This question comes from a regular Get Rich Slowly reader who needs some help making some life-changing decisions. She's reaching out to the GRS readers for some advice.
Between the two of us, my then-boyfriend and I had a moderate amount of savings. We had both paid off all of our debt — cars, student loans and all credit cards. We were proud of ourselves and felt ahead of other 26-year-olds we knew.
About 25 percent of his savings was in a retirement account and 75 percent in cash. And mine was the opposite, about 75 percent in retirement accounts and 25 percent in cash. When we moved in together we put together a budget with YNAB (which I love and have been using for three years now) and determined how much we could start saving moving forward, now that we had eliminated dual expenses like rent and utilities and significantly decreased things like gas because we wouldn't be driving 240 miles round trip to see each other every weekend.
I pushed for a 50 percent savings rate, which was heavily influenced by my frequent reading of early retirement blogs like MMM and AllYouNeedIsEnough (which recently went offline… does anyone know why? Kind of sad about that). In addition to early retirement we discussed saving for a new car, because his was so old, a long vacation or just saving it all for an emergency. He really didn't want to commit to a defined goal so ultimately we weren't saving for anything in particular.
Then in September he proposed. Awwww. We were so happy and now we had a definite goal to save for. We set the date for June 2014 and a budget of 15k. This budget would use the entirety of our current cash savings, but we would be able to build our savings back up to roughly that same amount by the time of our wedding, according to our current budget — which wavered between a 30 to 50 percent savings rate, depending mostly on how much we ate out any given month.
Change of plans!
Come December the unthinkable happened. My fiance lost his job and we were devastated. I had just moved in with him and found a new job only six months prior. We had planned to be here for a long time. Thankfully he is extremely skilled, and while he was interviewing for full-time jobs, he was able to take on a temporary freelance gig for the month of December, which sidestepped any lapse in income.
We knew immediately we would have to move out of our current city in the Midwest. There aren't many jobs in our industry and our families lived elsewhere so we really had nothing else keeping us here. He received two job offers, one in the Midwest near our families and one on the East Coast. The East Coast offer was a far better fit for him and better for us financially.
His new company is going to reimburse us up to $2,000 for moving expenses, but with flying there to look at apartments, paying off the rest of our lease at the old apartment, the actual hauling of our stuff across the country and the huge chunk of money we have to put down on an apartment in the new, higher-cost-of-living area, that $2,000 really only covers about 16 percent of the total cost of the move.
Needless to say the cost of the move will consume most of our cash savings. We decided it was the right decision for us for a few reasons. One is that the job is a great opportunity for his career. The area we are moving to has MANY more jobs for me and my line of work. The new area is a lot more urban and fun and has far more creative resources (we are creative types) than where we currently are. We never wanted to stay in our current area permanently and I had always felt like it was kind of a waste of our 20's to be living somewhere so isolated and suburban. We don't have kids or anything tying us down, which really isn't a reason in favor of moving, but we figure now is the best time to take a risk and an adventure.
Another way we are rationalizing the move is that we still think we can rebuild our savings in enough time to pay for the wedding and we still have our retirement savings. What do you think, is the move worth depleting all of our cash savings in the short term for a better financial future in the long term?
Author: Ellen Cannon
Ellen Cannon was the editorial director of the financial services sites at QuinStreet from 2010-2015. She has covered personal finance for magazines and websites for more than 20 years, including five years as managing editor of Bankrate.com. She lives in South Florida with her kitty and sunshine.