I'm appreciating all of the perspectives and input. I'm interested to see so many of you bringing up the dress as a factor. From DH's perspective, the only issues with the button downs and slacks is that we'd need to have ironed button downs (so ironing ourselves or doing dry cleaning) and perhaps the expense of adding to his wardrobe. So, hassle and minor expense. The 3 weeks of vacation feels like a big hit to us. All of our extended family (both sides) lives in the same area, about 5 hours from us. We do pretty frequent trips there, as well as trying to do an annual week long vacation with just our little family. We use all of his vacation time. Going down to 3 weeks would really change that dynamic. The kids and I might end up doing trips to see family without him, which none of us would be happy about. Also, he currently gets 1 week paternity leave, but at Job A he'd only get 3 days, so staying home for 2 weeks after a birth (we're hoping for #3 in 2013) would burn through half of his vacation time. We don't know about paternity leave at Job B. However, we have run the numbers and officially he'd have more time home with the shorter commute and less vacation time.
I too agree that the salaries are so high that it feels ridiculous to reject Job A at "only" $100K. We're both 30. We married very young and broke. I had no clue that DH had the potential for such a high salary so young. We are also looking at long term financial plans. Job B would obviously allow us to reach those goals faster - finishing off our emergency fund, retirement, college savings, perhaps Waldorf school for the kids, buying a van with cash in 2012, buying a house (while selling our current house). We'd also be able to afford some things to help off set the commute energy and time drain, like some lunches out for DH (who mostly packs his own), and a house keeping service. We are hoping to move to a bigger house slightly closer to Job B in about 2 years. If we take Job B, that would be very doable, but it would really only shave about 10-15 minutes off the commute. At Job A we'd likely take longer to move, but then again, with the shorter commute it would matter less, and we'd be able to move within our suburb without having to try to get closer to the interstate.
DH and I talked late into the night about the jobs themselves, work environments, and career paths. As a programmer, you can more or less take a managerial/business job path or a architect job path. DH is most interested in the architect route. At Job A he would be in a mentor role, which he would enjoy and thrive in. However, the company is using quite out dated methodologies, and he'd be working to move them to the current methodologies, which he is very familiar with. Assuming he stays in the job 5-10 years, when he's leaving, he may not be up to date and experienced on the most current methodologies. He would be moving more in the direction of management, and would have to really work to keep himself up to date on current methodology, in his own time and with his own self discipline. Likely, he'd be taking the managerial job path in the long run if he took this job. It is a very valid job path, and one he could do well at. He is very excited at the prospect of the mentor role. However, it's not really the job path he wants long term. Also, in leaving the financial industry (which he's not feeling burnt out on at all), it would be hard to return to it. The financial industry is where the amazing salary and the 4 weeks vacation are pretty standard. Also, during this job search, everyone has asked for his current salary before making an offer. If he's coming in with a lower salary, he's likely to get lower offers next go round.
At Job B, he would have a peer group of senior level coders. He thrives in peer group environments. They'd work together and help keep each other up to date with high level discussions. He has a very positive impression of the environment there, both from the interviews, and from two very well respected former coworkers that are there now. It would be hard to push ahead to an architect role there with so many similar level peers, but in 5-10 years, he would be very up to date and experienced in current methodologies. It would definitely keep him on the right career track.
At the moment, if Job B says that working from home 1 day a week is do-able, I think he'll take Job B. That said, we're both struggling with letting go of the shorter commute. If you'd told me at the beginning of this process that he'd have a job offer with a much shorter commute and a 22% salary increase that we would be considering rejecting, I wouldn't have believed it for the world.