Why do Americans Move More Often than Europeans?

by Honolulu Mother

This Atlantic article notes that Americans move more often than Europeans do, and wonders why:

Decades of data, including a more recent Gallup study, characterizes the United States as one of the most geographically mobile countries in the world. “About one in four U.S. adults (24 percent) reported moving within the country in the past five years,” the report noted. With the comparable exceptions of Finland (23 percent) and Norway (22 percent), Americans also move considerably more than their European peers.

According to the article, the main reason people move is for work, but the large size of the country and having a common language throughout doesn’t hurt. However, we’re moving less frequently than we used to:

During the 1980s, 3 percent of working-age Americans relocated to a different state each year; that figure had been cut in half by 2010. “While part of the decline can be attributed to the Great Recession,” the authors suggest, “the bulk of this phenomenon took place over the course of several decades and is unlikely to be related to the business cycle.”

So why are more people staying put? A round-up of theories by Brad Plumer at The Washington Post included the aging of the U.S. workforce (older workers are less apt to move), the further rise of two-income households (logistics are tougher when there are two earners), the burdens of real estate (read: underwater mortgages and high rents), evolving workplace culture (telecommuting is more acceptable than ever), as well as the flatlining of wages, which makes moving away for a job, on average, a less rewarding financial proposition.

Most of my moving was done before I began my career — I’ve only moved once, within the city, since then — and my kids haven’t ever moved house. But we moved around some when I was young, and my college and grad school years, and my summer jobs, had me moving frequently and over long distances.

Have you moved often, as a child or as an adult? Do you think of geographic mobility as good, bad, or neutral for a society?

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165 thoughts on “Why do Americans Move More Often than Europeans?

  1. The common language bit resonates with me. In the home country people did not want to move even with employer provided accommodation because there are different state languages and most schools required you to take the language of your state in addition to the national language. So, families didn’t want to transfer once their kids hit school age. Mostly the main income earner lived apart from his family for years.
    In my workplace I am seeing a fair bit of moving around for various reasons. Telecommuting has made it somewhat easier for trailing spouses to keep their jobs. For families who move around a lot online school has become an option.

  2. “The trope of American families settling in faraway places isn’t just a plotline for terrible 1980s movies”

    Yeah, ok, they lost me here. Those were *awesome* 1980s movies.

    The answer seems simple: because that’s where the jobs are. A “broader American fixation with work” — yes, if you can call “I need a job so I can put food on my table and a roof over my head” a “fixation.” And “the seeking of distant opportunity”? Personally, I’d much preferred adjacent opportunity. But when the only opportunities available are distant, well, that’s where you go.

    When I was a kid, my dad moved probably every 2-3 years with his company — it was expected, that was the path up, and saying no probably meant a slow death at the company. My mom and stepdad had to move both to go to the grad schools they were admitted to and to find their academic jobs. We chased my husband’s job around the country in the first tech crash. None of this was desired or preferred; it was just what we had to do.

    And even when people are “chasing opportunity,” that is also driven by the corporate ethos — in DH’s world, he knew going in that the only way to move up was to change companies. It’s just the way the tech world works, so if you work in that area and want a promotion, you need to be prepared to move, period. This whole analysis strikes me as a major “duh.”

    I am more interested in why the figure seems to be dropping. Personally, the two-career family definitely does come into play, because it both makes it harder to find new opportunities and gives you a safety net if one of the two jobs goes away. But I also wonder how much of this is attributable to the sort of hollowing-out of the MC jobs/shift in the kinds of jobs available. E.g., if you are doing a general service job — working at McD’s, or medical tech/assistant stuff (like the folks who go to people’s homes to provide support for an hour or two a day) — why move somewhere else? If you lose your hours at McD’s, you can go work for Wendy’s. And you probably can’t afford to move anyway, because your sister is watching your kids and you have to help your mom out with the shopping because she can’t drive any more, etc.

    In other words, I suspect it’s not “the top 5% have more power and flexibility and have just decided to say no” — it’s more like “the middle/bottom 75% don’t really have the opportunity/ability to move up anyway and can’t afford to move away from their family support circle.”

  3. Before my time in the professional work world, but observing my parents and other families, it seems that companies in the 70’s were more proactive about developing their employees and valued the experience the employees received from experiencing multiple locations. Plus, if you didn’t go (lateral or promotion) when they offered you a move, you were signaling your lack of interest in your job.

    It seems that (1) people aren’t staying with the same company as long, and (2) companies don’t care if you stay in the exact same position your entire tenure with them. I think with two income families, the logistics of a two person move outside of their commutable area is difficult. The exception seems to be when one of you has a job that requires moving to ever move up…like TV anchors, who generally go from smaller markets to bigger ones as they gain experience. Also, with the ability to telework or work that requires a lot of travel to client sites, people may not have to move to change jobs.

    As a child, we had one whirlwind year of moves – four moves in 12 months – then only moved again when I went off to college. Since my first college apartment, I’ve lived in 9 places in 3 cities. After our second child we moved from one house (sold it) to another (bought it) in the same neighborhood. My older DD remembers living in the old house, the younger one (18 months when we moved) does not.

  4. I moved 5 times in 3 years for my first job with a big global corporation that was known for frequent moves. It was a training program, so I knew that moving frequently was a likelihood when I took the job. At 21 after living in the Midwest my entire life, it was a feature, not a bug.

    After 3 years, I decided to come home & have lived within the city limits for 16 years now. Right now, I wouldn’t seriously consider a move at this point. We are established here in multiple ways & are a good distance from family. In my field, switching industries is common, and this is a large city with plenty of opportunity, so I don’t really need to move to find new jobs or to move up.

  5. We moved around a little when I was pretty young, but I went to elementary – high school in the same district. As an adult, I love moving. I really liked living in California, but I don’t think I would move back there with kids. I think I would like moving back to my home state but after being gone for almost 20 years, I wonder if I really wouldn’t. I think we are staying here for the foreseeable future but I wouldn’t mind another move to another house after 7-8 years. And this area has never felt like home. If I go back to work, my main constraints are my legal license and where I can get barred. I am not taking another bar exam, so I might be stuck with what I currently have.

  6. Both DH and I never moved as kids but as we reached adulthood we moved several times. We feel settled and fortunate that things worked out and we found a good area to raise a family.

  7. “I am not taking another bar exam, so I might be stuck with what I currently have.”

    +1000. I had to take it a second time in NM (they did not allow people to waive in, local lore was as a disincentive to all the semi-retired Californians coming that way), with a toddler, and that was *it* as far as I am concerned. DH gets some awesome job where I can’t waive in, well, the job had better cover my salary, too, because I am DONE.

  8. I moved growing up when I was 3, so I don’t remember the first house at all. My parents are still in that house, but are considering moving now to be close to us.

    After we moved up here we have had 4 places: apt for a year, condo for 3, house for 10, now new house. The kids were all born in the last house. We are never moving with kids again! (Unless forced by circumstance.)

  9. in DH’s world, he knew going in that the only way to move up was to change companies. It’s just the way the tech world works, so if you work in that area and want a promotion, you need to be prepared to move, period

    I think it’s more the opposite. If you worked for IBM in 1982, in order to move up you needed to go where they sent you. Now, you live in Boston, Austin or San Jose and you move from company to company in the same area if you want to get ahead.

    Also, in addition to telecommuting which is huge*, the cost of business travel has fallen considerably. Looking online, the price of a ticket from BOS to SFO has remained the same in nominal dollars since the 1980s about $500. $500 in 1986 being equal to $1100 today.

    * We all probably sit in on a fair number of conference calls, in 1980 a call from NYC to LA would cost $1.15 a minute in today’s money. It was cheaper to move people where they needed to be than fly them or have them dial in.

  10. LfB – you are in better shape than I am. I think most states require that you have been actively engaging in the practice of law for some period just immediately prior to waiving in, so I have to start that clock all over.

  11. We moved a couple of times within the same town growing up (after my parents divorced). After college I lived in Boston, D.C. and then Atlanta (and we’ve been here for 13 years). DH and I intended to just move down here and see how it went and we’re still here. I would like to move back to New England in theory (would love to be closer to my parents) but like Kate, I wonder if I really would just with the starting over with friends, etc. My kids are young enough that we could move but I would like to do it before middle school for my oldest if we’re going to do it. The easiest place to move would be NY, just with what my husband does/a lot of friends in that area and my sister/BIL, but the logistics of life there just don’t seem like they would work for our family (long commute by train to the suburbs vs. 15 minute car ride right now).

    When DH was talking to a bank in Boston last summer about a job they asked if they needed to find me employment as well so I wonder how many other companies are willing to do that. It’s fairly common in academia.

    Just anecdotally, but after college it seemed like most people gravitated towards the city closest to where they grew up (Boston, NY, D.C. & Philly) and it seems like most people have stayed (but moved to the suburbs). We have a close friend from college who grew up in CT, moved to NYC, and did one stint in LA for two years but it was only to move up in the company and the first opportunity he got to come back to NY he took it.

  12. “Now, you live in Boston, Austin or San Jose and you move from company to company in the same area if you want to get ahead.”

    Well, that was our theory, too. And I’m sure it works great when times are good. But tell that to Colorado Springs c. 2000, when the whole market crashed and everyone either shut down or went though massive layoffs.

  13. The answer seems simple: because that’s where the jobs are. A “broader American fixation with work” — yes, if you can call “I need a job so I can put food on my table and a roof over my head” a “fixation.” And “the seeking of distant opportunity”? Personally, I’d much preferred adjacent opportunity. But when the only opportunities available are distant, well, that’s where you go.

    I think it’s a “fixation” with career advancement. As you mentioned, in a lot of fields you need to change jobs to advance, and those opportunities sometimes require moving. But if you aren’t concerned about advancement or the “perfect” job, you can usually (not always) find jobs locally (or stay in your current job) that allow you to put food on the table and a roof over your head.

    I think a lot of that is because we don’t have as much government support as they do in other countries so we feel the need to advance up the career ladder to provide security.

  14. I think another big reasons Americans move more is because the country is so large and diverse and there are significant lifestyle differences, even in similarly sized cities.

  15. Well, that was our theory, too. And I’m sure it works great when times are good. But tell that to Colorado Springs c. 2000,

    That sort of supports my point. Colorado Springs is a small city that doesn’t appear to be a commutable distance from Denver. If you need a new job, either to move up or because you got laid off, it’s a lot harder to find something within a commutable distance, if you’re in a small city.

  16. The oil industry moved my original family from Philadelphia to where I grew up, and moved my current family from where I grew up to Houston. I had originally refused the move, but DH’s employer asked what it would take. I made up some stuff, and they agreed, so I felt trapped. It was a significant financial bump for us in the mid-90s, so we felt like we had to take it. In a lot of ways, i really regret having moved. I never would have gotten to work from home at my job there, but I’m ignoring the upside if being here instead of that much smaller city. My dad is having health issues, and at 500 miles away I live the closest of my siblings. It is bothering me tremendously that I am no help to them, and that they never got to be as close to my now almost grown kids as I would have liked. Of course, two decades with my both my husband and me earning tens of thousands less would have created a different set of regrets, I guess.

    I hope my kids stay near us.

  17. That sort of supports my point. Colorado Springs is a small city that doesn’t appear to be a commutable distance from Denver. If you need a new job, either to move up or because you got laid off, it’s a lot harder to find something within a commutable distance, if you’re in a small city.

    It is a do-able commute depending on the specifics of where you live and where the job is. There is a big corporate area on the south side of Denver.

  18. I think the unwillingness to support unemployed people for extended periods of time goes hand in hand with the willingness to move, like chicken and egg. Also, regionalism in the US is nothing like regionalism in Europe.

  19. We’ve moved 6 times in 9 years, all in the greater urban area. We were mostly renters, so low switching cost (once was forced with the house being sold). Twice was due to a tax issue (we took a six month “sabbatical” to a house we owned in order for it to be our primary residence on a certain date), once was to be closer to a job (which of course Dh left a few months after the move).

    Before that I moved for college, grad school, residency, first job. I actually think that this may be one of the problems with finding rural physicians – even people who come from relatively rural backgrounds are less interested in returning once they spend 11-15 years in the city.

    I think in the 80s, California was still a land of affordable houses, great jobs and unlimited opportunity. Is there any such place now?

  20. Would Colorado Springs be considered to be in the same larger metro area as Denver ? It seems to appear on the Best Places to live lists.

  21. “Colorado Springs is a small city that doesn’t appear to be a commutable distance from Denver.”

    No, it’s more the specialization issue. When we move there, we chose it because there were 6 different companies that did what he did — the city government had really emphasized growing that area. At the time, that was a larger universe of employers than either Boston or Denver. The problem was that when all of them shut down/stopped hiring, there was no one in either the Springs or Denver that was hiring for what he did.

    In terms of bigger cities, the exact same thing has happened in Houston several times thanks to the big swings in the oil and gas industry — we’re in the middle of another downturn thanks to persistently low oil prices, so many layoffs, etc. And when an entire industry is laying off, even if you have transferable skills, that means many more people competing for the same limited available jobs. So you either hunker down and do like DH’s friend did and deliver pizzas for a living, or you pick up and move.

  22. In terms of bigger cities, the exact same thing has happened in Houston several times

    Then the solution is a big city with a diversified economy. I would add that Houston is a lot more economically diversified than it was during the last bust.

  23. I also wonder if major cities have become more economically diversified than they were 20 or 30 years ago. I get the sense that they are – with SF being an exception.

  24. I only lived in one house growing up and then bought the house I live in with my DH 3 months after graduating from college. DH’s parents bought the house they live in now when DH was 2. I’m pretty sure that we won’t move unless it is to a condo downtown after we’re retired and our kids have moved away. Both DH and I are very attached to our house, although I have house envy from time to time as friends move to nicer houses. It must be part of our upbringing as this is OUR house. We’re fortunate in that we live in a metro area with a diverse economy and several large employers. I also wouldn’t want to be far from my family.

  25. “Then the solution is a big city with a diversified economy.”

    Which also requires workers with diversified skills. Which may be fine for MBAs, finance guys, coders/database administrators, etc. But what is a guy with a Masters in Petroleum Engineering, or a Ph.D in EE, supposed to do? DH ran a fab; when there are no more fabs in town, where do you go? DH ended up finding work making solar cells, where his skills were transferable enough to be an asset — but it was in another state.

    I actually think this is a growing issue in light of the apparent credentials war among various employers — the more you make people invest in specialized knowledge just to get their foot in the door, the more limited their potential job pool, and so the more likely they will end up having to move to find comparable employment in the event of a downturn.

  26. We’ve moved a bunch. Always for a step up for DH. I’ve enjoyed it. It has enriched me as a person. It has also made me more sure about being where I want to be. I think Americans moving a lot is a good thing. It helps us get to know each other, understand and appreciate our differences and appreciate all the different things this country has to offer. We are here until DD graduates. After that I don’t know. Don’t really want to leave but I don’t know what else is on the table. We shall see! Would love to have my kids close by but I am forever grateful for the freedom to go and do what I wanted to do with my life with no guilt from my parents. Yes it would be nice to see them more and have the kids know them better but my personal life is so much richer than it would have been if I had stayed in that town.

  27. . But what is a guy with a Masters in Petroleum Engineering, or a Ph.D in EE, supposed to do?

    That’s something to consider when choosing those majors. It’s also an issue with career progression, as the more senior you get, the harder it is to find a comparable job within a commutable distance.

  28. Birth – 1 apartment
    1-3 house
    3-13 house in the same area farther out
    13-grad school ‘permanent’ address was about midway between first & second houses
    undergrad years: dorm, dorm, 3 places my junior year (study abroad, sometimes it takes a while to find a good situation), house my senior year then back to hometown where I lived with my parents and worked for a couple of years
    grad school: grad dorm, house
    moved to LA: apartment, apartment, condo
    moved here in 1990 on a corporate relo, planned to be here ~5-7 years, got an offer to move at 8 yrs, but the financials would not have worked, so stayed put. Same house since we moved here.

    So I’ve lived in 16 homes, but only 1 in the past 26 yrs.

    I agree the moving is often promotion/advancement driven. Where I work now some people have been in their same exact job for literally decades. They make more money but do essentially the same thing they did when they started here. But sometimes people have to move to where the work is. I almost took an offer about a 6 hour drive away in 2007 because I had been out of work for 9mos with no immediate local prospects. The comp was good, but I decided I wasn’t moving the family to that place for that job. Fortunately for us staying has worked out well.

  29. I actually think this is a growing issue in light of the apparent credentials war among various employers — the more you make people invest in specialized knowledge just to get their foot in the door, the more limited their potential job pool, and so the more likely they will end up having to move to find comparable employment in the event of a downturn.

    I agree. When people have to specialize, it becomes much harder to change employers and industries.

  30. Specialization (in education). Broader is better long term, really.

    DS1 intended to major in ‘sports marketing.’ I said major in Marketing, even better would be just a general business degree with a concentration in Marketing, but ok to Marketing. And then take all the specialized marketing classes you want (sports, health care, food etc). So you are an attractive candidate in many industries. I think now he understands why.

    DS2 started out as a pre-medical area (not “pre-med”, although he wants to be a doctor), but quickly changed to a standalone hard science program because “what am I going to do with my “pre” degree if I change my mind?”

  31. We have been here 8 years and will not move unless the school district boundary changes around us, in which case I may try to rent in our current elementary district for a few years and then move back to this house. There is no substantive difference between the schools in terms of test scores, so it would just be for social reasons and specific teachers.

    I think people have stopped moving so often because the population has gotten older. It’s one thing to pick up stakes when you are 23, compared to 43…. For me, at least, it just gets less appealing.

  32. Northeasterners are less likely to move than people in the rest of the country. They are also less likely to divorce. I wonder if those things go together. As a midwesterner, who had also lived in the west, the thing that struck me the most about the northeast was the stability of families here. I see that even today – so many houses in our neighborhood have been owned by the same family for several generations. Many of the kids in the schools here are the kids and even grandkids of alums of the same schools.

  33. But, diversified or not, LfB’s point is valid. When there is a downturn, the pool of applicants gets bigger for jobs in the area, whether it is affect employees looking for work in related the same or related areas, spouses/partners of employees trying to move up to offset the reduction in family income, or spouses/partners entering the workforce to offset the income reduction.

    Our cultural bias is that everyone starts at an entry level job and moves up (in that company or by switching) over time and the assumption is moving up will result in more money. If you stay in the same job your income is not likely to rise much, but hopefully enough to keep you in the same relationship to the cost of living. If you stay at the same place in the same job too long, you are often seen as inferior in some way. There are a few exceptions to this, such as being the owner of your own business or having the “top” job in a niche profession.

  34. More generally, I moved a ton when younger and now have zero desire to do so. Even when I hope to travel a lot when we retire, I am a nester and always want my home base to come back to. Let’s see:

    Birth-6 weeks: Apt. (arrived early while dad was on co-op)
    6 weeks – 2.5 yrs: Apt (same one? IDK — parents in college)
    @2.5 yrs — move for parents’ grad school (1 yr)
    @3.5 yrs — move to TX for parental jobs
    @6.5 yrs — move back for mom’s Ph.D
    @12 — move to MD for jobs (1 yr)
    @13 — move to current location
    @18 — move to MN — three dorms, one apartment, + 2 study abroads. Home base remains MD.
    @22 — move to TX — one house, one apartment. Summer jobs in Dallas, Austin, MD
    @25 — move back to MD. Condo downtown.
    @30 — move to Rockville, get married. Townhouse.
    @32 — move to CO. Short-term rental, build house.
    @35 — move to NM. House.
    @38 — move to MD. Residence Inn, then this house.

    This is longer than I have ever lived anywhere. It suits me. Especially now that I have a garage. :-)

  35. Fred – I agree. On the flip side during a downturn I have faced job openings where it states “candidates from such and such industry” need not apply. I have always thought that sort of thinking and unwillingness to consider a qualified candidate from a different industry makes companies closed off to new perspectives.

  36. On the flip side during a downturn I have faced job openings where it states “candidates from such and such industry” need not apply.

    That does sound odd. What was he rationale? Had they had a run of folks from that industry not working out?

  37. I wasn’t counting the moves in college and law school – there obvs I had a different dorm every year (always lived in dorms in college and in law-school provided apts in law school), but during college I always went home until after junior year. After senior year I went home too, but during law school and after graduation I sublet from fellow law students (in BOS) for my summer jobs/Barbri study.

  38. Rhett – I think they felt that candidates from a different industry would need more time to get up and running than candidates from the same industry. They were thinking of the industry vs. the function itself.

  39. It is a strength of the American economy that we have freedom of mobility of capital and labor. I hope that the decline of mobility is not some long term trend- or perhaps it becomes less important to the economy due to the factors Rhett mentioned (cheaper flights and calls.) Our large immigrant population helps that since new immigrants go to where labor is needed.

  40. I agree with the comments on the US vs. Europe. Since I work with more East Asian than European immigrants, I was also thinking about how much people move in South Korea, Japan, China and India. Almost all the Indian engineers I’ve worked with have been from southern India. I can’t think of anyone from northern India. The Chinese engineers are from either big east coast cities or from Taiwan/Hong Kong. Israeli engineers often immigrated from the Soviet Union in the ’90’s. Admittedly, these observations are only tangentially related to the topic at hand, but culture/background plays a big role in willingness to immigrate.

    I suspect age is the #1 factor in declining mobility in the U.S. but another is probably that there aren’t very many long-term, high wage jobs for moderately skilled people. The energy boom in North Dakota meant a few families moved there, but due to lack of housing and short-term job situations, more families just had Dad live in a man-camp, which is what a friend did.

    As Rhett noted, lower travel costs make this doable. Some jobs were set up to be 7 days/week for 12 hr/day with the next week off.

  41. In reply to HM’s question about whether mobility is good, I would say it’s good economically but bad for family relationships and retaining social norms that promote stable families, especially for families at the margins of stability.

  42. Our friend got a job with a company a few years ago, where the job was really in Dallas but he wanted to stay in Atlanta, so the company agreed to fly him to Dallas every Monday morning and then he comes back on Thursday evening. This probably only works when you’re senior enough to demand it and there are obvious downsides to being gone all week, but his family got to stay here.

  43. but bad for family relationships and retaining social norms that promote stable families, especially for families at the margins of stability.

    I’ll channel Barbra Bush and note that Katrina was a blessing in disguise for the poor of New Orleans who ended up much better off after they settled in places like Houston.

  44. “but bad for family relationships and retaining social norms that promote stable families, especially for families at the margins of stability.”

    Pretty sure this was a major factor in the breakup of my dad’s second marriage — they moved him down to build a new plant, and then made him commute to/from HQ weekly for @18 mos/2 yrs while the plant was in the design/planning stage.

  45. We have people here from WA and CA all the time giving various technical trainings, meeting with the IT people, and so on, in support of some large contracts, plus regular webinars. I would agree with the point about not needing to have people in all the different places so much — once upon a time, there would probably have been a small Hawaii satellite office for the large tech companies for this kind of support, but now I guess they find it easier to be sending people off from the home base for a few days at a time, and supplementing with video calls and webinars.

  46. For those hoping to be located close to their grown kids, I know several families (Totebaggy ones) where the parents, adult kids families planned moves so that they would be closer together. They didn’t buy houses “down the street” from each but more like short drives away.
    Lots of our neighbors have families within a two/three hour drive so their kids are able to see their cousins.
    As the years go by we see less of DH’s siblings and their families. I used to make more of an effort but don’t anymore.

  47. “Just anecdotally, but after college it seemed like most people gravitated towards the city closest to where they grew up (Boston, NY, D.C. & Philly) and it seems like most people have stayed (but moved to the suburbs).”

    I was thinking something similar. After college, you 1) move back home because that is where you want to live 2) move home because you don’t have a job lined up anywhere and then stay once you find a job. 3) find a job anywhere else in the world BUT home! 4) find a job in the city you went to college and stay there.

    I’m #3.

  48. I’ve lived within 20 miles of the hospital that I was born in for most of my life. This includes majority of the time in 2 apartments with my parents, and then 3 different apartments in Manhattan after graduation. Even my move to the burbs is within 1/2 hour of my birthplace.

    I lived in London, Florida and Delaware for work. I never gave up my Manhattan apartments during those assignments. My rent was great and it wasn’t worth it to move.

    We tried to move out of this place a few times in around 2005/06. We lost so many houses in bidding wars and then we just got lazy about moving. We’ve been in our “starter” home for 14 years and we will probably be here for a while.

    The only time I really lived outside of NY metro for more than 8 months was during college.

    We both turned down jobs in London, and that is always a remote possibility for DH.

    I’m happy to read Mooshi’s comment about northeastern folks moving less because I seem to have moved a lot less than the rest of you.

    Most of the people in both of our families are clustered in NY metro. A few young cousins that are recent college graduates have moved to CA, but that’s it.

  49. once upon a time, there would probably have been a small Hawaii satellite office for the large tech companies for this kind of support,

    I interviewed for a job out there and the deal would have been on site for two weeks and home for two weeks. One of the commenters on the OP mentioned that back in the day the joke was that IBM stood for I’ve Been Moved. I assume, if the DMV of Department of Revenue in HI bought an IBM mainframe back in the 70s, IBM would just relocate a team to HI to support it?

  50. Northeasterners are less likely to move than people in the rest of the country. They are also less likely to divorce. I wonder if those things go together. As a midwesterner, who had also lived in the west, the thing that struck me the most about the northeast was the stability of families here. I see that even today – so many houses in our neighborhood have been owned by the same family for several generations. Many of the kids in the schools here are the kids and even grandkids of alums of the same schools.

    I think a lot of this is due to the high population density so there are a lot more job options. If you lose your job (or want to make a voluntary change) there are a lot more options in the area than in other parts of the country because there are more employers.

  51. I’m an outlier for the northeast. I grew up in NJ, left for college in the Midwest at 17 and never went back. I lived in Chicago for about 7 years after graduating and then moved here. We’ve been in our house for 16 years and it’s by far the longest I’ve lived in one home.

  52. DD – DH’s sibling lives in the Northeast due to the employment dynamic you mentioned. However, in buying a house they chose an extremely far out community because my SILs job was close by. However, my BIL has always had close to an hour and a half commute each way. Not sure why they didn’t choose more convenient job/housing locations because both their types of jobs are available in the metro NY area. This decision has really baffled me.

  53. Denver – Everyone I’ve ever met from NJ went immediately back there. My roommate from college told me that NJ had everything one could want within an hour (city/beach/lake)

    My high school friends are pretty scattered, although probably half or more of our class went back to Massachusetts.

  54. If you win the geography lottery at birth, living in a place like NYC or southern California or DC, it’s much easier to advance in your career AND stay close to family. The handful of ambitious people I knew growing up in the rust belt have all left that city for greener pastures, including all three of my siblings.

    Not sure how much of Americans’ greater geographic mobility comes from being a young nation of immigrants, but surely that has to be a factor.

  55. The original observation is that we move more than Europeans. And I think that is quite true. There are a bunch of reasons: Europeans, at least the western Europeans I am familiar with, are intensely family focused, much more than Americans. Europeans often do most of their socializing within their families, and kids commonly live with their parents much longer that kids do here. Young people usually stick close to home for college too. I saw this at the Dutch university where my DH spent time doing research, as well as at the German university where I did research. Another reason is the intense regionalism of many countries. Northern Italy is really different from southern Italy. Same holds true in France and Germany. And some countries are so small you really can’t go very far. One more factor – European countries are much more densely populated than we are, so it is easier to find jobs close to where you came from.

  56. Atlanta, it depends where you live. In the northern part where I lived, the shore was about 3 hours away, depending on where you went because traffic was always a nightmare. And with the general traffic, you have to allot an hour to get anywhere.

    Louise, my experience was (and still is) that long commutes (60-90) minutes are an accepted part of life in the NY area. It was among the many reasons I had no desire to return to the area.

  57. I second Scarlett’s comment about people who win the geography lottery at birth not having to make the same career/family choices. None of the top students in my high school class still live where I’m from, and all my siblings moved out of state. As two of my fellow engineers from Kansas observe, “There is no there there.” This has ramifications for meeting family obligations to elderly parents that we discuss periodically.

    People at work ask me if I’m tempted to move back to where I’m from, now that I have young children. No.

  58. I also am not sure that immigration is a factor in our greater mobility. Families who have recently immigrated often want to stay close to each other, and close to communities of other immigrants from their country. In this area, there are so many families of Italian or Irish or Polish or Russian origin, where the original family members came in the 1910’s or 20’s, who remain very close, very similar to the way Europeans are. My DH’s family, of Polish and Quebecois heritage, are very much like that. Of all of DH’s sibs, we live the farthest away from the town they grew up in – and we are only 1hour 45 minutes away. DH would never consider moving farther. One of his sisters, a VP at a major media company, refused to change jobs to an even more major media company because she would have had to move. And she has no kids and a stay at home husband, so it wasn’t because she was geographically limited. When I worked at software company, many of my co workers were Russians – and they all lived in the same area of Staten Island, with parents, cousins, and other relatives all nearby. And I see the same pattern with the many Hispanic immgrants in the area. The Honduran girl who used to babysit a lot for us is now 26, has a hosptial administration job, and still lives with her parents in the Bronx. She is considering moving to her own place, still in the Bronx. She wouldn’t relocate because most of her relatives are now here in the Bronx, or else they are in one town in Honduras that she visits frequently. So, I don’t think immigrants make us more mobile.

  59. Related to this topic — “Hillbilly Elegy” is an interesting read. J.D. Vance was catapulted from his hillbilly roots to Yale Law School in part because of his eagerness to get out of the town in which he was raised. He is a bit younger than I, but had exactly the same reaction when interviewing for jobs at Yale — he couldn’t get a decent job coming out of Ohio State and after just one year at Yale he had his pick of offers paying $160K. He now lives in San Francisco, and is certainly grateful for geographic mobility.

  60. Mooshi, perhaps immigrants with strong families and stable roots tend to settle in the Northeast? On the West Coast, some immigrant agricultural workers move with the crops. In the Midwest, meatpacking jobs are more stable, but people move in or out depending on job availability.

  61. Scarlett – when I was a kid, my parents were very close friends with someone who was very similar to JD Vance, except he went off to Princeton for grad school in astrophysics. He grew up in one of the worst parts of Appalachia, went to the state university, and then moved away.

  62. MM,

    I always wondered about my grandparents, who made real sacrifices to leave Ireland in the early 20th century. They moved around a bit upon arrival but after they married they basically stayed put in the same house for the rest of their lives. My grandmother only moved out to a nursing home. None of their three children ever lived more than 10 miles away for more than brief periods.

    OTOH, Laura Ingalls and her family never stayed put for very long, and there were plenty of pioneers in covered wagons and otherwise who were more than willing to keep relocating.

  63. WCE, that is true. We don’t get as many coming here for meatpacking and agriculture. We do get a fair number of single guys who come to work day jobs in construction. I always have the sense that they are likely to return to their home countries one day, or else bring their families here.

    But the other immigrants – the Russians, the Uzbeks, the Koreans – they are very family oriented. One of the reasons my university is able to recruit better faculty than our status would normally get us is because there are many Asian candidates in my field – and they all would vastly rather be here, with big communities of people from the same country – than out in say Missouri. One of our best new people is a Chinese guy who had been teaching in Texas, but preferred to raise his children here because his wife has family here and because of the large Chinese community. Not suprisingly, they have settled in Flushing.

  64. The story of Laura Ingalls was so much the story of my own ancestors, even down to the sod house. They were essentially drifters, both the Ingalls and my own. Pa never could stay put. He felt fenced in. He also clearly couldn’t hold down a job or stick to anything for long.

  65. I think maybe Scarlett has a point. I mean most of us here descended from people who by choice or circumstance took a big chance for a better life far away. That kind of thinking is part of the American dream. Go west young man!

  66. There were 12 NMSF in my graduating class. The ones I still know – with current miles from high school:

    #1 600
    #2 600
    #3 4000
    #4 1200
    #5 600
    #6 5
    #7 2000
    #8 1200

    #6 doesn’t work
    #1,2,7,5 could fine equivalent jobs at home.

  67. ” After college, you 1) move back home because that is where you want to live 2) move home because you don’t have a job lined up anywhere and then stay once you find a job. 3) find a job anywhere else in the world BUT home! 4) find a job in the city you went to college and stay there.”

    I was #3, but had I not had a good opportunity coming out of my internship, I would have definitely been #4 (and that would have been okay with me I think).

    @WCE – of the top grads of my HS, most have moved at least one state away to a larger area, some further, one as far as Antarctica. There are a few who stayed who work in either teaching (including a college professor at a small LAC) or who work for one of the larger employers in that part of the state. Could they have better jobs if they had gone further? Maybe. But it depends what you mean by “better”. Being a Finance Director or Lead Engineer in that part of the country gets you a pretty decent lifestyle even if the salary is lower. But you’ll probably stay in the same company in the same role for decades at some point if all goes well.

  68. Oh, and then there is the guy who was in the Top 5 of our grad class who is now a Minister of some sort. I think at your typical Protestant church with the “Contemporary Service” that Milo dislikes because his wife does something with the music.

  69. I rarely meet people around here who were born/raised here. I would guess that less than 15% of the people that I know here are from here.

  70. Well, Palo Alto is totally anomalous because so many smart kids went to Stanford and then stayed in Silicon Valley.

  71. It’s late now, so slight threadjack: Has anyone tried an electric bike? I’m toying with getting one. I need to go try one out somewhere.

  72. Birth – 3: MD -Suburban house (till parents’ marriage dissolved)
    4 -7: DC -3 apts (had to move every time our address was discovered)
    8-14 — MD apt (then moved across county for better school)
    15-16 – apt where Mom stayed for 40 years
    17-21 — MA college each year different room (got married)
    22 — apt
    23-28 —grad student housing
    29 — 6 mos crashing with friends
    29-48 — rented duplex (last kid finished high school)
    49-55 — rented apartment in current town (got married at 54)
    56 and counting — first home of my own (townhome)

    My kids – 1 where he went to college in CA, 2 near Boston, 1 DC area.

    Kate – when I grew up it was even more transient, because there wasn’t the government connected consulting and support industry like there is now. It never occurred to me that you would have a group of friends from kindergarten through high school – the majority came and went.

  73. I guess I won the location lottery at birth. Other than college I have lived within 25 miles of where I was born. Moved first time at 25 miles at 7 years old to parent’s current house (40 years) to various college living situations, to apartment after college within 25 miles of parents, to condo within 20 miles of parents after marriage, to first and still house (24 years) a few years later 25 miles. Availability of jobs and a good graduate program has a great deal to do with it.

  74. I just bought an electric bike! The Public one. I’ve only ridden it about 10 miles, but so far it is awesome. I love the negative resistance on the downhills – going slowly like the anxious rider I am, and charging the battery. It’s super upright, so I feel a little bit like the wicked witch of the west – all the people around me in spandex are bent over, sweating up the hill, and I am sitting ramrod straight passing them by. The questions is whether I will get adequate value – that remains to be seen.

  75. DH moved around a lot when he was a kid and it really decreased his quality of life. My family grew up in the same home. We decided to stay put in Houston when we had kids. It would take an amazing opportunity to pry us out of Texas. I, too, hope my kids settle nearby. However, I remember wanting to get away when I was 18.

  76. On immigrants – there are a bunch (like us) without any family ties. So, we have ended up in non entry point cities. Most of us followed the job. If there was a job in Jacksonville or Portland or Raleigh off we went. This probably has changed the demographics of some of the smaller cities more rapidly than in the past.
    No doubt there are traditional immigrant communities but there is also a spread through the country.

  77. “Has anyone tried an electric bike?”

    I had a chance to ride one once, back when I was living in SV. A guy I knew got one as part of his and his DW’s plan to downsize from two cars to one. It was mainly for his DW, who had about (IIRC) an 8-mile flat commute. During commute hours, using that bike in the bike lane of the expressway was often faster than driving.

    The motor only provided an assist; you had to pedal for the motor to kick in, but you could go at a pretty decent clip, e.g., 15 to 20 mph, without having to pedal really hard. It was really good for small hills, e.g., overpasses.

    But this was a long time ago, and there have been a lot of technical advances since then, especially in batteries. In recent travels to Asia, I’ve noticed they’ve become quite ubiquitous there.

    If you do get one, I suggest you also get a good headlight, and a whole bunch of LED blinkie lights. I strapped a couple of LED flashlights to my handlebars using stainless steel hose clamps for headlights, which is cheap and works well. I’ve found some pretty good blinkie lights at dollar stores.

  78. Thanks, Ada!

    You bet, Finn, if I really started riding a lot I would wind myself with lights like a Christmas tree.

  79. ” After college, you 1) move back home because that is where you want to live 2) move home because you don’t have a job lined up anywhere and then stay once you find a job. 3) find a job anywhere else in the world BUT home! 4) find a job in the city you went to college and stay there.”

    5) interview nationally, in part because there aren’t a lot of jobs in your field near home or where you went to college, and move to the location of the job you find most attractive, for reasons that typically go beyond just the job itself, and often to locations where there are a lot of jobs for someone with your qualifications.

  80. ” love the negative resistance on the downhills – going slowly like the anxious rider I am, and charging the battery.”

    That’s one way to extend the range. OTOH, with experience you will improve your bike handling skills and become more comfortable with the speed.

    “It’s super upright, so I feel a little bit like the wicked witch of the west ”

    LOL– conjures quite an image (Ada with a green face?)

    Do you ever feel like Pee Wee Herman?

  81. On recommendation here, we started watching Goliath and it indeed sucks you in. I am a bit disappointed though that there isn’t more intrigue and legal maneuvering.

  82. “I am more interested in why the figure seems to be dropping.”

    “I suspect age is the #1 factor in declining mobility”

    I agree. More specifically, I suspect the aging of the baby boomers is reflected in the lower frequency of overall moves. E.g.,

    “I’ve lived in 16 homes, but only 1 in the past 26 yrs.”

    “More generally, I moved a ton when younger and now have zero desire to do so.”

  83. Dell, what episode are you on? You are right there isn’t a ton of legal stuff, I don’t understand it so I wouldn’t miss it anyway. So bummed that I have to wait forever for the next season! I feel like that kid who ate all their Halloween candy on Halloween and now has nothing!

  84. “DH ran a fab; when there are no more fabs in town, where do you go? ”

    Singapore? Taiwan? Aloha, OR? Pocatello, ID? Perhaps migrate to the chip equipment industry?

  85. “he knew going in that the only way to move up was to change companies. It’s just the way the tech world works”

    My perception, when I was in SV, was that people moved around a lot to get more pay. Where I worked, the upward movement was more internal.

    OTOH, it may have been quite different at other companies.

  86. Also, RMS, any place that sells electric bikes should let you ride on one – even for a few hours. I knew quickly that it was what I wanted (will update to see if that is really true).

  87. “I would wind myself with lights like a Christmas tree.”

    Back in my SV days I biked all over the place, and rode a lot at night (e.g., going home in winter). LED technology for outdoor use was still in its infancy, so there weren’t LED blinkie lights yet, but I knew a bunch of people in LED R&D, developing stuff like the first automotive LED tail lights and the first LED traffic signals (red was the first color for which high-brightness LEDs suitable for outdoor use were developed).

    I was able to get a bunch of LED stuff from them, and mounted them all over my bike and myself. I also put pieces of ScotchLite reflective tape all over my bike.

    What I noticed was that it was, in a way, safer for me to bike at night with all that lighting. It seemed like during the day, drivers could tell I was a biker and would often do stuff like pass me a couple of inches away, but at night, they’d just see this bunch of lights, and not knowing what I was, would give me wider berth and be more cautious while passing me.

    And BTW, I highly recommend wearing neon clothing while biking.

  88. I find the comments that equate “not moving” with “valuing family” way off the mark. Some of the closest families I know (mine included) were spread all over the globe- found ways to have regular adventures together and visit each other in far off places, have ongoing email chains, ship each other gifts, etc. etc. On the other hand I know some clans that live in the same town and gossip about each other horribly and generally have dysfunctional relationships. I really don’t think there is any correlation. I did know a fair number of families where a parent (usually dad) was on the road or away Mon-Thurs. Many of these (not all!) ended badly.

  89. “once upon a time, there would probably have been a small Hawaii satellite office for the large tech companies for this kind of support”

    And once upon a time, I would’ve worked in one of those offices.

  90. Great point, Mafalda

    ” if I really started riding a lot I would wind myself with lights like a Christmas tree.” That was my idea for a Halloween costume!

  91. “I think most states require that you have been actively engaging in the practice of law for some period just immediately prior to waiving in, so I have to start that clock all over.”

    Any thought to practicing at a low level (perhaps pro bono?) to keep active and thus have more options?

  92. Finn – it is a thought, but I would have to do the CLEs and carry malpractice insurance and probably actually commit malpractice since nothing that I am qualified to do is something indigent people need a lawyer to do. And realistically, if I go back to work, it will likely be to the firm that I left. The thought of starting over right now is very unappealing.

  93. Mafalda, while it’s certainly true that being spread all over doesn’t preclude closeness, I suspect the correlation between geographical closeness and family closeness across the range of social classes is moderately strong. Most people lack the money to travel far to visit family and (now that phone calls are free) organizational skill/motivation to stay in contact across time zones.

    Your observation probably applies to many Totebaggers, though.

  94. Revisiting a subject that’s been discussed here before, medical power of attorney for our kids when they turn 18. Is this something we should see an attorney for?

    DS will turn 18 before he leaves for college, so I’m thinking I’d like it in place for that time, as well as when he’s off at school.

    Thoughts? I know there are several other regulars with kids near my DS in age; what have you done, or not done?

  95. If I stop posting from tomorrow, that means this cubs game stress got to me y’all!!! #flythew

  96. WCE – buried in one of the cartoons was the classic – “To reward myself for eating half a cookie, I eat the other half of the cookie”.

  97. How about them Cubs! Congrats to all the fans. So exciting.

    I had the most dismal experience at Sears when I went to shop for a clothes dryer. So much misinformation and ignorance from the sales staff. I had done my online research and went to the store to kick the tires, so to speak. I had hoped the “experts” as they label themselves could help explain the exact difference between two models, but they fumbled and bumbled and were no help at all. On top of that, if I bought in-store there was a $70 delivery charge but online purchase was free.

    Where do you shop for appliances? I’ve used Sears (happily) for many years, and also a local chain PC Richards. Plus once I shopped at another local chain for more upscale appliances that has this on their website.

    Universal Minimum Retail Pricing (or as we call it by its acronym UMRP):

    Starting in early 2012 most, if not all, the high end manufacturers changed their pricing schemes to embrace UMRP. This meant that no matter where you went in the United States, much the same way iphones are the same price, so too all authorized dealers must conform to the pricing guidelines set forth by the manufacturers. Essentially, no matter where you go, the pricing for high end appliances is the same. Why did they do that…because high end manufacturers wanted their customers to go to showrooms that had the latest and most updated displays and had sales staff who had been properly trained on their products. Most importantly, when you buy an appliance that used to cost as much as a house, you were treated with the utmost respect and care before and after the sale. Simply put, they wanted you at a place like Leiberts Royal Green!

    Interesting.

  98. CoC, our last appliance purchase was from Best Buy (online). We’ve also bought a few from Sears. Every appliance we’ve bought in the last 10-12 years has been online. It’s so much easier than going to the stores.

  99. It turns out the “high end” store’s price for the model I like is about $300 less than the Sear’s price. Maybe their installation costs make up the difference.

  100. We’ve not purchased any appliances.

    The only time we’ve replaced appliances was a little after we bought our current house, my in-laws were converting theirs to a rental, and they offered to swap our standard washer and dryer for their fancy steam front loaders. They figured that the higher-end washer/dryer was not going to affect the potential rent, anyway, and if they broke, the tenants would want an equivalent replacement.

  101. Coc – we have a local chain for mid range appliances that is very good. They have a good selection of appliances in the showroom. For something like a fridge where you want to see different configurations it works very well. The staff is knowledgeable and experienced. No hard sell. After checking out places like Home Depot – we ended up buying from the local chain.

  102. CoC, try Royal Green in WP.

    They look high end, but they sell every price range and their prices are excellent.

    PM me if you need more info. I tried Sears and Appliance Connection in Mt Vernon. I always get slightly better price and service at Royal Green.

  103. Thanks for recommendation, Lauren! Royal Green is the “high end” store with the lower price I mentioned, I went there once years ago, and my car was side swiped in their parking lot so I have had an irrational negative feeling about them. :) But I will go back to them now!

  104. Finn–you can get a decent medical POA online. If you already have one, just copy it.
    You also want a HIPAA authorization–again, you can get one online.

  105. I’ve learned to ask for free installation and delivery with RG. Also, ask to get rid of old appliances too. Sears and Mt Vernon place tried to charge me for those things. Their parking lot is really bad, but there is always a meter.

    I was very excited for the Cubs. I couldn’t stay up, but such a great game.

  106. “’DH ran a fab; when there are no more fabs in town, where do you go? ‘

    Singapore? Taiwan? Aloha, OR? Pocatello, ID? Perhaps migrate to the chip equipment industry?”

    Or, in our case, NM. The original point being that none of these were local options.

    The real irony in all of this is that our original choice was between CO or Boston. At the time, CO looked more stable — it was their most cost-effective fab and huge profit center, whereas the Boston fab was more specialty work; plus from DH’s research there appeared to be more alternative job options. Obviously, history shows those decisions to have been precisely wrong.

    @CoC: When we bought the new appliances for the kitchen remodel, I went to a local specialty shop for guidance and to kick the tires — and, frankly, because I figured buying everything at once meant it was more likely something would have a problem and require service, and I wanted an actual person to deal with. Our recent dryer, though, I just bought after an evening’s research; everyone had the same price, and the various bells and whistles that “distinguished” the different models were largely meaningless to me, so I chose the seller based on who could get it here quickest.

  107. Lauren – I was curious about bar/bat mitzvah. Are they held at a particular time of year ? Or does each child have their own ceremony when they are considered ready ?

  108. CoC – In our area we have 3 “appliance stores” excluding places like Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, Best Buy. I have recently shopped at two of them because I thought our wall oven needed replacing, but now it seems fine after turning the breaker off and leaving it that way for a couple of days. Both places said maybe leaving it off for that long let the electronics reset and now we could be fine indefinitely.
    Anyway, back to the porch, (1) their prices were essentially the same on comparable models / features, though one place promises to beat any deal by $10 and (2) I will buy from one of them because they have their own in-house installers and I prefer that to having to source one on my own or to places that might offer installation but really they just contract the work out.

    But here’s reality: when we replaced our existing Bosch dishwasher with the current Bosch, I was certain the new one would fit where the old one was, but I forgot that (1) when we installed the first one it was part of an overall minor redo so it was installed before the granite countertop we have was laid over it and (2) that we’d redone our floor at the same time with hardwood laid up to the front edge of the dishwasher essentially eliminating the ability to just pull the unit straight out. But we couldn’t lift the unit at all to get the bottom out of its ~1/2″ recess because of the granite countertop over it. So some of the hardwood had to be taken up to remove the old and install the new. Now, truth is, I bought the new Bosch from Sears, but had my own installer who I knew through another tradesman. Originally quoted $100 to install, but he charged me $200 because if the extra work…totally worth it! I’m not sure if I would have gotten that type of dedication / effort / quality from a contract guy.

  109. Bar/Bat Mitzvah should be held on the Sabbath closest but after when the boy/girl turns 13. But there are undoubtedly exceptions for around Rosh Hashonah, Yom Kippur, Passover and maybe a couple of other holidays. And, depending on the congregation, they might work with you if you want it farther beyond the 13th birthday for some reason.

  110. Obviously for converts and others doing the preparation later, it would be when they are ready.

  111. Scarlett – not unusual if you go from rentals to brand new home construction where the appliances come standard.
    Our last rental was a brand new building. It was hard to go from a pristine new apartment to an older house that needed to be updated.

  112. Finn – you can look at the HI statutes online and there should be a statutory form for the health care directive. Might be best to do one in that form and one in the form for the state where your DS is going to school. I do do these for clients whose kids are going to college – usually I do a POA and a health care proxy.

  113. “Still wrapping my head around Milo’s status as an appliance-purchase virgin.”

    We’re frugal. We make do with what we have.

  114. Rhett – serials from the days of the British Empire are now streaming.
    The Jewel in the Crown, Indian Summers…

  115. “in 20 years…”

    I was talking to my Dad on the phone the other night and he said “You know, I probably can’t wait until you’re 50 for you to buy your trawler. If you’re interested in fractional ownership with me, I’ll do it.”

    I said maybe in a few years. The Ranger 31s are still too new and expensive on the used market.

    Another advantage is that the yacht club to which they belong recently eliminated the associate membership option that they’d held, so they’re already paying for an unused slip (it’s not an expensive club).

    I can almost surely wait until I’m 50, but if I do, will I ever get the chance to cruise the Bay with my Dad? Tough call.

  116. yeah, they’re not too expensive. I do want the command bridge, though. A little over $300k brand new.

    And I believe he was thinking 1/2 and 1/2. But I might also sell FIL on thirds.

  117. You should do it now, Milo. DH’s dad is still alive and doing quite well, but he’s 84 and can’t really get around as well as he used to. DH made a big point to do some upscale fishing trips with his dad about 15 years ago and they had a really good time. (They used to go hiking and camping but FIL was already a little past that in his early 70s). Do the fun stuff now, while they are still well and able-bodied.

  118. I bought some washers and dryers from sears over the years back int he Kenmore only days – I liked my in house own units and they were not provided in rentals. They were fine middle American basic stuff. The delivery and takeaway was free if you remembered to send in the coupon. But the last time was 15 years ago. When we bought this place the kitchen needed a full swap out – original 20 year old builder grade appliances plus low end replacement fridge, so we went to the local specialty place (Yale Electric) and bought 5 things at the same time with discounts and throw ins. Dishwasher was the only installation charge. We went back there for the dishwasher replacement. I have my eye on an induction range, but the current electric one will do and new car purchase is looming in the spring – I am not going to replace a cracked catalytic converter exhaust pipe on my beloved Camry for 2500, and inspection is April.

  119. I got my first appliance last month! A samsung washer! So much better than my 14 year old washer that came with the house.

  120. Louise, they are usually held September to June because so many people are away during the summer.

    Summer birthdays will move to May/June or September.

  121. Milo – I would partner up with just your father and not involve your father in law, unless that is necessary for marital harmony (maybe DW insists on limiting financial commitments so that she can quit anytime – you have often shared about her self image as a home centered mom who works on the side). I agree that you should consider this sooner rather than later. Not only will you have the pleasure of doing this with your father, but with your children for a lot of years.

  122. Thanks for the thoughts. I’m maybe a little bit surprised at the unanimity.

    I’m not doing anything soon, since I just bought a boat this past year (and I’m still paying for it). We used it a ton — about 60 hours on the engine, which recreational boat owners tell me is phenomenal for a season, and that doesn’t include time spent anchored and swimming/drinking — including several times with my parents.

    I’m not looking for another splurge just yet, and then there’s the matter of having enough time to use not one, but TWO boats, plus get at least one camping trip in per summer, plus travel other places.

  123. @ Dell – glad you are alive!! WHAT A GAME! WHAT A MONTH!!!! WORLD SERIES CHAMPS!!!

    At some point the adrenaline is going to run out & I am going to crash hard. :) I was walking to work this morning wearing a Cubs shirt, and other Cubs fans were randomly giving high fives on the street. I’ve got my W flag up. I’m not planning on being very productive today (and i don’t think anyone else is either). So much fun. Maybe my handle was good luck.

    We’ve bought our appliances at ABT which is a massive local appliance store, but I think that they deliver in other cities too through their phone/internet business. They price match over the phone & you can negotiate. Good service too, at least in this area.

  124. I can almost surely wait until I’m 50, but if I do, will I ever get the chance to cruise the Bay with my Dad? Tough call.

    I’ll just pile on. Buy the boat, you have no idea if tomorrow will come for either of you.

  125. My husband did a big moose hunting trip with his dad (maybe to MT? not where either of them lives, anyway) back when the kids were still pretty little. I was unthrilled about having a week+ of solo parenting, especially as this was on top of various work trips, but wasn’t going to throw cold water on this dream trip of theirs. Now that the kids are older it’s much easier to have one parent gone, but my FIL hasn’t been up to that kind of trip for a few years now. So it’s a good thing they did it when they could!

    Re appliances, we’ve been ordering from Best Buy. They have enough of a customer base that the reviews are pretty useful. Delivery and haul-away is usually free, although we sometimes pick up in store if it’s faster. My husband does the install.

  126. Milo, wasn’t it you who recently posted about the advice along the lines of “buy now and buy small?”

    Perhaps you might want to consider the resale market for the boats you’re considering. If it’s a decent market for sellers, and you buy at the point when depreciation is flattening out, that would limit your financial risk.

    I’m wondering how the cost of your portion compares to what you’re saving by not sending your kids to private schools and not buying appliances.

  127. “I thought our wall oven needed replacing, but now it seems fine after turning the breaker off and leaving it that way for a couple of days. Both places said maybe leaving it off for that long let the electronics reset and now we could be fine indefinitely.”

    I’ve had similar experiences with our washer with electronic controls. There have been several times when the buttons didn’t respond as they should, and unplugging the washer for varying amounts of time usuallay addressed the problem (there were a few time where I found that pressing certain combinations of buttons simultaneously put the washer into the desired state).

    A few months ago, it totally, literally, locked up, as in the door (front loader) was locked and I couldn’t open it to load it (DW had just done one of her rare loads, and shut it after she was done; I normally leave it open to avoid mildew). Leaving it unplugged for as long as a few days didn’t change anything, so we’d actually gone as far as going to the Sears outlet, selecting, and paying for a new washer, and were waiting to schedule delivery. I decided to open it and poke around, and traced the power through some sort of filtering device to a circuit board. I unplugged the wire between the filter and circuit board, and was rewarded with a load pop as the door unlocked. Reconnected the wire, reassembled the washer, and it’s been working fine since.

    DW called Sears and was able to cancel the purchase.

  128. “appliance-purchase virgin”

    I don’t recall my parents ever purchasing a new appliance during my childhood. After I was on my own, they did buy a new refrigerator.

    I’ve mentioned here before watching my Dad fix our washer many times. They did get a newer washer when my grandma moved to a senior housing unit and took her used washer. They kept both washers; my mom liked being able to do two loads at once, and my Dad liked having more time when one of them needed fixing.

    I also remember my mom replacing the gasket on our fridge.

    More recently, my brother fixed their cooktop and oven when those had some problems.

  129. “Bar/Bat Mitzvah should be held on the Sabbath closest but after when the boy/girl turns 13.”

    Is it considered bad luck to celebrate before the 13th birthday?

  130. “wasn’t it you who recently posted about the advice along the lines of “buy now and buy small?”

    Close enough, but yes. The thing is, I already HAVE bought small and bought now. I don’t need another one at this point.

    “If it’s a decent market for sellers, and you buy at the point when depreciation is flattening out, that would limit your financial risk.”

    I don’t know that it’s that great of a market for sellers. I haven’t paid too much attention. The only problem is that the model I would want hasn’t been available long enough to have used models of sufficient age to reduce the price far enough.

    “I’m wondering how the cost of your portion compares to what you’re saving by not sending your kids to private schools and not buying appliances.”

    Let’s say we pay $150k. My portion would be $75k. Alternatively, that could cover about a year of private school for three kids (as long as the school doesn’t also have its hand in my pocket for things like the annual fund drive, and my kids don’t start clamoring for fancier new clothes to fit in with their friends, or feel embarrassed when I pick them up in my 13-year-old car).

    But anyway, that would be (one year * 3). Plus my current boat makes four. I’d still have had to come up with the money for 35 more years. And then think about college.

    NFW. It’s my life to live and enjoy, too, you know.

  131. My parents replaced the washer and dryer at least once during my childhood. They also replaced the gas stove/oven. We had this huge, unsightly aluminum tube running from the oven to the wall, presumably to vent the thing. It was really ugly. Ah, here’s a picture:

    Ignore my sister and her friend and me in the background. Anyway, one day, they removed the tube to install the new stove and it turned out the vent had been blocked by a metal plate all along. The neighbor lady said to Mom, “You did used to have four children, didn’t you?”

  132. “It’s my life to live and enjoy, too, you know.”

    ITA, but it’s fun to experience vicariously the parts of your life that you share with us.

    We’ve made different choices such that I don’t think a boat is anywhere in our future.

  133. “a little bit surprised at the unanimity”

    Yup. Everyone with parents over ~70. Me too. But then I saw that you already have a boat. Why can’t you cruise the Bay in it? If it’s too small for what you’re envisioning, could you get a decent price for this one, and then buy something between it and your dream boat? Another tack: focus on that dream of cruising the Bay with your dad, and what the most important part is–partnership with him, the boat itself, the time for just the two of you together, being seen, going fishing…. Whatever it is, if you don’t want to get the boat now, start thinking of ways to get that piece of the dream soon–renting a boat, taking a road trip together, whatever fits that piece that’s at the center of the dream.

  134. my boat’s on a lake, and I love it way too much to sell it. it could cruise the Bay on a very calm day, but I’d have to get a trailer and truck first to get it there. And I’d need to get it ready for salt water with some sacrificial zinc anodes.

    We do spend a good amount of time together; we’re not lacking for that at all. And we spend time AT the Bay, including kayaking and a little bit of sailing (small boat). So we’re really not missing much. We could charter something; we could find a time that works with his friend who’s often looking for people to join him on his Grand Banks 42.

    It was just a comment that he made, and I was surprised, so it got me thinking. I only mentioned it when Rhett said 20 years, and I thought, well maybe 5-7 years.

  135. Milo, yeah, my list was just ideas to get you thinking. You know what it is that you really don’t want to miss with him. Do that part now.

  136. @Finn: you can’t do the B’nai Mitzvah before the 13th birthday – not allowed.

  137. LfB, why isn’t it allowed? Is it considered bad luck?

    I’m wondering because around here, a lot of people consider it bad luck to celebrate a birthday before the actual birthday, so birthday parties typically fall on weekends shortly after the actual birthday, similar to how Fred described Ba* Mitzvah timing, leading to wonder if that was similarly based on early celebration being considered bad luck.

  138. I don’t think that the age of 13 is strictly adhered to for children that attend Reform synagogues. This is from my experience with kids from NY/NJ/Long Island/CT/Florida. Most of the kids that I know will be allowed to read from the Torah and have their bar or bat mitzvah before their birthday if they’re Reform. The kids are at least 12, and most are close to the actual birthday.

    The rules are not as strict for girls being 13 – even in the Conservative synagogues, and most of the Reform and Conservative synagogues will allow girls to have their bat mitzvahs before their 13th birthday. My daughter is doing this and she is going to be invited to at least 10 mitzvahs in May and June. 75 percent of those kids have calendar birthdays in July and August so they will be a couple months shy of their 13th birthdays.

    My friends that are really religious use the Jewish calendar to calculate the age when their children are 13, and can have the bar or mat mitzvah. The boys that are Orthodox do have to be 13, but there are very few rabbis that would enforce that rule if the child is in a Reform or Conservative temple around NY metro.

  139. @Lauren – we are Reconstructionist, and our synagogue requires 13 per the Jewish calendar (I just got the letter with the dates for DS this week, in fact).

  140. What do you mean by the ajewish calendar? Does it not have 365 days, if ages might be different measuring by it?

  141. @Ivy, God, yes it’s been magical and I am not that into baseball! Friends are going crazy buying world champion t-shirts. Tomorrow is going to be crazy! Do you live near Wrigley? I think it will take the weekend for everything to clam down

  142. There’s a Facebook meme going around with an image from Back to the Future Part II in which Marty is walking around Hill Valley of the future, 2015, and an electronic headline ticker announces the Cubs’ victory in the World Series, which shocks Marty. The conversation he has plants the idea to buy the sports almanac.

    The meme notes the Zemeckis was only off by one year.

  143. “I don’t think that the age of 13 is strictly adhered to for children that attend Reform synagogues.”

    My niece will be a month shy of 13 when they go to Israel with their Reform synagogue group.

  144. @SM — It’s complicated. See http://www.jewfaq.org/calendar.htm — basically, it’s organized around lunar months, and instead of leap days to make up the difference between lunar/solar year, they add a whole extra month every few years. This meant that DD’s bat mitzvah had to be in June despite her May birthday, while DS’s could be as early as October despite his November birthday.

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