One Year of Work

 Address Card Favor

Adam started work one year ago today! He was in the midst of applying to math PhD programs when
he received a job offer from a software company. Especially since we already had a baby on the way, it just made sense to accept the offer and consider going back to grad school in a few years.

We always said that Adam would stay in the workforce for four years and then maybe go back to get his PhD. Partially because that's the maximum amount of time you could wait before having to take the GRE again. And partially because Adam's signing bonus is distributed in four yearly installments. He received the first installment this February {that's how we paid off our car!} and will receive the last installment in February 2016.

But, a year in, we've already decided that going back to grad school isn't the right path for us. Although a part of Adam will always wonder "what if?", it just doesn't make sense to leave a job he's honestly pretty happy with to:

- devote all his free time for at least five years to studying math {and give up some family time too} 

- potentially move his family across the country three times {for grad school, a post-doc, and then a full-time position}

- take a more than 75% pay cut and have to use the savings we could otherwise put towards buying a house to supplement our reduced income 

So, does that mean it's time to start thinking of Seattle as our new hometown? Well, we're not quite sure. There are so many things we love about living in Seattle. The weather, the landscape, our town, our church. Adam's company is a really, really great place to work and our school district is one of the best in the country.

But, there are two major things Seattle doesn't have - our families and reasonable home prices. Of course, we think it's pretty important to live close to family. We would love it if Claire and her younger siblings settled down closer to home, so shouldn't we live by example and do that ourselves? Our parents and siblings are kind of spread out all over the place right now, but a pretty good number of them live in Houston.

Most of the Texas software industry is actually in Austin though, so that's where we could most likely end up. In Austin, the average price of a four-bedroom home is $225,000. In Seattle, the average price of a four-bedroom home is $550,000.

When we finish paying off our student loans next summer, we'll have about $1,000 left in the budget each month to save for a house down payment. Since the housing market in Seattle is pretty competitive, you need to be able to put down 20% for your offer to be taken seriously. That means we need to save $110,000 and at $1,000 a month, it will take nine years of saving.

If we moved to Austin, we would only need to save $45,000 for a 20% down payment. At $1,000 a month, it would take just under four years of saving to make that happen. Another point in favor of Austin: our mortgage payment would probably be around $500 a month. That's more than a thousand less than we pay in rent now! If we eventually bought a house in Seattle, our mortgage payment would be around $3,000 a month. That's almost double our current rent. Yikes.

I guess all of this is to say that we're definitely not going back to grad school. But in February of 2016, when Adam gets the last installment of his signing bonus, he will probably start looking for jobs in Texas. Claire will start kindergarten in August of 2017 and we'd really like to have things settled before then.

So, we'll see what happens. In the meantime, we'll just have to try our best to convince our family to move to Seattle!


  1. Isn't life always just a big complicated puzzle to work out? Haha! Don't worry though... I bet the home-buying thing will happen sooner than you think. Adam will get raises, so that $1000 will become more than $1000, and if you're looking for good schools in Texas (but don't want to pay for private school tuition, or a million-dollar house), you'll almost certainly end up in the suburbs, where the housing prices can be considerably below average!

    Also, a tiny bit of totally unsolicited advice from someone who has been in your shoes - I'd strongly consider a 15-year fixed mortgage rather than a 30-year fixed mortgage (especially if you end up in Texas rather than Seattle). You save so much money in interest with the 15-yr, and the monthly payments are only marginally larger. I think it's worth picking a slightly less expensive house to be able to do it that way. We REALLY wish we had gone with a 15-year. We were so nervous about spending so much of our savings all at once for the down payment and didn't want to commit to the 15-year payments just in case something crazy happened, but we've always paid extra/double on our 30-year payments, so it would've made much more sense to have the 15! Of course there are other less conventional mortgage options to consider too, but among the traditional ones, we really wish we had gone with the 15 rather than the 30. Just something I wish we could go back and do differently.

    Also more unsolicited advice (What is up with me today?!?! Please forgive me if I'm being pushy or something! You can totally just delete this comment if you want - I will not be offended!), but I'd be a bit wary about writing on the internet that Adam plans to leave his company in 2016, especially if you're not 100% sure it will happen that way... I don't know what his company is like (so maybe this isn't an issue), but I know if someone at Jeff's or my company happened to read that about one of us, it would go around the office gossip circuit and we'd start to get looked at differently by management/supervisors (put into a category of "people who aren't in it for the long-term" or "people who aren't committed to this company" or something), and it would probably be a little career-limiting. I'm sure the chances of someone he works with reading it are slim, but you never know who's Googling you!

    Also (longest comment ever... haha!) I forgot about that adorable photo of y'all. I love it!

    1. Oh, don't worry! I definitely discussed this with Adam and had him read the post before publishing it. His company is the kind of place that hires a ton of recent college grads and expects a lot of them to leave around the five-year mark. A lot join start-ups or move to one of the other big tech companies. It's definitely something that people feel comfortable talking about with their boss, just because of the culture there and because each boss is only supervising a team of six people. For the most part, software companies are so young that no one has been there for their entire career!

  2. Katie gave A LOT of food for thought. Just wanted to chime in saying:
    (A) you guys are so flippin adorable in that photo! I can't stand it.
    (B) I totally understand the wanting to settle near family thing. Brendan is in med school away from our hometown for at least the next two years, if not more... we really can't wait to have Margot experience growing up near our huge/crazy family :)

    1. But, I feel like Philly would totally lose to San Diego in a weather/landscape competition, while Seattle most definitely beats anywhere in Texas! That makes the thought of moving back a little bit harder, although we ultimately think our families are more important than the insane heat!

  3. Yikessss. I know Jon and Libby were talking about how expensive houses are in Seattle but that number just blew me away! We are in the middle of figuring out all the mortgage stuff right now ... we're waiting for Keith to get his first paycheck/signing bonus so we can get a better rate and then I have a feeling things are going to happen fast fast fast.

    Love that picture!! :)

    1. Yeah, it's really daunting! I think it's definitely a major reason why people delay marriage and kids here. Otherwise, it's nearly impossible to afford a home before your kids are in middle school, ha!


You are awesome.