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Moving?

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I work in a bit of a niche field. I work for the government but there aren’t a lot of folks who do what I do. It’s good and bad in that if a city needs someone to do my job, they have a limited number of folks to choose from. If there is an opening, I’d have to mess up an interview pretty badly not to get it. It’s bad in that I don’t have a lot of opportunities to choose from and I’m somewhat limited to large cities.

An opportunity popped up in San Antonio this week. My husband has been desperate to get out of California for a while. He’s been asking if I’d consider a move to Texas. The best we can afford right now is 1,200 sq ft and we have four kids who aren’t getting any smaller.

I love my state. I love the weather.

I hate the taxes. I hate the crazy cost of living. I hate the insanely restrictive policies. I hate the politics.

I also worry about my kids being able to live here long term. When a starter home is over half a million in 2020, why would anyone stay? In 15 years, what crazy price will they have to pay to stay here?

We hopped on a plane and flew to Texas over the weekend. We masked up and drove all over the city. We drove through neighborhoods and by houses to see what we could afford. I was shocked to find out we could nearly pay cash for a new house in San Antonio. We could move and be completely debt free – mortgage and all. My dream.

We drove by campgrounds. We walked through parks. We drove hours and hours. We hiked 14 miles. We saw a handful of people. We haven’t hiked in California for a couple months on our favorite trails because there are simply too many people and we feel it’s not particularly safe. It felt good to be outside.

There’s an offer on the table. 20% more than I’m making. Lower cost of living and I’d be making 20% more. By the end of the weekend, I was ready to move.

I cried the whole flight home. It’d a hard decision. We would have no family in the area. My sister in Kansas would be the closest and it’d take ten hours by car to get to her. My husband’s parents and my parents live 30 minutes from our home in San Diego. My brother lives walking distance from me right now. My sister is 20 minutes away.

Am I willing to leave all that because my house is small?

I called my sister. She moved to Kansas 15 years ago. I asked if she had regrets. “Do you ever wish you stayed here?”

“I’d never come back. This is where I feel at home. I was never really ‘California’. It never felt right. I was always the square peg in the round hole. If I need California weather, I visit. But Kansas is home.”

She bloomed in the place that felt right.

Have you made a big move from family? Do you have regrets?


13 Comments

  • Reply Kristina |

    Having an independent streak a mile wide, yes I moved away from family after completing my college graduation (and also went to school 13 hours away). I went where the work took me, which was Texas. No regerts (sic).

    As far as San Antonio, I know the area pretty well, having lived in the area for 10 years. If you have questions about the city, don’t hesitate to ask. A selling point for all of Texas is we don’t have a state income tax, but they recoup that in the form of slightly higher property taxes.

  • Reply Alice |

    Living where the weather is perfect year round has a cost. I would take your children’s ability to buy a home out of the equation entirely. Nobody can say what home prices will be and (maybe more importantly) nobody can say what your children will want when they’re grown. Don’t guilt them into staying close to you. Even with that removed, it sounds like you have a great case for moving. I would say go for it, though check on San Antionio’s hospital capacity before you go.

  • Reply Reece |

    Lower cost of living and better quality of life plus being able to pay cash for a house and have lower taxes? And get an increase in pay?? And your husband is on board too—I’d say go for it!

  • Reply Sara |

    We lived away from family for a long time. What we found is that friends can become family–you spend holidays with them, you help each other, and you fill in the way your family does. It’s hard to be away from your siblings and parents, but over time you’ll make friends who will have your back.

    This sounds like an amazing opportunity. Good luck!

  • Reply angie |

    Texas is on my no go list for reasons specific to my lifestyle. Mainly heat, traffic and endless suburban sprawl. But I work with people who seem to love it. My real question is are you moving because of all the recent stresses and covid? Job stresses? A new start? How often do you rely on grandparents for childcare and babysitting? I wouldn’t worry about your kids affording a house in CA. Thats way beyond your control. And nowadays kids usually have to move out of state for their first jobs anyways.

    And yes, don’t be fooled by no income tax. It’s made up for by property taxes.

    • Reply Cwaltz |

      My husband and I are veterans so I am used to moving around. Quite frankly, home is where my hubby is. We’re, right now, living in a town I don’t particularly like or fit in with but because he’s here this is where I’ll stay. It does have beautiful scenery and a low cost of living though.
      As far as Texas goes people seem to be of two camps, they really love it and can’t imagine living anywhere else or they don’t get it and wish to be elsewhere. Hopefully, you and family end up in camp A.

  • Reply Cynthia |

    I live in AZ which has basically become CA 2.0 so I’ve heard a ton of people voice your concerns.
    Myself and my nuclear family have moved from the larger and extended family and there are pros and cons. Realistically relationships change for the good and bad. You will likely have a stronger bond with your spouse and children because you literally have no one else to depend on initially. You have to be a team. Life will go on for other family members too and you will likely feel hurt and left out sometimes.
    I personally don’t regret moving at all because of family dynamics. There were certain family members who need attention and drama to survive and others just enabled that. Now we can visit and enjoy and then leave. Other people’s life choices don’t dictate how our time and energy is spent. Had relationships been better, I probably would have cared more though so that’s something you have to evaluate for yourself.

  • Reply Joanna |

    I left all my family and moved 11 hours away with my new husband (married 3 months) over 14 years ago. Your friends become your family, you put your roots down where you are.
    This sounds like an opportunity that you shouldn’t pass up…..

  • Reply Drmaddog |

    What you are discussing is geographic arbitrage, which is a powerful way to secure/shore up one’s financial future – living in a lower cost of living city/state/country where each dollar goes further. If you can get nearly or completely debt-free in doing so, it can be a very tempting option.

    I spent multiple years of my military time in San Antonio. I’ve lived in worse places. I wouldn’t return, not for any negative sense to the city, but I’ve been there, done that, and there are other places I would rather try.

    Cons – traffic can be heinous (as with Dallas, Houston, Austin); it is HOT; its in a state of perpetual drought; except when it rains and then it floods because there is so much bedrock; if you get outside one of the large cities, it can be very red, politically (con for me); if there is any snow/ice in the winter (rare) the city can shut down for a couple of days due to their limited capacity to handle it.
    Pros: winters are short and very mild (I could sleep with my windows open in Feb); great food; blue city politically (pro for me); affordable cost of living.

    As other’s have said, no state income tax, but TX does have one of the highest property tax rates in the country, top 10. due to the lower price of real estate relative to other top 10 states in the Northeast US, it’s not THAT different from other places I’ve lived when I compare it to income tax + property tax vs. property tax of tx alone.

  • Reply Allison |

    I moved half way across the country for college and remained in that area for almost 14 years. Then I did the opposite, decided in a week it was time to move home.
    Regardless, being away has literally changed the course of my life. I would say do it!

  • Reply Shanna |

    Moving sounds like a great adventure! And pretty much all upside. Here is what I suggest based on moving multiple times when I was younger. Keep your San Diego house and rent it out. If you decide Texas isn’t for you, you won’t have lost your spot” in the market. You can use the time to also rent in a neighborhood that interested you in Texas when you get there. You may find that you want something different and not be locked in immediately would be good. Good luck, it all sounds exciting!

  • Reply Katie |

    I lived away from family for 23 years. Moved back 2 years ago and wish I’d done it sooner. Help from the grandparents and being nearby as they age is priceless. I will say that friends do become family when yours aren’t nearby, but depending on where you live, it can be hard to make friends. Especially if you’re living in a place where most folks grew up there and stayed. They have their groups established. It’s a hard choice.

  • Reply Laura |

    My husband and I are both from Southern California and moved to the Midwest in ‘89. We were newly married and did it for a job offer, thinking we’d stay about three years. Four kids and 25 years later, his department closed and we all moved to California. Our older three were adults and two of them did not like it here, so they moved back “home” to the Midwest within six months. Biggest regret about the move in the first place is our kids growing up away from grandparents and cousins. Biggest non-regret is the life we were able to afford there was better than I think we could have given them here. Last thought, I’ve had people here in CA say our kids are lucky to have somewhere other than expensive CA to call home. Good luck!

So, what do you think ?