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August 24, 2006


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I have wondered about moving to a more expensive city, temporarily, just to have the extra money, and then moving back to a less expensive city. I currently live in the Indianapolis Metro Area, and it is VERY affordable. I do quite well, being a fairly young guy. I am at the age where a typical person would have about three or four years of experience under their belt after going to college, but I have nearly eight years and am just finishing college. My pay is inline with someone of my experience level with college, for the area. But, I looked at a couple of jobs in New York City last night (it was the first time I ever looked at jobs outside my metro area, for some reason), and the salary for a job similar to mine paid more than twice as much.

I know that it would certainly cost more to live there, but what if it were just for a short stent, maybe two years. I could see about building up a some money, keep my current home and rent it out, and then move back in a couple of years. However, while I think NYC might be exciting, I would probably stick with Chicago, as it is only two and a half hours away... I could possibly even stay where I am and just rent a small place up near Chicago and come home on the weekends.

The thing I don't like about this advice is it ignores individual situations. Take me, for example. I make a high salary in an obscure, highly technical, field which does not exist outside of Silicon Valley. Telecommuting isn't an option - my startup may fail and if it does, it would be tough to find work if I'm not local.

Maybe if I had a more "generic" career, it would make sense to move somewhere cheap, but I'm not interested in the vast financial hit a career change would impose at this time. Also, I like hiking in our nearby mountains, not having to deal with overly hot and humid summers, and being able to go to the beach in January...

One other point: despite the claims of those articles, when I price out our "consumption basket" in cheaper areas, the savings isn't that much - at best about 20-25% - compared with the enormous cost in terms of career in leaving the area.

You _can_ get rich in an expensive area, if you are able to take advantage of the things that made it expensive in the first place...

We moved from San Francisco (the city, not a suburb) to Beaverton, Oregon. I took a hit on my salary of 40%, actual cost of living only decreased by about 30%. I realized, by moving to a smaller, less expensive city I have lossed out on a few intangibles. I am white and my wife is Mexican. We have experienced much more racism in Beaverton compared to virtually none in San Francisco. Keep in mind that when you move to a less expensive city (I hate to generalize but I will here based on my experience, which is limited to these two cities) people are generally less educated and generally more ignorant...not to say there is a connection between the two. To clarify, I grew up in the Beaverton area and moved to San Francisco in 1995. I just moved back. We do own our own home now and will probably do better financially in the long run. However, if you are moving only to do better financially you may want to do a deeper cost/benefit analysis. By the way, my wife loves Beaverton and doesn’t miss SF at all.

Having been stationed 4 different places in my military career, I have noticed a significant impact from cost of living differences. My salary and my wife's salary (she's a teacher) is the same but gives us a much more comfortable, affordable lifestyle in Kansas than it did in the Seattle-Tacoma area. No, it's not as scenic, but we found a very nice starter house for $100,000. Our leisure activities are the same as they have been every place we've lived (camping at state parks, traveling to visit family, running local 5k/10k races).... I think the point of the original post here has been lost... there can be major trade-offs based on where you live, and people have to choose whether the sunny-coastal-major-city lifestyle is worth the premium that you may be paying for it. If it is, great. But maybe a more affordable, medium-large city has 90% of what you want at half the cost of living.

I live in NJ and am considering moving out of state next year. I starting thinking about moving after I read a book on this topic called 'Life 2.0'. There are lots of factors in making a move, so I'm taking my time researching it.

Is there a website that can put you in contact with people who are planning to move from LA to Ohio? I would like to share moving expenses. Thanks!

i just took a job outside of the big city. i started part time while i took my time looking up potential housing in the new area. the reduced housing expenses, including even lesser cost for daily meals (since I'm not really a good cook) is having a big impact on my wallet. and the place is healthier, too, so likely less stress and less medical expenses. of course i took a 35% cut from my old salary rate (it was part time after all), but i find I'm actually saving more now that the expenses are less.

what really does get me is the housing. my rent for an apartment in the big city can now afford me a monthly down for a rent-to-own townhouse. it's also a good thing since the new location is just an hour away from the city itself.

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