On a recent visit to Portland, Ore. – the hometown I moved away from 10 years ago – I stood in awe when I visited the spacious, newly-purchased homes belonging to several friends from high school and college. How can they afford this? We're around the same age and at similar points in our careers. My version of adulting was when I bought a new couch and signed up for a new credit card last month. I feel so behind!

I quieted my jealous thoughts by reminding myself that adulting means different things in different parts of the country. You can get a gorgeous, six-bedroom home for half a million dollars in a suburb of Portland, but in many 'hoods of Los Angeles, the city I've called home for five years, that might get you a two-bedroom condo. Comparing my life milestones to theirs is like picking the advanced ski trail while they cruise down the beginners' lane and expecting to reach the finish line at the same time.

It's a little unfair that for those who choose to live in a big city like Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York, achieving the dream of homeownership comes at a much higher price. But sacrifice is an evitable part of choosing where to live, right?

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has been immersed in the credit union industry for over a decade. She first joined CU Times in 2011 as a freelance writer, and following a two-year hiatus from 2013-2015, during which time she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union), she re-joined the CU Times team full-time as managing editor. She was promoted to executive editor in 2019. In the earlier days of her career, Chilingerian focused on news and lifestyle journalism, serving as a writer and editor for numerous regional publications in Oregon, Louisiana, South Carolina and the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, she holds experience in marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space. At CU Times, she covers People and Community news, cybersecurity, fintech partnerships, marketing, workplace culture, leadership, DEI, branch strategies, digital banking and more. She currently works remotely and splits her time between Southern California and Portland, Ore.