By: Laura Walton AFC®
This week I’m talking with seniors at the University of Hawaii at Hilo about personal finance. They have a dilemma. The median price of homes on the Big Island of Hawaii is around $350,000 but the majority of jobs won’t support the attendant mortgage payment. The disconnect means they may have to look elsewhere for work but that could mean leaving their beautiful island home.
Just for kicks, let’s compare the cost of living in Hilo, Hawaii to Tucson (100 equals the U.S. average).
|Cost of Living Indexes||Hilo||Tucson|
A salary of $34,347 in Tucson means the same buying power as $50,000 in Hilo. In Hilo, utilities and food are even more costly than housing when compared to the U.S. average. Island living is just expensive!
One option might be to look for work in a hot market with a low cost of living. That’s just what a lot of folks did when oil-producing took off a few years ago. Last week, Marketplace ran a story on lessons learned from the boom and bust of the North Dakota oil fields. We have clients who took advantage of those high wages. They were willing to compromise their lifestyle (living in an oil field) for a few years to reach a money goal – a stash of cash to invest and make up the difference between their income and the cost of living of their preferred lifestyle, in other words, on their “island”.
Another option is to be open to offers that may not look like the perfect opportunity. I’m puzzled by people who turn down suitable offers waiting for the one that’s just right. One of my favorite sayings is “perfect is the enemy of good”. As long as the “good” is within your field of interest, I say go with it – it might lead to an even better “perfect”.
Between short term sacrifices for long term gains and taking some fliers, there are ways to live where you want to live and do the work you want to do – it’s all about choices.