In 2006 my youngest son, a University of Michigan engineering graduate, went to Texas to find employment. Over time, he worked his way up from filthy oil fields in San Antonio and Midland to near the top floor of a high rise in downtown Houston.
He was on a great career path in a good industry. But he and his MBA wife, like many other young couples, realized there’s more to life than just climbing the career ladder. They understand the importance of family and a desire to be together.
Thanks to a much-improved Michigan economy, they both just rebooted their careers and returned to their home state of Michigan. They started new positions earlier this month and are excited to be near their brothers, cousins and yes, their parents too.
I bring this up in a financial column because life is more than just the highest paycheck you can earn over a career. It’s also about the journey and the people you choose to share it with.
Every Thanksgiving the skies are filled with people coming home to spend time with their families. I’m sure many are happy to leave after a few days, but there are also many like my son and his wife.
Even though they enjoyed their careers and their Texan friends and co-workers, they ultimately wanted to be with family and to once again call Michigan their home.
Financially speaking, changing jobs and moving to another state can not only be stressful, it can also be costly. Seeking a new job from afar is not the easiest of tasks. It requires updated resumes and job searches. What’s more, arranging long-distance job interviews means coordinating schedules and booking round-trip flights.
Once hired, it’s far more difficult than just changing your GPS route and driving across town. Listing and selling your residence, packing, moving furniture, transporting vehicles and finding a new place to live all take money, time and patience.
Simply stated, finding a new job and moving to another state is a major undertaking, financially, emotionally and logistically.
I’m not certain what constitutes a trend, but my niece, who is a nurse, and her husband, who is a doctor, are also moving back to Michigan. In addition, several of my friends have had the good fortune of their adult kids returning to Michigan. The driving force in every instance was the desire to be with family.
One of the reasons I enjoy being a financial advisor is that it’s a blend of the technical facets of finance and the social aspects of day-to-day interaction with people. Among the things I’ve learned is that money alone does not assure happiness. There are plenty of wealthy people who are unhappy.
That being said, a lot of households are stressed because they’re living on the financial edge and money concerns are frequently at the root of family strife.
I think many of our young adults are smart in that they are seeking the right balance between money and family. By that I mean a solid career that pays the bills but at the same time permits them to be with their family for more than just the holidays.
Speaking of which, I’d like to wish all my readers- and their families- a very Happy Thanksgiving.