Author Topic: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?  (Read 10803 times)

Aushin

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Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« on: November 03, 2014, 08:19:21 AM »
Hi, it's me again.  I pop up every six months or so with an update on my life and and ask for advice on my next probably-not-Mustachian major life choice.

My last post was asking about replacing my 270k mile Neon.  I did end up doing that and bought an '08 Saab with 95k miles on it, in case anyone wanted to know the ending to that particular tale.

This time I have a new issue.  I already have a pretty long commute (34.4 miles 47m according to Google Maps, but I can usually make it in about 40).  The new job I would be taking is 58.1 miles 1h23m and I would have to cross the Ben Franklin Bridge (though I would not have to drive through the city, I go on to 76 and kind of go around Philly. 

The salary boost would be from 58k to 85k.  Also I think there is significantly more room for career growth as I would be working on a different database platform than the one I currently work in (MSSQL to Oracle, for those interested) and it would probably make my resume much better-looking. 

The job also offers free catered breakfast and lunch (and dinner if I wanted to eat lunch twice), a free gym, and some other minor perks. 

Is it worth it?  And before people suggest moving closer: I support my mother and sister back at home and that's basically going to be a fixed cost of mine no matter where I move.  I wouldn't be trading one rent for another.  I would only be adding rent.  Otherwise moving closer would be a total no-brainer. 

I'm ready for all of your (often much too) insightful comments!   

Gone Fishing

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2014, 08:42:01 AM »
 3 hours a day in a car is a LONG time.  People do it everyday so it is possible, but it would certainly wear on me.  How much would a studio apartment cost in the area?  Between the gas, tires, oil, mechanical wear, your time, the raise, and the food benefits, you could probably justify the additional rent.  Sure Uncle Sam takes his share, but the the big salary increases between 50-100k really boost your savings rate (and reduce time until FI) if you can maintain your expenses.  I would try to make it work.   

Iron Mike Sharpe

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2014, 08:54:10 AM »
Ouch.  That's a tough commute.  How much of the extra $27K would you keep (how much in taxes)?  How old are you?  How would this affect social / personal life?  How many hours do you need to be in the office too? 

I'm 42 and wouldn't want to do that type of commute.  But maybe if I was in my 20's I could do it for 3-5 years and then leave for something closer.

It's all going to come down to a personal choice.  You'll just need to weigh the pros and cons against each other.

Aushin

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2014, 09:06:57 AM »
I am 27 years old.  And yes, burnout is my primary concern.  Some of what I'd spend in .56 cents per mile costs I can save with the various company perks, like the food and free gym.  And I'm not very familiar with Pennsylvania's taxes.  I assume they're comparable to New Jersey's.

My guess is I'd be getting an extra 1600 a month in income, losing an extra 400 in monthly travel expenses, and saving lots on food because I will eat for free no matter what they put on my plate lol

AgileTurtle

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2014, 09:17:47 AM »
That is about 1800 more a month. You could get a cheap small place for 500 or rent a room from someone. Save tons of driving and still be way head on money. Or buy a place, rent rooms.

icandothings

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2014, 09:19:13 AM »
Is there no way you could combine the new job with a move to a home closer to work?

I wouldn't want even your current commute.  I was amazed how much better my day got just cutting a 20~30 minute commute down to ~5.

Aushin

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2014, 09:21:21 AM »
I'd have to make my mom and pregnant sister move with me.  Moving closer is very difficult to make happen.  Unless it's really cheap.

juuustin

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2014, 09:21:41 AM »
I'd do it.  That is a huge boost, not only in the near-term, but also in the coming years.  Getting to a salary in the 80's at 27 will have massive snowball effects in regards to future salary increases and savings rates.

I currently commute 1.5 hours (good day) to 2.5 hours (bad day) roundtrip for a pre-tax salary of 76K and it is definitely worth the extra income.  Making 49K around the corner would make my savings rate plummet at my current standard of living, even with the reduction in commute costs.  Throw in the free food and I think as long as you can stomach the commute, it will be worth it (financially, at least).

greenleaf

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2014, 09:25:41 AM »
I think I would do it if I were you.  That's a pretty big salary increase, and it sounds like your support for your family is only financial (i.e. you aren't a care taker for a child or elderly person that would make being away from home difficult).  I second the opinion of looking into an inexpensive studio or roommate situation close to the new job and staying there M-F if the cost works out.  You wouldn't even need a kitchen, maybe just a minifridge for left overs, if you can get three meals a day at work.    Heck if you have free gym access, you don't even need a shower.

Aushin

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2014, 10:00:32 AM »
Thanks for all of your input.  I honestly expected more negative reactions because one of the most famous MMM articles is about the evils of commuting.  I am very likely going to pursue this and if the commute crushes my soul I'll work to find a cheap way to leave nearby.

minimustache1985

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2014, 10:01:51 AM »
I'd do it- that's a huge salary bump- but I'd try and rent a room close to the area that you can stay during the week.  I commute an hour each way and even with my carpool (which makes it financially viable and mentally tolerable) it's still a huge drain on my free time.

Seriously, you're looking at adding $400 a month in commute costs, and you can probably find someone looking for a roommate for that price or less, heck as someone who is working full time and wouldn't even be there on the weekends you shouldn't have any trouble finding a decent spot.

skunkfunk

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2014, 10:28:36 AM »
If you're the breadwinner for a family of three, you get to pick where the house you pay for is. Move, they can come with you or move out on their own. I bet you've got some reason you can't do that, if it's a good one let's hear it before I get any ruder.

My 2 asshole cents.

rmendpara

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2014, 10:29:14 AM »
Depends on if you think a 3hr commute is sustainable.

I could probably put up with it for a while, maybe a year? Maybe 2? But definitely not long term. After a while (I can't say exactly when) you will burn out.

Even if you kept your current home and just moved yourself and got a roommate, I think apartments around Philly in a reasonably safe area can be had for <800/mo.

Worst case scenario, you keep paying your current home for Mom/Sister, and take on additional costs:

800/mo (9600/yr)

Let's say the savings of food and the short(er) commute are a wash and you break even.

You are still coming out 27k ahead (gross). Assuming 33% total tax rate, that's 18k after taxes, and 8k after all new costs are figured...
- plus a better job (which could be infinitely more importantly in the long run).

Seems like a no lose situation, no? Unless of course you need to stay with Mom/Sister... I'll ignore that issue since I don't know the story there.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2014, 10:30:49 AM by rmendpara »

Static Void

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2014, 10:30:44 AM »
Gut reaction:

Yes, like others mention, do advance your career, ratcheting up the salary is important.
FIND a way to not make that trip every single day. At least so you know it can be optional. Some possibilities:

* Rent room nearby. Check with all your new coworkers about spare rooms/cottages/other situations...
* Telecommute some days; it's becoming more accepted, though not universally. Also may be more viable once you're established @ new gig.
* Sleep in your car. (When I was <30 I slept often in my pickup with no-window shell... in company parking lot... ;)  )
* Sleep in your car, comma, advanced -- get a small van, make it sleepable (futon, chemical boat toilet), can be achieved <$1800 total. Plus ongoing required minimum insurance & vehicle fees.
* Nearby camping?

(signed) a fellow technology corporation drone who lives too far from the office.


Chranstronaut

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2014, 10:43:58 AM »
Since you seem like you're going to go for it:

A possibility to renting rooms is airbnb.  You can book one or two nights on little notice, cheaper than a hotel but possibly more than renting if you do it every night.  Some people are willing to make you deals or alternate arrangements.  I just got a discount with someone through airbnb by booking a whole month at a time up front and it's about what i pay for a half a two bedroom town house.  YMMV.

Are you driving the whole way?  I have about a 30 mi commute now and I joined a vanpool.  This is awesome because it's more reliable than a bus, cheaper than a 2 or 3 person carpool and you can either drive less often or not at all.  Check out your local public transport companies for something like that.

Audiobooks!  Get them from your local library :)

epipenguin

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2014, 11:46:18 AM »
Airbnb or renting a room in a house is a good idea. Really, you only need to stay Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights to be able to work the full week, as you could stay at home the other nights.

But then again, I also agree that if you are the breadwinner, you get to choose where the family lives.

Goldielocks

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2014, 11:59:34 AM »
If it is mainly financial support for mother and sister, I would move closer, even if it negates most of your savings.   The commute is a killer, so get a teeny tiny place, or room share, and go home on the weekends.

The future growth opportunities alone will make it worthwhile, even if financially it is a bit of a wash for now.  You will need to be able to put in extra energy to make those opportunities happen, and the commute is an energy sucker.   Try to imagine the best possible life for yourself, with healthy habits, energy, time for you, time for family, all rolled together.

rugorak

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2014, 01:58:39 PM »
My cousin is going from living in NJ to a job in the Philadelphia area. He is finding a smaller place with some coworkers and his wife is going to stay in NJ for the time being. He'll go home on the weekends. They plan on moving her down there and finding a real home in 6-12 months. You may want to consider something similar. Your commute will be tripled and you'll be spending 2/3 of your "work time" actually working and the last 1/3 commuting. That assumes you never hit traffic ever. Basically 12+ hours a day.

And without digging (because I really don't want to know) you may want/need to examine why is it you are supporting your family. Sorry but the pregnant sister sets off alarms for me. It could be perfectly valid. But it could be something else. As long as you know it is valid that is all that matters.

mxt0133

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2014, 02:59:43 PM »
Do it.  To reiterate what LibertyStache said get a cheap room for Monday-Friday and get paid to learn a new skill.  This will get your market value up.  Even if you do it for a year it will be worth it.  Don't worry about employers questioning short employment times, just explain to them that it was a great opportunity to apply your current skill set and learn new technologies.  I have never been turned down or turned anyone down for a position in which the candidate showed flexibility and the ability to learn new skills.

mozar

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2014, 08:56:33 PM »
I think you should do it, and family move with you. But is it good food? At my first job out of grad school my job bought me dinner every night. It was mostly Popeyes. I gained a lot of weight.

Aushin

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2014, 06:13:30 AM »
If you're the breadwinner for a family of three, you get to pick where the house you pay for is. Move, they can come with you or move out on their own. I bet you've got some reason you can't do that, if it's a good one let's hear it before I get any ruder.

My 2 asshole cents.

I have an attachment to the house or I guess I could force them to move.  It has about 90k left to be totally paid off and I'm very attracted to the idea of owning it outright. 

<response to pretty much every other post below>

Thank you all for the advice.  I'm now looking into possible airbnb solutions since it's been brought up.  There might be something that works out perfectly for me but I need to contact the person doing the listing and see if they're okay with a 4-night-a-week tenant.

skunkfunk

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2014, 07:25:24 AM »
If you're the breadwinner for a family of three, you get to pick where the house you pay for is. Move, they can come with you or move out on their own. I bet you've got some reason you can't do that, if it's a good one let's hear it before I get any ruder.

My 2 asshole cents.

I have an attachment to the house or I guess I could force them to move.  It has about 90k left to be totally paid off and I'm very attracted to the idea of owning it outright. 


Rent it out. Move back in when you retire.

Aushin

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2014, 02:03:17 PM »
Renting the home is forbidden by the USDA, who owns the debt on the house.  It was built as part of a rural development initiative.  Our monthly payments are partially subsidized, but one of the stipulations is that we can't rent it and that the homeowner must live in it unless it is sold.

skunkfunk

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2014, 02:08:11 PM »
Renting the home is forbidden by the USDA, who owns the debt on the house.  It was built as part of a rural development initiative.  Our monthly payments are partially subsidized, but one of the stipulations is that we can't rent it and that the homeowner must live in it unless it is sold.

Refinance to a private loan.

olivia

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2014, 07:57:18 PM »
I agree with everyone else that you should either move everyone with you or rent a room to stay in during the week.  I lived in Philly for 3 years and as I'm sure you know, 76 traffic is brutal.  Depending upon how far you have to go on 76, I would be surprised if you can actually make it to work in an hour and 23 minutes.

Another thought-could you take the SEPTA commuter rail to your job?  When I was in Philly I worked with people who lived in NJ and one of them took her car to the PATCO station, parked and then took PATCO to Center City and switched to the Market/Frankford line.  Could your mother or sister drive you to a station that would enable you to take SEPTA?  Maybe they could drive you right to 11th St.-the train would suck way less than driving and if you can get an express it would probably be quicker.

dragoncar

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2014, 12:57:01 PM »
Agree with everyone here -- find a way to make it work.  I'd probably do a 4-night room/closet rental myself, and that's actually a very nice arrangement for your housemate who wouldn't have to deal with you on the weekends. 

But I'll say that driving commutes over an hour are not sustainable.  I have known many people who have tried, and it always ends up being soul crushing eventually.  Don't do that.  Maybe if you can find someone to carpool so you only have to do it 1/2 time.  Otherwise, it's fine for a couple months but beyond that you'll just be desperate.  Pay for a room and spend the non-commute time kicking ass at your new job.

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #26 on: November 06, 2014, 01:05:12 PM »
Why can't you find a similar salary bump with a job closer to home?

Aushin

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #27 on: December 17, 2014, 10:40:35 AM »
Sorry I disappeared for a month there.  I'll update everyone and answer the posts since I left.  I took the job and it was DEFINITELY worth it so thanks for all the people who convinced me to do so.

I agree with everyone else that you should either move everyone with you or rent a room to stay in during the week.  I lived in Philly for 3 years and as I'm sure you know, 76 traffic is brutal.  Depending upon how far you have to go on 76, I would be surprised if you can actually make it to work in an hour and 23 minutes.

Another thought-could you take the SEPTA commuter rail to your job?  When I was in Philly I worked with people who lived in NJ and one of them took her car to the PATCO station, parked and then took PATCO to Center City and switched to the Market/Frankford line.  Could your mother or sister drive you to a station that would enable you to take SEPTA?  Maybe they could drive you right to 11th St.-the train would suck way less than driving and if you can get an express it would probably be quicker.

I don't understand how 76 is allowed to continue to exist.  It's the most horrible road I've ever had to drive through.  I only stay on it for maybe 3 miles and it takes at least 10-20 minutes if it's between the hours of 6 AM and 10 PM. 

Agree with everyone here -- find a way to make it work.  I'd probably do a 4-night room/closet rental myself, and that's actually a very nice arrangement for your housemate who wouldn't have to deal with you on the weekends. 

But I'll say that driving commutes over an hour are not sustainable.  I have known many people who have tried, and it always ends up being soul crushing eventually.  Don't do that.  Maybe if you can find someone to carpool so you only have to do it 1/2 time.  Otherwise, it's fine for a couple months but beyond that you'll just be desperate.  Pay for a room and spend the non-commute time kicking ass at your new job.

Haven't worked out a living arrangement yet but I am leaning toward this.  I have to figure it out in the next two weeks because the temporary housing the company gave me is going to run out then.

Why can't you find a similar salary bump with a job closer to home?

Tech jobs are just extremely rare in my immediate area.  Everything is at least a 40 minute drive.

MrFrugalChicago

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #28 on: December 17, 2014, 10:53:15 AM »
You should look into working from home. You should easily be able to make 100k from the comfort of your own home as a solid DBA. Then you have 0 commute.

In the meantime, can you get 1 or 2 day WFH? 2 day WFH would bring you down to 9h of commute a week. Still too much, but a lot better than 15h.

Aushin

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2014, 11:06:03 AM »
You should look into working from home. You should easily be able to make 100k from the comfort of your own home as a solid DBA. Then you have 0 commute.

In the meantime, can you get 1 or 2 day WFH? 2 day WFH would bring you down to 9h of commute a week. Still too much, but a lot better than 15h.

This place explicitly states they want you in the office every day.  If I could land a 100k WFM DBA job I'd definitely jump at it, though.

MrFrugalChicago

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #30 on: December 17, 2014, 11:51:36 AM »
Start watching.. for example, watch https://weworkremotely.com/

neo von retorch

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #31 on: December 17, 2014, 11:54:24 AM »
I agree with everyone else that you should either move everyone with you or rent a room to stay in during the week.  I lived in Philly for 3 years and as I'm sure you know, 76 traffic is brutal.  Depending upon how far you have to go on 76, I would be surprised if you can actually make it to work in an hour and 23 minutes.

I don't understand how 76 is allowed to continue to exist.  It's the most horrible road I've ever had to drive through.  I only stay on it for maybe 3 miles and it takes at least 10-20 minutes if it's between the hours of 6 AM and 10 PM.

Ha I live/work roughly close to where you're talking about. Right now I don't have to touch 76 between work and home, but when I stay with my girlfriend, I have to pay some I-76 tax. It could be worse, but I'm further West of Philly than where you're working, I believe. In the mornings, once I hit the Valley Forge exit, I can take 202 the rest of the way and it's smooth sailing. But anything East of the Norristown exit is increasingly awful.

Josiecat

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #32 on: December 18, 2014, 08:14:10 PM »
OK, so you own that home that your mother and sister live in?  Are you only supporting them by paying the mortage?  You don't give them any other money do you?

Aushin

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #33 on: December 19, 2014, 09:13:20 AM »
OK, so you own that home that your mother and sister live in?  Are you only supporting them by paying the mortage?  You don't give them any other money do you?

I pay pretty much every bill except food.  And I also live there (on weekends now).

In total I pay about 1100 a month in household bills (the mortgage is partially subsidized and my sister's live-in BF pays 800 a month).


TimmyTightWad

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Re: Increased Commute For Increased Salary?
« Reply #34 on: December 22, 2014, 07:55:47 AM »
Several years back I use to commute from Voorhees to Malvern everyday for 38K, after that I commuted from Haverford to Newark DE for about double that. So I'd say yes make the commute for the extra money. I started listening to podcasts to make the commute better.