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.