Author Topic: Should I Move My Family?  (Read 7663 times)

health teacher

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Should I Move My Family?
« on: January 19, 2015, 08:31:31 AM »
Currently the wife and I live in our home town. It is a low cost of living area near Pittsburgh, PA. We both went to college at a nearby university less than 40 minutes away. I have been seriously contemplating moving away. The winters really put me into a slump and I continuously get the feeling that there has to be more to life. All of our friends and the majority of our family is here.

Me: 29 year old teacher in a very secure job making 40k per year.

Wife: 26 year old teacher in a very secure job making 35k per year.

Children: We have a 2 year old and a one week old. Child care is free (wife's mother).

House: We have 47k remaining on a 15 year mortgage at 3.75%. We have around 50k in equity.

Retirement: we both contribute to teacher pension plans and we also have about 10k in Vanguard IRA.

Debt: $1,500 in student loans (down from 37k 2 years ago, woohoo) and 47k mortgage.

I have thrown the idea of moving somewhere warmer like Florida around to my wife, but she is content here. She knows I am unhappy at times here and is worried I will just want to move again if we make the jump. She tells me that she will do whatever she has to do to keep our family of 4 together and happy. I have always had an envy of living in a warmer climate. In the spring/summer we are always outside and the thought of having that ability all year around is very intriguing (I know it gets hot in FL in the summer). The kicker is we would need to completely start over if we moved and it would be completely on our own.

We are not completely in love with our current home, but it is certainly more than enough (3 bed, 1.5 bath 1,600 sq ft with in ground pool). I have the feeling that we could move to the warmer climate and use the equity in our current home when we sold it to upgrade our new house to around 150k (leaving a mortgage of 100k). We love to travel so this would cut our budget for travel a bit since our mortgage would go up slightly and we would need child care.

 The thing that really holds me back is making my wife unhappy. If it were up to me alone, I would have already put our house on the market. I am really worried if we moved she would miss being near family. We see the majority of her family during holidays, but we see her mom about 5 times a week (her mom would probably despise me for wanting to move too). If we stay though, it might harm our family because admittedly I suck to be around because I can't get rid of the winter blues from October to March :(

There is a teacher job fair in Pittsburgh in March. If I am going to seriously do this, I would need to register for this job fair and explore my job opportunities.

 Am I crazy to want to move from what many would consider "perfect" situation? Anyone have any advice?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2015, 08:42:34 AM »
Totally get where you're coming from. I grew up in Texas and live in PA to be close to my wife's family because they are very helpful with our daughter. Some things that have helped me:

SAD light
House with lots of south-facing windows
Turning up the heat

YTProphet

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2015, 08:49:11 AM »
Financially, it doesn't seem to make much sense to move. You've got very secure jobs (which you should never take lightly), are making a good income, and have free child care (which is worth A LOT).

This really seems more like a quality of life question. You want warmer weather, but your family and friends are nearby and your wife depends on that support system.

I guess I find it kind of odd that you want to move away from that just for some warmer weather. Do you not get along with your family/in-laws? Do you not like her friends? Close relationships with friends and family make life good and worth living. All the money in the world won't make you as happy as good relationships will. Moving to better weather won't necessarily make your life better, and, in fact, it may make things worse.

If you struggle with seasonal affective disorder, and it's causing you to be seriously depressed, it seems like something a doctor should be able to help with. Have you talked to a doctor?

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2015, 08:54:48 AM »
I have a few thoughts:

1. Just because others would consider your situation perfect, it doesn't mean that you should tell yourself to shut up about your feelings. You have every right to feel what you feel.

2. That being said, I don't know that moving would automatically equal happiness. It sounds to me like moving has become a symbol for happiness - you've attached meaning to it - but perhaps the bigger problem is that you are bored, unhappy, feel unfulfilled, and perhaps even feel trapped.

3. Moving would be a big hardship on your wife. Moving away would be moving away from your support system, which would make raising two kids doubly hard, I imagine.  That would be more stress for the both of you.

If I were you, I wouldn't consider moving the family until I'd talked to a counselor about your unhappiness and made sure that you have gotten to the real cause - *usually* happiness isn't pegged to a single external factor, like where we live. 

Take what's useful here and ignore the rest. Take care!

James

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2015, 08:58:29 AM »
Moving just because you want warmer weather sounds like trouble to me. Not that you shouldn't move, but I don't think you are there yet.

I would start by working on thing you can change. Start by figuring out how to get outside in the winter. Take up some winter sports, maybe a fat bike, maybe cross country skiing, maybe something indoors, but some way to get activity and enjoyment in the winter for both you and the whole family. Not saying the first thing you try will be it, but I bet if you keep trying you can find something to do in the winter to make things more tolerable.

My wife and I both want to move south but aren't moving right now for various reasons. I certainly hear your concerns and they are valid, but given the total of what you said, I wouldn't suggest pushing hard for a move at this point.

pipercat

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2015, 09:01:46 AM »
Don't underestimate the value of having family close by, especially if they provide daycare.  When we started a family, we lived on the other side of the US from our families.  We moved back to my hometown when our oldest was a baby.  The main reason was to be close to family.

Living out on our own, in a wonderful warm climate, with friends that we chose (rather than simply grew up with) as adults was a great adventure.  If we didn't have kids, we likely would never have moved back.  We had a great house, great jobs, and great friends.

When we became parents, we didn't want our kids to only see their grandparents at Christmas.  We wanted them to really know their cousins, and to form relationships with them.  It was tough moving back.  We loved our former life, and it was definitely an adjustment, but I know we did the right thing.

Of course, this assumes that you have a good relationship with your families.  If moving will genuinely make your wife unhappy, I don't recommend it. 

health teacher

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2015, 09:02:04 AM »
@ YT Prophet

No problems with in laws at all. I dont want medication. I exercise and eat well. I have contemplated a SAD light lately.

I guess its not entirely the warm weather. I almost get the "this is it" feeling and starting new somewhere is exciting to me although its terrifying to my wife. I tried to be proactive and decided to run a marathon hoping the training would keep me focused on a new challenge, but while the training itself has been successful so far, I still have that "caged" feeling during the cold months. I do so much too, I have a wonderful wife, 2 awesome boys, great friends, I play hockey two times a week. I just always want more in life and I feel complacent.

GizmoTX

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2015, 09:03:33 AM »
Once children are present, family assumes new importance, especially grandparents, & you have just 18 years to spend with your children before they leave your house. You want to maximize this. After that, you should be in a much better position to relocate anywhere you want to.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2015, 09:17:55 AM »
I like the SAD light idea too. And your ideas for starting a new challenge (like already having started training for a marathon), which are similar to James' suggestions for ways to get out in the winter. I lived in central PA for two years (and before that in Minnesota for 21, but I wasn't quite as outdoorsy then) and I feel like we spent A TON of time outside in the winter, just hiking with our dog in the woods. Everyone else is right, you shouldn't feel like you have to love something just because most other people would love it (or think you're "lucky"), but it does seem like there might be more here than just wanting to move. It might take some trial and error to hit on what the right change/new project/new challenge is, though.

mxt0133

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2015, 09:55:50 AM »
I guess I'll be the odd man out.  My wife and I moved to the west coast after getting married.  We have a good relationship with our immediate family and visited twice a year before having kids.  After having kids we started visiting less, not more.  We always reevaluate if we should move back or not, my parents help take care of my nieces and nephews even tough my SIL is a SAHP.  My wife is a SAHP as well and loves taking care of the kids but we are sometimes envious of their situation, but for us we like to do things our way with little interference from family members. 

I have always done things against the grain and my wife goes along with all my crazy ideas, so we get to experiment.  We constantly get questions and criticisms for how we live, like being frugal, living in a very small apartment with soon to be three kids, having a SAHP in an expensive city, homeschooling, ect.  So even though we would like to be with family and have their support we like our independence better.

I do feel like we are denying our kids the experience of growing up near extended family but we value them being expose to more diversity in a urban city environment vs a more suburban one.  We still keep in constant touch with family and they have come to visit as well so we are in the camp of quality vs quantity with regard to time spent with our family.

To the OP, I don't think there is a wrong or right answer for you.  From my experience as long as you and your wife are on the same page I think you can make either situation work whether you stay or not.  If you stay in your current situation it would allow you to FIRE sooner and then you can explore and travel when the kids are older.  If you go your expenses go up or your income goes down if one person becomes a SAHP, you will just have to flex your mustachian muscles a bit more until your situation stabilizes.

YTProphet

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2015, 10:07:07 AM »
@ YT Prophet

No problems with in laws at all. I dont want medication. I exercise and eat well. I have contemplated a SAD light lately.

I guess its not entirely the warm weather. I almost get the "this is it" feeling and starting new somewhere is exciting to me although its terrifying to my wife. I tried to be proactive and decided to run a marathon hoping the training would keep me focused on a new challenge, but while the training itself has been successful so far, I still have that "caged" feeling during the cold months. I do so much too, I have a wonderful wife, 2 awesome boys, great friends, I play hockey two times a week. I just always want more in life and I feel complacent.

I totally hear you. I consider myself a bit of a restless soul and it sounds like that's what you're struggling with too. Like you, I've got a great job, live near family, have a good housing situation, etc, etc. However, I've struggled with the same "so this is it" type feelings. I'm a religious person, so I always return to Christianity as the reason for doing what I'm doing (working a job I may not always like, taking care of kids even though it's a lot of work, etc) - namely, there's a higher purpose for all of it. I'm not sure if you share those beliefs, those, so how you deall with those feelings may differ. Either way, I'm sure talking it through with your wife and others around you may be helpful.

Villanelle

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2015, 10:48:52 AM »
The thing that sent up a red flag for me is your comment about thinking there is more to life.

Are you being realistic about what you will find in a new place?  Are you looking to fill a hole by making a change, when the change has nothing to do with the nature of the empty space?

Because thinking "there has to be more" seems to have little to do with "better weather". 

So I'd spend a lot of time thinking about what was really wrong/missing in my life, and what I was hoping to get out of a move, and whether that was realistic.  You don't want to be like one of those couples who has a kid because their marriage is on the rocks, when having a kid has nothing to do with making a marriage better.  It's just a temporary distraction. 

You might also have your Vitamin D levels checked.  It sounds like you are very, very against meds, but vitamin D supplements aren't what most consider meds.   

frugaldrummer

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2015, 12:05:02 PM »
SAD light, 5,000 IU'd vitamin D. 

Seems to me you'd be better off financially to stay where you are (for now) and schedule an inexpensive vacation every winter to a sunny climate.

Not that I think every one has to stay put, but it sounds like your motivation has mote to do with SAD than with anything concretely wrong with where you are.  I'd say, stay for a while, get family help with the kids, build up your equity, and focus on FIRE - then you could move anywhere you want!!!

DMoney

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2015, 12:06:38 PM »
+1 for all the comments about how amazing it is to have free childcare from Grandma.  You ALMOST can't put a price tag on that.

And maybe re-evaluate next winter.  When we had a 1-week old in the house, I think we ALL thought about running away.  It's a pretty rough time, having a newborn.

Good luck!

ADK_Junkie

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2015, 12:21:51 PM »
I'm a bit further north in Rochester.  I sometimes have the same feelings/urges to move to warmer climate, mostly for the year-round outdoor access. 

Summers and Fall are amazing here in Rochester, Spring is wetter and colder than anyone wants (just trying to get over winter).  Winter, well, it usually starts out great, but it just seems to last forever (especially when the TV ads are showing spring everywhere else) as March is more Winter than Spring here.

I'd love to move south or west (or even back to the Big City).  The problem is I have 2 young children now.  AND the grandparents live 20 minutes away, also providing some free child care.  While the free child care is nice, I think they really "value" the time spent with the grandkids.  When I start thinking that way, I wish I had FIRE now, so I could be always present with my kids' lives.  They are already growing up too fast and I don't want to miss anything.

Honestly, there is nothing wrong with dreaming and wanting to live somewhere is.  It's an easy change to make that will shake up your life (and make it more interesting).  I just know, however, that I am now stuck until the kids are out of the house.  And then, after dreaming, you need to list off the awesome things in your life (like your did above: hockey, etc)... this will pull you back to reality and make you content.

A couple of thoughts:
1) Since you are both teachers, you should travel the country in the summer (on the cheap).  I think the planning and doing will create enough excitement that you'll forget to look at the greener grass on the otherside of the fence.
2) Get outside more, get the kids "hiking" even snowshoeing in the winter.
3) Start up a side business (especially if you are feeling restless in your home).  To do this, I would make an explicit schedule, such as "brainstorming next five days" and actually sit with a pen and paper while you contemplate.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2015, 12:24:30 PM by ADK_Junkie »

health teacher

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2015, 01:16:55 PM »
Thanks everyone so far for the replies. They have been helpful.

I just need to suck it up and get through these next few months. We are going to Myrtle Beach for 3 nights in May to celebrate the big 30 and then taking a 10 night trip to Maine/Vermont/New Hampshire (states 18,19,20 in our quest for all 50) in June so I have the travel covered and the planning is definitely awesome for me because I love planning a cheap vacation, but its like I need to get away now.

Last year we had planned to head south in December, but the pregnancy squashed those plans. Don't get me wrong I am pumped to have baby #2, but I think the restriction is really weighing on me. I suppose its a consequence of the amazing joy of being a dad. I want to smack myself for even typing that the pregnancy was a restriction, but I hate that feeling. I just want to pack up the wife and 2 kids and just getaway for a few days, but we cant!

Just venting this to unbiased people helped greatly though.  I'm not going to uproot the family simply because I hate the winter. My wife is too awesome of a person to put her through that and we are in such a good spot financially. Hopefully she will accept that travelling once a month during November, December, January and February is a fair compromise.

PowerMustache

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2015, 01:31:03 PM »
I agree with those who have said your desire to move may be a symptom of some deeper dissatisfaction and that moving will not completely address that dissatisfaction. You say that just getting this out in the open to unbiased people helps greatly. That really makes sense. The feeling that your wife's pregnancy is restrictive is very legitimate, but that's also a feeling that you may not feel comfortable sharing with her or others in your support group.

In my experience it is very important not to bottle up feelings like that.  It's probably something you can work through by exploring the feeling in a safe space with a trusted friend/family member/counselor.  If you keep such feelings bottled up then it will likely just get worse. If I were you my first priority would be trusting a friend/family member with those feelings or hiring a professional to talk with if you don't feel safe enough with any in your existing support group. You are not a bad person for feeling restricted by the pregnancy. I'm sure it's an extremely common feeling even among loving, devoted, successful parents.

I'm not a medical professional so take this advise with several large grains of salt.

mm1970

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2015, 01:44:20 PM »
I think a lot of what you are feeling is the "penned in" feeling of having a new baby.  And it doesn't really get easy, until they are around 4.

I have two boys, 8 and 2.  And I kind of feel the need to "get away" and travel, but it is a complete PITA with an infant and toddler.  So, it's not happening.  But it's temporary.

I do have some sympathy for the weather thing.  I don't know where you are exactly, but I grew up in Clarion County (northeast of the 'burgh) and went to college at Carnegie Mellon.  I know for sure that my family and friends in the area tend to have larger houses than I do - because they essentially "need" a finished basement to let the kids run and make noise, or for themselves to get away to a quiet place, during the crazy winter.

My husband and I live in Coastal Southern California.  Talk about the amazing weather (70 degrees today).  So we get to go out and about, beach, parks, etc. as much as we want.

However, we have no family in town, so we don't ever get a break.  No free babysitting - hard to find babysitting at all, really.  It's pretty expensive.  It's very very difficult, and somewhat isolating, to build a young family away from family.  You can build your own little village with friends and neighbors - but that can be hard to do and it's NOT the same as actual family.  I think being close to family is priceless.  My nieces and nephews are a lot closer to my in-laws or my step-dad than my kids are, naturally.  We visit every other year.

"Is there anything more to life?"  Are you regretting parenthood?  I mean, a wife, 2 great kids, a decent house, nice stable jobs.  Where can you find excitement?  What kind of excitement?  With that lifestyle, you can afford to get excitement in vacations.  My SIL's family (she is a guidance counselor, so on the school schedule), goes to Myrtle beach every spring break.  Every few years they come out west to visit us during winter break (a really bad time, someone is ALWAYS sick).  They go on vacations to Europe and FL in the summers.  Having the very generous vacation schedule from the school system AND living in a less expensive area really gives them the ability to explore in ways that we can't.

I have so many places on my bucket list to visit in the US, but frankly the majority of my PTO goes to sick days or school holidays, or the 2 weeks we visit family every other year.

I think vacationing a couple of times over the winter would really help you.  Perhaps a week in December and some time in Feb (depending on your school schedule) would do the trick.

Every once in awhile I think about moving back east where it is cheaper.  But the weather...ugh.  And there aren't that many jobs for me in the areas where our families live.  Then again, we could probably retire now if we moved back.

Numbers Man

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2015, 02:13:57 PM »
Your tune might change once you start shopping for the cost of childcare. It's expensive. You should start vacationing to warmer places on your wish list and shoot for moving in 5-10 years when the kids are a little older. You might also find that the pensions aren't as generous in the "warm belt" versus Pennsylvania.

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2015, 07:27:27 PM »

Just venting this to unbiased people helped greatly though.  I'm not going to uproot the family simply because I hate the winter. My wife is too awesome of a person to put her through that and we are in such a good spot financially. Hopefully she will accept that travelling once a month during November, December, January and February is a fair compromise.

I think that travelling during those winter months sounds like a great idea. Perhaps one of the perks of a great family support network is that the two of you can drop off the kids for a bit and get a little beach/sun time! :)

TerriM

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2015, 08:22:42 PM »
I totally get you on the weather.  I moved from Boston to the Bay Area (one of the sunny parts--not SF), and I tell you not a day goes by that I don't get up in the morning--and even in the winter--think "I love this weather!"  Since we only get rain in the winter, and people are always worried about a drought, even a rainy day is beautiful.

I think the childcare is an issue though.  And your MIL is a significant consideration.  I'm not sure I'd move until the youngest was in school.  But since you guys are teachers, you could come back for the whole summer and see your MIL.  Could you stay with her or find a cheap summer apartment?

ydnamarie

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Re: Should I Move My Family?
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2019, 09:47:25 AM »
Hey OP,

Just wondering what you ended up deciding to do. I know this post is very old but I find myself in a similar situation (minus the children).

Thanks!