Photo: Gus Ruballo
When you’re a cash-strapped aspiring homeowner, you may start digging through all your emergency funds to get the home of your dreams. In fact, a new Bank of the West’s survey of over 600 Americans ages 21-34 found that nearly 1 in 3 Millennial homeowners have used their retirement funds as down payments for their home.
The survey found that Millennials are willing to sacrifice their far-off future for their homeowner dream of the present. Fifty-six percent of Millennials said that owning a home was a bigger priority than paying off debt or retiring comfortably. Is borrowing from your retirement a smart move? Experts have mixed feelings about this decision.
Pros and cons of using retirement savings for buying a home
The pros of using retirement money is dependent on if your home is a good investment or not. How long are you planning to stay in your home? Is this house in an up-and-coming neighborhood? What are rental prices like in your local area? These are questions that Abby Hayes, a personal finance blogger who has written for The Dough Roller, said that you should ask yourself before you withdraw retirement money.
But the big downside is that you are risking your future financial security. That’s why Bank of the West finds this trend “alarming.” Once you take money out of your retirement account, it can be too hard for you to catch up on payments later on. “Millennials are so eager to become homeowners that some may be inadvertently cutting off their nose to spite their face,” Ryan Bailey, Head of the Retail Banking Group at Bank of the West, said. “To avoid buyer’s remorse, Millennials should cover their bases and kick the proverbial tires—reflecting on their physical and financial wishes for a home before they sign on the dotted line.”
Weigh the decision of each investment carefully before you ink the deal. Take it from homeowners who regretted their decision. Forty-one percent of Millennials surveyed said their home stretched themselves too thin financially. And 44% of Millennials said they discovered damage to the house or realized too late that the space did not work for their family.