Author Topic: Cost of Living vs. Salary  (Read 2837 times)

JoDev

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Cost of Living vs. Salary
« on: December 19, 2015, 11:45:37 PM »
Couldn't find a post that specifically addressed this. I'm sure there's one, but there are hundreds to dig through. Here goes:

I took the highest salary offer that I was given straight out of grad school and moved to a new city for the job. Honestly the job is great, co-workers are wonderful, and the salary is generous for my field, but I'm miserable here. It's been nearly a year and despite volunteering etc, I'm completely socially isolated. Top that off with the stress that I'm only able to put $300/month into savings while living incredible frugally and making this great salary, because the cost of living here is so high (rent and utilities are through the roof). Also, I'm a single mom with no support structure here, so I really struggle with child care, and professional centers charge outrageous rates. However, I've already received one raise, and it's a possibility that I could come up for another raise in about a year, and so there is a chance that my income could increase in a year or so.

I've been offered housing with friends at 1/4 of what I'm paying now, and free live-in child care, in another city, where I have some friends and family. I would have to quit the current job to do so. It's hard to consider that, and I worry that it would sabotage my career, and in the process throw thousands upon thousands in lifetime earnings down the drain. But, my hope is that with the reduced cost of living and my qualifications, I could easily find employment in the new location. Even if I took a 20% pay cut, I'd still be able to save much more money towards FI. On the optimistic side, if I were to somehow find employment at the same or higher salary in the new location, I'd be putting down a very sizeable down payment on a house within a couple of years.

So, which makes more sense financially? Staying where the cost of living is sky high and savings are minimal, but keep the nice salary? Or move to lower my cost of living, but possibly lose the nice salary, and take a pay cut of who know hows much?

Thank you!

deborah

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Re: Cost of Living vs. Salary
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2015, 12:16:38 AM »
It sounds like you have not got the network that would show you the more frugal choices available at your current location. This means that you possibly haven't given your current location a proper try out. Perhaps you could see whether there are other mustashians where you live - ask in the meetup section or look there for meetups. This would give you a way to meet like minded people and explore the frugal options in your current location. Since you have a good workplace, it might be worth exploring staying, because many people dislike their workplace, and a good one doesn't occur everywhere.

I think that it might be difficult to get a commensurate job in a new location only a year from graduation. If you do decide to go to the other location, try to get a job before you go. If your child/children are at school, it might be worth setting a deadline of the new school year, and trying for that, so the children don't need to move in the middle of the school year.

A lot of people with children much prefer stand alone accommodation. Think about the accommodation being offered - are you a "shared accommodation" family, or would you really need stand alone accommodation after a short time?


Goldielocks

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Re: Cost of Living vs. Salary
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2015, 12:37:55 AM »
Move because of the kid factor.  The more community the two of you have, the better.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Cost of Living vs. Salary
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2015, 05:58:10 AM »
Yeah it sounds like moving's a no brainer, to be honest.

If you were saving $3000 a month it might be worth sticking it out for a while longer to build a decent stash, but you're not saving all that much.

The social connections and family support is important too.

Start looking for a job in the other city.

Dee18

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Re: Cost of Living vs. Salary
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2015, 06:11:37 AM »
The big open question is, what jobs are available for you in the other location?  Find out by looking and applying for some.  Use your grad and undergrad placement services to help you look.  So early in a career I would not quit without another job lined up.

lthenderson

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Re: Cost of Living vs. Salary
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2015, 06:32:50 AM »
I think the easy answer is to move to the lower cost of living place where you have support and happiness and then try to increase your pay with time. I think this is much easier to do than to try and find the support structure and happiness in your current place. However, the big question I would ask is where you want to end up when you FI? If you want to end up back in the place where you have support and happiness, I think it makes the decision easier. If you want to end up back where you are now where the cost of living is so high, it may be much harder to do without having spent many years there acquiring the things that you wish to have in retirement. I think of my brother-in-law who lives in a third world country. He lives very well there and has a lot of savings. However, if he were to decide to move to my low cost of living area (relative to the U.S. only), he wouldn't have more than a year or two worth of savings because it is all relative.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Cost of Living vs. Salary
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2015, 06:47:59 AM »
^ I agree though it obviously hasnt been for you I think the answer is simple. Move were your going to be happier and have the support system. I felt you were going to cry in your opening post. Be Happy! in your surroundings and it will cost you a lot less to live.

JoDev

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Re: Cost of Living vs. Salary
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2015, 09:57:23 AM »
Thanks guys! If it's worth anything, I have been searching out the frugal support structure here, and just recently found the Buy Nothing Group (I absolutely loved the one in the last place that I lived). A good point that struck home with me was made - is this where I want to be FI further down the road? I don't think it is, and it would be pretty far down the road, since I'm hardly able to save (an online cost of living comparison website said that rent for this area is 23% higher than in Seattle). I think I will be making the move.

Someone pointed out not moving during the school year with my kid. I really really really don't want to, and I did that last year to move here for the job. But my lease ends at the end of March, and my landlord told me that he will not go month-to-month until the school year is over. I think he wants me trapped in another year-long lease. So, the end of March it is.

The friends that I would be moving in with are my roommate from grad school and her boyfriend. We were already roommates before I moved for the job, and it was possibly the most enjoyable year of grad school for me. We get along incredibly well, and they have a super frugal mindset like myself - for instance, they thought it was a brilliant idea that I was washing my laundry in a bucket in the yard in the summer to save laundry quarters. My previous roommate was super embarrassed and pretended not to know me :D

I am very concerned about losing such a great job, so I think I'm going to bring up the move as an "opportunity" during my performance evaluation coming up, and ask that I be allowed to switch to teleworking from the new location. I've been researching ways to present this as a benefit to the company. If they say absolutely not, then it looks like I will be on the job hunt.

Again, thank you guys!

gooki

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Re: Cost of Living vs. Salary
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2015, 12:16:07 AM »
Find a new job, then move.