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Let’s say society was set up so that you got your perfect house at about 20, provided you worked it off for 10 years at some point. During this decade you’re comfortable, but extra money and any extended time off is fairly minimal. When do you think is the best time to do this working decade?

Try and leave out loopholes and take the scenario at face value. So ten years comfortable but hard work contributing to society, rather than 35 year mortgages etc. I’m trying to gauge which years people think they can put aside and what years you really should be out in the world.

Edit : if you could put your age bracket in your reply too!

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50 Comments

  1. If you could pay off a house in only 10 years, it doesn’t really matter the decade.

    Also, my home needs at 20 is very different than my needs at 40.

    All that being said, 20s is when you have the most energy and the fewest external responsibilities, so that would be the time to buckle down and log those extra hours.

  2. 30’s. You have developed your skill sets, your party days are likely behind you, and you are still young. Your 20’s should be spend enjoying the prime of your youth. There’s a reason you don’t see many people in their 30’s going to clubs or out till 4am on a regular basis

  3. I’d wanna give up my teens, like 15-25, youre young then and working is good for you and building character while allowing you to still be a young man when you set your life up and do the things you really want to do

  4. I loved being a kid… I think I would say 25-35 give myself a chance to be a kid first and then really grind it out once I understand what I like to do and how to stay healthy for those 10 years of work.

  5. I’m 53 — but (and this is not a spritzo, I’m serious) why would I want a house? I can’t think of a reason. Seems to be the end of life to me, planted in one spot, unable to uproot at a moment’s notice never mind all the upkeep. It’s the same with possessions so my apartment is as bare as a pool table, the way I like it. I would rather make the money and spend it relocating or travelling when I feel like it, which is turning out to be every 6 years or so for relocating. Experience and memories (which I know exists) over so-called stability (which I’m not sure exists at all).

  6. The correct answer would be your later years. 50+

    Because you get to enjoy your youth, older people have a hard time making new friends etc so they would atleast have work friends, and because your chances of just dying and not doing the full 10 years are higher.

  7. I would choose the years 18-28 because I need to learn many of the workings of the world with a strong emphasis on responsibility, accountability and social interaction. I feel that I enjoyed life more after mid 20’s. Also a consideration to health and relationships can truly change later in life when we need it so much more and I’d rather not have to deal with work as I get older.

  8. I’m in my 40’s, and wasted my finances before now.

    Far better to smash it in your 20’s, because compound interest works in your favour so you only need to work 30% as hard to get the same retirement at 65 as would if you start in your 40’s

    Trust a guy who’s made bad financial decisions. The best time to start is always right now.

  9. I’m 21 now. I’ve lived on the southern edge of comfortable for about 10 years. So in my dad’s timeline that would be 40-50. If I magically had everything perfect for him now, I’d want to keep it that way until he passed, stress free and debt free. Then I’d do the 10 years.

    Arguably he could die in 10 years he could die in 10 minutes, so I’d be gambling on my own life and timeline, but that’s the thing about death, all we know is that it’s coming. I’d rather him be comfortable-comfortable and I can give to him whatever he and my mom want while he is alive and then worry about doing all of the hard work when he’s resting.

    Or I could just do it 18-28, that way it’s a devil I know I’m dealing with rather than a devil I don’t. That’s probably the more pragmatic way and the way I’d actually do it because fuck the overhead bag of boulders that is any long term debt (I’m paying off a $2000 credit card balance in March and it’s amazing but I wish I had just forked over the $2k in October instead). But I’m not in a perfect house and we’re all still working hard so thanks for the nice hypothetical but now I have to go change my brake pads. Lol

  10. My gut feeling is that it’s best to get stuff done early and out the way so that you can focus on whatever is next !

    But perhaps I am a bad example, I can well afford a house but I just have zero interest in buying one. I relate better to the German approach. Like my ex (German), her parents were a doctor and a lawyer, yet they rented. I think this drive to own a house is a very British thing.

    But my ramble aside I do think it’s best to get things out the way early.

  11. Fuck it, I didn’t have any extra money or extended time off in my 20s anyway. At least I would have had some property to show for it. Although I don’t think that’s the point of your question lol. If it wouldn’t kill you mentally or keep you from having a life outside of work I’d say go for it. Otherwise focus on living your life and furthering your career.

  12. People keep putting numbers that end in a 5 or 0, I think it’s smarter to start work at like 26 and end at 36, that way you get the partying done in your early 20’s and can just steamroll through your early 30’s

  13. I’d sat 24 to 34. Give yourself a year to have fun in your 20s post college, but still be able to work at that rate for 10 years. Then be set to have a family at a good age around 34

  14. I’m going to say 30-40. It’s basically your economic prime, so that decade ought to get you the best house you could possibly get, so best family outcome, best personal fulfillment.

  15. I am now in my 50s. I know I will step on some toes here, but very few people have the experience and skill to really be valuable until they are in their mid 30s. I think from around 35 to 55 is when you really carry the load for society. It naturally is also the time you would expect to make the most money. Just be smart with your money during that time…whether you pay off a house or invest or whatever. Also, 10 years is not nearly long enough for your “hard work” years. 20-30 would be a better expectation if you really want that dream home or big retirement.

  16. I would say, as an 18 year old, probably get the house by 20 and work it off from 21-31 or so. This is because:
    1. Being comfortable is much more beneficial when you’re young and less stressed. This would make it easier to work it off when I have more energy than when I’m around 35-40.
    2. I plan on getting married around the age of 24 so that’s 3 years after I buy the house which would give me and my girlfriend/fiancé enough time to save up for a decent wedding and all the extra expenses we might need, albeit on a budget.

  17. Work from 20-30 and save for retirement. Work from 30-40 to pay for the house. Retire at 40 because you have a paid off house and 10+ years of retirement savings compounding for the past 20 years.

  18. I’d rather have my youth, enjoy a lifestyle of exploring and partying while I have the energy in my 20s, start a family at 30 and work those 10years off, by 40 my kids are around 10 and I don’t have to work as much and can focus on them. 50 they’re out the door and I can focus on doing something special with my life like writing a book or inventing something.

  19. Pretty much did this. Wife and I took overseas jobs in tax free country and basically sold our 30s. As teachers, we still got plenty of time off though – regular trips around Asia, Europe, Australia.

    Now 40, own 2 houses in the UK outright plus a little bit saved (circa 50k).

    Timing was both good and bad. Great to be cushioned from lack of work (have a modest rental income from one of the houses) but feels rough that everything we looked forward to all that time, such as getting to see our families that we basically sacrificed for life overseas, remains out of reach.

    Does make me laugh when I see so much negativity directed at teachers. A few careful decisions can make that profession very, very lucrative. However, I do feel it is more conducive to younger people, so I’m out now. Taught my final class December 2019.

  20. 25-35.

    I feel like any older, and I will just get old wishing I had done it sooner.

    Any younger, and I may have been to young to understand this gift and squander it or be too easily swayed by temptation to play hooky, ignore my responsibility, etc.

    I think that’s the perfect age for this. Provided the house you get when you are 20 is somehow perfect for exactly what family you end up having, as that can be very different from what you want to plan. Not too big or too small basically. Like if the house is just what you will need, and you just have to work for 10 years and then you retire comfortably after, that’s the ticket.

  21. My understanding of the theoretical society is like this:

    Everyone is given a house, they choose a decade (of their life) that will be the decade they pay it back, meaning they don’t get as much take home as usual.

    Naturally, the best time to pay it back would be 20-29 because you’re inexperienced and have a smaller potential. I’m confused on this because it’s obvious. Is the question suggesting you put off your work so you can “enjoy” life in your 20s and “be out in the world”? Naturally if you’re rich AF, yeah you delay your work years and and retire later because your 20s are healthy etc and you can do your deskwork into your 70s.

    Being out in the world isn’t a reality for most people. No one gets to go on month long trips across Europe or Australia. Being comfortable is the eventual life goal for me, I dont expect to ever have the opportunity to just take months off to go do what I want.

  22. The best time would be either before you have kids or after they are grown. It obviously would depend on your personal circumstances. I know young fellas with no ties or commitments who go do a stint in the mines and come back cashed up enough to buy a house, and then I also know young fellas with a missus and kids and living paycheque to paycheque. Conversely I know older people, like myself (45) in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s that are comfortable with plenty of disposable cash because they are now in a good position financially, but I also know blokes who have been through divorces or bankruptcies and are in financial dire straights and have to keep working past retirement. There’s never a perfect time for everyone, it depends on your circumstances but I will say this, I would advise anyone who is young and single to make a budget and stick to it and put aside any dollar they can for if they decide to start a family they aren’t doing it so tough.

  23. Probably as late as possible, say 55-65. IMO, your late teens and your 20s are for finding out who you are as a person, getting out into the world, meeting people, getting your education (if that’s what you choose) etc.

    If you do that, you might find someone to settle down with and start a family (say you meet someone at 30 and get married at 35, just to fire out some numbers as an example. That needs money, time and energy.

    Once your kids are grown up (the eldest hits 18), then you could think about doing the 10 year house payoff. You should have enough set aside at this stage for some luxuries and treats to make the ten years less of a chore, too.

  24. 20s for sure. people are still too young to appreciate the things this world has to offer when they’re that young. Plus as you’re older it just continues to get that much harder. I never thought being 30 would be that different, but fuck it’s so different. I can’t even imagine getting into 40s and 50s having to work that hard for a house. Of course since i “own” one i will be experiencing that through my 40s and 50s. To be done by 30 for a place would be fucking amazing.

  25. Looking back from a ripe 45, I would pick the way I did it. 20-30’s.

    had all the energy and quickness of mind of that decade, so working all day and partying all night was no problem. Up to 12am Friday night working on a downed server? That’s cool, I still had 2 hours available at the bar to blow off and shoot pool…

    My 30’s are when the extra good times rolled in. I was now fully settled in my career. I was doing real work, not the new-guy-gopher/grunt work, so I rarely had to stay late. I had the resume to justify my paycheck, so now I could get all the toys, and take long vacations.

    I paid off my mortgage at 32, so it plays out to your scenario. I’ve been cruising along nicely since then.

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