Happy with Less

A young family in Brooklyn opts out of the housing fervor.

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When I wrote about the high material expectations of 20-somethings, I was intrigued by the comment from Jae Jimenez, a 26-year-old who lives in Brooklyn. He and his wife live in a two-bedroom apartment with their 10-month-old daughter Ava. Instead of wishing he could afford a big house for his family, he said that he's content, and grateful, for what he has.

I asked Jae, who works in sales, how he learned about money. He said that he has worked since he was 13, which helped teach him how to work hard and appreciate what he has. His parents, he says, "brought me up with the ideals to get the necessary tools to try and make a great life for my new family. And because my parents brought me up with the ideas of appreciation, charity, and giving to others, I don't feel like I have a 'spoiled brat' mind set and I don't feel like I'm owed anything."

He points out that it's easy to believe, from all the images in the media, that a newly-married couple should go out and buy a house the very next day, even if they can barely afford the mortgage. He cites HGTV's Property Virgins as an example of that mindset. He says, "We want to save, and then skip the small fixer-upper starter house and go to the next level. We are really not in a rush and while Ava is only 10-months-old, she has no idea what's going on or where she lives. The important thing is that we are working towards that plateau in our lives and once we get there we want to feel 100 percent that it was right and we aren't selling plasma to pay for our mortgage. That's what's really important."