Would You Uproot Your Family For More Money?

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I was talking with a friend the other day about jobs and flexibility. With our economy slowly churning along and high-paying jobs being so scarce, the talk shifted toward moving. We both are married with children, yet we had different views on the subject. I figured I would see what you thought about this subject.

If you follow other blogs or even national blogs who cover the economy and jobs, you might hear some commenters tell those looking for jobs to move. Go where the jobs are. Hell, look at North Dakota. They are practically giving away jobs for those who want to work in oil and gas. Those are high paying jobs, yet they remain unfulfilled.


The location is not desirable. If I were by myself with no real ties to a location, then I would go. The money looks good, I could get my hands dirty producing energy, and it would be a new experience.

The family-man side of me puts a halt on this. When you have a family, moving for a higher paid job is a difficult decision. You can’t just think of yourself, but you have to think of everyone in the scenario. I thought my friend would think the same way, but I was wrong. When I asked him what he would do if a higher paid job came along, he said he would jump at the chance. Mind you, he has a wife, a child, and a house.

Moving Can Disrupt Everything


We just moved from one side of the city to another. It wasn’t for a job, but for a better area to raise our son. Now, that move was not fun. It took a toll on myself and my wife. There were a lot of issues with our Realtor and our home buyers. Though we were able to sell our home quickly, others in our area have not been so lucky. There are quite a few who have had their homes on the market for months and are still waiting for their homes to sell. The real estate market is pretty divided in our area.

If you decided to uproot your family for a higher paying job, you would need to sell your home, if you own it. This takes time and money. I just had a new manager in my day job leave the company because he couldn’t sell his home without losing a ton of money. He relocated from another state to work at the company and commuted back and forth each week. Once he realized he couldn’t sell his home without losing his shirt, he decided to quit. I get it.

Beyond selling your home, you have to deal with getting housing in the new area, then getting your vehicles moved, your kids out of school and into a new one, and your spouse a new job if he or she wants one. This is making my head spin just thinking about it and I am not moving anywhere.

But It’s More Money!


I believe this was my friend’s main argument. If a new job came with more money, he would uproot his family and go to a new place. He didn’t seem to think about it in any more detail. It was more money and that was the leading factor. Just as a note, he is doing OK for himself. They are not struggling for money, but more money is always welcome.

Is the prospect of more money the main motivating factor when thinking about uprooting your family for a new job? I know it surely isn’t for me. I am a planner at heart, and a defensive pessimist. I like to make sure I have all aspects covered with some sort of plan. If I were to move for more money, it would need to be for significantly more money and I would need a backup plan.

If you are single and have no ties in an area, then I would say get to moving to a better paying job. I actually recommend it for those who want to make more money. There are plenty of jobs in North Dakota which need to be filled. If you want to earn really good money, they want your number!

I would need a little more motivation to move and uproot my family from everything we have here. We have a lot of ties in the area and that keeps us here. We also have good jobs, good friends, and a nice house. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t be persuaded to leave, but it would have to be one hell of a negotiation!


So, what about you? Would you uproot your family to make more money? How important is the money in the decision to follow a higher paying job? Would you move to North Dakota for a good paying job?



Photo courtesy of: Marco Varisco

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Grayson is the owner of Debt Roundup and Empowered Shopper. He also co-owns Sprout Wealth and Eyes on the Dollar. After going to battle and winning against consumer debt, he decided it was time to learn how to use credit wisely and grow his wealth. He discusses all things personal finance and is not afraid of being controversial. He also is a freelance writer and blog manager.

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  • Well, it depends. Money is just one of the many factors. I’d also have to consider the community we’re moving into, my spouse, etc. There are so many factors that must be considered. Maybe your friend just hasn’t thought about it yet?

  • When we moved to a larger house over 20 years ago we just moved one street over. We loved the neighbourhood and didn’t want to have to have the kids change schools. So I get what you mean about not wanting to uproot your family.

  • Hmm, that is really tough! I most likely say no to more money but yes if it was an awesome career position. Money is super important, but sometimes those jobs in not fun places are turned over pretty quickly. I would rather find something that will pay me okay but will help me find a better position someday sooner.

  • I think it’s a matter of many circumstances. I would consider it for sure, but I would have many factors to consider first. I thought about leaving my area to move to a cheaper area of the country to live. It’s just me and I pay rent, so you think it would be easy, but it’s not. I have a great community of people here who have looked after me in one way or another. As a single person, that is huge. If I moved I’d have to start all over again. So for now I’m staying.

  • Robin says:

    Great topic! I would not move for more money. I think being happy with where you live is much more important than making more money. I feel like we have “enough” where we are, and we are happy here.

  • I would never uproot my family for more money. My kids like it here and we are close to my parents and extended family. That is worth more than money to me.

  • Both Rick and I are pretty close to our families, so I could never see us moving just for the money. There would have to be some bigger picture reasons for us to uproot everybody. Great post, Grayson.

  • Kathy says:

    Yes, I have relocated for more money. A couple of times. And I would especially say yes if I had no job or was really struggling. It is what you do to support your family. In you specific example of North Dakota, there are more jobs than just working in the oil field, but if I or my husband qualified for any of them, we would move. The fact that people have the option not to seek out this employment tells me that 1) they are not that bad off, or 2) they are ok with living on government benefits such as unemployment or welfare. I’m sure I’ll be labeled a hard hearted bitch but to not seek employment available in another location because you don’t want to leave your friends and family is a pretty immature position to take.

  • I’ve come to value flexibility even more than the amount of pay from my job these days. I’ve got lots of flexibility in my current job and I really enjoy it, so I doubt I would move just to get more pay. But it’s good to think about in case this scenario ever comes up.

  • It is certainly a tough call and one that needs a lot of thought put into it. I probably would not move either. But then I think of how so many people have left their families just to come to America to live the dream and I question why I wouldn’t do the same. Maybe because I am used to having it good here and don’t see the need to move just for more money.

  • Amy says:

    A decision like this clearly depends on individual circumstances. Even with kids and a home, a family in very difficult financial straits might welcome the move for a higher paying job.

    Although we’re working to pay down a lot of debt, this is not something we would consider for our family at this point.

    • Grayson Bell says:

      I agree with this. I think my friend and I are pretty similar with income and stability. My friend loves the thought of making more money, but I like to consider all factors.

  • Same as you…if I were single then the decision is simple. With a family, it is much more difficult. It really depends on the situation…if the money is a lot better, your career prospects are also better and the location is a good place to raise a family then it may be a good decision. While money is a factor, it is something I would base my entire decision on.

  • I would not uproot my family for money alone; however if it was money and a greater opportunity for me or hubby professionally and/or a better opportunity for my son and his experience, then I would make that call.

  • If I lost my job and had no other options then yes. We debated a few years ago about just moving closer to work and found that being closer to work didn’t mean more happiness for us. My wife has tons of friends in our neighborhood and so does my daughter. Can’t buy that with money. I’d rather have less money and a happy family than more money and have a home where people are miserable.

  • Our family isn’t ‘rooted’ yet, but once we are I wouldn’t want to change it! Jobs come and go but to me the relationships and sense of stability are more important.

  • Liz says:

    Picking between a better paying job and living close to your family is such a difficult decision to make! If I had to make the decision right now it would have to be a really much better paying job to make us leave our current home and family/friends.

  • We did relocate as my boyfriend got a promotion, but it’s just the two of us, so we didn’t have to think too hard about it. Uprooting a family is a whole different matter, and I think it depends on the circumstances. My family moved when I was about 8, and I was adamant about staying in the same school system. Luckily, we found a house not too far from our old one, so everything stayed the same. I was terrified of starting over!

    If the income is a significant bump, and it means a better quality of life, it’s worth considering, especially if you’re just making ends meet.

  • Kim says:

    I would not uproot my family unless we did not have work that could sustain our lifestyle. In that case,I’d move to wherever before I’d lose our house and go into debt.

    I know lots of families from our area who have gone to work in ND. Usually it’s the husband, and he will go work for 3-4 mos at a time and come home for a month or so. There is a huge lack of housing, so generally they live in travel trailers. I even know one guy who rents out half of his trailer to make even more money!

    I guess it’s good and bad. It allows the Moms to stay at home where normally they would need to be a two income family, but then you’re essentially a single parent for much of the year and then you have to readjust back into family life.

    I don’t think it would be sustainable for the long term,but if you saved the money instead of increasing your lifestyle, it could mean early retirement, paying off a home, etc. That would be tempting, especially for laborer type jobs that generally don’t pay much in most areas of the country.

  • Mrs. 1500 says:

    Growing up, we moved a lot. Sometimes it was for a promotion, sometimes it was for a better job. I am 42 and in my 27th house. I have never lived in a house for more than 5 years. Ever. My dad did what he had to do to support our family, which is what a responsible person SHOULD do.

    I have a cousin who lost his job. He lives in a small town, and there really isn’t anything else on the same level that he was working before. He would be able to get a same-level job if he would move, but he “can’t leave the only town he has ever known.” So he sits, on unemployment, doing nothing.

    I don’t know if I would move solely for money, but I am also in a different position than most people. I would move for a great opportunity, and I would absolutely move for a job if I didn’t have one.

  • Cat says:

    As you know I have moved all around the world in pursuit of my husband’s career – however once he’s done with all of this and the kids are in school I’d be more hesitant to move. While they’re young, anything is game.

  • The reason why we decided not to buy a house just yet is because we are pretty open to moving somewhere else. Having a house would make that more difficult.

    We also don’t have kids yet, but are okay with moving around until the kid is 5 years old. And even after that, we would be okay moving (assuming we don’t own a house yet).

  • My husband and I both grew up in Southern California, but we moved to DC after we got married for Chris’ work. We then moved to Dallas for a job opportunity to me, halfway home now! And finally a position opened up in LA, and we returned home. All these positions earned more money but weren’t the sole reason we took them. DC was to start Chris’ career, Dallas was a promotion for me but also a chance to start inching our way back home. We didn’t have children at the time, so that definitely made it easier. California is home, so I wouldn’t uproot my family solely for more money. It would have to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

  • Jason Butler says:

    If I had a family I wouldn’t just up and move for money. i would talk with them 1st. Since I’m currently single I would probably do it if it was a place that I was interested in moving to. North Dakota is not that place.

  • Catherine says:

    Not a chance. If my husband and I were living in another part of the country we could easily be making another 60k per year between the two of us, even when you factor in the higher cost of living (in some, not all areas) we’d be bringing home significantly more money BUT it’s not where my family is. I’m and east coast girl. I also can’t imagine what sort of life my daughter would have away for so many people who love her. Family is the biggest reason for eveyrthing we do but unless I was in a position where I literally couldn’t get a job in ANYTHING (professional field or not) no I wouldn’t move.

  • Meghan says:

    I’ve moved across the country twice in 13 months but would not have done either move if I had a family, even though both moves were good financial decisions.

    I wouldn’t move a family to western North Dakota, that’s for sure. In addition to the lack of housing and hotels at $300 a night, I was told by locals not to drive alone at night (not good)! Unless they’re someone who has made money selling oil rights to their land, they aren’t happy with the current situation.

  • Michelle says:

    I think that if I had small children (before school age), I would consider moving in order to secure a higher paying job. Things get dicey when kids have made connections and have started going to school.

  • dojo says:

    It really depends. We have friends who are doing OK right now, but, if any would lose the job, they’d be in huge trouble, since there are not too many options in their city. So, in this case, if you can get a better job in a more prosperous area, uprooting might not sound this bad. Sure, if you’re doing very well and don’t foresee any future trouble, I’d probably not move

  • I think I’ll consider that if I’d get a higher paying job because I am not yet married. So I am more a type of person looking for better opportunities. But, if I have a family and a house of my own, it’s hard to move and kids might not like the idea.

  • Andi Dwyer says:

    A head hunter searched us out and led us to a job in Ohio. Our job stability was shaky at best where we had jobs in St. Louis so we took the leap. Had a child to register into a new school, had to get exes permission to take her out of state. That was the hardest of the whole trip! House is being rented in St. Louis and we bought a new one in Ohio. Closed in August. Job is great, money is more and more stability for the child at school. We could not have asked for a better moving situation. Ohio is a beautiful state! None of us are regretting a thing. XOXO

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