Midwest vs. L.A.
I want to update my thoughts on living in Los Angeles versus living in the Midwest, because a very dedicated (or OCD) blogger read my archives and commented on my initial thoughts. In this old post I talked about the huge rent change and how it didn’t make up for my income change. In the very short term, it seemed clear that staying in the Midwest would have been better financially.
But I don’t think that post told the whole story.
Did I need to pay that much for rent? Of course not – but I’d never apartment hunted in a large city, didn’t know the area, and made a much more expensive choice than I had to. Had I not moved in with T, I still would have moved to a cheaper place in which my salary increase would have made up for the difference. I think I could have found a studio in a livable area for $1000 or so if I knew what I was doing. (See here for example, though prices were softer in mid 2009 than early 2008.)
So in the very short term, yes, the midwest was better financially. But in the long term, I think it was not.
When the recession hit, the company I left behind froze salaries, canceled promised bonuses, and at least one of my good friends got totally screwed: a promotion (title change) with no monetary compensation. Switching companies delayed my title change a bit, butI have gotten good raises each at salary review plus moderate bonuses. (But… my last job was more generous with bonuses in the good years, and also gave me an extra week of vacation, from which I have never adjusted.)
Then again, taxes are much higher here, and I don’t know how to factor that in, lacking detailed records from the midwest. Anyway, I came to the conclusion that it is impossible to make a fair comparison between the two lives any more than what I’ve said. The path not chosen – staying in the midwest – is full of too many questions.
After just 1.5 years on my old job, my boss started talking to me about exposing me to management stuff. So maybe I would be on that path. Or maybe I would have a house. Or maybe I would have had a house that got flooded. Or maybe I would have been laid off. Or maybe I would have decided to move elsewhere. Who knows?
So I won’t venture further, but I will say this: I’m so so happy to live here right now, but the midwest has a special place in my heart!