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How much is it worth sacrificing to live in 'ideal' location

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  •  gvs.psych 
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    So, my question is only tangentially related to finance, and yet, I can’t help but think I’ll get some excellent advice on this forum.

    Here’s the deal. I am fortunate to have an EXCELLENT job – as a psychiatrist, I’m able to make about $400k a year, love my job, get to teach exactly as much as I want, have a nice office and parking space, and good benefits. I live 4 minutes from my work, have a house that will meet our needs indefinitely, and was only slightly more expensive than my annual income. And yet, the northeastern city we live in, although having nice restaurants, good culture, and proximity to lots of other vibrant cities, isn’t the place I would pick if I could start over without constraints. There isn’t enough to do outdoors, the roads suck, taxes are high, and although there are some beautiful parts, there are a lot of post-industrial parts mixed in (you all get the idea if you’ve been to places like Portland, Stamford, Hartford, New Haven, Providence, etc).

    There are certainly jobs available in locations that are in some ways a better fit (like Denver for example), which are more vibrant, growing cities, with more outdoorsy things, and yet are more expensive, and I’d be lucky to make $250k at almost any other academic medical center as a psychiatrist. Money isn’t everything but its something. I am overall happy where I am but do sometimes feel I’m missing out by not being in an ‘ideal’ location. And yet I might feel I’m missing more if I end up falling back on retirement goals and having to cut the travel budget.

     

    Thoughts?

    #171098 Reply
    Rogue Dad, M.D. Rogue Dad, M.D. 
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    “Ideal” is obviously about as subjective a word as exists, but unless you live in a location where you literally have no desire to travel to see other things, i.e. ALL your important family are nearby, all the outdoor activities you want are nearby, ALL the cultural things you want are nearby, etc, you’re still going to want to travel elsewhere to do other things.

    You mention starting over “without constraints” — but there will be constraints wherever you go.

    If you’re a mountain man and stuck in a small fading industrial town and yearn for the Rockies because that’s where you belong, it may be worth a move despite the new constraints.

    OTOH, you can always use your fantastic income and schedule to regularly travel there or other places; places you may no longer be able to go if you have an income that drops 40% and a higher workload.

    http://www.RogueDadMD.com

    An alt-brown look at medicine, money, faith, and family

    #171105 Reply
     Peds 
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    Just travel more. Are you a new attending? You haven’t even hit mid career yet…

    #171106 Reply
    Lithium Lithium 
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    What kind of work are you doing as an academic psychiatrist to make $400k?  Is working in an academic center really important to you, or are there other ways to scratch your teaching itch?

    I’m in the Mountain West and you could make $400k here if you hustled.  Feel free to PM me if you’re interested.

    Besides all the factors you mentioned, asset protection is one of the main reasons I don’t want to practice in the Urban NE.  Thinking about malpractice rates, lack of tort reform, and insolvent pension systems.  Too much risk.

    #171107 Reply
     StarTrekDoc 
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    Money isn’t everything, but it sure can allow you to do more $150k is quite a bit of coin that allows for nice getaways to Park City and other places.  It’s about the balance of places we are and want to be.

    #171108 Reply
     childay 
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    Sorry but lol.  Fellow psych.  Let me get this straight.  You’re an academic psychiatrist somehow making $400k, in a city (not BFE), with a job you love and are upset because there aren’t enough mountains?  And the roads are bad?   Travel more!

    #171120 Reply
     snowcanyon 
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    Do you have a decent social life and sufficient vacation? Are you near family? Then I’d stay put. The mountains aren’t everything, and I live in them.

    With your income, screw the taxes. Also, do bad roads make your day THAT bad? Not something I really consider, I must admit.

    If you are lonely and/or don’t have a social life, then I’d reconsider relocating, but not for roads or mountains. Also, Denver is not in the mountains. It is an unpleasant drive to the mountains from there along a very clogged road (not sure if it’s a good or bad road, but that much traffic makes it by definition bad).

    #171124 Reply
    Liked by SPlum
     gvs.psych 
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    Sorry but lol.  Fellow psych.  Let me get this straight.  You’re an academic psychiatrist somehow making $400k, in a city (not BFE), with a job you love and are upset because there aren’t enough mountains?  And the roads are bad?   Travel more!

    Click to expand…

    Fair enough 🙂 But to be clear I’m not upset at all, I’m just open to a change. I am at a point where moving would be very easy (spouse just finishing NP school, housing market favorable for sellers) so hence getting input on some considerations.

    The argument about traveling more is a really good one.

    Social life is decent, family isn’t nearby but theres no real way to fix that.

    Right now, being at an academic medical center seems important. Id like to be closer to 1/2 time clinical and 1/2 teaching administration by mid career, so staying at an academic medical center is a priority. And, I do hussle to get to $400k, but its also a favorable system that rewards hard work.

     

    #171134 Reply
     gvs.psych 
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    What kind of work are you doing as an academic psychiatrist to make $400k?  Is working in an academic center really important to you, or are there other ways to scratch your teaching itch?

    I’m in the Mountain West and you could make $400k here if you hustled.  Feel free to PM me if you’re interested.

    Besides all the factors you mentioned, asset protection is one of the main reasons I don’t want to practice in the Urban NE.  Thinking about malpractice rates, lack of tort reform, and insolvent pension systems.  Too much risk.

    Click to expand…

    Asset protection is definitely on my mind, and there is a concern of becoming even more entrenched and potentially less mobile in a state that may have these challenges.

    #171135 Reply
     JBME 
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    grass is always greener on the other side, but it looks like you have at least 80%, if not more, of what you want/makes you happy. If you want mountains, just take long weekends to New Hampshire. The skiiing and other winter sport opportunities there is great and really comparable to the mountain west, unless you’re seriously good, like Olympians! In the summer there are still nice parts of the northeast on the coast like Martha’s Vineyard or coastal Maine or Cape Cod, certain parts of the Jersey Shore, etc.

    #171138 Reply
     mxg67 
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    I think this might just be a case of the grass being greener.  I’ve lived in a bunch of desirable places, and maybe it’s just me, but a lot of times when I’d think about where I’d like to live or plan on moving to, I’d get excited and fantasize of the lifestyle I’d live and things I’d do.  As a visitor it seems exciting, or even in the first few months of living there, but over time it always wears off and I get into a rhythm of just doing my normal activities, doing less of the things I thought I’d do, and the local annoyances start to creep in, things that were ignored as a visitor or newcomer.  With that kind of income disparity, I’d stay put and make do with what you have, and drive to the outdoors or traveling more.  At least with traveling you enjoy the perks of your jobs in the NE and the perks of someplace like denver as a visitor (as opposed to a local).  But if it’s truly causing anguish and discontent, then maybe such a move would be worthwhile, but only after careful thought of doing such a move and its realities.  The money isn’t worth unhappiness and wasting away at someplace you don’t want to be.

    #171147 Reply
     wideopenspaces 
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    Hmmmm. I don’t think there’s a right answer as a lot depends on your personality and life goals. If you want to get to FI ASAP, you should probably stay put. OTOH, you are young, childless and your partner is about to start contributing financially so now is pretty much the perfect time to move. I’m in the same city as lithium, working part time at the local academic institution doing 2/3 outpatient psychiatry and 1/3 resident supervision. I LOVE it here. It’s beautiful year round ( like every day I look outside and I think about how much natural beauty I am surrounded by), we truly have 4 seasons, very easy access to most outdoor activities with easy weekend trips to national parks. There’s great food and big city access to music, shows etc without big city feel, traffic, etc. It’s great for raising a family if you have kids. Cost of living is reasonable although increasing. I’d say you could make 250-300k if you are willing to do inpatient psych, do ECT or something like that. My institution offers excellent retirement benefits and access to lots of tax deferred space. Or you could work at the VA which also allows you to teach and remain affiliated with the academic institution and pay is higher, more like 280k. With your wife working, I think household income could remain around 400k. And we’re always looking for psychiatrists, esp outpatient, which does pay less but the flexibility is great. Feel free to PM me for more information.

    #171151 Reply
    Liked by gvs.psych
     jhwkr542 
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    Unless you’re moving to be closer to family/friends, I don’t think a move will improve your happiness.

    #171156 Reply
    Vagabond MD Vagabond MD 
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    Early in my career, I made a move from a similar situation (by description) to suburban Seattle, one of the most outdoorsy, coolest places in the U.S. The job was consuming and not a great fit, and I quickly that realized that having mountains, lakes, and a vibrant downtown was not enough good stuff to counterbalance being dissatisfied with my daily routine, and 6+ day per week job. (The mountains, lakes, and vibrant city were more of a tease

    Now that I am later in my career, I am starting to look again at opportunities to work part time in such an outdoorsy environment, where the majority of my time will be free to be spent in lakes, mountains, and a vibrant mountain town.

    "Wealth is the slave of the wise man and the master of the fool.” -Seneca the Younger

    #171161 Reply
    Liked by Kamban, childay, Anne
     Anne 
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    One aspect of this that traveling more doesn’t really make up for is that different parts of the country DO attract different sorts of people.   So if your malleable social circle (i.e. Friends, as opposed to family, where you get what you get) is important to you, sometimes it can be more challenging to find friends that you really jive with in certain parts of the country than in others.   You can still develop good friendships, but it may take more searching and work.  I agree that if you are spending all your time at work, this won’t matter much either way.

    #171181 Reply

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