Moved For Financial Reasons? Share Your Story.

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Have you moved for financial reasons?

Where did you move to? Where did you move from? How did you decide?

Larger income? Better job for similar income? Lower housing costs? Something else?

Share your story in the comments below!

I don’t think there will be as many as the 358 replies to my six-figure salary stories request, but I’m sure reading your case studies would be very interesting.

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  1. Moved from SF Bay Area to Vancouver, WA. Had the choice to move anywhere in the country but (1) desperately wanted out of the Bay Area and (2) wanted somewhere in the NW. Chose Vancouver for the proximity to a big city (Portland) and low taxes.

    Will retire soon. 🙂

  2. Oh, forgot to add that housing was about 50% cheaper where I moved to.

  3. I lived in Portland for a while, Vancouver is a nice place to live as long as you don’t have to commute to PDX every day during regular rush hours. The traffic on I-5 can get pretty bad. Nice to have Costco, IKEA, and Target right across the river. 🙂

  4. I moved from Auckland New Zealand to the Bay Area USA. The move to the US was in part a love of the US and partly career growth/money. Despite the Bay Area being one of the most expensive places to live in the US, both in terms of housing and taxes, its lower than NZ (both housing costs relative to income and tax levels). I’ve spent a lot of time trying to work out the exact difference between the two places financially but found it too complex particularly with the tax code here. The easiest assessment has been simply comparing how much money I save per year, and the US is more than 50% higher than in NZ in real dollar terms. Lifestyle etc, for me its about the same. That said, I find the lack of community in the Bay Area disappointing compared to other places I’ve lived in the US, albeit briefly (east coast, mid west, portland). The Bay Area wasnt the first pick of places to live when I moved over permanently in 08, however the economy at the time limited my choices to here. Have tried to leave a few times but am yet to find the right combination of location/lifestyle, career and financial benefits to make the move worth while.

  5. I moved from lower to higher, back to lower then higher, cost of living that is. Specifically MS. to California, back south to Alabama then DC. In all honestly, life is valued by the holder of it. I prefer the higher locations, not because I like to burn money in trashcans, but the standard of life is simply incredible. All I had in Alabama was an older crowd who lived for watching football and eating garbage. I brainwashed myself, similar to most, into leaving Cali because of taxes, high rent/home prices, food prices, etc. And although higher, the quality of life was sooooo much better. Maybe some locations in Texas and Florida can offer the same, where the cost doesn’t hinder quality.

    I couldn’t stand it back south after enjoying what I had, so I moved yet again to DC. Higher cost, yes, but the diversity, the entertainment, the culture, the conveniences are just hard for me to let go. This is coming from a guy raised in the poorest state in the union, so that has weight in my thinking.

  6. We moved in early 2010 from the Dallas, TX area to Kansas City, MO area, but not for financial reasons. However, there were several financial factors that impacted how we moved.
    Instead of moving to an apartment, selling our house, and then moving to our new city in an apartment while looking for a house, we took the more direct route. We put our house on the market and I’d visited the area here looking for homes several times. I finally found one in the town, neighborhood, size, etc that we were looking for and bought it.
    We ended up owning both homes for about 3 months and sold the Texas house in the middle of the year. Since both were 1.5x my salary alone, we really did not have a challenge in paying our bills.
    I took a 401(k) loan since rates are like 3.25% and I couldn’t get cheaper money anywhere else. I could have taken that out of our emergency fund, but I figured I would rather have the safety net in place. Originally, I planned the 401(k) loan as the 20% down payment on the new place, which was approximately the equity in the old house. So, I was just going to pay it off when that house sold.
    Also, at the time and with my income, we qualified for the $6500 upgrade home buyer program, so a little less than the new home buyer tax credit. Again, this made it easier to buy a new home instead going through the multi-move apartment scenario it seems everyone recommends.
    Other factors: our daughter was 9 months old, we have a cat & dog, and multiple moves and disruptions and added apartment expense for our lifestyle (pets, but also I like to have our cars garaged with the frequent hailstorms in the midwest) just did not look good.
    Unfortunately, I don’t have a good end-to-end assessment of the total cost. My gut tells me about $20k because of foundation and plumbing issues we didn’t know we had in the Texas house that were fixed in order to sell it. It was a little stressful worrying about the vacant house so far away. Outside of the repairs, the numbers worked pretty much like we had calculated beforehand.
    The low impact on the family was worth it, we love the new area (we even have seasons here!!). Day to day costs are about 6% higher, (property taxes and sales taxes are about the same, but Texas didn’t have a state income tax). And we’re 3 hours from family instead of 10.
    Another huge factor is my work encourages to work from home, which I do 100%. So, I just transferred offices internally, my 14 year anniversary is in May. Their requirement is that I’m no more than 90 mins drive from a local office for required meetings mostly. Now I just wish I lived *IN* Kansas City for that 1Gbps Google fiber internet service.

  7. My husband and I moved about 4 months ago from a tiny apartment 1 block from the ocean in the Bay Area to a huge (for us) house on 20 acres in Myakka City, a tiny rural town 30 miles east of Sarasota, FL. Before I started my current job over a year ago, I negotiated for the ability to work fully remotely after committing to a year in-office. My husband’s company doesn’t care, so both of us have kept our 6 figure tech salaries in a state with a significantly lower cost of living and no state income tax.

    We picked our area because for both financial and life satisfaction reasons (which really equate to money in my book). We both were freezing in the Bay Area, and I thrive in the humid summers here. By working from home we save on commute costs. Being so close to an ocean we can swim in without a wetsuit means less desire to go on vacations. We have chickens, and are getting a dairy calf and 2 milk goats in the next couple weeks, and I’m slowly building up a garden for fruits and veggies. Working on our land is a mini vacation every day, even weeding is satisfying. We just don’t feel the need to spend money for entertainment as much. It also makes those rare nights when we drive an hour into town to go to a restaurant very satisfying.

    We got a 20 year mortgage; that plus property taxes is just about the cost of our old rent. We’re putting more toward the principal each month. I make sure that our emergency funds are high and that we can support ourselves on one salary (even at Florida wages). My parents like this area and plan on wintering here, which means I can save some travel costs when I want to see them, plus my husband’s family is in DC so flying is quicker and cheaper. And my company pays for me to come back one week per quarter so it’s free for me to visit CA friends! I also picked this area and our house with an eye to the future: I’m 32 and my husband is 46, but I’m already thinking about retirement and beyond. Being near a retirement community means access to great medical care and other age-related infrastructure. I made sure we bought a single story house with walk-in showers so we wouldn’t have to retrofit mobility aids later on.

    We know that we’re very fortunate to be in this position; we’re definitely not taking it for granted. We’ve put together a short and long term plan for giving back to our new community as well as other causes we care about as a way to pass on our good luck to others.

  8. I moved from southern Michigan to Madison, WI.

    I moved for a job – after graduating, I could find anything that was in my field (Electrical Engineering) in southern MI, but found a great job in Madison, WI.

  9. We moved from Bay Area to Sacramento simply for lower housing costs. Income was the same for me though my spouse has never found a job here. Life is still infinitely easier here – we traded a small condo in a crappy part of town for a luxury home in the best part of town – the costs are similar all around (same mortgage, same property taxes, but lower utilities since home is new and energy efficient – even if it is BIGGER!). So, we basically work half as much for twice as much (what I always say).

    When we moved I Wasn’t exactly happy about it but it didn’t take long to *not miss the Bay Area at all.* We both grew up there and it is a wonderful place to live, but it is ridiculously crowded and expensive. So after about 5 minutes I didn’t miss it any more. If I could move back, I wouldn’t. I think I enjoy feeling so central – closer to Tahoe, just as close to LA, SF is just a wee bit farther. Plus, more time to enjoy all of it anyway.

    We talked seriously about moving up north to WA a few years after this move. IT was such a positive move (so why not do it again?) and we could have sold our house for a $400k profit at that point. I am so glad we did not do so – since then both us and our parents have had health problems since. This was the *perfect* move in we still live in a great locale, still have GREAT weather, and still are VERY close to our family – kids are growing up with their cousins, etc. We spend a lot of weekend driving to and fro (1oo miles away), but sure beats a mortgage double or triple what we have now.

    One thing for others on the fence: Most our friends and family think we are crazy and constantly tell us “They live in the best place in the world.” Yes, I thought so too when I lived there. From the outside looking in, it’s hard to see what is so great about it. For one, we have more time to drive down and simply enjoy all the Bay Area has to offer on the weekend. IT’s not like we are *that far away.* Most our friends and families have giant mortgages, work like crazy, and have no time to enjoy it anyway. So I really don’t *get* it. It’s just very different to get outside of that head space and to get an entirely different perspective. I was in the same head space, for the most part, but could not imagine paying those rents or mortgages for the rest of my life – we found it depressing enough to seek out other options.

  10. I moved from Philadelphia, PA to Akron, OH for a better paying job. I nearly doubled my salary and the cost of living is much lower. On the down side, the economy is bad, so my husband has not found a job yet. We’re making less money since the move, but still saving as much money and have the same quality of life. Once he finds a job, we’ll be all set.

  11. Geographic arbitrage. My wife and I moved to the DC area right out of college for jobs. DC house prices have gone up the past 3 years while the rest of the country has gone down (and our salaries at our companies stagnated). We want to own a home but don’t want to move to WV to afford one comfortably. We’re both from the west and miss things like mountains and laid-back people, but we still want the benefits of living in a city. We are fortunate in that we can work from home so this fall we’ll be moving out west (to your old stomping grounds, Jonathan) where the price of a 2BR condo in DC will buy a house with a mountain view (though the state tax is double!).

  12. @Jonathan, lots of people think we in Vancouver drive across the river to save on the sales tax. It used to be true when we first moved up here and needed to buy a bunch of stuff for the house. But now, with most of that out of the way and with gas prices mitigating the benefits of the drive somewhat, we rarely shop there.

    I hear you about the commute and am glad I don’t have to deal with that!

  13. I moved from Olathe, KS (a suburb of Kansas City) to Mitchell, SD (a small town close to Sioux Falls) because I was fed up with the high tax rates in Kansas relative to other Midwest states. My income stayed approximately the same and my tax rates decreased as follows: 6.45% KS state income tax -> 0% SD state income tax, 8.65% sales tax (Johnson County, KS) -> 6% sales tax (Davison County, SD), ~$3000 Johnson County, KS property tax -> ~ $1200 Davison County, SD property tax. Plus, the cost of living in Mitchell is only about 80% of what it is in Olathe. All around, a great move for me.

  14. howard_roark says

    Hey John M,

    I just moved from Virginia to Florida. I lived in Alexandria worked in DC and we did enjoy it, but the house prices and traffic really put a strain on our quality of life. I now live on an island in Florida (in brevard county), have a house, a 10 min commute and get to surf evey weekend! Dont think you have to settle on NOVA because everybody says thats where the jobs are. No state income tax in FL is nice too, but be caustious of the HOI impact of living in a hurricane zone really only if you are beachside does this matter. Good luck!

  15. I have moved several times in my career, always for a (better) job. I expect it will happen again one day.

    Just starting out (1995), no work in New England, moved to Texas, had a job in two weeks. It wasn’t the greatest job though.

    A year later a place I interviewed at a year prior was looking for me. Up to Maine for work in a Big-6 accounting firm. More prestige, better work and a little more money.

    Three years later, an offer from DC nearly doubled my salary and took me out of general work and into consulting at another Big-4 firm.

    Got tired of consulting 5 or 6 years later. Took a job in industry and it restructured shortly after hiring me, moving me to MA. Paid a nice bonus to agree to move.

    Four years after that my company needed me to move again to fill a position in PA. Promotion, better career path, more money. A little cash too, but that largely offset a portion of the real estate losses incurred from the last time they moved me.

    Its been four years since we moved. The promotion has paid off completely. If my company ever gets bought out I’ll have to move again as there really aren’t comparable jobs around here.

    I have a brother who has been laid off/underemployed the last few years. No kids. It blows my mind that he hasn’t moved to DC/TX to chase opportunities.

    Moving a lot means we don’t have family nearby, which can be a bit isolating. No free babysitters in grandma/grandpa, plus we burn a lot of our vacation time going to see family to ensure our kids have a relationship with their roots.

    My wife has asked that if something happens with this job that we target a major metro area with lots of opportunities (DC/TX/NY), so that the next move could carry the kids through high school (first is in K now). Now that I type it it out, it is interesting how much I/we have moved.

  16. I’m actually considering moving to lower my cost of living and to save more money. I currently own a home in the Houston Texas area. I’m thinking of moving out of the house and renting it. AS for a place to live I’m considering an RV as it is sooo much less expensive to live in compared to a house or an apartment. Then I will use the rental income to pay off my mortgage. I figure I could have my house paid for in 3 years by adopting this strategy. The net income gain from taking on a considerably less expensive housing strategy and rental income is a net 20K a year. Rent house for 1600 a month, no longer pay lawn service, and utilities which currently cost me about $300 a month (internet, elect+gas+water+sewer). Minus RV lot rental ($233 a month includes electricity, wifi internet, water, sewer) nets me ~20K more a year in real dollars. I’m 36 and this is a ton of extra after tax money.

  17. I work in hi-tech sector in Dallas, Texas. Life is good and peaceful here ! I’m recently offered a position in Bay area, California. This position may be better for long term career advancement, but the high cost of living is a big deterrent. Still in dilemma about what to do. Some rough math indicates I need ~60% raise to maintain current lifestyle ! My employer may give 30% at most. Moreover I love Dallas. I don’t miss beaches and mountains. Securing my family’s financial future is top priority for me.

  18. I was laid off in 2008. In 2010 I finally got my first job offer after multiple interviews & applying to hundreds of jobs, so my husband and I agreed I should take the job offer. Sadly, that meant I was moving to Cleveland, OH to live with my in-laws. My husband has been looking for work up in Cleveland ever since. I commute 4.5 hours 1-way nearly every week down to my husband and my home. We’ve only been married 2.5 years– 1.5 years of our marriage has been spent doing this commuter thing…. its getting really old, but in this job market its not prudent for him to quit his job to join me in Cleveland….thats my story.

  19. Newlyfrugal says

    I moved to central Florida six years ago from Kansas. What a great decision that was! Grocery is cheaper in most areas, and we don’t pay tax on groceries. We don’t pay state income tax. I awaken to sunshine and blue skies 99% of the time. From Tampa, I can drive in almost any direction and enjoy white sand beaches for free. The only cost is gasoline and minimal meter parking.

    Life in FL is so much better than my old life in Kansas. I still visit family in Kansas and glad that I no longer put up with snow, sleet, ice, and cloudy/rainy days 95% of the year. Kansas was a good place to grow up, but not for me to live until retirement. I love FL and will retire here. I live in an area where there is no flooding and no hurricanes.

  20. Earn Save Live says

    We moved from the United States to Australia.

    We hadn’t planned to (even though my partner is Aussie), but I was offered a great job. The cost of living is higher here, but I have a higher pay, more opportunity for advancement, and a much better work-life balance.

    Honestly? I am so happy that we made the move. International moves are challenging, but I just love it here.

  21. Moved from New Hampshire to SF Bay Area for a career opportunity and better weather. Moved from Taxifornia to Northern Nevada for better quality of life (lower taxes, traffic, cost of living, proximity to outdoor activities). Did I mention lower taxes?

  22. Six years ago we moved from Austin to the East Coast. Cost of living, taxes, traffic, food, and weather are all much, much worse up here. But I took a job with infinitely better career prospects in the same field, and last year earned more than five times what I earned my last year in Texas and I haven’t exhausted my earning potential here. Ultimately proximity to family and the quality of the schools made this a good move for us as well.

  23. Fascinating how many people mention taxes as a reason for moving. It’s never crossed my mind to move from San Diego to an inland state so I could save 10-15k a year on state income taxes. Just isn’t that big of a deal compared to how much our quality of life would change. We play outside almost every weekend – most often without coats. Our commutes are under 10 minutes each direction, markets are amazing with thai, indian, vietnamese, japanese, traditional fresh veggies/fruits, school’s great, grandma is a mile away to watch the kid, in 20 years when the houses are paid off we’ll only have to pay nominal property tax on them. We look into moving and do the wistful “we could trade our 2300 sq ft house for a 5k sq ft house in Dallas or somewhere else and not have a house payment” but then we think about the weather, the lack of a zoo that’s fantastic and disneyland, hollywood up the highway, SF a quick flight for a weekend and well… damn it’s just so easy for everything. Can’t see the value on the taxes. Housing, sure. Taxes? Nah. My corporate HQ is in MN. Beautiful there. Just couldn’t see moving there for any reason short of a mid 6 figure salary.

  24. Tyrone Biggums says

    I grew up in the Boston area, and loved it there. However, I knew I didn’t want to be there long-term due to the insane housing costs. I decided to attend business school in Atlanta, knowing there was a good chance I’d stay there after graduation (which I have). I wanted the benefit of big-city living but low cost of housing. I’m very happy with my decision.

  25. I moved from the Rochester,NY area (after being in NY state for 15+ years) back home to Florida (Treasure Coast area). I make 33% more in salary…work less….fish more…and there is NO INCOME TAX.

    Of course, I am taking a hit on my house that I still own up North. I took the 2008 housing credit, and if you rent the house…the whole 7000$ is tacked onto your taxes.

    Other than that…the move a great decision.

  26. “It’s never crossed my mind to move from San Diego to an inland state so I could save 10-15k a year on state income taxes.”

    Congratulations! You must earn waayyyy too much money to say something like that. I lived in MO briefly and found the additional taxes before and after my check a real burden. I can’t believe people will say something so stupid as ‘taxes don’t matter’. I’m glad $10k plus means nothing to you.

  27. A few years ago, I moved from Astoria in Queens, NY to San Diego, CA. I got tired of the high cost of living and the cold winters back east. While the job market in San Diego isn’t too wonderful, the cost of living is much less in comparison with New York and it’s completely worth it if you can land a job. My family and I are much happier here. The weather, the neighborhoods and the slower pace has been appreciated by each of us.

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