To stay or to leave? that is the question.
November 26, 2013 2:09 PM   Subscribe

What would you do? Im saving money to buy an apartment. Another part of me wants to go live in another country for a few months instead.

Currently im living with my folks and saving money to buy an apartment. Im in my late 20s and I think at my age its probably a good idea to invest in a home for my future.

I currently work for myself and I am building my business up to house a couple of extra employees who work remotely.

There is this part of me though that would like to travel abroad to portugal and live there for a few months. Im thinking that perhaps it will be good for me for once to be out on my own without any external influence to figure out what exactly it is I want out of life.

My fear in buying a home is that I end up alone in room in a location where I dont know anyone and working 24/7 without any type of thrill or excitement.

Someone also made the suggestion that I could perhaps do both, which is buy a apartment/condo and rent it out to someone while I go live in portugal for 3 - 4 months. I could always buy when I get back from portugal as well, but could traveling and living in another country be considered a waste of time?

posted by red47Apple to Society & Culture (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think going directly from your parents home to condo you've purchased is probably not a good idea. I think the right thing is to rent an apartment for a few years. I suspect you're going to find that enough of an adventure in its own right, and afterwards you'll be much more ready to purchase -- or to decide you don't need to purchase.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:21 PM on November 26, 2013

Response by poster: Just to mention I have lived in apartment with 2 roommates before for 3 years. Thats something that isnt new to me.
posted by red47Apple at 2:24 PM on November 26, 2013

Best answer: You will never be with so few obligations in your life again. Travel now.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 2:25 PM on November 26, 2013 [12 favorites]

Owning a home is not a requirement for adulthood; you can always rent. If you are not one hundred percent sure that you want to be a homeowner, don't bother.

I'm not completely clear what your plan is regarding living in Portugal. Will it be an extended vacation? Will you be working? Visiting friends? Can your business survive being shuttered for a few months?
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:33 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: My business allows me to work wherever... I just need a laptop. So I would be working and enjoying my time in portugal.
posted by red47Apple at 2:37 PM on November 26, 2013

It is always a good idea to invest in your future, but real estate is not presently that kind of investment. Experiential investments may result in higher dividends.
posted by juniperesque at 2:39 PM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

You know what adulthood has meant for me? Doing what I truly want to do instead of what I Should do. You clearly want to go to Portugal and live there for awhile. You have the means, the time, and the ability to work there - it sounds Enjoyable. You feel like you should buy a house - it doesn't sound enjoyable.

Do what sounds Good to you. So much more rewarding!
posted by ldthomps at 2:45 PM on November 26, 2013 [6 favorites]

Oh, travel, please, please travel, pretty please travel.

There will always be houses to buy later. Maybe in Portugal.

(PS. You stated your fear in buying a home. You did not state a fear about traveling.)
posted by mibo at 2:56 PM on November 26, 2013

I value my time traveling abroad much more than any of my material possessions. You will not always be in a position (financially, time-wise) where you can travel. Take advantage of the fact that your life situation allows for travel!
posted by DoubleLune at 3:01 PM on November 26, 2013

Go to Portugal! Especially if you are able to continue working on your business there. It is unlikely that the opportunity to live abroad for extended periods will come your way frequently, and this sounds like a very low-risk opportunity for you.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 3:16 PM on November 26, 2013

It would be prudent to verify you can legally work in Portugal before considering moving there even for just a few months.
posted by saeculorum at 3:20 PM on November 26, 2013

You're building a business, so you're building equity. If you travel, it will put off apartment-buying for, what, a year? In my 20s, I had a lot of fun traveling in the cheap, and I recommend it. When you're old and gray, will you think fondly of that apartment? You'll think fondly of the friends and good times there. But that time in Portugal? You'll regale your kids with stories.
posted by theora55 at 3:32 PM on November 26, 2013

I think this depends on what amounts of money we're talking about here.

How close are you to the money you need for the house? How much are you planning to spend on this adventure in Portugal? Would this dial you back to square one when you get back? Could you find a way to do what you want more affordably?

There is a huge difference, to me, between wanting to blow $5000 of a $50K nest egg to do a little traveling and maybe WWOOF or volunteer abroad or something, and blowing your whole $20K down payment frivolously just because of whatever ennui this is.

Also keep in mind, if you happen to be American, that you are only allowed to stay in most of Europe (including Portugal, I believe) for about 90 days out of any given 12-month period. So you are really looking at living in Portugal for 2-3 months, not 3-4 months.

There are other countries where this could be done both cheaper and for longer than Portugal would allow.

I'm assuming here that your business is something you do remotely that could easily be handled while living in Portugal, and that there is no way you could mess things up by being out of the country for three months. Doing business legally while in Portugal is another matter, of course.
posted by Sara C. at 3:39 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

It also seems sort of weird to me that you want to "move" to Portugal for several months and bring your work with you, if what you really fear is being alone in a room 24/7.

I mean, if you're going to travel, travel.

Not to knock Portugal or anything. It's supposed to be a beautiful country and a really underrated travel destination. But is there enough excitement for three months?

And while I think it's sensible to keep working remotely while you travel, it seems to me that if you plan a long trip to a relatively dull country (where I'm assuming you don't already know people), you are basically resigning yourself to being alone in a room 24/7 without knowing anyone.

I mean, with three months, go to Thailand or India or Bali or somewhere just little everyday experiences are going to be exotic to you, and where there are a lot of opportunities to travel around and do cool stuff in between work weeks, and a whole expat scene that will force you to meet new people.

Or, if you really want to go somewhere like Portugal, go for two weeks and don't bring work with you.
posted by Sara C. at 3:46 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I vehemently disagree with Sara C. When I was in my 20s my job required me to travel and spend extended periods of time in various locations (both within and outside my country). This allowed me to experience the new locations more as a local would than as a tourist, and I prefer that mode of travel to the touristy kind of traveling. I didn't get to see the breadth of things a tourist would, but I got more in-depth experiences.

You clearly have a longing to live in Portugal for a while. I say do it. It's intriguing and has plenty to explore when you're not working, plus it's got a great food and wine culture. And hey, if you're not a native Portuguese speaker (we obviously don't know your country - you could be from Brazil or Thailand or India), this would give you the chance to pick up a new language as well.
posted by rednikki at 4:09 PM on November 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Just so you all know I actually have dual citizenship. I have an American and British passport that is good until 2019 :)
posted by red47Apple at 4:15 PM on November 26, 2013

I agree with ldthomps, do what sounds good to you. It doesn't sound like you have a whole lot to lose either way.
posted by defmute at 4:27 PM on November 26, 2013

Travel, and when you get back, beca renter. Owning a home is HIGHLY overrated and frequently a pretty terrible investment.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:43 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

A home isn't a good investment unless you are pretty certain you're going to live in a given area for quite a long time, 5-10 years minimum, and not change your housing needs (i.e. needing more space/bedrooms). The reason is that the closing costs and other associated costs of being a homeowner, like taxes, upkeep, repairs, decor/furniture etc will eat up any "returns" you would otherwise make on the investment. Also, the value of a home is not guaranteed to rise, so for various reasons, a home can become a financial liability rather than an investment.

Unless you're planning to stay single and child free, it seems like a big gamble to take to buy a home now - if you decide to start dating someone, they might need to stay in their location and you end up wanting to move in with them, or the two of you decide you want to live in some other location. What if you lose your laptop-only job and have to find a job in proximity to your home location - you might wish you lived somewhere else. If you have kids you may want a very different property than what you want for just yourself.

tl,dr: go to Portugal!
posted by treehorn+bunny at 4:50 PM on November 26, 2013

And definitely don't become a landlord of a property in one country while living in another, unless you're prepared to pay a property management company to take care of everything for you (and I'm not sure why you would be interested in that, given the cost).
posted by treehorn+bunny at 4:53 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Go travel! It doesn't sound like your choice is Portugal vs owning your own home. It's more like travelling might delay home ownership, but you'll still be able to do it in the future.

It sounds like you want to travel. You will regret not going. You probably won't regret going, even if that pushes back home ownership by a year or two. In the whole grand scheme of things, a year or two (or three or four) is nothing. Time living in another country is an opportunity which may never come up again once you're tied down with work/house/family etc. Go travel!
posted by pianissimo at 10:21 PM on November 26, 2013

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