I would like to push back on the idea that choosing a place where rent and cost of living is low is necessarily the right way to go to maximize savings. All of these articles seem to assume that if the cost of housing is high, everything else is also proportionally as high which is not necessarily the case. I'm going to illustrate with an example why this assumption makes a difference: Let's say you can live in City A and make $100,000 a year or live in City B and make $80000 a year. Also suppose that your cost of housing in City A is $2500 a month, whereas in City B it's $1500 a month. That means the percent of your income you spend on rent in City A is 30% whereas in City B it's only 22.5%. It seems like a no-brainer to work in City B, but that is making the implicit assumption that everything else in City B is also proportionally more expensive. After paying your housing costs in City A you have $100000 - $30000 left over, or $70000. In City B you only have $80000 - $18000 left over or $62000. So even though you're paying more money for housing in City A, you're still in a better off position than in City B (unless food/clothing/plane tickets/anything else you might spend your money on also costs more in City A). There are definitely situations where moving to the lower housing cost city makes sense, but that's certainly not always the case. You really have to look at the numbers.
I'm off for a week in May to Paris and Copenhagen! So excited! I wish I could congratulate myself on my great timing, but we've been thinking about this for a while and it just fortuitously worked out this way. It really is pretty insane -- prix-fixe dinners in Paris that would usually be around $50 a person are now around $35 for three courses.
@garli Same here.
@Tams That makes sense, thank you for sharing.
@Tams A 5 figure marriage penalty? Are you sure of this? The only place on that figure where that seems to be possible is making nearly 400k jointly at minimum. In which case, I wouldn't think $10000 in taxes would make much difference about one's marriage decisions. Is this because of the kids?
I give through my company since they match 50% of whatever you pledge (as long as it goes to human welfare organizations and not universities, religious institutions or animal welfare organization). Currently donate $24 per 2 week paycheck (with the match that's equivalent to $36) for a total of $936 a year, equally divided between Planned Parenthood, Partners in Health and Asha for Education (helping low-income children get better schooling in India). On the face of it, that looks ridiculously low -- I could definitely afford to donate more.
I don't understand the American obsession with part-time work for teenagers. It's definitely not a part of my culture (Indian) though I'm sure all the studying we did made up for it. When I do have kids though (most likely in the US), I'm really not going to push them into doing part-time work before they're out of college -- I'd rather they focus on things that will yield more long-term dividends. There's more than enough time for them to figure out how to get a paycheck.
This piece really resonated with me because I feel that this is a huge part of the reason we're moving to our new, nicer (and more expensive) apartment in June. It's not that we don't have people over to our place right now, but I'm always feeling like I should apologize for the crappiness of the apartment (an urge which I resist) and the poor floor plan makes it difficult to have more than a couple people over at a time. The new place will have a second bedroom (and bathroom) and is just much nicer in general so I can easily host overnight guests (my parents visiting from India!) without having them sleep on an air mattress in the living room (which is what a friend of ours did for two months). My childhood house was always alive with visitors coming and going -- so much social activity, many dinners and parties hosted. I loved that and I want to try to recreate some of it here. We'll see how it goes.
@maxwelljd Used a lot in the actuarial world at my company as well -- lots of more senior people who are "individual contributors", whether by choice or not.
@annecara If this makes you feel any better, I racked up $200 in library fines in my old university library in India (which is particularly impressive considering most things are much cheaper there), by borrowing a book almost the first month of my tenure there, and then promptly losing it. Of course, I was too ashamed to admit I had lost it, so I just avoided the library, using impeccable teenage logic. In the end, they wouldn't let me graduate without paying the fines, so it was all for naught.