November 27, 2004

Earnings and relocation

I'm currently awaiting an offer letter from a potential employer out of state from where I live. Because this would obviously require me to move, I've been sitting down one final time to try to figure out how much money I would have to earn at this new place in order to make the move worthwhile.

I have two floors: one based off of my income at the city, the other based off of my income at Microsoft. Even though the cost of living at this new location is 13% higher than where I currently live, I have some very specific cost-of-living factors that I have to factor in. Fortunately, because of my previous research, I've calculated that I will need to net approximately an additional $15,000. The flat number for extra living expenses and expenses that will remain here due to long-term commitments that I can't get out of makes the calculations a lot easier.

At the city, my annual gross is approximately $44,000, and my annual net is approximately $33,000. Assuming an equivalent tax rate, that means that I will have to add an extra $20,000 to my gross. In other words, it is pointless for me to move for anything less than $64,000. At that level, I'm essentially breaking even.

To be comfortable, I should be making about what I was back at Microsoft. At Microsoft, I was grossing about $53,000 not including bonuses. I was netting about $36,000. Assuming an equivalent tax rate, I'll have to add an extra $22,000 to my annual gross. So in order for me to be significantly enough ahead to make it truly worth my time and effort to relocate, I'll have to be earning $75,000.

Doing math like this sucks. There is nothing quite as humbling as distilling your life and experience down to a dollar value.

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