Sanity Check on Job Offer with a Big Move

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DVMResident
Posts: 1511
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:15 pm

Sanity Check on Job Offer with a Big Move

Post by DVMResident »

I've received a job offer I'm planning on accepting. It's a big move from the West coast to Boston. I would like a sanity check:

Family unit:
36/39 plus 1 pre-school age child

Current employer:
Base:$135k (me)
Bonus: $24k
Match: $16.5k
Equity: ~$24 (vested now, distributing every year)
Vacation: 3 weeks plus major holidays/1 week winter shutdown
Pros: I like the people, the work, and the location
Cons: unstable employment, advancement prospects are not great coupled with weak raises on promotions, excessive bureaucracy (Megacorp)

The offer:
Base: $165k
Bonus: $30k
Match: $9k
Equity: $85k/yr which will start distributing in 1 year and ramp up to full distribution at 4 years ($25k--> $52 --> $79 --> $85)
ESSP: ~$4k+/yr (15% discount with lookback, vests immediately)
Vacation: 4(!) weeks + 2 floater days plus major holidays/1 week winter shutdown
Pros: better advancement opportunities, will learn a new part of the industry (this is exciting and should be fun/challenging), mid-size company (decent resources, less bureaucracy)
Cons: location, unstable employment, DW would lose a mediocre job (she doesn't like it, pay is low, but it's semi-flexible hours which is nice with a young kiddo), extended family will be 3k miles away instead of 150 (not that we see them that much now)
Wash: COLA is slightly higher but taxes are lower/roughly a wash'


EDIT: there were excellent questions/thoughts below. I've bucketed them and the responses below:

Taxes: Watty, good call on the taxes. I’ve already checked the income taxes, they do go up because of the increased income. If comparing even MA income-to-CA income, it’s about ~$4k less a year in Boston than CA.

Relo (@Watty and @Murgatroyd): relo package is nice. They provide packers and movers. Corporate housing for 2 months and a 5(!) day housing hunting trip with babysitting (!) plus 3 days of extra vacation the first year for moving. I pushed for a pre-decision tour but they won’t.

Living: we rent now (for way below market; I’m sad to give it up, but it's a temporary spot anyways). We’d probably rent there, especially the first year (settle into job, DW looks for jobs as commutes are a big deal, etc.). I’m agonistic on buy vs rent. Whatever the numbers tell me.

Commute: well understood! I’m from originally from LA and understand the life-sucking side of commuting. I will pay more for a better commute (along with school).

Wife’s outlook: DW feels “this is the right choice.” Boston is not her forever location or mine, but it’s fine for a career move for a number of years.
Watty wrote:
A big question isn't how this job compares to your current job, it is how it compares to other jobs you could get either on the west coast or someplace else.

Boston is by far the best area from my field with Bay area being the next. I’ve been looking for a move for ~14 months and turned down 2 other offers. This job certainly pays the most and is the biggest growth opportunity both in terms of position and being a new part of the pipeline.
GmanJeff wrote: Over an extended period of time, you could potentially accumulate significantly more wealth than you will if you stay put, enhancing your future retirement while perhaps modestly improving your current quality of life thanks to more disposable income.

That’s the plan. We currently save $71k/yr now plus ~half the equity that vests. I budget with a fear-like FIRE mindset due to the instability. I'm increasingly resistant to industry instability and have 3~4 years of living expenses in taxables. Moreover, instability/layoff is an opportunity for Roth conversions and realizing some gains!
BrooklynInvest wrote: I moved from the east coast to the west for a job a few years ago. I didn't like it and came back after a year.

BUT . . . not for one second do I regret the experience. I explored a different part of the country, met new people, learned and grew professionally and rode my motorcycle for miles through some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. Even though I only stayed a while it helped my career and my bank balance - the sizable raise I got to move was my new base when I came back east.

Exactly! I figure in the worst case this is a grand adventure and chance to learn about a huge part of the USA.
Murgatroyd wrote:

This looks like your step up job. I assume the next promotion is VP? Perhaps this is a junior VP. If your dream/ambition is the executive suite this looks like your shot. You are the right age.

Title wise, this is a baby bump (Senior Principal Scientist to Associate Director) with Director targeted soon after (deliver value while building a team, then reach critical mass, deliver more value --> promote) but the pay is a step up obviously. If you know the pharma world, this is moving closer to the MDs/clinical side, which commands higher titles/salaries than the rest of the field. You’re exactly right: the level of work I would like to reach is a Senior Director or VP (though this is less about title and more about scope).
Last edited by DVMResident on Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Thecallofduty
Posts: 90
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:59 am

Re: Sanity Check on Job Offer with a Big Move

Post by Thecallofduty »

Sounds like you are investing in yourself with this move. You state you will have better long term career advancement opportunities by taking this offer. With only 1 preschooler should not be too difficult to make the move hopefully

I see no major red flags. I assume you plan to rent? You can live within your means (for now assume no secondary income since nothing is lined up for DW).

Work hard and hopefully things pay off for you and the fam.

Nice new city btw. :D
-thecallofduty
time>money
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:24 pm

Re: Sanity Check on Job Offer with a Big Move

Post by time>money »

For me, what stands out is that you anticipate finding the work fun and challenging. Also, none of your cons seems compelling. The instability con is shared by both positions, your wife loses a lame job she doesn’t like, and it’s harder to see family you don’t see much anyway. The way you frame the decision suggests you are looking forward to making this change, and understandably so if you will be able to enjoy your career more. Congratulations on this new opportunity :beer
worthit
Posts: 295
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:10 pm

Re: Sanity Check on Job Offer with a Big Move

Post by worthit »

The listed pros outweigh the cons. Your wife may be able to find a better suited position as well. That is also a possibility. I think the move will be worthwhile given that it will be professionally rewarding and you are in the right place in your life with kids not in school yet.

Good luck.
Maven
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Re: Sanity Check on Job Offer with a Big Move

Post by Maven »

Aspects of the two jobs aside, do you and your wife WANT to live in Boston? If that answer is at all shaky, I would be concerned.
OnTrack2020
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Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:24 am

Re: Sanity Check on Job Offer with a Big Move

Post by OnTrack2020 »

What does your wife want to do? There's not a lot of info provided regarding your current housing situation, what type of weather you prefer, or school situation.

You did mention that you like the work, the people, and the location. That is such a big positive going for you! Location, do you mean the geographical region or the proximity to your workplace?

Me, personally, I wouldn't live on the east side of the country. It's very different from the western side. You haven't mentioned where on the west coast you live, but if it's more southern, I would stay, simply because of the weather.

You haven't mentioned your housing situation, but I'm assuming it will be more expensive in Boston??? Don't know.

Have you looked into school systems there? How about where you are currently?

I don't know if I would make a major move from one unstable industry into another unstable industry.
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Watty
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Re: Sanity Check on Job Offer with a Big Move

Post by Watty »

Moving is expensive especially if you have to buy and sell a house. What is the relocation package like?

If you will be giving up a 2.5% mortage and getting a new 4.5% mortage that will also be a big factor.

I once did a cross country relocation for a job within the same company during a merger when I had a kid in middle school. One of the major pulses was that the schools were a significantly better so be sure to factor that in. Be sure to actually visit the schools since in just five minutes you can sometimes get a better feel for the school than you would just get by looking at the numbers. For example we looked at one high school that had an OK rating and it turned out they had dozens of temporary classrooms(basically mobile homes) in their soccer field since the school was so overcrowded.

It sounds like your kid is young but the colleges that are available was a factor for me, but it is hard to predict where your kid will go to college even when they are older.

It would be worth spending a few bucks to buy Massachusetts tax software and doing a dummy tax return to see the after tax impact. The key number you are looking for is your after tax disposable income. Just eyeballing your numbers I would not be surprised if that doubles.

One thing to watch out for is that it can be hard to judge the commute in the new city. When I was looking at houses on the internet I saw some that looked interesting but when I learned more it turned out they would have had a bad commute so I ended up buying in a slightly more expensive area with a better commute.

A big question isn't how this job compares to your current job, it is how it compares to other jobs you could get either on the west coast or someplace else.
GmanJeff
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Re: Sanity Check on Job Offer with a Big Move

Post by GmanJeff »

If the weather in Boston doesn't faze you, and you'll be able to have a tolerable commute, this could be a good move if you're prudent with your increased compensation in terms of allocating much of it to increased saving and investing rather than to current lifestyle creep. Over an extended period of time, you could potentially accumulate significantly more wealth than you will if you stay put, enhancing your future retirement while perhaps modestly improving your current quality of life thanks to more disposable income.
BrooklynInvest
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Re: Sanity Check on Job Offer with a Big Move

Post by BrooklynInvest »

I moved from the east coast to the west for a job a few years ago. I didn't like it and came back after a year.

BUT . . . not for one second do I regret the experience. I explored a different part of the country, met new people, learned and grew professionally and rode my motorcycle for miles through some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. Even though I only stayed a while it helped my career and my bank balance - the sizable raise I got to move was my new base when I came back east.

But the experience and fun memories stay with me. Best of luck!
Murgatroyd
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Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:23 pm

Re: Sanity Check on Job Offer with a Big Move

Post by Murgatroyd »

This looks like your step up job. I assume the next promotion is VP? Perhaps this is a junior VP. If your dream/ambition is the executive suite this looks like your shot. You are the right age.

Everything else you’ve listed is stuff. There is only one question: how does your wife FEEL? If she is all in, go for it. But if there are any reservations, particularly if she even suspects she might miss home, she could make the experience living hell.

If you haven’t taken a “House hunting trip” with her to familiarize with the area, I suggest you do so before accepting the offer.

All the best to you.
Topic Author
DVMResident
Posts: 1511
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:15 pm

Re: Sanity Check on Job Offer with a Big Move

Post by DVMResident »

Wow, thank you all for wonderful thoughts and insightful questions.

I’ll include responses in the OP.
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Watty
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Re: Sanity Check on Job Offer with a Big Move

Post by Watty »

DVMResident wrote: Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:00 am Wife’s outlook: DW feels “this is the right choice.” Boston is not her forever location or mine, but it’s fine for a career move for a number of years.
That is hard to predict. When I took the transfer to Atlanta I was in my late 40's and the plan was to work their until I retired then move someplace else. We were even making a list of possible retirement destinations.

By the time I retired my son was married and had a kid and had bought a house nearby so we can frequently see them. Now we have two grandkids that live ten minutes away from us. With the family ties here there is no way now that we will be moving somewhere else for our retirement.

When your kid is older then you will also be more hesitant to move since it will disrupt their friendships and make them change school which can be really hard on kids, especially in high school.

Boston could very well end up being where you end up settling down. There are of course pros and cons to Boston but few people would argue that it is not a great city. It isn't like you would be taking a job in Anchorage or some small town in Wyoming.
Carefreeap
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Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Sanity Check on Job Offer with a Big Move

Post by Carefreeap »

BrooklynInvest wrote: Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:13 am I moved from the east coast to the west for a job a few years ago. I didn't like it and came back after a year.

BUT . . . not for one second do I regret the experience. I explored a different part of the country, met new people, learned and grew professionally and rode my motorcycle for miles through some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. Even though I only stayed a while it helped my career and my bank balance - the sizable raise I got to move was my new base when I came back east.

But the experience and fun memories stay with me. Best of luck!
Lol, I felt the same way when we moved from San Diego to Washington D.C. My dad (a Brooklynite) gave me the following "pep" talk:
You'll hate it. The weather is terrible, the people are all prejudiced and stick to tradition. You can always come back home. :oops:

I, too was glad for the experience but didn't like the DC culture of climbers who just wanted to know who you know. It was hard to make friendships.

We did give some brief thought about moving up to the Boston area, specifically Newberry Port as DH was in Tech, went to boarding school in the area and had some family.

Instead we relocated to the SF Bay Area which I really love. We've moved from here but kept the house. Delighted we could return.

OP I think you've thought through the issues. The big one for the "trailing spouse" is finding/creating a new support system. If she will be working outside the house it can be discouraging to find meaningful work if employers think she'll just up and move again. Be sensitive to the fact that while it may be a great move for you she may struggle to fit in and find her place. It's not uncommon for the trailing spouse to go through some bouts of depression. Be mindful of her emotional health.

Good luck and hope you have a wonderful adventure. Boston is a fun town!
Every day I can hike is a good day.
Topic Author
DVMResident
Posts: 1511
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:15 pm

Re: Sanity Check on Job Offer with a Big Move

Post by DVMResident »

Oh man, that "trailing spouses" hits home. We did once moving from LA. The social and career setbacks are real. And we're about to do it again.

I got an itch for the next thing and she's onboard. I think we got one more move in us max after this (will need to be pre-middle/HS for the kid's sake). The one good thing about Boston is a biotech/pharma hub and I can change without disrupting the family.
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