NYC: Should You Stay or Go?
If you moved to New York City in the last few years, then you already know you have plenty of company. More than 8.6 million people live in the city as of 2017. That’s up 5.5 percent since 2010. There are plenty of people, especially young people, who feel like they can’t afford not to live in New York City. It’s the center of so much economic and cultural energy, and the cliche is true: there’s no place like it in the world.
However, the cost of living is going up right along with the population. If you’re feeling priced out, you’re also not alone. Here are things to consider when deciding if you should stay in the city or move.
What are your future plans?
Try to imagine a future both within and outside of New York City. As you get older, it may feel harder to imagine getting on a crowded subway every day and going to work. You may long for the idea of another job in another city — one where you can actually afford a car of your own and get some alone time on your commute.
But you also have to consider if you’re trading one problem for another. For instance, it’s common to dream about leaving the city and fleeing to a farm upstate. But do you like rural life? If you lived in New York City, you probably enjoy being a part of the hustle and bustle. There’s a way to get out of the city without going totally country.
Then there’s the family issue. It costs a middle-class family approximately half a million dollars to raise a child in New York City, which is double the national average. Many single New Yorkers are already struggling to get by with roommates. If you have children, then that gets even harder.
How’s your emotional health?
There are many good reasons to move, but there are also some bad ones. If your personal life is a struggle right now, then it’s tempting to think that all you need is a change of scenery. Sometimes a change of scenery can help, especially if you’re working at a job you hate or living in an apartment full of too many roommates. But there are other times when moving just means packing up your emotional baggage and transferring it to a new address.
An NYC therapist can help you figure out the real source of your problems. It may be that you need to change things about your life without changing your address. Are you unhappy at your job? Luckily, New York City has a lot of those, so you probably don’t need to move away for a job transfer. If you want to stay, a therapist can help you figure out how to do that.
On the other hand, a therapist can also help you really look at both reasons for staying and going. New York City is often more fun in your twenties and thirties than your forties. If your rent keeps going up while your income remains stagnant, then that could be a sign that you need a change.
Finally, don’t dismiss the idea of moving to the suburbs. You may feel like you’re “selling out” if you head to a place like New Jersey or Westchester County. If that feels like a bridge (and tunnel) too far, maybe you can move to a cheaper borough. A place like Queens is still cheaper than Manhattan, at least for the moment.