenly mixed up.

This is a dangerous threat to the fulfilment of any modern generation beginning to establish itself in the professional working and investing world. 

The generalised beliefs and values of one generation – formed in their respective environment at their respective time in history – can so often be handed down to the next generation coming through even though the new, modern environment doesn’t necessarily suggest those values and beliefs are still valid.

This ‘generational difference’ in values and beliefs will often resemble a grandfather teaching his grandson to use a rotary phone. Sure, the knowledge can be learned – but when will it ever be needed again?

Sure, the values of generations gone past were highly relevant at one stage, but have they remained completely relevant, in exactly the same way in the modern world?

Absolutely not.

The knowledge has retained its truthfulness, but lost its practicality. 

And with the evolution of the online world, it’s clearly evident that younger generations today have become far more proactive in their open-mindedness to new ideas. Yet so many of the beliefs and values that have forced their hand in guiding decisions still exist in the places where they aren’t necessarily welcome anymore.

The knowledge of how to use that rotary phone is still hanging about, trying to be taught to a world that doesn’t want to listen.

The world now would rather embrace their own unique reasons for working, investing, connecting and ultimately living. 

The world is seeing changes in the way people work to a more human-centric platform, where generations past are still marvelling at the idea of ‘remote offices’.

The world is experiencing a shift from the typical nuclear family sporting a white picket fence and a medium-sized dog towards any imaginable family unit that suits the respective lifestyles of those involved, where those of older generations can’t understand why people aren’t insisting on ‘tying the knot’ with their first partner at the age of 23.

Put simply, the modern world has changed its values to become more respectful of individual preferences that take into account the unique desires of each person. 

People are understanding now that they can work for their own reasons, get married or stay single for their own reasons, have children or not for their own reasons – and the values of generations gone past are slowly but surely losing their grip on a modern world that is making its own choices.

And where is one of the most evident places in which this shift in thinking and behaviour is taking place?

Real estate investment, of course.

Generations past have typically insisted that the major reason for investing in real estate is security, demanding a strict budget and sacrificing of a flexible lifestyle in order to attain it.

Read more here.

Modern investors however, are embracing the fact that those values and beliefs don’t have to apply to a generation that prefers a lifestyle and financial strategy so different their parental and grandparental counterparts. 

Modern investors have ditched the idea that security must be the reason for which someone would invest in real estate, and instead are adopting their own (far more relevant) purposes for investing.

They understand that the real estate market appears difficult to get into, only if you’re strictly buying for security purposes. 

They can see how flexibility in lifestyle might take a bit of a backward step when investing in real estate, but only if you choose the pathway that demands you squeeze every penny. 

They are now taking every opportunity to invest in real estate in a way that allows them to invest for reasons such as comfort instead of security, lifestyle instead of retirement and versatility instead of restriction.

The savvy modern investor sees the current housing market and marvels at how the current working generation strips itself of the opportunities right in front of their eyes, all because they are seeing it through the eyes of a generation that isn’t their own. 

A generation that values a completely different lifestyle and financial strategy to their own.

A generation that was influenced by significantly different economical and financial factors to the ones that exist today.

A generation that is still trying to teach anyone who will listen how to use a rotary phone.

So as you take a step back and admire your own financial future ahead, have you been making assumptions about it based on the investment beliefs and values of generations gone past, or the generation in which you currently live?

Are you investing for the reasons of others, or for reasons of your own? And how does this realisation change the way you look at the opportunities before you now?

And how does this realisation change the way you look at the opportunities before you now?

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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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