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New York City offers some of the most lucrative careers in the world. As a result, rent and mortgages will be expensive if you choose to live there. Today we will discuss the big decision every career-minded person faces: is it better to spend more on your living space to be closer to work or to save money and commute? One option saves you time but leaves you with less financial margin, while the other saves you money but cuts away at your free time. To decide where to live, you must weigh a few important factors like your finances, home life, and personal happiness.

Factor #1: Your Rent or Mortgage

Financial experts advise that your rent or mortgage should not take up more than 30% of your monthly income. Though this is not always feasible, it is wise not to let this monthly expense go beyond a reasonable rate. When you choose a place to live, balancing your finances should be your top priority. No matter how attractive that apartment across from your office may be, if it is eating up a more substantial significant chunk of your salary than you can handle, you should consider more affordable options or consider getting a roommate when renting.

Factor #2: Travel Costs

If you choose to live further away from work to save on your rent or mortgage, be sure to figure in the cost of commuting. Expenditures such as gas, rail/bus tickets, your MetroCard, and meals on the go should be penned into your monthly budget. Lower mortgages and rents from the suburbs should always have travel costs added to them to give you the real value of commuting.

Factor #3: Time

Once you have a better picture of the costs of commuting vs. living closer to work, you should also decide on the time you want to spend outside of your home. Commuting requires more time for travel, whereas living closer to work gives you more free time. Make a realistic schedule of how you will spend your time in each location and decide if it fits into your desired lifestyle.

Factor #4: Your Family Life

Having a family is an essential factor to consider when deciding how far to commute. Saving money by commuting can keep a family’s budget from becoming strained, but the lack of time at home can affect your relationship with your family. Balancing child-rearing responsibilities with your partner is also essential. With your living plan, are you making enough time for your loved ones? Will a commute too far affect your ability to be available for daycare pick-ups and emergencies? Do you have a partner who can stay at home or work closer to your children’s school? Your answers to these questions will help you decide on how you and your family can compromise to make a healthy balance between work, commuting, and relationships.

Factor #5: Happiness

You should enjoy your career and home life, so if a living situation is not working out for you, do not be afraid to make adjustments. Life is full of constant changes to which we must periodically review and adapt, so it is wise to assess your situation and work toward a happy life.

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