When is the last time you asked yourself this question?

If you often ask yourself this question, you aren’t the only one. In fact, according to the US Census, New York lost approximately 180,000 residents last year, more than any other state.

Why did they leave? Why would you (or I)? I think it comes down to:

  • Cost of Living
  • Quality of Life
  • Local Connections
  • Life Events

Cost of Living

Let’s face it, the rent is too darn high. (Remember that guy?) The average Manhattan rent is $3,789, and in my neighborhood the average home costs over $2 Million to buy. We have 3 kids, so a 2 bedroom is not going to happen.

Ever see those “Best Places to Retire” articles? NYC is definitely NOT on those lists.

Other costs are magnified when you have a family. Not only do you need more space (see above), but childcare costs are insane, having a car becomes necessary for many and your grocery bill grows exponentially. (Side note: When did a gallon of organic milk start costing $10?)

And of course, the taxes.

The city’s tax rates range from 3.078% of taxable income to 3.876% for top earners. The state tax rates are somewhere in the 6-8% range depending on income. By contrast, Florida and Texas have no state income tax. Therefore, moving could potentially mean 10% more in one’s pocket with the same salary.

Quality of Life

As a New Yorker, I love the convenience of stepping out my front door to enjoy great restaurants, shopping, entertainment, etc. But do you know what else would be convenient? Parking in my own driveway.

And let’s face it, life is more complex. I like having city kids but am often struck by how much simpler life would be outside of the city.

Local Connections

If you have deep family roots here, of course it follows that you are less likely to leave. Or if you (or your spouse) has their dream job that would be hard to replace. But what if you don’t? In that case, I find it comes down to a more event-driven decision, what I call “forcing your hand”.

Life Events

Is something forcing your hand?

Many clients and friends have left NYC over the years, and I find that something – some “event” – usually happens to make a move more urgent:

  • Dream job offer: a great job with a higher salary in a place with a lower cost of living could be a great move for your career and your finances. More than one client has moved to California for opportunities they couldn’t refuse.
  • Landlord sells the building: if you’ve been living in a below-market rent, it’s a harsh reality to look at renting or buying an equivalent space (in an equivalent neighborhood at least).
  • School and kids: One client described his daughter’s kindergarten as a “hot mess”. He found a great new job and they immediately bought a house in the South.

I am originally from a small town, but I have lived in New York City for all my adult life. I love the mix of our city/country lifestyle, but after a nightmare of a school year for all the kids, I’m starting to feel ready to go.

Making the Move

Where will you go? Of course, it’s not (just) a financial decision. We all need to seek the best home for our family, our careers and of course our own long-term happiness.

Many find happiness (and the ability to buy a house) in the NYC suburbs. The grass is literally greener in Montclair, Port Washington or New Rochelle.

Personally, we have owned a second home in Montauk for over 10 years. We love it there – so why not make a permanent move? It’s a work in progress, but an exciting adventure for our family. I’m mentally calling it #TheMontaukProject – you can expect more articles on the blog as we make progress!

Are you considering a move for your family? This is a big decision that can benefit from careful planning. We can help. Click here to schedule a short (and free!) introductory call to discuss your situation. 

Sara Stanich