As I write this I’m sitting in a cafe in Paris where I’ve tacked a holiday on to an overseas conference. As you do when it takes more than a day to get over here.
I haven’t holidayed in Europe for almost five years and I’ve been looking forward to this trip, especially Paris. There’s just something about Paris. The architecture … the art … the food … the robbers.
Yes, the robbers. I was told tales of prolific thievery before coming over but it was not until having my laptop pinched on day one that I really took heed.
I’d almost rather my wallet be stolen than my laptop. For a writer and someone trying to keep in touch with their business while overseas it feels as though I’ve lost an arm. Plus a whole host of documents were on my password protected hard-drive because I’m old school.
An old-school bloody idiot.
Now, if you think I was calm and serene because my laptop was insured, think again. I’d rather have the information on my lost hard-drive than the dollars. This has resulted in much swearing, stomping my feet, gnashing my teeth and a few tears.
Thankfully, most of what was on my laptop is saved to the cloud. I’ve been able to use my husband’s iPad to write this column but as a Microsoft user, that’s been another battle.
My husband has told me that there’s nothing I can do and there’s no use wanting to throw his iPad against the wall. He’s also helpfully suggested I calm down and that I might want to back up in future. Cue more swearing, stomping and gnashing.
But ultimately all the swearing and carrying on isn’t going to change anything. Thankfully my old laptop is insured and many of the documents on my hard-drive that weren’t saved to the cloud were emailed over the past weeks so I at least have a semi-recent version. The only thing I could do was spend a few hours updating a couple of important documents to the most recent version.
You might think this is an article warning about the need to take out insurance from what could have been my own costly exercise but it’s not. Instead it’s about the futility of being stuck being outraged about something you can’t do anything about.
I’ve read with interest the response to articles written about housing affordability again this week and, let’s be honest, they’re the repeat of similar articles and responses written over the last few months. Articles that have prompted outrage from Millennials and other would-be first-home buyers who rail against housing unaffordability and suggest how outrageous it is that they are struggling to purchase their first home.
Here’s the thing. You can be outraged. You can stamp your feet, swear, cry and yell. It feels bloody good to do it. But if that’s all that you do, then you have lost.
There is a time for outrage but unless it propels you to act, then it’s a waste of energy. When my laptop was stolen, you bet I was outraged but then I made a plan to work out what articles I’d lost, what needed to be re-written, what passwords needed to be changed, how I could continue working over here and more. It wasn’t perfect and I’m still annoyed but, unfortunately, that’s life. Or c’est la vie as the French say.
Am I suggesting that not being able to buy your own home is akin to my laptop being stolen? Of course I’m not. I’m simply suggesting that outrage is pointless without action.
Over the past few days I’ve had to be creative and guess what? It wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t the solution I wanted (which was my laptop back, dammit) but it worked. It’s the same for you. Use your creativity to figure out the housing affordability problem as it affects you. Take advantage of the negative gearing rules and purchase a cheaper home or apartment and rent it out, buy shares, start a business, use the new budget rules to salary sacrifice your house deposit to super, consider buying property in a self-managed super fund or trust, think about investing with friends and more.
The housing affordability problem is real for Millennials and anyone else trying to enter the property market. You have every right to be angry and frustrated. But that energy needs to be put to good use if you’re going to solve your problem. So go ahead, be outraged and enjoy stomping your feet, but then go and do something about it.
Melissa Browne is CEO of accounting firm A&TA and financial planning firm The Money Barre and author of Fabulous but Broke.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.