How to accept living here long-term


#1

My husband and I have been planning for several years to escape our expensive East Coast metro area for the Midwest so that we would be able to buy a house with some land, maybe have chickens, etc. But he got offered (tentatively; there’s some bureaucracy to deal with) a really prestigious job. I can’t go into details, but it’s an exciting enough position for us to stay here, but since it’s a government job, it still won’t pay enough for us to buy anything other than a small condo in our current county. So to afford a townhouse or SFH without a two hour transit commute, we’d have to move to the suburbs on the other side of the city, to a much less orthodox diocese, and 40+ minutes from almost everyone we know.

I knew this was a possibility and I’m aware of the good things about this area (health care, museums, parks, etc), but I find the rat race culture here so insufferable and draining and I’m tired of constantly feeling poor compared to all the people who somehow manage to afford $800k+ homes. I was really looking forward to having a big yard for my daughter and any future children, like I had growing up, and enjoying a more laid back, slower lifestyle. How can I make the best of this?


#2

You did say the offer was tentative, so first of all pray to God that His will may be done and you may accept it regardless of what the outcome is. It isn’t always easy but I think that is what He wants of us, to let go of our worries and leave things in His hands. And whatever the result is, thank Him for it, and thank Him for any opportunities it gives you to grow in virtue and become closer to Him. God has many hidden blessings and surprises in store for us.


#3

I would say to thank God that you can afford a condo, etc. It’s sad when poor is equated to anything less than an $800k+ home. I’m not trivializing your feelings, I can understand the dream of a house in the country with animals and wanting that for your family. Keep your focus on how you have been blessed. Things can change, maybe your dream is down the road, just not now.


#4

While you don’t say where on the east coast you are living, you might check out the suburbs. Some of them are affordable, the commute might not be ideal. But some sacrifices are worth it. Mean while your children growing up in a big city will be afforded many opportunities that others only dream about. They have the Museums, Galleries, classes, etc. and Parks are the best backyards (you do not have to care for them). As long as your all together that is the most important part. Just trust in God, and the path will become clear.


#5

We’re already in the suburbs, since we can’t afford anything in the city itself, but will have to move to a much less desirable suburb. There’s only one county that’s affordable without an awful commute and…there are reasons it’s affordable.


#6

I see several options other than the ones you’ve listed.

First, you can continue living where you already live. You don’t have to buy anything.

Second, he’s been offered a new position, that doesn’t mean he needs to take it. You could execute your plan to move to the Midwest.


#7

Another option is he accepts the position, you guys decide on a 3 or 5 or 10 year plan where he will work this job, you live frugally and sock away $$$. At the end of that time he has built his resume and his contacts and can seek a job in the area where you want to live.


#8

We are already living as frugally as we can while still maintaining a healthy diet. There’s no way for us to save enough money in ten years to have a 20% down payment on a $650k townhouse or a $800k SFH while paying almost $2k in rent+utilities. Especially if we are blessed with more children, and if we have two more, our landlord will kick us out because it’s two to a bedroom.


#9

I really can’t keep living in apartments/condos for the rest of my life. I hate it. Plus, we want to have at least three children and the occupancy limits around here are two to a bedroom. There aren’t any apartment buildings around here I know of with 3 bedrooms, so at some point buying would be necessary.

The second option is worth considering, and my husband is open to continuing to apply to the private sector, but he’s had no luck with that so far and I’d feel bad asking him to give up this cool job for something that would basically be just to pay the bills so we can move somewhere I’d prefer. He doesn’t like the area that much, either, but he’s a city boy and doesn’t care as much about having a yard and all that.


#10

There ARE cities away from the coasts that have much lower cost of living, while still offering a lot of the benefits of city life. Commutes also tend to be shorter even if you live in the outer ring suburbs or even rural.

I’ve lived in the mid-Atlantic region for almost fifteen years now and I truly think I have the best of both worlds.


#11

What is the reason it is affordable and yet undesirable?

In my view, owning is always preferable to renting. Perhaps you can move somewhere with a bit of a commute for X number of years, and then buy a different place, or move to the Midwest. I don’t know how old you are, but small steps will move you toward where you want to be, but there will need to be some compromise and patience. :slightly_smiling_face:


#12

You still seem to be viewing this as all or nothing.

No one is asking you to live in a condo “the rest of your life”. If hubby takes this job, determine your timeframe for it to be a resume booster and bridge to wherever you want to move.

You say you had a plan, what was it? Move now? Within 3 years? 5 years? Unless it was “move now” I don’t see why your plan needs to change. If this new job comes with higher pay, sock it away as you work on your plan.

But you don’t have them now. Again, it isn’t all or nothing, and you don’t have to worry about kids you don’t have yet not fitting in the living arrangements you have right now.

If he’s serious he should target one company or one area, he should look at a recruiter too.

Again, not all or nothing. He can take the promotion AND keep looking for what you both want.


#13

You haven’t really mentioned how your husband feels about it- does he want to take the job, despite the limitations on your living situation?

We live in a very expensive area of the Northeast. We have not been able to find an affordable home, so continue to rent. I don’t like it, and I wish we had a yard. Any decent home around here now costs at least $350,000, though, so that’s how it is.

Our options are to continue renting, or move further away from his job and family. Those are your options too, it seems- you and your husband will have to decide what is more important to you. Space and a yard, or less than ideal location. Many people have to make this choice- that’s how it often works if you’re not wealthy.

Do you work as well? Is there any way you could increase your income, to afford something you want?


#14

There is much higher crime, terrible schools, fewer amenities, etc. There’s one nice town that seems to be the exception and would be “only” an hour’s commute to his job. We are 28 and 30. I agree that owning is generally better, but my husband is not willing to commute more than an hour by public transit, which limits us to within the range of the metro.


#15

The plan was to move this winter after he finishes the final course in his grad degree.

This post was very helpful, thank you. I do tend to freak out and see things as all or nothing. He’s never worked in the private sector (military vet), so I’ll pass along the advice about his job search. He is very willing to take the promotion and still keep looking.


#16

He may have much better reception to his job search after he’s finished his graduate degree.

If he gets the job, I suggest he take it and remain in it for one year at minimum, which really isn’t that big a stretch. It was aleady going to be 6 months until he finishes school. Let those two things happen. Then he can lean on the veteran recruiting network, look at veteran owned businesses, look at state, federal and private sector jobs in other cities.

I think you are looking too myopically and being a little too all or nothing in your thinking.

Good luck!


#17

He is willing to keep looking for other jobs, but I get the sense that this is a job that would motivate him to stay. He’s reluctant to talk about it until he gets a firm offer, since he’s been promised things before that didn’t work out, so once that happens, we will have a more detailed discussion about it.

I’m a SAHM both out of preference and because decent childcare here is prohibitively expensive ($20k+ a year). Since we rent, I am prohibited by the lease from running a business or anything out of the apartment, which limits my options. I’ve been working on a manuscript, but it’s tough when I get almost no breaks during the day and share the laptop with my husband, who is working on his own things.


#18

I think that’s the plan if he does get the job. Stay for a year to see how he likes it and then decide where to go from there.

Thank you!


#19

I ran into the same problem with the cost of childcare. So, I found a part time job from home and stay at home with my son full time. You don’t need to run a business or anything, but there are still options. It’s hard, but we make it work. It gives us a bit of extra money so that we don’t have to live in a community with bad schools. Maybe something like that, even just a few extra hundred a month, could allow you to at least rent a bigger space or purchase something a bit closer to the area you prefer.


#20

Another option could be to provide childcare. I did that for several years and was able to make quite a bit while still being much less expensive for the families I worked for.


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