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Should I relocate for more money or stay and pay off my house?
Old 10-21-2016, 02:25 PM   #1
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Should I relocate for more money or stay and pay off my house?

I am at a crossroads.

I'm well into my 30s and work in the IT/software field I make a decent salary in the low cost of living area I'm in (mid to upper 50s) although that is considered low for a software developer.

I have been at my current job for 11 years. Due to being underpaid and my skillset being somewhat underutilized, I thought that I would look at other opportunities. There are very few jobs in my field within a 50 mile radius and the skills they are looking for don't match my qualifications so I thought I would expand my search to nearby cities.

I have an opportunity to relocate three hours away to a small town just outside of a large city. Everything seems good for the most part (pay, benefits, type of work, management seems friendly, etc). The pay is significantly higher (40%). The cost of living in this town is reasonable. The one major issue is that I would have to relocate.

I own a small house that I like in an area that I like. The mortgage is low and very affordable. In fact, I could pay off the house now.

Jumping ship would mean moving to an apartment where the rent would cost several hundred dollars over my current mortgage.

If I moved, I would be three hours away from family/friends but closer to job opportunities. The nearest big city from this town would be 30 minutes. I am currently 90+ minutes from the nearest big city to my house.

Here's what I'm pondering:

1) Stay put at the current job (which has been stable so far but who knows about the future), pay off the house, and work on side projects (which is my long term goal - to be self employed). It's relatively low stress but there is on call which is rare but can be an annoyance. I have a commute of 45-50 min each way which can also be an annoyance. Hopefully the job lasts long enough to where I can transition into being self employed full time.

2) Take a chance on this job offer and relocate. Then make a decision whether to keep house (and commute every weekend), rent it, or sell it (which I would hate to do).

3) Stay at current job and start looking in the nearest big city (90 min away). Once I find something, either move closer to that city or to the city itself. I really don't think I can spend 3+ hours a day commuting over the long haul.

If I go with #2, what should I do with my house? A family member already said he wants to buy or rent it out if I were to ever move. Not sure if it is a good idea to rent it to family though. Another option would be to keep it and go home most weekends if I can find a low cost apartment near the job. I would actually not be doing any more driving than I do now (with the current commute) if I were to go this route...most of my driving would be 2 days rather than 5.

Any suggestions or insight would be appreciated, thanks!
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Old 10-21-2016, 02:35 PM   #2
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I think you have laid out the options well, along with considerations on both sides. It seems that you would not want to rent out your current house, so that answers one question if you relocate. The choice seems to be between a quick, significant boost to your income, or the more intangible benefits of staying where you are in a house that you like. It comes down to what is more important to you, which someone else cannot decide for you.
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Old 10-21-2016, 02:38 PM   #3
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Sounds like you have some good options.

To me it seems like if you would enjoy a change of location, the job opportunity might be a nice change. A change of scenery can be fun and invigorating.

On the other hand, if you like your current situation and location, there's nothing wrong with staying put. Roots can be nice too.
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Old 10-21-2016, 02:44 PM   #4
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At your age, you have plenty of time to relocate and make the better money, then move back at some later time. Given you have interest in your current house, that seems to make the sale easier and potentially better money in your pocket if you can avoid realtor commission.

The social aspects are really where you seem to be struggling. Only you can answer that question. Leave family and friends for the new job, or stay at current and hope it lasts until you can develop the self-employment.

What says you can't sell your current house and then buy another at the new job location? You mention renting an apartment, but if a similar low cost of living as current it seems you could take the money from your current house and roll that into a new house and be approx equal payments?
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Old 10-21-2016, 02:46 PM   #5
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In software land you usually have to job hop if you want your salary to keep pace with your experience. That's just the way of it. I would guess if you are three hours away you will likely end up not wanting to make that three hour trek each weekend back to your current place but only u can know how realistic that plan is. Your field ( which was mine before I retired ) is very much a "make hay while the sun shines" so I would be inclined to do it. My attitude was always make / save as much as I could before I was fifty because by then you will be at the top of the layoff list when someone decides to trim the workforce or offshore things.
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Old 10-21-2016, 02:47 PM   #6
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does the new job have better retirement benefits?
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Old 10-21-2016, 03:42 PM   #7
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The social aspects are really where you seem to be struggling. Only you can answer that question. Leave family and friends for the new job, or stay at current and hope it lasts until you can develop the self-employment.

What says you can't sell your current house and then buy another at the new job location? You mention renting an apartment, but if a similar low cost of living as current it seems you could take the money from your current house and roll that into a new house and be approx equal payments?
Another spin on the social aspects: most of my friends have moved out of the area or we have drifted apart so it's mostly family. Not too many opportunities to meet other single professionals my age but the new place can be better in regards to that since it is closer to a big city.

It might sound strange but I am somewhat emotionally attached to the house. With that being said, house prices do seem very reasonable in the new area. I would probably rent at first if I go just in case it does not work out.
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Old 10-21-2016, 03:43 PM   #8
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Most definitely you should do it because you went looking for it in the first place. Why not? It will be a growth experience in many ways, and you are still young, so enjoy the adventure out of your comfort zone. Plus you went looking for it, to repeat
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Old 10-21-2016, 03:50 PM   #9
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In software land you usually have to job hop if you want your salary to keep pace with your experience. That's just the way of it. I would guess if you are three hours away you will likely end up not wanting to make that three hour trek each weekend back to your current place but only u can know how realistic that plan is. Your field ( which was mine before I retired ) is very much a "make hay while the sun shines" so I would be inclined to do it.
Yes that is definitely the case. My concern is I overstay my welcome at the present job where I am underpaid, get laid off or managed out, and then have a difficult time finding a job due to ageism.

The three hour trek might get old but having a much shorter commute could make that easier. I guess I would not know unless I tried it for awhile. I could turn down this offer and look for a job in the city near there (which would be 2 1/2 hours away) or the nearest big city (90 min away) but that city has a higher cost of living (another 500-600 for an equiv apartment and probably not a much higher salary than what this place is offering.
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Old 10-21-2016, 03:59 PM   #10
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does the new job have better retirement benefits?

Yes 3% match instead of 1% match
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Old 10-21-2016, 04:03 PM   #11
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Most definitely you should do it because you went looking for it in the first place. Why not? It will be a growth experience in many ways, and you are still young, so enjoy the adventure out of your comfort zone. Plus you went looking for it, to repeat

I guess my concern is rocking the boat. The current situation is not bad....could be better but could be worse. If I make the move and it doesn't work out, it would be difficult finding another equivalent job in the area.
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Old 10-21-2016, 04:16 PM   #12
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It sounds like you like your house and your job and your location.

So, you are considering leaving all that you like for a new job which you don't know if you will like or not and a new location (same unknowns) for more dough?

I can tell you that I have never left a job I liked. I have left some that I didn't like and for less dough.

Think hard on this one.
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Old 10-21-2016, 04:33 PM   #13
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It sounds like you like your house and your job and your location.

So, you are considering leaving all that you like for a new job which you don't know if you will like or not and a new location (same unknowns) for more dough?
That is correct although I would say the current job has its pros and cons.

Pros: not micromanaged, able to work independently most of the tine, good amount of vacation time (I would have a week less at the other place), minimal politics, not very stressful (most of the time), treated respectfully by management

Cons: below market pay, retirement plan, increased emphasis on IT support over development (I prefer development), on call duties 1/4 of the time (a 3am call is rare but does happen)
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Old 10-21-2016, 04:33 PM   #14
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Do it. Don't get complacent with things, or worse yet, live in fear of the unknown. Many of us here have moved every 2 or 3 years like I have. Keeps life interesting, for sure. Sounds like you will be close enough to visit family as much as you want anyways.
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Old 10-21-2016, 05:26 PM   #15
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I guess my concern is rocking the boat. The current situation is not bad....could be better but could be worse. If I make the move and it doesn't work out, it would be difficult finding another equivalent job in the area.
You didn't have a recruiter pursuing you: Something about your current situation prompted you to send out feelers and apply for something different in a different place, and if those prompts have not materially changed (which I imagine they have not) then you really owe it to yourself to act on whatever made you look outside the status quo and just see what you can do. Do what you like but you did ask, and imo you have momentum now going to make a change and you might regret later not pursuing what you decided to look for. No one here knows you or has a personal interest in your decision so do what you think is best--I just think you decided to start steering your life in a different direction for a reason and you might owe it to yourself to follow up on that.

DS started the process to go to grad school in a different state after working for a few years in a good enough job and almost decided to stay put--he went and is so glad he did on many levels. Others have stories with less happy outcomes of course--only you know what is best for you. Rocking the boat isn't necessarily a bad thing.
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Old 10-21-2016, 05:31 PM   #16
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I faced the same decision, also in IT, I loved my house, it was ideal.

I took the job in the other city which was very far away, and came back about every second weekend to the house I loved.
Once I knew the new job was good, I rented out the house I loved, so that I could return to it later.
I made friends in the new place, dated, got married, still rented out the house I loved.
After 12 years of one or two visits per year to the house I loved to check on tenants, I realized I'd never live there again, as I had changed.
I'm still renting it out, but will sell it soon.

Renting out the house I loved while away, meant it cost nothing or made $$$ , which made the new place cheap to live.
By the way the salary increase I got was easily banked and 12 years of that increase ended up being a big pile of $$$$.

I vote go for the new job, meet new people, since you don't mention dating, I'm guessing the change would be good for you.
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Old 10-21-2016, 05:41 PM   #17
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Actual salary and housing dollar amounts would make it easier to provide an answer with some meat to it.

Without that, I'd say if you're willing to move, you should cast your net farther and engage some recruiters to see what kind of salary is possible. I wouldn't limit yourself to something so close as long as you're willing to relocate.

Over a career span of 22 years I went from $11/hr to $160k/yr. The largest pay raises were always due to changing companies.
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Old 10-21-2016, 05:54 PM   #18
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I came from a community where everyone was very comfortable. Many of my friends lived down the street from their grandparents. No one chased the corporate rat race. And most never worked up to their potential.

You have the chance to grow in your profession and make substantially more money. You're going to be in a small town that's close to a big city--perfect.

Go for the new job. But keep the house for a while until your life style works out. You'll know when it's time to rent it--or sell it--or keep it.
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Old 10-22-2016, 09:54 AM   #19
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Do it. Don't get complacent with things, or worse yet, live in fear of the unknown.
I am guilty of that. That is why I have been in the current position for so long. They say that in the tech field that one needs to jump ship in order to get a decent raise and there is truth in that. The last couple raises were 2% and dome years there have been no raises at all.
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Old 10-22-2016, 10:02 AM   #20
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You didn't have a recruiter pursuing you: Something about your current situation prompted you to send out feelers and apply for something different in a different place, and if those prompts have not materially changed (which I imagine they have not) then you really owe it to yourself to act on whatever made you look outside the status quo and just see what you can do. Do what you like but you did ask, and imo you have momentum now going to make a change and you might regret later not pursuing what you decided to look for. No one here knows you or has a personal interest in your decision so do what you think is best--I just think you decided to start steering your life in a different direction for a reason and you might owe it to yourself to follow up on that.
.
I have had these thoughts for quite some time but kept putting it off and putting it off. Finally realized that the company I am working for is taking advantage of me and thought I would start looking. Due to the lack of opportunity in the area that I am in, I will likely have to move in order to get my career back on track even if I were not to accept this offer. If I ever make a move, it would have to be now or very soon.
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