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#1 of 27 Old 04-25-2011, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We live in MA, but dh recently got a job (yay!) in CT. His commute is about 11/2 hrs each way. I have family that lives in CT, so he has been staying with either my brother or my mom a couple of nights a week and coming home to us mid-week and on the weekends. Not ideal, but it's working as a short term solution.

 

When he got the job, his boss told him he never hires out of state bcs the commute time kills efficiency and energy. We had been talking about moving back to CT anyway, so it was a non-issue. But now it is looking more flexible.

 

Anyway, we want to make a smart decision and make sure we have considered everything thoroughly before we make the jump.

 

DH's take home is about $4500/mo. There is supposed to be a performance bonus, but until I see it, I don't want it to factor in.  And we won't see it for awhile (if at all - excuse the skepticism)

 

COL is considerably higher in CT. We are currently renting a 3 br house for $1275.  All the houses we have seen on Craigslist are between $1600-$2000. 

 

We are currently on MassHealth and I believe the threshold is $75k for a family. If we move to CT we will lose that. Our acct. says kids might be eligible for "Husky" in CT, but dh and I wouldn't be.  Employer will cover 50% of health ins, but this is still in the works and I don't know what the plan looks like.

 

We are currently participating in WIC and reduced lunch.  We had a horrible year last year  and dh has had no income until this week, so unless the bonus becomes reality, we will still qualify for these programs, I believe.

 

School are better in CT, I have family in CT.

 

With all the driving dh would be doing if we stayed here, and with gas over $4/gallon, the money we'd save in gas might make up for the rent increase. But I'd like to follow the 25% rule of thumb for housing costs, and I don't see that being possible.

 

With all his driving, though, he has significant tax write-offs .

 

We want to make sure this job "sticks" before we uproot our family, but the reality is that we live in a very isolated area, and if the job were to fall apart, being in CT would put us closer to many more job opportunities...

 

Sorry this is so long, and I know there is a lot to consider, but if you have any thoughts, I'd REALLY appreciate your input!

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#2 of 27 Old 04-25-2011, 04:46 PM
 
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If the commute is only 1-1/2 hrs., I would definitely stay put.  Possibly for a full year if you could handle it.  I don't see the cost of gas outweighing the increase in rent, healthcare costs and possibly losing WIC and reduced lunch.  In a year, you'd at least know whether this job is going to work out and whether it would be worth the move.  Since you have family there, if he loses this job & your concern is being closer to them--he could stay with family to find another one without you losing the existing benefits.  When you move to a new state, you have residency restrictions that dictate living there for a period of time before qualifying (if I'm not mistaken).  So that would be hard.

 

That being said, having your family apart like that is ROUGH.  So I can understand the itch to go.  :(


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#3 of 27 Old 04-25-2011, 05:45 PM
 
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I would definitely move, if it were me.

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#4 of 27 Old 04-25-2011, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am conflicted.

 

On one hand, the reason we were planning on moving (before this job ever popped up) is bcs there is NO work where we live.  Everybody has two and three jobs to make ends meet, because the jobs that ARE available are so low paying, and seasonal. Any decent work is going to be a long commute. But the COL increase makes me nervous, esp. since his current salary (minus bonus) is enough to keep us above water at our current level  but if we move, our expenses increase substantially. And I'd rather have us unemployed (if things don't work out) in a low cost of living area. But it's HARD to look for new work when work is so far away....

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#5 of 27 Old 04-26-2011, 09:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by cristina47454 View Post

I am conflicted.

 

On one hand, the reason we were planning on moving (before this job ever popped up) is bcs there is NO work where we live.  Everybody has two and three jobs to make ends meet, because the jobs that ARE available are so low paying, and seasonal. Any decent work is going to be a long commute. But the COL increase makes me nervous, esp. since his current salary (minus bonus) is enough to keep us above water at our current level  but if we move, our expenses increase substantially. And I'd rather have us unemployed (if things don't work out) in a low cost of living area. But it's HARD to look for new work when work is so far away....



And that was my feeling... that the costs when you move could be bad enough that if he was out of work, you'd be sunk.

 

This is temporary, though.  Can you find out what services you'd qualify for in CT and how long you have to establish residency to qualify?  Knowing all of that could really help you make a more solid decision--knowing exactly what costs you'd actually be incurring, ya know?


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#6 of 27 Old 04-26-2011, 09:33 AM
 
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How much of his commute is in MA and how much in CT? Could you consider moving closer to the CT border, reducing his commute time, but still maintaining the advantage of living in MA?

 

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#7 of 27 Old 04-28-2011, 12:42 AM
 
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Well for starters I don't take craigslist at face value.  If you can GO TO mass and check out the rental situation. See whats truly available, what the houses look like, where they are etc. 

Does your husbands job offer health insurance at some point?  He needs to call HR and find out.

 

Right now I would wait and see how the job work out.  *for me* there are just too many unknowns at this point.  Also while DH is in mass he can be looking for other work etc.

 

Wait and see, if the job turns out to be 'good', if there is some type of health benefits, bonus structure, etc then think about moving,  if not at least DH is near the city/mass and has access to a better job market and can possibly get a diff offer.


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#8 of 27 Old 04-28-2011, 07:09 PM
 
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With all his driving, though, he has significant tax write-offs .

I'd double check with a CPA on this if you haven't already - even though the drive is long it might just be considered a regular commute and not deductible, these rules are tricky.

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#9 of 27 Old 04-28-2011, 07:54 PM
 
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ummm, where are you looking in CT?  there are DEFINITELY rentals available for less than that depending on where you look.  My house is 1560 square feet (just looked it up!) and I could get around $1500 if I was lucky...and it's in good shape, in a good neighborhood.  4 years ago I rented a house on a half an acre that was centrally located.  It was 1100 square feet with 3 bedrooms.  I paid $1100 a month.  Before that I rented a two bedroom in a very coveted CT town and paid $850 before utilities....I think you need to poke around a bit more.

 

As for insurance, Husky would be doable for kids, but maybe not for you guys.

 

I'm really not sure your expenses would increase that much...and there are certainly options.  Just sayin'  The town you move to will determine that, but if you can't do the town he's working in, neighboring towns should have something a bit less.

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#10 of 27 Old 04-29-2011, 04:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Cheshire View Post

 

I'd double check with a CPA on this if you haven't already - even though the drive is long it might just be considered a regular commute and not deductible, these rules are tricky.



Good point...it never occurred to me that this might be the case. I was going from past experience when he was in sales.

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#11 of 27 Old 04-29-2011, 05:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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ummm, where are you looking in CT?  there are DEFINITELY rentals available for less than that depending on where you look.  My house is 1560 square feet (just looked it up!) and I could get around $1500 if I was lucky...and it's in good shape, in a good neighborhood.  4 years ago I rented a house on a half an acre that was centrally located.  It was 1100 square feet with 3 bedrooms.  I paid $1100 a month.  Before that I rented a two bedroom in a very coveted CT town and paid $850 before utilities....I think you need to poke around a bit more.

 

As for insurance, Husky would be doable for kids, but maybe not for you guys.

 

I'm really not sure your expenses would increase that much...and there are certainly options.  Just sayin'  The town you move to will determine that, but if you can't do the town he's working in, neighboring towns should have something a bit less.


We are looking in the towns that I know have strong school systems.  We lived in CT for several years bfr moving to MA, so I have some familiarity with Hartford County and was basing our search on what I know. ALso looking in towns that were rated in CT Magazine as having good schools. He works in Middletown, which seems to have mostly apts to rent, and from what I hear (from people that live - and even teach -there) the schools are less than desirable. Can you give me some direction? PM me if you'd be more comfortable!

 

Again, I'm basing my numbers on Craigslist, which someone pointed out was not always a reliable indicator.  Is there a better way to find house rentals? I would much prefer a house, as we have 3 small kids and a small dog...and will most likely stay for a couple years until we can be in a situation to be able to buy. We do have a lead on a two family, but that is far from my ideal...

 

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#12 of 27 Old 04-29-2011, 06:32 AM
 
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I did a 1.5 hr commute for a year, albeit before I had kids. My work involved late nights every week (9am-10pm). It was hideous. BUT it was doable short term.

 

I would rec that he suck up the commute and do it every day for a set amount of time (say, a year) and then re-assess. By then you should know the stability of his job ANd the lay of the land, rent wise.

 

It seems like MA is a better fit for you right now and while things are uncertain with this new job. If his emplyer insists that you move, would they help with costs?


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#13 of 27 Old 04-29-2011, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies. My first instinct was, of course, to move. It helps to hear other perspectives bcs it makes me realize it's not a forgone conclusion! The part-time away from home is working for us so far, but it's only been a couple of weeks. I worry about the long term implications on the kids and on our marriage, so it's doubtful this could be more than a temporary solution. But there is no rush to make a decision (other than courtesy of telling our landlords with enough notice)

 

I am a little sad bcs I've just started teaching dance locally and there is def. an opportunity to grow the rec program where I am teaching as well as teaching at the studio where my daughter takes ballet. But it's impossible to make plans for the fall when everything is so up in the air.  Such is life...

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#14 of 27 Old 04-30-2011, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DH has decided that he is going to do the drive everyday instead of staying with my parents in the nearby town. He hates living out of a suitcase and he hates not being able to sleep in his own bed.  I'm worried about the wear and tear on him and I'm not that crazy on the wear and tear on the car either.  Or the money that he will be spending on gas. Guess we'll see how it goes...

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#15 of 27 Old 05-01-2011, 11:08 AM
 
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While you're factoring in the expenses of the move, also remember that you will have state taxes done for both states because he works in one state and lives in the other..there's more in regards to expenses/costs that you need to count

 

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#16 of 27 Old 05-01-2011, 11:25 AM
 
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I would not do the 1 1/2 hour commute each day.  If you need to spend 1600 in Ct for a house and you are currently paying 1275...well a good part of that $325 would be eaten up with gas.  Yikes!   Plus, all the wear and tear on the vehicle.

 

Ultimately what i would do, is have him continue to stay with family during the week and see how the job works out and then take your time really looking for a good, affordable rental.  You're lucky in that you don't have to rush into anything, you can really take your time and look.   So, I would just do what you are doing know, but keep your eyes open for good places to move to and plan on moving when the right house comes along. 


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#17 of 27 Old 05-01-2011, 05:19 PM
 
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If the job is in Middletown, I would look in Middlesex county and south even as far south as Old Saybrook. The commute from Middletown north would/will be brutal. I would just go down the map for towns along or near Route 9. You can look over to Durham, Middlefield, etc

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#18 of 27 Old 05-02-2011, 07:34 AM
 
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I would move and would try to get it done before school starts in the fall.  15 hours in the car per week is not sustainable IMO or experence. Plus since you live where there is winter. It gets much worse on crummy road conditions. You are spending $400 per month on gas (assuming $4 gas, 30 mgp vehicle, and 150 mile round trip).  More importantly that is 15 hours that your DH is not being a partner, a parent, or taking care of his own need to relax, exercise, ect.  It's like two extra work days per week. 

 

I would use this summer to figure out things and look for a place.  Could you all stay at your folk for some 3-4 day stints and then you and the kids could look at housing and school posibilities?

 

While I do think you need to get your insurance figured out before DH commits long term to this job.  I really think the other support you get is pretty negible in value and is going to disappear when you have to recertify (WIC) or fill out the school paper work (reduced lunch) for next year regardless of your location.   

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#19 of 27 Old 05-02-2011, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the continued support. It seems like the btwn the two of us, our decision-making is getting flakier, not more sound.  Thank goodness for all of your input.  It really does help. I can't really ask friends or family...we have been too embarrassed to tell anybody that we're "in the system". Yesterday, after looking at our budget, he realized that $400+ in gas is a huge problem so he decided to stay with my mom after all.  And yesterday we flip flopped, pretty dramatically and emphatically, about moving vs. not moving.  Sigh. A lot of you have brought up points that would not have occurred to us, so thank you again, and feel free to continue to chime in. I often start conversation with "My frugality and finance board says....":)

 

We had originally been thinking summer would be the ideal time to relocate bcs of school starts, etc.  But dang, now that it's May, summer feels like it's on top of us already.  *stress*

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#20 of 27 Old 05-02-2011, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How much of his commute is in MA and how much in CT? Could you consider moving closer to the CT border, reducing his commute time, but still maintaining the advantage of living in MA?

 

Guin



We're about 10 minutes from the CT border, but not near any major roads, so it's a lot of country roads.  We could move but still in MA but I don't think we would get significantly closer...maybe the commute would become 1 hr each way. I may be misdirected but it seems like a lot of hassle to move and still have two hours in the car every day

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#21 of 27 Old 05-03-2011, 11:50 AM
 
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Generally, expenses for commuting between your home and regular place of employment are not tax deductible (and travel for a commissioned sales job is) but ask an accountant.

 

How old are your children?  Are they already established in schools, teams/activities, long-term friendships?  How would they benefit if they were closer to family on CT?  If you are considering making the move, it might be easier on them to do it sooner rather than once they are older.

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#22 of 27 Old 05-04-2011, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Louise Waugh View Post

Generally, expenses for commuting between your home and regular place of employment are not tax deductible (and travel for a commissioned sales job is) but ask an accountant.

 

How old are your children?  Are they already established in schools, teams/activities, long-term friendships?  How would they benefit if they were closer to family on CT?  If you are considering making the move, it might be easier on them to do it sooner rather than once they are older.


The kids  are 9, 7 and 2.  I'm not worried about the 7 and 2 yos. But the 9yo is slow to make friends and is just this year, in 4th grade starting to get her feet underneath her :(  Kind of sad that she is going to have to start from scratch, but like you said, probably better sooner than later.  That is what was guiding my decision-making initially.  Just wanted to make sure I took a step back and saw it from all angles.

 

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#23 of 27 Old 05-04-2011, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by angelcollector1 View Post

While you're factoring in the expenses of the move, also remember that you will have state taxes done for both states because he works in one state and lives in the other..there's more in regards to expenses/costs that you need to count

 



This was already our case, so that part of it is a wash. Thanks for pointing it out...I'm sure I would not have considered that.

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#24 of 27 Old 05-10-2011, 06:31 AM
 
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Hi just saw your post and thought I'd chime in since we're in CT. My DH works in Middletown and commutes a little less than 30min. We live on the east side of the CT River and the value is much better here (schools are good too). We moved from a much cheaper part of the country and the COL hasn't been too bad in our area. DH loves his commute too becuase its pretty much a straight shot with a couple of lights so it's a very easy commute.


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#25 of 27 Old 05-10-2011, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ooh! Would you mind me asking what town you are in? (PM if you'd feel more comfortable...)

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#26 of 27 Old 05-10-2011, 10:43 AM
 
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We are looking in the towns that I know have strong school systems.  We lived in CT for several years bfr moving to MA, so I have some familiarity with Hartford County and was basing our search on what I know. ALso looking in towns that were rated in CT Magazine as having good schools. He works in Middletown, which seems to have mostly apts to rent, and from what I hear (from people that live - and even teach -there) the schools are less than desirable. Can you give me some direction? PM me if you'd be more comfortable!

 

Again, I'm basing my numbers on Craigslist, which someone pointed out was not always a reliable indicator.  Is there a better way to find house rentals? I would much prefer a house, as we have 3 small kids and a small dog...and will most likely stay for a couple years until we can be in a situation to be able to buy. We do have a lead on a two family, but that is far from my ideal...


 

Sorry I didn't see this earlier, I wasnt' getting notifications for some reason.  I'm in Hartford county, but we do private school (as we don't have a strong system here) though the surrounding towns do.  Middletown is maybe 25 minutes from me, but Newington may be an option?  Good schools, low COL (for CT), good town, very centrally located etc.  I've looked at a few great houses for around 200k, and while that doesn't help a ton it does show there's good value there.  I'll have to think about things that are less expensive with good schools and closer to Middletown, it's not an area of the state I'm in often....but earthmama369 and clovergirl are both around there and may know better.  I also have an MDC friend who's a realtor and could hook you up with some rental action.  If you want to go that route let me know and I'll get you contact info.  Perhaps if you post in FYT you'll get some nutmeg ladies to weigh in.

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#27 of 27 Old 05-10-2011, 08:53 PM
 
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You mention that one of your children is sensitive to change.  Having your kids comfortable and happy at school is a huge thing. Your husband is the adult and perhaps he's the one who should take on the discomfort of the situation until you are all absolutely sure that moving is the right thing for your family to do. Every marriage, family and child is different when it comes to these decisions. You and your husband know what your children can and cannot handle.

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