I wouldn't want to be back at high school starting over again today.

It must be confusing for students when they have to decide what subjects to take. Particularly in their final years.

Although I suppose it's always been that way - how do you know what you want to do when you leave school, what your ideal job will be, what further study is to be undertaken, if any?

But there is a major difference today. Students are told they will likely have to retrain at least five to seven times during their working lives. That's a lot of retraining, for jobs in businesses that probably haven't even been researched and developed yet. Add the impacts of technology in all business sectors and you have a variable moveable feast.

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I presume when the majority of young people finally do land a job they'll also be lumbered with a student loan.

And New Zealand's housing crisis is probably pushing their home ownership dreams further out as well. Some may be renters all their lives. We know how difficult it is for first-time homeowners to buy a house. They are either getting priced out of the market or find it impossible to save enough for a deposit.

Just when this seems achievable, up go house prices yet again. And not just in Auckland. I can't understand why young families would even consider staying and buying a house in Auckland. Home ownership is more achievable living in other centres of New Zealand. With the cost of living cheaper, particularly transport costs, surely this makes it worthwhile exploring.

For years we were advised to "pay off your mortgage as soon as possible". There was never any doubt we would buy a home as soon as we could, usually before 30. Get it paid off and be mortgage-free by retirement. It's what we did back then. But for young families today if they're not careful, because of the size of their mortgage, that's all they'll do. Live to pay the mortgage and forget they have a life as well.

But that's not all. Research by Massey University found that a couple wanting to live in a major city and have a comfortable retirement would need to save a lump sum of $785,000 for retirement as well as have a mortgage-free home.

In a survey of 1000 people aged between 50 and 80, nearly 90 per cent of over 65-year-olds owned their own home and 12 per cent still had a mortgage.

In comparison, 84 per cent of 50 to 64-year-olds owned their own home and 52 per cent still had a mortgage. If owning a mortgage-free home is the ideal position for those heading into retirement, then this may now push retirement out by a number of years. The need to work will continue.

For young families who want to own their own home, the mortgage can be crippling. That doesn't leave much over to go towards saving for retirement. Life is for living too.

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