Author Topic: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?  (Read 60228 times)

Baron235

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Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« on: February 12, 2014, 03:19:37 PM »
What would you do considering these circumstances:

You need to move to a larger place but you choose not to pay the high cost of living in the same area, so you have to find a new area to move to, which results in a longer commute.  Your current commute is 2.3 mile bike ride one way about 30 minutes total. 

The city that has community feel you want and the prices you want is a 1.5 hour one way commute (15 minute bike ride, 1 hour train ride, and a 15 minute shuttle ride).  However, I would only have to make the commute 4 days a week.  So I go from 2.5 hours a week to 12 hours of commuting a week. 

I could shorten my commute but my housing costs would increase by about $100,000 to save an hour a day.    That $100,000 pushes retirement back by a year maybe more.   My current outlook for retirement is around 8 years.

The reason I think it could work, is because I could get work done on the train so that hour isn't wasted and I won't mind the bike ride.  Also, the time in the morning that I commute isn't really lost time since my kids will be in school.  The real concern is consistently getting home a little later, but I could use the down time to read and get caught up on other things while riding the train. 

Anyone done a longer commute? What are your thoughts? Would you sacrifice your current time? or delay retirement?

Also,  I can't get the lifestyle and pay anywhere else in the country at this point in time, so getting a new job is not an option.  Unless I want to delay retirement by 5 or 6 more years.   

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2014, 03:25:31 PM »
It would definitely not be worth it to me.  I use to have people who did commutes of more than one hour each way.  Most did it to get a large house for a relatively cheap price.  In the long run it was a killer of family life and sanity.  You may need to re-think whether you really need a "larger" place and why it needs to be so far away.   

RichWard

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2014, 03:35:20 PM »
We recently had someone buy a house about 45 minutes away from the office. It worked out for a couple months, but eventually he couldn't handle it and got a job closer to the new house (taking a pay decrease as well).

To me, any commute more than 30 minutes isn't worth it. My current commute went from 25min to 1min after moving. The luxury of being able to go home for lunch or being home within 5 minutes of being done with work is worth it.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2014, 03:38:01 PM »
Since it's primarily train/shuttle and not driving it could work. Ask your employer if you could tele-commute while commuting in, that way your total workday wouldn't increase so much.

But that's a LONG commute. I personally couldn't take it, except MAYBE in the above mentioned tele-commute scenario. Do you really need a bigger place? Plenty of info on tiny houses here and on the web. I myself have family of five in 730 sqft and we're quite content.

Edit: wrote "five kids" instead of family of five.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2014, 07:51:39 PM by Thegoblinchief »

Baron235

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2014, 03:40:13 PM »
Why we need a larger house:  family of 6 in 1600 square foot condo is not going to work for us.  And the reason for the distance is explained.  The bottom line question is how much more are you willing to pay or give up to have a short commute?

1 year more of work? 2 years more? 3? 


Numbers Man

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2014, 04:10:29 PM »
First of all, I can walk 2.3 miles in 30 minutes. I can't understand why that bike ride wouldn't take ten minutes. Three hours of commuting four days a week would probably cost $700-$800 dollars a month in transportation costs. Paying $100k more for a house can definitely be covered by the monthly transportation costs. Not to mention the hassle of switching up transportation modes and losing three hours of your life every day. This is as close to a no brainer decision as can be.

RichWard

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2014, 04:13:51 PM »
Also,  I can't get the lifestyle and pay anywhere else in the country at this point in time, so getting a new job is not an option.  Unless I want to delay retirement by 5 or 6 more years.   

Have you spent much time looking for other jobs with similar pay within the 1.5 hour travel radius?

I agree with a previous comment and your original post, if you can make the train commute productive, and get "credit" for it in order to keep your overall work day comparable, then it appears a bit more reasonable.

marblejane

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2014, 04:18:39 PM »
Numbers Man, I don't agree with your numbers :)

The OP stated that his round trip commute is 30 minutes- that's a 15 minute bike ride each way.

How do you come up with $700-$800 per month? As an example, a monthly Caltrain pass for the 1 hr commute from SF to Mountain View is $179/mo.

But I agree with your conclusion, and I think that the OP should re-read this post: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/06/the-true-cost-of-commuting/

Sounds like an extra $100k for a home closer to work would be worth it. Personally, I don't think I could do this commute.

To the OP, could you sell the house when you FIRE? If you can sell and move to this other community when you retire, then the additional cost of the housing shouldn't affect your FIRE date.

Eric

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2014, 04:23:59 PM »
My first instinct was to cringe, but if you're going to do an 1.5 hour commute, then train/shuttle is the way to go.  However, that is a long commute and you'll alternate between "the new normal" and "damn this sucks".  Especially on days when the train gets delayed and your 1.5 turns into 3.

I did an hour each way by train for 4 years or so and for the most part it wasn't too bad.  I wasn't able to work, but I got a lot of reading in.  Not sure if I could add another 50% to it though.

Jack

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2014, 04:26:38 PM »
Why we need a larger house:  family of 6 in 1600 square foot condo is not going to work for us. 

Why not? 1600 square feet is easily 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, so get bunk beds and call it good.

hoyahoyasaxa

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2014, 04:27:29 PM »
I don't think it's always right to just eliminate this from consideration.  I'm in a bit of the same boat right now.  My wife's family lives about 30 miles north of NYC in a town that is on NJ Transit.  Big family, lots of support, a community (not to mention schools) that I want my kids growing up in.  Unfortunately jobs in this area are a lot harder to find compared to NYC.  I wouldn't want to do it forever and would always keep an eye open for something in my field that is closer to home, but I'm preparing to start doing a 1.5 hour commute each way in the next few years and have no problems with it.  I can catch up on sleep, listen to podcasts, read, and just have "me time" on long commutes.

Baron235

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2014, 04:30:30 PM »
To address a few comments:

No similar paying jobs with the same hours. I could work more hours and maybe make the same, but then I would be gone just as much as my commute. 

Second, I am familiar with MMM's article on the cost of commuting, but mine will have 0 driving and run about $180 a month.  I will save around $12,000 to $15,000 a year by this move and retire sooner than if I stay where I am at now.     

 

Exflyboy

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2014, 04:31:57 PM »
I had an 80 mile each way commute.. stayed overnight twice a week.

Did it for 1 year and 7 mos. Hugely stressful but well paid job.

Happiest day in my life when I retired...:)

Frank

Baron235

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2014, 04:35:31 PM »
Why we need a larger house:  family of 6 in 1600 square foot condo is not going to work for us. 

Why not? 1600 square feet is easily 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, so get bunk beds and call it good.

Tell me where you put the 6 bikes and the bike trailer? We don't have a garage.  We have maxed out our space and we do not have a lot of possessions.   We have zero wiggle room and it is not an ideal situation for our family. 

ZMonet

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2014, 04:51:01 PM »
I know I'll be in the minority, but I don't mind my long (1 hour, 15 minute) commute and actually look forward to decompressing during that time.  I watch movies, catch up on emails, read/listen to books, etc. -- all things that I don't do at home.  As you point out, not every commute minute is wasted.   See if you can telecommute Wednesday, if possible, and come up with a schedule that works best for you.  Also see what the possibility is of getting another telework day if things are going well.   I've been doing the commute for six years and don't see it as a big deal. 

Caveats -- I telecommute twice a week most weeks so only make the trip three times/week and my wife and I rented for a year and a half  in the area we were thinking about buying in to make sure we could handle the commute.

Jack

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2014, 05:09:08 PM »
Why we need a larger house:  family of 6 in 1600 square foot condo is not going to work for us. 

Why not? 1600 square feet is easily 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, so get bunk beds and call it good.

Tell me where you put the 6 bikes and the bike trailer? We don't have a garage.  We have maxed out our space and we do not have a lot of possessions.   We have zero wiggle room and it is not an ideal situation for our family.

In the shed out ba -- oh wait, you said "condo."

Does your condo come with a parking spot or storage area? If so, put a bike rack there.

If not, hang them on the wall in the living room. If anybody asks, call them "art." (No, I'm not joking.)

ch12

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2014, 05:09:38 PM »
I know I'll be in the minority, but I don't mind my long (1 hour, 15 minute) commute and actually look forward to decompressing during that time.  I watch movies, catch up on emails, read/listen to books, etc. -- all things that I don't do at home.  As you point out, not every commute minute is wasted.   See if you can telecommute Wednesday, if possible, and come up with a schedule that works best for you.  Also see what the possibility is of getting another telework day if things are going well.   I've been doing the commute for six years and don't see it as a big deal. 

Caveats -- I telecommute twice a week most weeks so only make the trip three times/week and my wife and I rented for a year and a half  in the area we were thinking about buying in to make sure we could handle the commute.

My kneejerk instinct was no, but I really agree with this perspective. I had a 44 min metro commute each way in DC (I lived in Springfield). I read books. I liked it.

Two suggestions:
1) Have a plan in place to evaluate the effectiveness of your commute
a) Are you happy?
b) Are you spending enough (as defined by the family as a whole) time with your family?

2) Look at alternatives closer to home. You're saying no to yourself by saying that it's impossible, but it's possible to make smaller changes. Maybe you'll go with telecommuting 2 days a week like the person I quoted.

Sunflower

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2014, 05:25:36 PM »
Ugh, I'm dealing with a similar dilemma right now as I'll be moving to a new city in a few weeks. Option A: 1 hr commute each way (walk to station --> caltrain --> shuttle) vs. option B: 9 mile drive which is supposed to take 15 minutes but since it's the bay area during prime commuting time could take up to 45 minutes.

I think I'm going to start off using the train because like everyone says, I can listen to podcasts or something. I tend to get motion sickness so I probably won't be reading or working but I'm hoping I'll like having the time to decompress. Dealing with bay area drivers after a long day at work sounds like a form of torture.

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2014, 05:27:37 PM »
I know I'll be in the minority, but I don't mind my long (1 hour, 15 minute) commute and actually look forward to decompressing during that time.  I watch movies, catch up on emails, read/listen to books, etc. -- all things that I don't do at home.  As you point out, not every commute minute is wasted.   See if you can telecommute Wednesday, if possible, and come up with a schedule that works best for you.  Also see what the possibility is of getting another telework day if things are going well.   I've been doing the commute for six years and don't see it as a big deal. 

Caveats -- I telecommute twice a week most weeks so only make the trip three times/week and my wife and I rented for a year and a half  in the area we were thinking about buying in to make sure we could handle the commute.

My kneejerk instinct was no, but I really agree with this perspective. I had a 44 min metro commute each way in DC (I lived in Springfield). I read books. I liked it.

Two suggestions:
1) Have a plan in place to evaluate the effectiveness of your commute
a) Are you happy?
b) Are you spending enough (as defined by the family as a whole) time with your family?

2) Look at alternatives closer to home. You're saying no to yourself by saying that it's impossible, but it's possible to make smaller changes. Maybe you'll go with telecommuting 2 days a week like the person I quoted.

When I lived in DC I also had about an hour each way commute on the metro, which I truly miss sometimes because I did get a lot of reading and personal quiet time in. But, I'm not sure it would be worth it to me if I had a family. How does your spouse feel about it?

Rural

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2014, 05:35:50 PM »
I've done a 1.5 hour commute, and I current have a 45 min commute. There's no amount of money that would make me go back. Not while I can avoid starving with a fast-food job nearby.

prodarwin

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2014, 05:47:17 PM »
I understand the need for more space, but I'm curious how the numbers work out.

The home costs $100k more... but that isn't exactly lost money.  First, judging by your posts, I'd say you are near a city and your home is likely an appreciating asset that at least beats inflation.  How much additional cost in property taxes?  What's the amount spent in interest on that $100k (monthly)? 

When you move, the $180/mo in increased travel expenses is just a wasted expense.

I don't know all the details, but my gut says spend the extra $$$ for a home close to work.  Enjoy the much greater quality of life for the next 8-9 years.  When you are ready to retire, cash out and move away.

Baron235

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2014, 06:01:27 PM »
I understand the need for more space, but I'm curious how the numbers work out.

The home costs $100k more... but that isn't exactly lost money.  First, judging by your posts, I'd say you are near a city and your home is likely an appreciating asset that at least beats inflation.  How much additional cost in property taxes?  What's the amount spent in interest on that $100k (monthly)? 

When you move, the $180/mo in increased travel expenses is just a wasted expense.

I don't know all the details, but my gut says spend the extra $$$ for a home close to work.  Enjoy the much greater quality of life for the next 8-9 years.  When you are ready to retire, cash out and move away.

That's a 100k more I have to pay into house that I could invest in my retirement, so it is very costly. And because of the age of my kids, we won't be moving when I am done working.    So is delaying my retirement significantly, worth an hour more time.  (My commute is going up no matter what, so the debate is not a 30 hour total versus 3 for the day, but more like 1.5  or 2 hours a day versus 3, sorry that wasn't very clear).  And as I explained I will save $12,000 to $15,000 a year because of  the move and that takes into account the monthly commute cost.   I am saving everyone the burden of adding it up since I have already done it for all my expenses.  The numbers are accurate. 



Baron235

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2014, 06:03:28 PM »
I know I'll be in the minority, but I don't mind my long (1 hour, 15 minute) commute and actually look forward to decompressing during that time.  I watch movies, catch up on emails, read/listen to books, etc. -- all things that I don't do at home.  As you point out, not every commute minute is wasted.   See if you can telecommute Wednesday, if possible, and come up with a schedule that works best for you.  Also see what the possibility is of getting another telework day if things are going well.   I've been doing the commute for six years and don't see it as a big deal. 

Caveats -- I telecommute twice a week most weeks so only make the trip three times/week and my wife and I rented for a year and a half  in the area we were thinking about buying in to make sure we could handle the commute.

My kneejerk instinct was no, but I really agree with this perspective. I had a 44 min metro commute each way in DC (I lived in Springfield). I read books. I liked it.

Two suggestions:
1) Have a plan in place to evaluate the effectiveness of your commute
a) Are you happy?
b) Are you spending enough (as defined by the family as a whole) time with your family?

2) Look at alternatives closer to home. You're saying no to yourself by saying that it's impossible, but it's possible to make smaller changes. Maybe you'll go with telecommuting 2 days a week like the person I quoted.

Thanks.  I think having a plan is key.  I am thinking of using the time on the commute to dedicate to other potential income streams, so it will not be lost (I hope).

ZMonet

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2014, 06:30:17 PM »
Like the other two people on here who were not anti-commute, I too commute into DC.  I wanted to add that my wife drives into work, about 40-45 minutes versus my 1 hour 15 minutes, but doesn't really like (although doesn't hate) the commute because she has to focus on driving.  I think the big difference is being freed up to do what you want by using mass transit for the majority of the commute.  Would anyone bat an eyelash on here if you said you liked to read books, etc. for an hour before and after work?  It isn't just about the amount of time it takes, it is the quality of that time.   

If you're really on the fence, you might try renting for a year, although I realize that is tougher to do for a short while with kids.  One other thing, you might try seeing if you can go into work early and leave early.  I find this cuts my commute time down because I'm not going/leaving during rush hour and I'm home by a little after 5 on those days i don't telework.

Good luck.

foobar

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2014, 07:31:02 PM »
Buy a car and do the commute in 30 mins?:) I know a lot of people that thought they would do work on the train. Most of them ended up reading books after the first week. You might be different.

I would seriously reconsider spending 100k more to save 1 hours/day for the next 8 years or consider other options (renting? buying slightly less nice house,.....). I would hate to buy a house and then 6 months later decide the commute is killing you.

What would you do considering these circumstances:

You need to move to a larger place but you choose not to pay the high cost of living in the same area, so you have to find a new area to move to, which results in a longer commute.  Your current commute is 2.3 mile bike ride one way about 30 minutes total. 

The city that has community feel you want and the prices you want is a 1.5 hour one way commute (15 minute bike ride, 1 hour train ride, and a 15 minute shuttle ride).  However, I would only have to make the commute 4 days a week.  So I go from 2.5 hours a week to 12 hours of commuting a week. 

I could shorten my commute but my housing costs would increase by about $100,000 to save an hour a day.    That $100,000 pushes retirement back by a year maybe more.   My current outlook for retirement is around 8 years.

The reason I think it could work, is because I could get work done on the train so that hour isn't wasted and I won't mind the bike ride.  Also, the time in the morning that I commute isn't really lost time since my kids will be in school.  The real concern is consistently getting home a little later, but I could use the down time to read and get caught up on other things while riding the train. 

Anyone done a longer commute? What are your thoughts? Would you sacrifice your current time? or delay retirement?

Also,  I can't get the lifestyle and pay anywhere else in the country at this point in time, so getting a new job is not an option.  Unless I want to delay retirement by 5 or 6 more years.   

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2014, 08:07:58 PM »
Seeing the thread progress, couple thoughts:

1. We FREAKED out when we found out we had kid number two coming in our small house. Adjusted. Kid number three. Adjusted. Thought we were cramped, managed. Rearranged again. Wow. You know, this isn't half bad! I realize you don't have the storage space of a house (garage/basement) but have you truly looked at your space? If nothing else, resort to graph paper.

Fixed my post above, but I have a family of 5 in ~728 taxable, (900ish actually used with laundry area) plus garage (which is mostly full of tools and stuff you don't need in a condo anyways). I'm not trying to say I'm super Mustachian badass dude, but that's considerably less sqft/person than you have.

2. On that note: are you in a wintry area where the bikes aren't used some? Are there infrequent storage items taking up space? Storage lockers do have some utility. Do you like the AREA your condo is in, just not the lack of space in said condo?

3. I'd keep the commute down as much as possible. Sure, the 1.5 hours can be productive, but it's still time away from the kids and spouse.

4. Renting further out for a year could be a good test run. Depends on what your market looks like.

mm1970

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2014, 08:46:11 PM »
I always liked this visual:

http://visual.ly/true-cost-commuting

mm1970

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2014, 08:50:32 PM »
Why we need a larger house:  family of 6 in 1600 square foot condo is not going to work for us. 

Why not? 1600 square feet is easily 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, so get bunk beds and call it good.
That's kind of what I was thinking.  I don't know what to say about the bikes.  We have four in 1146 sf, but we have a shed (no garage).  My friends have six in a 2BR 1000 sf place.

Commuting, for me, is horrible and soul sucking.

rocklebock

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2014, 10:05:04 PM »
This seems like it's a very personal and subjective decision. I'd rather work an extra year than triple the length of my commute. No contest.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2014, 06:32:03 AM »
+1^ I agree. That time is priceless in being away from ones family as well imho. Even if its at the days end only. Dont see having much energy left for family when getting home but to each his own.

GuitarStv

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #30 on: February 13, 2014, 06:43:02 AM »
3 hrs a day is a lot of productive time to lose.  I've done as much as a 50 minute drive each way, and that was really killing me.  Since the 50 minutes was spent carpooling with my wife, I would bring a guitar and sit in the back seat, practicing scales/songs for the half of the drive that I wasn't driving.  That made it tolerable, but it still sucked.

Baron235

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2014, 08:30:32 AM »
This seems like it's a very personal and subjective decision. I'd rather work an extra year than triple the length of my commute. No contest.

The commute time won't be tripling.  My commute time is going up regardless, because we are moving no matter what.  So whether it is going to be 12 hours a week or 8 hours a week is the question.  Second, for the family time comments, I agree that is a concern but my hours are already pretty good and many people on here probably are gone just as much or more than me.  I would love to have the most time possible with my kids, but i have to balance that with costs and the best situation for them. 

With the long commute, I would leave when my kids leave for school so not out on anytime in the morning with them.  In the evening I would get home an hour later at 6:30 (I would leave work sooner) so I am out 4 hours a week in the evening but the day I would work from home,  I would see my kids right when they get home from school, so that makes up for some of the time lost.  My day would be 7:30 am to 6:30 pm (which is better than my prior job :) ). 

There is no perfect solution to this and I appreciate all the comments so far.  Your posts help me make sure I have thought of everything before  I commit one way or the other.   

I would be interested in seeing for those that say they wouldn't do it and those that do the long commute.  How long is your commute and what time do you leave and get home?  I think the time you leave and get home actually matters more than I initially thought.  I should have included my times in my original post.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2014, 08:51:15 AM by Baron235 »

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #32 on: February 13, 2014, 09:01:58 AM »
My commute time is going up regardless, because we are moving no matter what.  So whether it is going to be 12 hours a week or 8 hours a week is the question.

Why are you moving no matter what?

 

fuzzhead1506

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #33 on: February 13, 2014, 09:07:57 AM »
It doesn't seem to me that renting has been considered highly enough.  I am willing to bet that you can get as much or more space than you are requesting in a very nice area significantly closer to where you work... 

minimalist

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #34 on: February 13, 2014, 09:28:01 AM »
I'm not convinced that 1600 sq ft is not enough for 6 people either. Renting is also an option. Can you commute by car? If so, how long would that take? My current commute is 10-15 minutes by car at 9am and I value that very highly.

greaper007

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #35 on: February 13, 2014, 09:42:44 AM »
I used to a do a 177 mile round trip commute each day.  It lasted for about a year.   It sucked, but I knew it would only be for a limited time, and I only worked 3-4 days a week.   

The only reason I did a commute like this was because I was an airline pilot at the time and my base would switch about every 9 months.   My wife made more than me and she drove to work more than me, so we put down roots near her job.   

With that commute, I was often only able to sleep 5-6 hours a night and by day four I was completely useless.   Had I kept it up, I think it would have taken a major toll on my health.   I even considered buying a van or an old RV to sleep in during the week and I probably would have gone that route if I had to keep commuting like that.

Maybe if you can do the majority of that commute by public transportation it would be ok, but if you  have to drive it's crazy and not worth it.   Believe me, your health will take a toll and heart disease and diabetes are way more expensive than housing.

windawake

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #36 on: February 13, 2014, 09:47:49 AM »
I would do almost anything to prevent having a long commute, including living in a space that's too small, taking a pay cut, extending FI, etc. But it's totally your call. Based on your replies it sounds like you really want to move to the area that would result in the 3hr daily commute.

Have you ever looked into the tiny house movement? People live in very small spaces. I'm not saying you should do this, I just think the coolest part about tiny homes is the way they reorganize space to fit the needs of the family specifically. Sometimes the issue isn't the number of square feet, but the way the whole place is laid out. This blog is about a family of 5 living in a 665 sq. foot cabin: http://www.assortmentblog.com/

I leave my house at 8:15, get to work (by bus) at 8:35, leave at 4:35, and am home by 5. It's great. The commute will get a little longer, but also much more reliable, once I start biking again (hopefully in a couple weeks).

Baron235

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #37 on: February 13, 2014, 10:04:24 AM »
It doesn't seem to me that renting has been considered highly enough.  I am willing to bet that you can get as much or more space than you are requesting in a very nice area significantly closer to where you work...

No way possible.  I would have to go significantly smaller to pay what I do now (I am in a high tax bracket as well so the mortgage interest deduction is significant, so it makes renting even more expensive).

Also, I do really have to move.  I have considered all the options and all the various variables about our current living situation.  It will not work  in the long term.  I am not going into all the details here but for multiple reasons we have to make the move.   

Lastly, financially the best move is the long commute.  No matter how you run the numbers I will cut off years of my retirement by making the moving.  That is the main reason it is so appealing. It is at least 1 year savings, more likely it will cut off 2 or 3 years.    That is a lot of family time. 








Cromacster

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #38 on: February 13, 2014, 10:20:53 AM »
It doesn't seem to me that renting has been considered highly enough.  I am willing to bet that you can get as much or more space than you are requesting in a very nice area significantly closer to where you work...

No way possible.  I would have to go significantly smaller to pay what I do now (I am in a high tax bracket as well so the mortgage interest deduction is significant, so it makes renting even more expensive).

Also, I do really have to move.  I have considered all the options and all the various variables about our current living situation.  It will not work  in the long term.  I am not going into all the details here but for multiple reasons we have to make the move.   

Lastly, financially the best move is the long commute.  No matter how you run the numbers I will cut off years of my retirement by making the moving.  That is the main reason it is so appealing. It is at least 1 year savings, more likely it will cut off 2 or 3 years.    That is a lot of family time. 

How long do you plan to keep working?  one year? 2? 5? 10!?

I would rather stab myself than commute 3hrs a day.  My commute takes me about 20 min one way, and some days thats enough to at least pick up a knife.  If the weather hits this commute will double, the longest it has taken me is 2 hrs one way due to a snowstorm.  I wept as I walked in my front door.

Maybe if it was for 1 one mayyybbeee 2, thats a big maybe.

Retirement and FI are great and all, but part of what MMM is all about is enjoying life and the time that you have.  MMM not only advocates living close to work because it saves money, he also advocates it because commuting is a time suck.  If you work 8 hrs (probably more), commute for 3, sleep for 8(haha I know).  1 hr wasted getting ready for work, .5-1 hr settling down for the night.  So basically you have 3 hrs of time with your family, most of which is probably spent cooking or eating.  Shitty
« Last Edit: February 13, 2014, 10:23:32 AM by Cromacster »

randomstring

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #39 on: February 13, 2014, 10:21:00 AM »
Lastly, financially the best move is the long commute.  No matter how you run the numbers I will cut off years of my retirement by making the moving.  That is the main reason it is so appealing. It is at least 1 year savings, more likely it will cut off 2 or 3 years.    That is a lot of family time.

If you do have to move, consider having commute pay for itself. I used to have 1 hour 40 min commute (best case). By bus. My bus driver lived in the same area as me, and drove the bus part time. So, basically he would show up at bust depot about hour before I'd show up on the bus stop, drive the bus to the city, then go to his day job. Then leave day job, pick up the bus in bus depot in the city, drive the bus home. His day was harder and longer than mine, but he essentially made one extra paycheck (allegedly the drivers were well paid, and the bus co. liked this setup since this gave them part time employees sans benefits).

Can you last for a long time doing this? Probably not. (Although he said he's been doing it for years.). But the point is, if you are enduring long commute, might as well make extra money on it, so you don't have to do it for years.

The bus company was Academy, if you want to check them out (and if they are running in your area).

PS: And to add my commuting perspective -- the days of average case/best case commute (no snow, busses running, no work emergencies) were ok. I slept on the bus. The bad days (missed the bus, snow, bus cancelled, tunnel accidents, something happened to keep me late at work) were terrible. I have had 3+ hour commutes (one way) in and out of the city. This may not be a consideration for your commute, but these worst case commutes are what truly breaks you. After we moved, my best case and worst case commute are much more equivalent in time. This makes a huge difference.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2014, 01:09:06 PM by randomstring »

GregO

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #40 on: February 13, 2014, 10:41:56 AM »
Retirement and FI are great and all, but part of what MMM is all about is enjoying life and the time that you have. 

This is such a tough question to answer, which is probably why you are getting such a variety of comments.  I think the best quote came just a minute ago.  It's not all about money or retiring sooner, it's more about not letting money (and making money) rule your life.  I think the biggest question that none of us can answer is what is best for your family now?

And also, a retirement date is a best guess, but far from a sure thing.  5-10 years is a long time and things could change a lot between now and then.  I think this is a case where you need to focus on spending the money where it puts your family in the best situation (time with you, community, etc).  If that means you aren't saving as much money now but the quality of life is better with your family, then it's worth it.

And if you want my opinion, it'd be move to the location that works best for your family and find a job close, even if it is a pay cut.  The time with your kids now is invaluable, IMHO.  6 or 7 years is a long time in a kid's life, especially the younger years.  You might get to a place where you are ready to retire and find that your kids have started getting jobs, hanging out with friends, playing sports, etc and don't need mom home all the time.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2014, 11:04:20 AM by GregO »

ZMonet

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #41 on: February 13, 2014, 11:46:47 AM »
For what it is worth, I leave around 6:15 am and get home around 5:15 pm on the 3 days I commute.  For me, I wanted to raise my family in a water community in a not too hectic area, but still have the city within 30 miles so that we could take advantage of the opportunity.  I also wanted a larger house with plenty of space for exercise equipment and to just spread out.  I'll admit that I am at times troubled by feeling wasteful but my version of mustachianism is that I fully understand the costs and benefits of what I'm doing and make a decision accordingly.  I second guess some of my decisions, but my commute and the benefits I get is not one of them.  I say that realizing it isn't for everyone.

If you don't want to rent for a year to try it out, at least try making the commute at least once so you understand what you're getting into.  I understand the costs of not getting the mortgage deduction, but also factor in the financial hit you'd take if you had to sell because you hated the commute, not to mention the transaction costs.

WageSlave

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #42 on: February 13, 2014, 12:30:00 PM »
Put me down in the "I hate commutes" category.  I used to have about an hour commute: walk-train-walk, where about 45 minutes of that time was on the train.  That was before I had kids, and it got old.  So we ate the added expense to move closer.  Now I'm about 30 minutes door to door, still walk-train-walk, but only about 15 minutes on the train.  I leave the house a little after 7:00am and get home a little after 6:00pm.  My wife and I would prefer to move back to the suburbs, but now that we have kids, least-commute-time gets top priority.

I'm still not convinced on why you have to move.  We looked a dozens of houses before choosing the one we did, and I'm convinced that square footage means very little.  It's all about efficiency and optimal layout/floorplan.  We looked at "huge" houses that seemed cramped to me, and the one we ended up buying was actually on the low-end in terms of square footage.  But the layout is perfect for us, so it actually feels much bigger than the square footage would imply... so much so that our next house (post-FI) will have even less square footage, but with no loss of "spaciousness".

So: remodeling?  What about getting some temporarily housing while you (or contractors) come in and re-arrange the floor plan into something more optimal?  There's tons of free floorplans on the Internet, look for ones that have the same or similar footprint as your condo and see if it can be made more efficient.  If nothing else, partition off an area for a "bike locker" where you stagger the bikes and hang half from the ceiling.  You ought to be able to fit six bikes in a pretty small space if half hang from the ceiling.

Ok, how about renting some storage space near your existing condo?  A storage locker, garage parking spot, storage unit in your building, etc?  Any extra space you can utilize effectively increases the size of your current home.  Have you asked the other people living in your building if they have extra space they'd be willing to rent out?  Maybe give up a parking spot or rent out their closet?

What about "outsourcing" functions of your current condo?  For example, do you have your own washer/dryer?  If so, what if you gave that up to recover some "living" space, and instead used a laundromat?  Bathroom consolidation?

So if you're convinced you have to move... does a bigger place in the same area have to cost $100k more?  What if you got a bigger place that needed some work?  With the time you save by not adding to your commute, you could work on the new house until it's at a level you're comfortable with... This is a value-add proposition by the way, as you'd be adding "sweat equity" to the new house.  Depending on the ages of your kids, maybe they can help too.  Weekends become "family new house remodeling time".

Back to talking to your neighbors... depending on how your building is laid out, maybe one of your adjacent neighbors would be willing to sell part of their condo's floorspace to you.  I.e., you basically move the wall that separates the two units such that yours gets bigger and theirs gets smaller.  Probably a long shot, but it never hurts to ask!

Have you read Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)?  That book talks about computing your "real" hourly wage.  Your salary/wage is just one number, and actually somewhat meaningless.  YMYL asks you to first subtract from your advertised wage all job-related expenses: taxes, uniforms/special clothing, supplies (not covered by employer), meals, commute-related costs (mass transit pass, gas & auto maintenance), etc.  Take that number and divide by total hours your job pulls you away from doing what you want (i.e. what you'd do if you didn't have to work).  For most people, this means you include your commute time as "hours worked".

So, all things being equal, if you increase your commute time, you lower your "real" wage.  Of course, in absolute terms, you have the same amount of money, but it attempts to put a number to what otherwise might be perceived as a "soft" cost.

Just as an academic exercise, compute the "real" or YMYL wage for where you're at now, and where you'd be if you move and end up with the longer commute.  The latter will obviously be lower due to the bigger denominator (i.e. increased commute time) and decreased numerator (added expense of train pass).  Now multiply these two wages by the number of hours you actually work per year.  This is your yearly "income" based on your YMYL wage.  How big is the difference in relation to buying a bigger house that doesn't result in a dramatically increased commute?  Unless you're making the mega-bucks, it probably won't be $100k, but maybe it does add up to $100k over the course of five years, or whatever your period-to-FI is.  Food for thought.

Dezrah

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #43 on: February 13, 2014, 12:51:37 PM »
Since the OP asked for perspectives, here's mine.

I had an arrangement with an employer where I could telecommute 3 days a week and commute the 1-hour-15-minutes twice a week.  This was all driving.  I listened to a lot of audio books and lectures in that time.  Occasionally I would have to go in the whole week and those weeks were simply exhausting.

The key for me was it was on a temporary time frame.  I was willing to do that for three years while my husband was attending school, but I absolutely was not willing to do more than that.  Ultimately I left the job when the company could no longer maintain the telecommuting relationship.

I don't regret my time, but I've decided that I never want to telecommute again.  Furthermore, I'm hoping that from here on out, my husband and I will never have more than a 20 minute drive to work (longer for biking is okay, but I haven't tried it yet).  I love all the free time I have now compared to how it used to be and I never want to go back.

babysteps

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #44 on: February 13, 2014, 01:11:03 PM »
in case it helps, 2 personal histories -

my dad used to commute to work via bike (10mi each way, major hills etc - he loved it) and then got transferred to 30mi away site.  Switched to carpooling, increased total commute (hm, traffic).  He (they all) went in extra early and came home early to minimize traffic and maximize family time.  Would the same apply here - leave house @6 or 7am, get home by 5/6-ish?  His last 2 years before retirement he was able to use accumulated sick leave and work 4 days/week.

I used to commute to NYC from Long Island and then CT, about 1:45 each way.  LI was 30 minutes car, 55 minutes train, 20 minutes subway.  CT was 15 minute walk, 1:10 train, 20 minute walk.  The less car/more train & walking was much more enjoyable.  I typically emailed European colleagues and /read on morning train & worked on laptop on way home.  Took a nap once or twice a week-inflatable U-shaped pillow key.   total of 12 years (!) but only the first 2 were 5 days/week.  Then started traveling for work & able to work from home a day or 2 a week, that helped a lot.  Spouse & I have no kids which made this less problematic.

If I had to do it all again, I would likely choose to move earlier to a lower-cost area.  Much better quality of life. ymmv

Sounds like you could make it work for you either way.  What does the rest of your family think?

RoseRelish

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #45 on: February 13, 2014, 01:27:23 PM »
I moved further from work to get a better family life. My commute went from 45 minutes each way to 1:45 each way - 1:15 on the train and a 30 minute drive. I made sure to get an arrangement to leave work early to be home at a reasonable time (6pm). The mornings are very productive on the train while evenings are more for decompressing and reading/watching Netflix.

In my opinion, it's worth earlier retirement for a better long-term position for your family. That said, we found the perfect property for us for the long-haul at a great price.

Best of luck.

ATL

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #46 on: February 13, 2014, 07:55:31 PM »
I commute 2 hrs each way which is crazy, I know. However, I only have to go in twice a week. I was surprised at how many people make the commute daily and was humbled when I met people who had even longer commutes. I started looking closer to home for a comparable p/t position but discovered f/t jobs that don't even pay as much as I'm making p/t. I like my job and colleagues (most of the time anyway) and love the flexibility I have at work. Some people honestly don't mind the commute which is primarily by train (like you said, you can read, sleep, etc) and if you're one of them, why not?

I don't love my commute but the positives outweigh the negatives so I'm ok with that for the time being.

train_writer

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #47 on: February 14, 2014, 02:49:52 AM »
I currently have a transit commute of over 1.5 hour each way, but negotiated 2 days teleworking from an office 2 minutes away.

Personally, 3 days a week is worth it for me at the moment as I know my job opportunities in general will increase by working for them, but then I don't know how long you are planning or expecting to keep your job? I also have the opportunity to work on the train commute or pursue some of my hobbies.

mm1970

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #48 on: February 14, 2014, 07:23:25 AM »
This seems like it's a very personal and subjective decision. I'd rather work an extra year than triple the length of my commute. No contest.

The commute time won't be tripling.  My commute time is going up regardless, because we are moving no matter what.  So whether it is going to be 12 hours a week or 8 hours a week is the question.  Second, for the family time comments, I agree that is a concern but my hours are already pretty good and many people on here probably are gone just as much or more than me.  I would love to have the most time possible with my kids, but i have to balance that with costs and the best situation for them. 

With the long commute, I would leave when my kids leave for school so not out on anytime in the morning with them.  In the evening I would get home an hour later at 6:30 (I would leave work sooner) so I am out 4 hours a week in the evening but the day I would work from home,  I would see my kids right when they get home from school, so that makes up for some of the time lost.  My day would be 7:30 am to 6:30 pm (which is better than my prior job :) ). 

There is no perfect solution to this and I appreciate all the comments so far.  Your posts help me make sure I have thought of everything before  I commit one way or the other.   

I would be interested in seeing for those that say they wouldn't do it and those that do the long commute.  How long is your commute and what time do you leave and get home?  I think the time you leave and get home actually matters more than I initially thought.  I should have included my times in my original post.

So, I wouldn't do it.  You could never get me to commute like that.  I have two kids, 19 months and almost-8.
I leave home at 7:25 am.  My husband drops my 2nd grader off at 8:05 and the toddler at 8:30 am.
I leave work at 4:15 pm.  I pick up the toddler at 4:30 pm and the 2nd grader and our neighbors kids at 4:50 or 5 pm (depends on how long I chat with my friend at daycare).
My husband ends up working 8:45 am to 5:45 pm.
Toddler goes to bed at 8 pm, big boy at 8:30 or 9 pm.

My commute is 10-15 mins (depending on traffic) in the morning.  And the whole commute of picking up 4 kids at 2 places on the way home is 50 minutes.

foxtrot9000

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Re: Commute question: Is a 1.5 hour commute (1 way) worth it?
« Reply #49 on: February 14, 2014, 10:40:55 PM »
about a year ago i gave up a $100,000+ job for a smaller city and a $45,000 dollar job.
my daily commute went from 1.5+ hours a day, aswell as 5 hours every weekend to being able to run home for a sandwich at lunch.
i miss the money some days but life is so much happier and simple.