1. You need to earn the median income for
It's true that money doesn't buy happiness, but you'll never feel secure if you don't earn as much as the people around you. You're much more likely to feel that the amount you earn is fine if it's as much as your friends and neighbors earn. And if you earn the most in your neighborhood, you'll probably feel like you're pretty well off. Money is relative.
This explains why the year my tax return showed that I had an income of about $200,000, I often felt like I was living just a few short steps from homelessness. And I'm not alone -- New Yorkers talk about that phenomenon all the time.
2. Remember that you'll change careers at
least three times.
Your job isn't stable, and neither is your career, so be careful about
picking a location just because it's good for your work right now.
In a family with two people who have jobs outside the house, it's
impractical to relocate every time one of them takes a new job. So it makes
sense to think in terms of picking a location largely independent of your
Do you care a lot about schools? Or being near the beach? These are
things to weigh heavily when picking a location, and then figure out what
kind of work to do when you get there.
The act of choosing a place to live requires you to balance a lot of competing factors, but don't give work too much weight. There's little evidence to show that a good job makes you happy -- only that you need to limit the detrimental factors that come with some jobs, because things like a long commute and a crazy boss can really hurt your chances of being happy.
3. More choices don't make you more happy.
In fact, the more choices you have, the harder it is to make good
decisions. You don't need to have a lot of bars to choose from in order to
go out with your friends at night, and more restaurants don't bring you a
sense of well being.
People mistakenly believe that more choice is good in most cases, but in
many instances it
makes life more complicated for no good reason. So before you tell
yourself that you need to live somewhere with multitudes of opportunity and
excitement, consider that no location has everything, and other factors will
give you a lot more bang for your buck in the happiness department.
The nature of public schools in the an
inexpensive city with a top-ranked school system pretty much impossible.
If you want your kids to be in a school district that ranks high for
academic achievement, then study the rankings before you move.
Once you live somewhere, it's human
nature to tell yourself that whatever school district you're in is fine
for your kids. Before you move, you'll be much more able to objectively
evaluate the school possibilities.
5. Live where the people you love live.
Where you live has about the same influence on your personal happiness as
what you do for work -- that is, much less than your personal relationships.
The biggest thing you can do to create happiness in your life is to
cultivate and maintain intimate, reliable relationships with people.
If you have friends you see once a week, you'll live longer. If you have
friends at work, you'll like your job. If you have friends who provide
emergency child care, you're likely to be a happy working parent.
Friends can change your life, if you have them. So live where your friends and loved ones live, and the other issues won't matter so much.