Does It Make Financial Sense to Consider Moving?

My recent career change means that I now have the freedom to write from wherever I happen to be. Similarly, my wife can pretty easily find work in any sufficiently-sized town – her skill set and resume would make her an attractive candidate pretty much anywhere.

Given that we currently live in one of the most expensive parts of the state of Iowa, does it make sense for us to consider moving in the future? Here are the reasons we’ve come up with for moving in the near future, moving later on down the line, and never moving at all.

Reasons for Moving Soon

Children

Right now, both of our children are young enough that a move to a different area wouldn’t be highly traumatic for them. When we moved into our current home, it took about two weeks for my son (who was about one and a half years old) to adjust to the new house, and now he doesn’t even remember our old apartment. There are very few social ties for them as well.

Family

Our move would be designed to take us closer to our parents, who are getting older. They also live quite far from their grandchildren and there’s not nearly the interaction there that any of us would like. Moving closer allows a lot of deeper bonds to grow.

We’re not entrenched, either

Although we’ve lived in this school district for several years, we’re far from entrenched in the neighborhood on our street. We’ve become somewhat friendly with two of the families living near us, but we’ve not yet reached the point where we feel that we are a deep part of a community yet. More on that in a bit.

Reduced house payments

We could buy an equivalent house to the one we’re living in pretty much anywhere else in the state of Iowa for about 40% less than what we paid for this one. Assuming we could re-sell this house for the price we paid for it (which is reasonable – the housing market is solid here), we could easily take that cash, pay off the full mortgage, and have enough left over for a very large down payment on the next house.

Reasons for Moving Eventually

Time to find the exact place we want

We’d like to move closer to our extended families, likely somewhere on the eastern side of Iowa. If we took our time, we could carefully investigate the whole region of the state and find the right place for us to move.

The opportunity to have the home we’ve always wanted

What we want isn’t extravagant – it’s basically our current house, except on two floors and with slightly larger bedrooms and a slightly larger master bath, in the country. We can likely build that for less than $200,000, and in several years, we’ll have the resources to make it so.

Increased financial resources

Waiting for a few years means we’ll have more financial resources with which to buy or build exactly what we want.

Our current home is in an obvious growth area

Holding onto it for the next several years will see a price increase. We live in an area where the population growth is tremendous – it’s the only “hot” area in the entire state and there’s little startup companies and all sorts of things going on. If we sit and wait, our home will do nothing but increase in value.

Reasons for Never Moving

We’re entrenched in the community

While we may not have settled on our current block yet, we are entrenched in our local community. I serve on one important civic council and have been strongly encouraged to run for another council position. I know literally hundreds of people in this area – some of them quite well. I have a burgeoning professional relationship with at least a few people.

We like the area and resources

The area we currently live in gives us pretty quick access to the greater Des Moines area for cultural events and at least seven grocery stores within fifteen minutes of driving. If we move to the area we’re thinking about, we’d be largely far away from such assets.

Our Conclusion

Taking into account all of these factors and how they overlap, we’ve decided to not move in the short term. Not only would moving right now be a very questionable financial decision, we don’t have a strong plan in place for where we would move and how we would transition my wife’s employment (luckily, being a “transient worker,” I can move much easier).

The one regret we have in this decision is family. All of us – my wife, my two children, and myself – would benefit from being closer to our extended families, both in terms of increased familial bonds, but also in terms of having some additional support for parenting. My mother is so anxious to build bonds with her grandchildren and also to babysit them that she’s traveling up here for a weekend in May and basically ordering us out of the house to spend a weekend together while she watches the children. That says something significant about the family bond.

Tentatively, we’re looking at moving in seven to twelve years, depending on our financial state. If things go very well with my writing, we could move earlier than that. The later we move, though, the less likely we will be to move because of the social changes that would be foisted on our children – I have no real desire to yank a twelve year old and a ten year old away from their friends for reasons that aren’t truly pressing.

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  1. Lauren says:

    For what it’s worth, I think that moving can be a *good* thing for older children. My family moved 3 times as I was growing up, and I think I’m a better person for it. It let me experience “change” and forced me to adapt to a new setting, plus exposed me to different cultures (I only moved around the NE part of the states, but the areas were still quite different from each other).

    At the school I’m working at now (small town outside of Pittsburgh), many of my students have grown up in the same house all of their lives, will go to the local college with the friends they’ve had their whole lives, and likely not move too far when their done. Probably a gross overgeneralization, I know, but I think it’s important for people to know that there’s a whole world outside of Small Town X.

  2. Rebecca says:

    I don’t often comment, Trent, but I felt I had to here. If you think you want to move, do it now rather than later. 7-12 years is the absolute worst time to move kids, and you all will be deeply entrenched in the community by then. You will make friends for life with the people your kids start kindergarten with, the guys you coach soccer with, and the people on your street whose kids all get together for tag and duck duck goose, later man hunt and street hockey. Not to mention your kids’ friendships, but sometimes grown up friends are harder to come by! And as for moving close to family, no one was more surprised than I was when I moved back to my hometown after I got married and bought a house a five minute walk from my parents. It has been such a blessing and my father is one of my son’s best friends. I truly believe it was the best gift I could have given either my children or my parents. My husband’s family is close, as well, and there are always cousins over, or big cousins to see in school plays and teach you to ride a skateboard and all that. My husband’s father is very ill now, and not up for long visits, so it is great that we can pop in for 15 minutes once a week without any hardship.
    I guess I’m opinionated on this! Even if you take your time looking for your dream house in that area, you could still do all the research and move in the next two years. On the other hand, you aren’t in your dream house now, so you could live in a less than dream house in a dream location. (And no, I don’t know your mom, so she didn’t pay me to write this)

  3. WG3 says:

    Your blog has officially jumped the shark.

  4. Trent,
    This is interesting as I have covered the financial side of this question just recently on my site.
    I too and in an obvious growth area, but moving closer to my family would mean gettign the equivalent house for FREE. Yes, it is tempting as the equity in my current home would cover the entire cost of a similar house nearer my family.
    Interesting to think about these options…isn’t it?

  5. Wes says:

    I have to agree with Lauren. I didn’t move at all growing up, but looking back on it, I wish my parents had.

    Now that I can understand what my parents were going through, I found out that my Dad turned down a higher paying position so that I wouldn’t have to move away from my school (and friends). That’s admirable, but when he asked my opinion (I was around 12 or 13), I voted to move…I didn’t have THAT many close friends…and besides, I could keep up with them if I wanted to once I got a few years older and could drive.

    He still chose to stay. Nothing turned out for the worse by any means, but I think a move would have been a better long-term choice for my parents (financially), which would have benefitted all of us. I think Lauren’s right…kids adapt, do what’s best for you and your wife.

  6. Michael says:

    Lauren, people should also know that there is a whole world inside Small Town X.

  7. !wanda says:

    @Michael: Yes, but which of those is bigger?

  8. Michael says:

    !wanda, it depends on whether you measure in square miles or birthday parties.

  9. James says:

    Similarly, my wife can pretty easily find work in any sufficiently-sized town – her skill set and resume would make her an attractive candidate pretty much anywhere.

    I seem to remember that you’ve mentioned in the past that your wife majored in Chemistry. If you don’t mind me asking, what does she do? I think you may have written about that at some point as well, but I can’t seem to find it or remember.

    As a soon-to-be-Junior-year Chemistry major myself, I’m interested in what others are doing with their degrees. (And, of course, who wouldn’t be interested by your statement that she would be a good candidate almost anywhere.)

  10. Trent Trent says:

    WG3: Good to know. I was worried about whether I had jumped the shark yet or not. Now that I have, the pressure is off.

    James: Teach.

  11. David says:

    The most expensive part of Iowa. :-)

    Living on the west coast, I’d be happy with those prices. If you’re feeling down about your mortgage, lookup some houses in Seattle sometime and you’ll feel a lot better!

  12. Sharon says:

    James and Trent,
    Science and math teachers are loved and beloved, wooed and bribed almost anywhere. I think it is in NY that you can have your all of your student loans paid and your Masters…if you teach. I heard a little bit about the need for English teachers when I was in school, but the really desperate situation now is math and science.

  13. Faculties says:

    I agree with Rebecca at comment 2. My son is 6, and he would be absolutely devastated if we moved him away from his friends. At long last we’ve got a support network of other parents set up — it took years. You’ll see how valuable those connections are as the years go on. I predict that if you don’t move in the next year or two, you won’t move. If you’re okay with that, then that’s fine.

  14. Emily says:

    What does “jumped the shark” mean?

    As a 45 yo who grew up on what is soon to be a century farm in a small, close knit rural community, and who subsequently moved off to the big city to get a college degree, live the city life (in several different cities) and work in the corporate world, and is now raising my child a long way from my roots which increasingly call to my heart, I say high tail it back to your family as fast as your little feet can carry you, build and cherish those family ties and that precious time together that can never be regained or recreated, thereby giving yourself and your children a true and meaningful gift (of family) in life that can be replaced by nothing else. Going back can become more and more difficult as a family grows, evolves and becomes more established by the inertia of life itself. You will find substitutes and tradeoffs for the grocery stores, culture, conveniences, etc. that your current life/locale affords. Ultimately, tomorrow is promised to no one and you don’t want to have regrets down the road.

  15. Lisa says:

    I moved twice as a child. Once at 7 and once at 15. Though I did fine in the long run, I don’t recommend it. I’d move now, or let the kids grow up in one place.

    Just my opinion!
    Lisa

  16. Diane says:

    Moving during the school years is pure misery for sensitive children.

  17. Erin says:

    This is an issue my husband and I are facing now, as he is posed to complete his PhD within the year and we have started looking at places to settle down. Trent, based on the emphasis you put on family, I would strongly, strongly consider moving now despite the fact that it might not be financially ideal.

    If were a matter of waiting a year or two – okay. But seven to twelve YEARS is an huge percentage of the bonding time available to a child and grandparent; twelve years is not only the difference between a toddler and a teen, in many cases it may be difference between having an active, healthy grandparent to know and love, or not. I am speaking as someone who lived my entire childhood at a distance from my extended family, and I can tell you that moving back to our hometown when I was 14 did absolutely nothing to make up for those lost years. Having the “perfect” house doesn’t mean much unless you have the memories to fill it.

  18. Ryan says:

    Emily, “jumping the shark” refers to a television show or other piece of media reaching it’s peak of quality and value. After the jump has happened, quality usually goes down. I’m a bit confused as to why that comment was made actually.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumping_the_shark

  19. Robert says:

    I’ve got to agree with the people recommending to get it over with if you plan to do it at all. You can afford to take a bit of time (a few months to a year or so), but once the kids get into school and really start to build relationships it becomes very hard on them to be uprooted.

    Yes, there is something to say for moving to help them to learn to adapt to change, but truthfully I think the pre-teen and teenage years are really more important for building a stable base of friends, family and habits that they will be able to build their adult life upon.

  20. Danielle says:

    I’ve commented a few times here and there, and I think especially in regards to my move to SC from NY. We moved south to be near family and to save money. We have achieved both and at the same time I have found my dream job in wine. Life is awesome.

    I am so glad we made the move while my kids we still young (4, and 2 yo twins) and they get to enjoy my parents while they are still in their 50’s. We doulbed our house size and spent 100k less. It is a no brainer for us. If you can do it , GO! We can’t look back now and wonder if we could have gotten more for our house, it is now irrelevant.

    As you’ve stated many times, there’s so much more to life than money. Seeing my kids spend frequent time with my parents is a huge blessing! Never mind our mortgage went down $700 a month!!!

    Danielle

  21. Danielle says:

    Forgot to add, with that extra $700 a month, we bought an investment house and we are working towards financial freedom. And yeah, that means I make 16 bean soup once a week on a 100k+ income and drive a 95 Jetta. But my DH is out at midnight hoping to pick up a Wii for us. We pick and choose our sacrifices…..

  22. Dee says:

    I’m wondering how this decision even came about. You just moved!
    And as I understand, your move to blogging full time has been in the works (at least in your plans) for a while. If you had that idea in the back of your mind, why even move at all?

  23. Dee says:

    How this idea*

  24. William says:

    I did not live near either set of grandparents growing up, one set passed on when I was very young. Our family, with two young children and a third on the way, lives in the same town as both sets of grandparents. It is an incredible blessing, but it is also the largest town in the state. I would rethink your priorities and consider moving early. I moved a lot as a child and it was harder as I got older. Thanks for the great site!

  25. LC says:

    I had to laugh when I read “the most expensive part of the state of Iowa.” Hear that little sound? It is the entire state of California roaring with laughter!

  26. Amelia says:

    Just a couple comments: A relationship with grandparents is a special gift. It would be a shame if your kids didn’t get to know theirs until they were old and frail or sick and dying. Our experience with moving while two of our children were in early adolescence was pretty miserable, though they did recover (one from a borderline eating disorder and the other from cutting herself). I completely agree that moving can expand the hearts and minds of the people who do it. But I think purposeful traveling (going on a missions trip or even spending a vacation volunteering for say, Habitat for Humanity in an economically depressed part of the world) would accomplish much the same thing.

    I grew up overseas and moved often. I wouldn’t trade my upbringing for anything, but I really wish I had known my grandparents as people. A sense of heritage is an increasingly rare and priceless thing, if you can give it to your children I would.

  27. Christine says:

    We just relocated to be closer to my husband’s parents about 18 months ago. My kids were 5 and 18 months at the time. The kids did great with the move (I think anytime before 1st grade is the ideal!) and they now have a wonderful relationship with my in-laws.

    By contrast, while I know they love my folks, they see them 1-2 times per year. There just isn’t that closeness in bonding that they have with my husband’s parents.

    If you are thinking about moving, start doing the research NOW. Sterling’s Best Places website has some great stats on different communities (esp schools) and you can take a weekend here or there to scout out the communities.

    Don’t wait too long and cave in to “I don’t want to leave our friends.” The bonds with family can never be replaced, but a new community can be built around yourselves if you are active in cultivating it.

  28. Celina says:

    My parents moved us frequently as children, back and forth between countries. And as Amelia commented, I wouldn’t trade my upbringing for anyone’s. The worst move was when I was 15. The rest were easy. Your children are still young. They will make many friends over their lifetime. And knowing how to make friends is a skill that has paid off in a big way for me. You don’t have to move to learn it, but moving does force you to learn.
    I didn’t really get to know my grandparents until I was an adult. As an adult, I think I learned more from them, and was able to really appreciate just how wonderful they were. To see a stable, loving relationship just as I was preparing to look for one myself, was priceless. To see how they fit into their community, how people valued them, golden.
    Moving does not damage children. Staying does not damage them. As long as they have love, they are fine.

  29. Gayle RN says:

    Let me get this straight. I figure your parents are in their mid 50s. You think this is old or getting old? That’s my age and I think it’s hysterically funny. My parents are in their 80’s and just a few months ago finally closed up their business.
    I made up my mind that I would not be one of those people who insisted that my children live by me. With my blessing and encouragement they have lived anywhere from 200 to 12000 miles away from me. It has afforded them phenomenal opportunities.
    For myself, I am considering graduate school to prepare for some fresh opportunities that have arisen.
    BTW, as near as I can figure Des Moines is 200 miles or less from any place else in the state. Just how close do you figure you need to be?

  30. Carrie J says:

    I lived right next door to my grandparents growing up and I have some wonderful memories. My kids have lived away from their grandparents and they are not bonded with them the way I was. I agree with the second comment. In my opinion a move now makes more sense where the kids are concerned.

  31. Scott says:

    Don’t underestimate the value of being close to family. My children (ages 7 & 4) love being close to their grandmother. It’s a relationship they’ll always treasure and will shape their interactions with the elderly for their whole lives.

    The only problem I could foresee is (from the perspective of a former mortgage banker) your recent career change. It might be difficult to prove sufficient income so a minimum of two years in your new ‘full-time’ carerr may be required to qualify for the best mortgage on your next home.

  32. Deborah says:

    First, I agree with Emily’s comments. Second, the comment about Grandma coming to visit in May and shooing parents away concerned me a little. Baby is how old then ? Does Grandma see the little ones regularly, or will she be a ‘stranger’ ?

  33. wewally says:

    Family is important, it will be there after many jobs and careers are over,so don’t minimize the importance of it but, the problem is that writing can be a bit challenging to keep your finances on an even keel with and though every one laughs at high priced De Moines it may be the best place to lean on if you need to find a “job”
    wewally

  34. overcoming overspending says:

    I’d also like to know what “jumped the shark” means. Seems a totally random comment- what does it have to do with the topic of Trent’s post?????

  35. maria says:

    I am a grandmother. I am very fortunate to have my grandchildren within 10 miles of my house. I see them once a week. I was able to witness my youngest grandson’s first steps. The pride and joy you have with your children and their accomplishments are twice as strongly felt with grandparents (my opinion but I think very true and not to be sappy but I am in tears writing this) The shear love and enjoyment that they bring is not easily described. I can totally understand your mom wanting to “live” a weekend with them and experience bathing them and cooking for them and reading them bedtime stories and putting them to bed. I bet she will also sit with them and watch them sleep. This natural progression of the generations is priceless if you are lucky enough to live close. Living close to extended family instills a sense of belonging and safety and continuity that you really can’t replicate in a neighborhood. It also strenghtens the adult bonds you have with your parents.
    Personally all I see is a win-win if you move now.

  36. After the kids are grown and gone, we may consider moving somewhere based on cost of living. We are fortunate enough to live in the south where the cost of living is extremely low (I couldn’t afford the house I am living in if I lived in many parts of the country). Living here allows for a larger disposable income which I am plowing into dividend investments.

    Best Wishes,
    D4L

  37. SusanP says:

    I’m a 62 year old grandmother who with the help of my husband cares for two of my grandchildren, a boy (4) and a girl (16 mo). Despite the reduced income (we are both retired), this is the best if most difficult work I’ve ever done. It is critical support for my daughter and her husband. All of her friends tell us how lucky she is. The joy on the kids’ faces when they see their “Pop” and me tells me that my daughter’s decision to stay close to her parents was the right one.

    We also decided to live close to our parents and were able to support and care for them when they eventually became sick and died. It was and still is immeasurably comforting to us. Our children have special memories of their grandparents, and those relationships helped my daughter decide to stay near us.

    My advice to you is to move near your family, soon. Get a nice house you can afford now and work a few more years toward that dream house.

    Your blog has been very helpful to me; I hope my advice is helpful to you.

  38. sandy says:

    If you do choose to move, do it while the kids are young. Friends are very important to kids and leaving a community that they are comfortable with can be devasting for some,especially the middle school age. We moved when our kids were 11 & 13 and although they turned out to be fine, well-adjusted adults I still remember their sad faces when they needed to go to school where they did not know a soul. It still aches my heart to think of that time. I consider that my biggest parenting mistake.

  39. vicki says:

    As an only child whose parents divorced by the time I was 13, I had lived in 2 provinces, been through many moves and schools. Grandparents lived in another province. We were never a close family.

    Now living across the country and for all 3 of us many moves later, we are still not a close family. Never will be. Grandparents I hardly knew or I seldom saw passed away. I didn’t have much opportunity to get to know them.

    Working in healthcare I see first hand what brings a family together or a close family even closer together and it’s not something I would ever wish on anyone.

    Life is short, change is easy. I like what Emily wrote especially “I say high tail it back to your family as fast as your little feet can carry you, build and cherish those family ties and that precious time together that can never be regained or recreated, thereby giving yourself and your children a true and meaningful gift (of family) in life that can be replaced by nothing else”

    Just wanted to say as well I really enjoy and appreciate your blog, it’s changed my life! :)

    Vicki

  40. Macinac says:

    This is your opportunity to move to the place you’ve always really wanted. Better schools? Lower taxes (or different configuration)? Mountains? Coast access? Wilderness access? Different weather? More variety in restaurants? More creative ferment? Major airport hub nearby? City amenities? Safety? Air quality? Public transportation?

  41. Thunderhardt says:

    Q. What is jumping the shark?
    A. It’s a moment. A defining moment when you know that your favorite television program has reached its peak. That instant that you know from now on…it’s all downhill. Some call it the climax. We call it “Jumping the Shark.” From that moment on, the program will simply never be the same.
    The term “jump the shark” was coined by site founder Jon Hein's college roommate of 4 years, Sean J. Connolly, in Ann Arbor, Michigan back in 1985. This web site, book, film, and all other material surrounding shark jumping, are hereby dedicated to “the Colonel.”

    The aforementioned expression refers to the telltale sign of the demise of Happy Days, our favorite example, when Fonzie actually “jumped the shark.” The rest is history.

    Jumping the shark applies not only to TV, but also music, film, even everyday life. “Did you see her boyfriend? She definitely jumped the shark.” You get the idea.

  42. Thunderhardt says:

    The term jumping the shark alludes to a specific scene in a 1977 episode of the TV series Happy Days when the popular character Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli literally jumps over a shark while water skiing. The scene was so preposterous that many believed it to be an ill-conceived attempt at reviving the declining ratings of the flagging show. Since then, the phrase has become a colloquialism used by U.S. TV critics and fans to denote the point at which the characters or plot of a TV series veer into a ridiculous, out-of-the-ordinary storyline. Such a show is typically deemed to have passed its peak. Once a show has “jumped the shark” fans sense a noticeable decline in quality or feel the show has undergone too many changes to retain its original charm.

    Jump-the-shark moments may be scenes like the one described above that finally convince viewers that the show has fundamentally and permanently strayed from its original premise. In those cases they are viewed as a desperate and futile attempt to keep a series fresh in the face of declining ratings. In other cases the departure or replacement of a main cast member or character or a significant change in setting changes a critical dynamic of the show. These changes are often attempts to attract their fans’ waning attention with over-the-top statements or increasingly overt appeals to sex or violence.

    The term has also evolved to describe other areas of pop culture including movie series, music or acting celebrities, or authors for whom a drastic change was seen as the beginning of the end or marking the moment the subject is “past its peak.” When referring to celebrities, the related term jumping the couch is often used if the moment is a personal act of “going off the deep end”.[1][2]

  43. Thunderhardt says:

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  44. Claudia I Baker says:

    We recently moved to be closer to our grandchildren. My husband retired and we had no ties at all other than his job to the town we had lived in the past 18 years. Financially, it was a bad idea, we moved to an area with higher housing costs and bought a home which needed extensive work and sold some land we had been holding as an investment several years before we had planned to. I left a higher paying job. However, we have 20 acres where we had 1 before, our home is in a quiet beautiful area bordering a creek that we can use to canoe or boat to 5 lakes. We see our grandchildren often and are able to help our daughter care for them while she goes to school. I have left behind a higher paying job yet one that was extremely stressful with poor work relationships between management and staff to a job where there are only two people in the office (and he is not my boss!) I’m sick less often without my job stress and enjoying my grandchildren who are as content and comfortable in our home as in their own. So, we have less money–but we have enough and we are so much happier. So, give your parents some joy with grandchildren living closer!

  45. CBus says:

    I’d recommend doing what it takes to maximize financial freedom. My parents moved when I was 1, 6, 8, 12, 15, 18, 19, 20, and 24. We lived in PA, VA, NC, GA, TX, and FL (multiple places in TX and GA).

    My parents weren’t necessarily chasing a paycheck, but they were structuring a their lives in such a way as to maximize their financial freedom. They now work, by choice, in Florida and have the flexibility to hop on the next plane to come see my sister (4 yrs older) or me on a whim. At 60 (err, every year my mom says she is 29…again) years old, I would not consider them old. He’s got a single digit golf handicap and she consistently beats me in straight sets on the tennis court (and we’re not talkin the girly best 2 of 3, either).

    Additionally, It gave me the confidence that when I graduated from high school in Georgia, I had no hesitation going to a college in South Carolina. When I graduated there, I drove to Florida for a few week before taking my first job in…Michigan. And then later, when I better job opened up in Connecticut, I had no qualms packing up and hitting the road.

    I feel the diversity of cultures has been integral in my development of people skills. I feel I can relate to such a broad spectrum of people and have spontaneous conversations that go beyond “So, how about this weather?”

    Do I have an overflowing list of acquaintances? No. I have 3-4 true, good friends in states all over the country that would give the shirt off their back, or a place to stay on a road trip.
    With the “miracle” of the internet and cell phones with free nights and weekends, we stay in contact despite the miles.

    Try to talk to any Army/Navy/USAF brats. Moving is just a part of life, a sort of comeuppance. Make a choice for financial freedom, the rest works itself out. While moving seems tough at the time, if its an opportunity to help you grow, no one will argue with that.

    Good luck with whatever direction you take.

  46. guinness416 says:

    Well I say if you really want to move don’t worry about the recent house purchase. There’s no dignity in being owned by bricks and mortar. I can relate, I’m definitely struggling at the moment with feeling like I want to move home, which in my case is a different continent. My head says stay (finances, husbands’ immigration issues, career, cost of living, I can visit anyway) but my heart says move back (family illness, proximity, not wanting any future kids to be North American). It’s a tough one for sure; this list is good, dispassionate pro-con lists are definitely the right way to start.

    (Beyond all the fonzie stuff, at this point “Jumped the shark” simply means past the peak and becoming gimmicky).

  47. guinness416 says:

    Er – that should be husband’s, not husbands’. I only have one (at the moment).

  48. Bill says:

    Unlike Gayle, I needed to start taking care of mom when she was in her 50s and I was in my 20s.

    It was a good thing we all were local.

    As you’ve found, many careers can be done from home, even ones that formerly required office time.

    I know one guy who used to work literally around the corner from me who now does the same job from his & his girlfriend’s B&B in Mexico.

  49. Rebecca says:

    I think people are confusing the advice for Trent in this particular situation with an implication that moving is always bad. I don’t think there is anything wrong with moving as a child if that is what is best for the family. And this is about a move from one part of a state to another, not to a whole new area, let alone the mind-expanding world travels of an army brat. Trent is saying he and his wife really want to move closer to their families so their parents can have a relationship with their grandchildren, among other reasons. The only real reason Trent is giving for not moving soon is that his house might appreciate more where they are (he says his wife could really work anywhere, housing is cheaper where they would move to, and I find it hard to believe a guy who reads three or more books a week needs seven years to do the research on what town he wants to live in). I think deferring an important goal in the hopes you make extra cash on your house sale is a much bigger and costlier gamble than the stock market, which he wrote about in a more recent post. Life is short and children grow fast. I live in a much more expensive area to be close to family, and it worth every penny.

  50. M3 says:

    Hmmm…we moved from Southern California to PNW in the fall of 2005. It was the best thing we ever did for our family, BUT I wish we had thought to move much sooner. Our oldest was 14 and our youngest was 6. The youngest had spent her whole short life looking forward to following her brothers through the neighborhood schools and had joyfully completed her kindergarten year at the elementary school. The oldest had finished his 9th grade year at high school and was really finding his place in the IB program. The middle son really hit his stride and loved being the “big brother on campus” for his sister. Fast forward two and a half years and they would all tell you they love where we live, but they definitely miss their friends from So Cal. All the posters who said it is easier when the kids are little and you are their social life were absolutely correct. Moving in 7-12 years means your son will be as old as 14…if he plays sports, belongs to clubs, etc., you will be asking him to start all over in high school which will, in effect, make it much harder for him to feel a part of the community. For our son, we were leaving some really negative things in our community and the trade off was definitely worth it, but he (and we) still misses his friends from the IB program and we all miss sharing the milestones of family friends whose children we watched grow up through the years. I am really feeling that way this spring as all of us have children graduating from high school. We haven’t been here long enough for us to feel those deep bonds that we left behind. Anyway, those are just my thoughts based on our personal experiences.

  51. allison says:

    I have to agree with the people that if you’re going to move move now before the children get to school. I remember when I was in high school and new kids moved into town they usually ended up in the “questionable” group of kids. Keep them in one school district their entire school years!

  52. Gayle RN says:

    Okay, I confess. I actually did do this, for the reason of getting my kids several states closer to their grandparents. On that factor, the results were kind of mixed. Purely by accident, however, we chose one of the best school districts in the state. In that respect, the decision was a resounding success. My sons and their circle of friends are quite successful in life. Many went to college on full ride academic scholarships, including one Fulbright scholar (not my son). They have successful careers as a writer (my son), professors, professional musicians, etc. They are just turning 30.

    So my recommendation is to find that school in Iowa. Move before the children are in school. You may have to make financial adjustments. That’s okay if you know why you are doing it and how you are doing it. My other recommendation is to talk to your parents. They might have some insights that you do not. They may also have plans of their own that you are unaware of. Maybe they are thinking of moving closer to you or even thinking of retiring to Florida. After you move is not a good time to find that out.

  53. eaufraiche says:

    i waited too long to move back closer to the extended family. spouse wouldn’t go w/ plan – so when marriage ended, i grasped pennies in my destitute little paws and relocated – but the moment had passed for my kids (teenaged by then, and vehemently opposed to the transition). i’m sandwiched between generations, but still missing a bread.
    jump soon!

  54. Crystal says:

    Kudos on your plans not to rip your children out of their social network at a young age.

    My parents moved in the middle of my 6th-grade school year. I went from being deeply embedded in a network of friends whom I loved and who loved me, to going to a strange school in a richer neighborhood where everyone made fun of me for my clothes. It was pretty much hell.

    My parents sold their mobile home to move us into a rental house… your post made me wonder why they at least couldn’t wait until summer. I haven’t thought about this in years.

    It is good of you to keep your children’s welfare in mind. So many parents don’t.

  55. Colleen Costello says:

    Be advised that as a parent of young children you have no way to yet realize how much your kiddos will have INPUT into this decision when they get older. Do not underestimate what might be the MOST important factor here — that right now, your kids don’t CARE If you move.

    My daughter is 13 and in 7th grade here in “Mayberry” Indiana. I am going NOWHERE soon. She loves her school and loves her friends and even a discussion of moving (I want very much to live in a warmer climate and be closer to my Florida-retiree parents) practically reduces her to tears. My family moved when I was in 8th grade and relocating was extremely traumatic for me… I could never do that to my kids. So my younger son has 8 more years in this school system, and maybe THEN we’ll head to Florida!

    If you are really serious about relocating, do it before your son goes to Kindergarten.

  56. Tall Bill says:

    I purchased my first house years ago, which was great for living as a bachelor. When wife and 2 kids were added, things got crowded & more room was needed for space to turn around in. As such, we found a house to serve our raising the kids years, having fulfilled the goal of the kids having there own bedrooms, home office space, yard to run and play in, etc. That move came 1 day before our oldest entered kindergarden & we’re happy with with purchase & look to down size a few years following the kids being on there own. The timing really paid off & as another reader stated: Prices in the Seattle area are still high, but somewhat softer than a year ago. Neverless, more than twice the house can be purchased in just abotu anywhere else. Follow the one year rule Trendt: Don’t make any large changes within a year of life events – let things settle & see how things work out & as your readers know; many changes have taken place in your life over the past year or so. Keep some things stable for balance.

  57. Linn from IA says:

    I’m going to weigh in on the “move now” side.

    Grandparents and grandchildren will have a better chance to bond now, while your parents are younger and can better keep up, and while your children lead less complicated lives. Those connections, made now, can nourish them all for life. The busy teen years are not really prime bonding time. My husband and my parents all died young — I see how precious those bonds could be. You & your wife will also enjoy the time with your parents while they are younger and healthy.

    Although moving can expand horizons, it can also be traumatic, especially in the middle school/high school years. We would move if economic necessity drove us, but not otherwise. Your children will be entrenched in their home and schools. And in all probability, so will you, with community commitments, other school parents, etc.

    Not everyone wants to live close to their parents. But if this is something you and your wife want to do, if it will lead to a life with more good things for you and your family, then do it now. The economic calculus of waiting is nothing compared to the value of those years together and the strong, strong probability that if you wait, you will end up never moving at all.

  58. A.M.B,A. says:

    Like others, I have my own opinions about moving. However, I agree with the wisdom from Tall Bill – follow the one year rule. The action on important decisions can wait for a very short one year time frame.

    A.M.B.A.

  59. Margaret says:

    I can’t understand how Trent could have written that list of pros and cons and then come up with the answer he did. It seems perfectly obvious that he should move while his children are young enough not to mind. I was devastated when we moved just before my 5th grade year, and never grew to like the new place as much as the old. Of course, kids’ personalities differ as much as adults’, and not all will mind moving, but the overwhelming evidence is that moving is a major upset during the school age years, as Trent seems to know perfectly well. How can he think more about the money involved, after all he professes to believe? And if it’s true that he recently moved to where he’s living now (I’m a fairly new reader), I wonder what he was thinking at that point. I have to confess that I’m reading this blog now for reasons other than to get good financial advice, and for me, it jumped the shark when it told me how to take a shower.

  60. Bonnie says:

    The jerk that wrote the original “this blog has jumped the shark” comment doesn’t deserve all of the space that has been wasted on him in the comments here.

    One of my grandparents lived in the same town that I grew up in, and it was great to be able to see her once a week or more as a child. However, my brother and I are equally close to our other grandparents, who live 2-plus hours away from my hometown. We didn’t see them as often, but as adults we talk to them weekly and confide in them. I agree with the posters who say do what is best for the parents for now, and do it sooner rather than later. I think that is true whether it means moving a greater distance away from family or closer, as in Trent’s case.

  61. jdp says:

    I love when you post about your thought process re decision making :)

    Reading this makes me very happy I’ve always weathered lean$times vs. leaving family to make more. I hope my son appreciates it when he’s older! I know he does right now (age 5).

  62. leigh says:

    only one other person mentioned this – find out whether your parents are attached to where they live. the winters are hard for my parents where they currently are and they want to move closer and further south. Don’t know how your family would feel about this but what about selling the two houses and buying one house with an “in-law suite”?

  63. getagrip says:

    Do you want to live near your grandchildren?

    Moving back to your parents area may make that less likely. I grew up in a depressed area of the country, and out of ten friends I knew from high school and still keep in contact with, only two have stayed. Everyone else and most of their siblings have had to move out of state to find jobs or start businesses.

    So your children may get to grow up with their grandparents around, but you may find them going to different parts of the country to seek employment or opportunities. Which will you follow, if any?

    Additionally, plenty has been said of the benefits of living near family. But be careful not to confuse the joy and restraint of special occasions with the day to day dealings you’d have if you lived close. My friend’s have had some interesting problems dealing with their in-laws. Most especially with differences in opinion on how the kids are being raised, when and how family “occasions” are planned, etc.. There is a lot of pressure, both subtle and direct, on meeting their desires which doesn’t exist when you’re farther away.

  64. Jen says:

    If possible, do not move your kids after they start middle school.

    Absolutely do not move them once they are in high school.

    Exception: you talk it over with the kids and they want to make the move.

    We moved every 3-4 years when I was a kid and I dealt with it ok every time except the last one. Changing schools and states at the age of 16 was the single worst experience of my life to date. (Granted, it was a move to a god-awful city, but still….)

  65. Ellie says:

    Definetly move into a great school system before the kids start kendergarden.
    Listen to comment #2.

  66. chris says:

    my quick two cents. Having your kids in more of a great cultural center with many things to open their minds and to give them great social experiences will be good for them.

  67. George says:

    Moving is not good for the kids unless you are moving into a better community. Having to lose childhood friends and losing good neighbors is pretty stressful for everyone.

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