In the present-day economy, there are clearly some areas of the country that are doing much better than others. Some places have economies that are strong; in others, things are quite bleak. For some of these places, these trends have been in place for a while – long before the recession.
Clearly, job and career prospects are brighter in some geographic areas vs. others.
In terms of quality of life – as measured by attributes such as cost of living, short commutes, mild weather, cultural and entertainment options – there are clearly some areas of the country that offer more than others. For many, living in a cold, gray, decaying city is not as attractive as living in a place with warm weather, scenic landscapes, and fun outdoor activities.
Obviously, while subjective, it’s safe to say that there are some places that are generally more appealing than others.
So, given these two variables – economy and quality of life – wouldn’t it make sense for each of us to try to move to a place that would seem to have more to offer than where we are currently living?
Logically – looking at it that way – yes. Why live someplace with less to offer.
Practically, however, it doesn’t quite work that way.
Here are four major reasons why people don’t relocate so readily:
1) Selling a Home. Homes aren’t quite as liquid in many places here right now – at least not at a price many people might want to accept. Depending where one lives, a home could be rented out. Of course, there still might be rental income tax to attend to in that case.
2) Finding a new job. It might take some time in this economy to find a new job in a new city, much less the one you might be in right now.
3) Family considerations. For many people, there are family ties that make it emotionally difficult to move. There could be relatives close by, or kids who are established in their schools. Perhaps some family members need care. Whatever the reason, the people factor makes it tough to pick up and move anywhere.
4) Resistance to change. Sometimes people just don’t want to change. People get comfortable in their surroundings and daily interactions. Even though something might seem to be exciting, fun, and profitable, it can be scary for people who don’t want their regular routines and comfort zones to change.
There are likely many additional reasons why people don’t want to move. Perhaps you are thinking of one related to yourself.
Having said all of this, I propose that you consider this hypothetical situation:
A company or organization within your profession or line of work approaches you with a job offer. They tell you that the job will be in a city over 1,000 miles away. The job will be a comparable position as your current role, in an organization with comparable prospects and reputation. Additionally, the company will insure that your working spouse, if you have one, will receive a position in that same new community that is comparable to his or her old job. One other factor: the company will provide relocation expenses.
Taking this into consideration, here is the question:
How much would your compensation have to increase, on a percentage basis, for you to accept the new position?
My hypothesis is that as one gets older, this percentage gets higher. In fact, I am guessing that it gets disproportionately higher as one gets older.
I have a friend who once told me that he wouldn’t move from his home in Wisconsin unless he was offered a salary increase which was not in any way unrealistic. I asked him if he would move if his pay was doubled, and wasn’t even sure then! He would have moved at a much younger age, he said, but now his kids were established in school, his family lived in the area, and he was comfortable.
At the time, I thought that might have been a bit narrow-focused. Now, older and with a family, I understand. Frankly, I don’t plan to move. Now, as much as truly enjoy the Chicago area, I wouldn’t mind living on the West Coast. It would be great to have a second home, though the economics behind that are completely laughable right now – and for the foreseeable future.
The bottom line: I’m not considering moving out of the area until my kids are out of school. I now see how my friend wouldn’t want to move across the country even if his salary was doubled. Sure, it would be a good financial opportunity. But there’s more to life and happiness than money alone. For me, relationships and health play a big role in decisions I make as well.
What about you? What percentage increase in income would it take for you to relocate to a community over 1,000 miles away?