Author Topic: Money Vs. Location  (Read 4836 times)

beardsweater

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Money Vs. Location
« on: October 02, 2016, 08:41:12 PM »
The Mustachian in me is struggling with this dilemma, and I would love some advice.

I am 29 and will finish residency at the end of this year and am currently looking for jobs. My fiancÚ and myself (we will be married by the time we move to our new location) are debating about these two options:

One option is to move back to our home town of Austin and start settling down there. We have families there to eventually help out when we have kids, would like to be closer to family, and we know we love it there and could really settle down there. On the downside the cost of living is much higher than option two, and to top it off the pay is about half as much as option two.  The last consideration is that jobs are more difficult to get in Austin because it's a tight market(if I don't take the job now I may not be able to get one there later if we decide we want to move back home).

Option two is to move to the middle of nowhere in West Texas for literally 2 to 3x the pay combined with a lower cost of living.  The big positive to this one is heading towards FIRE at a much more rapid pace, which is a huge bonus.  The downside of this is we would be a five hour drive from family, and there is literally almost nothing to do there for fun outside of work(no mountains, no water, no trails).  I know we could make it work, and it is hard to pass this up. At the same time I am having a tough time convincing myself (and my fiancÚ) to move out to West Texas (I am worried I will be bored and miss home and family).

What would you do?
« Last Edit: October 02, 2016, 09:48:39 PM by beardsweater »

seattlecyclone

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Re: Post-residency plans
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2016, 08:52:09 PM »
I'd probably give the West Texas job a try for at least a couple of years. You'll be able to put so much more money into savings both because you'll earn twice as much (or more) and because the cost of living is lower there. If you stay there for a couple of years and don't like it, you can look for a job in Austin, and take the massive stack of cash you earned in West Texas to make a down payment on a nice house there.

Kakashi

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Re: Post-Residency Plans
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2016, 09:19:18 PM »
Well the obviously correct financial move is West Texas. 

Austin benefits are non-quantifiable benefits that only you can valuate. 

I personally would do West Texas based on my own personality. 

However, I suspect you should do Austin since you are even asking the question.  Money isn't everything and it sounds like you'll be happier. 
Most of people seeking to FIRE ASAP hate their jobs.  I imagine since you are just graduating, you're not hating your job yet. 

Noodle

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2016, 10:19:32 PM »
I would vote for West Texas, with an agreement in place that you will try it for X amount of time and then re-evaluate. Austin is so expensive, and you would go into the housing market there (or retirement) from a much more advantageous position with a West-Texas-sized pile of cash. I know you are concerned about the tighter job market in Austin, but even if it took you a bit longer you would be searching from the position of already being employed. And you know, spending time together somewhere that isn't intended to be your forever home can be a good bonding exercise for newlyweds. I work with a lot of older women and they have very fond memories of their newlywed years in whatever backwater their husband's employer shipped them to (given their generation) even though they are happy to be in the big city now.

BeautifulDay

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2016, 10:25:36 PM »
Well if you're talking about Lubbock, it isn't too bad. But I'd have a hard time choosing move to any other w. Tx town.  Oh wait I've already done exactly that!  Yes the cost of living is super cheap but ugh...  Our current dilemma: Stay in a low cost w. Tx town that we hate but have well paying jobs or move to a town we like with a higher COL and retire much later.  I think I've got less than a year left in me before I go nuts here.  But we've been here 7 yrs and it is a SUPER small town.  I couldn't pick a worse town.  We are making peace with the likelihood that we will have to work longer because we will move away as soon as I can find a job.  But the trade off will be worth it in my sanity alone.  We've stayed this long because it was a good place for me to get my foot in the door in my industry and we have some financial goals to meet.  But we've made progress in both those areas so it is time to start a new chapter.

So, I'd say it's doable if you look at it as a short term situation to get you to your goals. Give yourself a timeline for achieving those goals. Otherwise you might go crazy here (like we've done).
« Last Edit: October 02, 2016, 10:37:35 PM by BeautifulDay »

beardsweater

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2016, 10:47:24 PM »
All good points, and I appreciate the advice, I am getting a lot to think about here!  Lots of good wisdom.

The West TX town is Midland.  I've been doing my research on it and it sounds like it could be okay for about 5 years or so, but just like BeautifulDay, any longer and we are going to be real ready to get out of there.

I like your idea Noodle, and that agreement on trying it out for a certain amount of time might make us feel like we could do it.

KickingRocks

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2016, 11:32:25 PM »
All good points, and I appreciate the advice, I am getting a lot to think about here!  Lots of good wisdom.

The West TX town is Midland.  I've been doing my research on it and it sounds like it could be okay for about 5 years or so, but just like BeautifulDay, any longer and we are going to be real ready to get out of there.

I like your idea Noodle, and that agreement on trying it out for a certain amount of time might make us feel like we could do it.

If you would have said Alpine or Marfa I would have said go for it.  Midland is a different animal.  To much oil field trash for my liking although housing should be cheaper right now with the oil crash.  If you bought and only planned on staying 5 years you'd probably be right in the middle of the next oil boom and do ok.  I'm a Texas boy myself and honestly I'd never live in Austin either so take it with a grain of salt.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2016, 04:06:01 AM »
Oh, midland isn't Muleshoe. Try it for a few years and don't buy a house.

2Cent

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2016, 05:25:04 AM »
After marriage, before having kids it is actually good to get away from family for a few years and build your own life. And you can still visit in weekends. 5 hours is not that much. Especially if your parents have a large house. When you have kids it's another matter. But I would not recommend a situation where you are doomed to financial struggle and substandard life, just to see your parents a bit more often.

You could actually quantify the decision if you calculate the expected extra travel time vs the extra hours of work until retirement you need to do to come to the same standard of living (assuming travel time and work time are both counted as loss).
To compensate you could negotiate an option to be allowed to take unpaid leave more often like 2 days a month. You could spend a long weekend every month doing something fun with the family.

Fishindude

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2016, 05:48:00 AM »
Five hours away is not a big deal, easy half day drive.
MY kids are five hours away and we see a lot of them.   I'd go for the money and to get out on your own, doing your own thing for a while.

MayDay

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2016, 05:53:45 AM »
I'd be in Austin, hands down.
H and I could get higher paying jobs in a gulf coast oil area, but we are a million percent secure in our decision that no amount of money is worth living in a crummy place.

greengardens

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2016, 05:59:21 AM »
Go west. My DH and I are doing a similar thing. Be prepared for a huge adjustment though, it won't be easy. DH and I both come from larger towns (for the Midwest at least) and moved somewhere with less than 10,000 people and it took about a year to settle in. We don't love it but we've met nice people. I've been at my job for 2 years and have gained a ton of experience and earned way more than my friends back home. We'll probably move on in another year or so but with the money we have saved already we are leaps and bounds ahead of our peers.

One caveat: we are 6 hours from DH family so only see them a handful of times each year however we are only 1.5 hours from good friends and visit them frequently

undercover

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2016, 06:11:14 AM »
The only thing significantly more expensive in Austin is housing.

I'm going to go against the grain and vote Austin. If it's where you're going to end up anyway, I don't see why you're so worried about eventually finding a higher paying job. Being around family and having that support network is worth a LOT - it is for me anyway.

I've never been a "move for the money" type person. I think that's an extremely "poor" reason for moving somewhere. Sure, money is a consideration when moving, but it should not be number one on priority. Money comes and goes, but peace of mind is harder to come by. Plus, again, I really don't think you'll have a problem exceeding the pay that Midland is offering sometime in the future in Austin.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 06:17:28 AM by undercover »

Cranky

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2016, 09:04:45 AM »
All good points, and I appreciate the advice, I am getting a lot to think about here!  Lots of good wisdom.

The West TX town is Midland.  I've been doing my research on it and it sounds like it could be okay for about 5 years or so, but just like BeautifulDay, any longer and we are going to be real ready to get out of there.

I like your idea Noodle, and that agreement on trying it out for a certain amount of time might make us feel like we could do it.

My sister and her husband live in Midland/Odessa and they do tons of outdoors stuff! they are avid hikers and bike riders.

charis

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2016, 09:24:22 AM »
The only thing significantly more expensive in Austin is housing.

I'm going to go against the grain and vote Austin. If it's where you're going to end up anyway, I don't see why you're so worried about eventually finding a higher paying job. Being around family and having that support network is worth a LOT - it is for me anyway.

I've never been a "move for the money" type person. I think that's an extremely "poor" reason for moving somewhere. Sure, money is a consideration when moving, but it should not be number one on priority. Money comes and goes, but peace of mind is harder to come by. Plus, again, I really don't think you'll have a problem exceeding the pay that Midland is offering sometime in the future in Austin.

+1 

If you are mustachian, you will be able to make decisions to help you achieve FIRE regardless of lower pay and higher costs, and you will be much happier doing it. 

BeautifulDay

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2016, 05:03:17 PM »
The only thing significantly more expensive in Austin is housing.

I'm going to go against the grain and vote Austin. If it's where you're going to end up anyway, I don't see why you're so worried about eventually finding a higher paying job. Being around family and having that support network is worth a LOT - it is for me anyway.

I've never been a "move for the money" type person. I think that's an extremely "poor" reason for moving somewhere. Sure, money is a consideration when moving, but it should not be number one on priority. Money comes and goes, but peace of mind is harder to come by. Plus, again, I really don't think you'll have a problem exceeding the pay that Midland is offering sometime in the future in Austin.

I agree don't move there just for the money.  We made the move to a less than desire able place because it was a good job opportunity in a great company.  And we don't regret the move.  We are city people, but we looked at a move to the country as an adventure and it has been that.  But the novelty has worn off and it's time for a change.

If pay is the only reason for moving to midland, then I'm not sure I'd do it.  But if there are other reason it might not be so bad, at least for a while.

use2betrix

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2016, 06:29:16 PM »
Really depends how rapid you want to fire. You just spent all that time and money in college, I hope that you will enjoy your career some? If you feel like you'll hate your career and want to FIRE ASAP, then go west. If you feel like you may enjoy working for a while as I hope it would be fulfilling, I would choose Austin.

Personally, I chose the "travel and make as much as possible and live in crummy places route" but that's also because I don't enjoy my career a lot, or moreso the hours.

expatartist

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2016, 08:14:13 PM »
You know what's best for you! But my 2c:....
* West Texas has stunning skies and landscapes and from my limited experience (a week in Marfa/Alpine and trains through the area) is generally underrated, with quirky bits that take time to appreciate, particularly by those from easier-to-love places like Austin
* It could provide a contrast to what you know, an opportunity to learn more about yourselves and see where you're from in a new light

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2016, 08:52:43 AM »
I vote for West Texas.  The points made above about establishing your new family and your own way of life are very valid.  Having family *too* close makes it harder to establish your own family identity/traditions/preferences/etc.

PathtoFIRE

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2016, 09:06:04 AM »
The White Coat Investor had a case study involving a similar situation, http://whitecoatinvestor.com/confessions-of-a-profligate-borrower/

former player

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2016, 09:36:47 AM »
Is your fiancÚ planning to work, and will location make a difference to their career prospects?  That seems a major consideration that you haven't mentioned.

How long would you have to work in West Texas before you could retire to Austin (or somewhere else, if that's what you wanted)?  That is, do an MMM, make your stash and then retire to have kids.

meghan88

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2016, 09:43:10 AM »
One more vote for doing the West Texas thing for two to five years, then moving on.

Nine years ago we left a city we loved to move seven hours away to a place we can't wait to leave.  We didn't think it would be so bad until we got here.  We have another 4 1/2 years to go until we can move back home.  In the meantime we've amped up our savings like crazy, and for the type of work we do, we're at the epicenter so it's very secure.

We email, we skype and we take vacations to the places we love.  And we keep busy with hobbies and with planning.

beardsweater

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2016, 02:14:51 PM »
Thanks for all the input! I am starting to be swayed towards west Texas somewhat. Now that I know the actual numbers, the west TX job pays about twice the pay of the Austin Job, which would get me to FIRE in half the time. I am also thinking it makes since as I have spent my whole 20's in Med school and residency instead of earning and have some significant debt to pay off.

My job has a way higher earning potential than my fiancÚ's job so that isn't really much of a factor. I think that shaving half the time off my working career may be worth the move.

I am pretty burned out from the long hours of residency and haven't loved medicine enough to give my entire life to it, that's how I ended up getting into MMM, mad fientist, JL Collins etc
« Last Edit: October 04, 2016, 02:25:26 PM by beardsweater »

swashbucklinstache

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #23 on: October 04, 2016, 03:19:19 PM »
.... the west TX job pays about twice the pay of the Austin Job, which would get me to FIRE in half the time....

Just a side note and you may be accounting for this already, but it may not be so simple due to taxes and money over expenses. Thinking of someone with a 40k salary having almost double the fun/investable money of someone with a 30k salary if they both have 20k "regular life" expenses, but as those salary numbers get bigger and the "regular life" expenses don't (because of your facial hair =) ) the tax implications are very real too.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2016, 03:23:57 PM »
Thanks for all the input! I am starting to be swayed towards west Texas somewhat. Now that I know the actual numbers, the west TX job pays about twice the pay of the Austin Job, which would get me to FIRE in half the time. I am also thinking it makes since as I have spent my whole 20's in Med school and residency instead of earning and have some significant debt to pay off.

My job has a way higher earning potential than my fiancÚ's job so that isn't really much of a factor. I think that shaving half the time off my working career may be worth the move.
A doubling of salary, should shorten your time to FI by WAY more than 50%, and even more so when combined with a lower cost of living.  If you're making $50K and saving 1/3 of that, doubling your salary would quadruple your savings ($100k earned, $66k saved), if you keep your spending the same.

acroy

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #25 on: October 04, 2016, 03:56:43 PM »
West Texas...
I lived for 2yrs in Midland and DW is an Odessa native. The scenery there SUCKS. It is AWFUL.

Pretty stuff is close enough to visit every weekend.... but that means miles/time/$$ on vehicle.

I tolerated Midland and currently tolerating DFW with a nice right-sized house, pool, and the comfort of having a good steady job with 50%+ saving rate.

A lot of it is about the attitude: go into it with a good attitude, confident you are making a good choice, and things look a lot better :)

beardsweater

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #26 on: October 04, 2016, 06:45:16 PM »
PathtoFIRE, thanks for the article!

expatartist

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #27 on: October 04, 2016, 07:16:58 PM »
Is your fiancÚ planning to work, and will location make a difference to their career prospects?  That seems a major consideration that you haven't mentioned.

+1

beardsweater

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2016, 08:52:12 PM »
My fiancÚ is planning to work for the first couple of years, but she will likely be able to find a good job wherever there is a hospital so we aren't too worried about that. We hope to have kids in the next couple years and would rather be financially stable enough at that point for her to be able to retire early and be an awesome mom(she is a mustachian also so I am pretty lucky)! Obviously we both have to be all in for this to work out...
« Last Edit: October 04, 2016, 08:59:59 PM by beardsweater »

dess1313

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #29 on: October 05, 2016, 12:44:43 AM »
Move west for the money with a couple limits:
1. pick a time limit.  If you don't like it by then, both of you start looking to move where you are happy, likely austin by the sounds of it
2. DON'T BUY.  Rent.  it won't likely be a long enough time frame, and if the market ever crashes, you may be stuck hanging onto a house longer than wanted, which could limit your moving abilities, and tie up cash flow.  Also if a dream job happens to come up only a year into your move, you can consider moving with only worrying about ending your lease.
3. save save save and use your $$ to get a better foot hold in your future home town

Most couples wait a few years before having kids.  if that may be the grand plan, moving away now, and back near family later when children are on the horizon may be a good thing.

chasesfish

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #30 on: October 05, 2016, 06:15:25 AM »
Go give Midland a try, it at least has 200,000+ people.   I thought by West Texas you were talking about a town of 15,000 people, which is a different animal.  If you do it, know its a means to an end.

You should also have a soft job search in Austin while you're in midland, your goal is to take your higher salary and lateral it back into Austin.


Goldielocks

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #31 on: October 05, 2016, 06:40:03 AM »
Sometimes you discover a community of like minded younger couples who moved to the new location, for the same reasons and end up liking it tremendously- because of new friends, not the scenery.

It used to be common to spend 2-5 years away from the city to ' pay your dues' and get experience.

You may find out that you are more of a 'big sky' person than you thought, too.

catccc

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #32 on: October 05, 2016, 07:14:50 AM »
Another vote for West TX - temporarily!  Rent, don't buy, establish your salary and port it over to Austin in 5 ish years.  Kill any student loans with that higher salary and lower cost of living while in West Texas.

I used to live in very HCOL DC Metro Area, and when I moved to a small PA town, I took my salary with me to my new job.  I work in accounting.  I know another guy in IT that left the DC metro area for some LCOL place in North Carolina and there was no salary difference.  Maybe the same holds true for other lines of work.

How soon are you looking to start a family?

redbird

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #33 on: October 05, 2016, 09:35:20 AM »
You don't have kids yet. If you have kids in the future and decide you want to be closer to family, move back THEN. $1 earned today is better than $1 earned tomorrow, because it's just that much sooner that the $1 can grow.

I think you should move to West Texas for that higher pay that you can have NOW.

Trudie

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Re: Money Vs. Location
« Reply #34 on: October 05, 2016, 09:47:46 AM »
Take the west Texas job with the knowledge that it is a 2-5 year plan... the ultimate geographic arbitrage (which makes it sound clandestine and all the more exciting.)

Kill your debt so that you can be flexible when you move to Austin.  I strongly recommend AGAINST buying a house.  Rent so you can save $$ and kill your debt.  If you're "house people" realize that you're renting for a decent place in Austin.