Unbiased Advise Needed

Updated on September 17, 2009
J.M. asks from Spring Lake, MI
12 answers

I hope I don't get too long winded, but I'm in need of some unbiased opinions. First a little background. I was born and raised in Chicago and at 20 moved to Michigan w/my husband (fiance at the time) thinking that would be a nicer way of life to raise a family. My mother-in-law's family is in the area we moved to. We married and 7 years later finally had our first child. But, with other not so nice things to deal with, we both felt the need to leave. We spend 9 months in Arizona and then came "home." I'm so excited to be here except it has not been easy. The cost of living here is so much more than in Michigan we are having a hard time making ends meet. We started our own business last year which unfortunately did not work out. I have an ok paying job (which I hate) and my husband can't seem to find anything. The one nice thing about that is we are saving on daycare costs. Especially now that we have two fabulous little boys. My husband is convinced that the only way things are going to get better is if we move back to Michigan. He can probably make a few phone calls and get his old job back. He is positive there is no affordable area to live anywhere near the city that has decent public school and since we'd have to live out in the boonies anyway, why not go back there. I agree the lifestyle would be a lot less stressful and the schools in the area we were in are great. But, the thought of leaving upsets me terribly. My friends and family are all here in Illinois. Not many came to visit when we did live away and we are finally getting reacquainted with most of them. My family is filled with small children with more on the way which is great for my boys. No kids under 16 in the other family. Not to mention it will severely disappoint my dad if I were to leave again. I'm so torn. Is there nowhere affordable to live? I can't really talk to anyone about it. Everyone here will tell me to stay, and of course everyone there will want us to move back. I don't know what to do. Any advice? Words of encouragement? I would appreciate it more than you know.

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answers from Chicago on

go a bit farther out of the city. some of the suburbs are very reasonable with great schools. If you rent you can find great homes for under 1800 in some suburbs. Keep looking something will op up. stay close to family it's so important to the kids.! Good luck to you.



answers from Chicago on

I'm from Michigan too, and my family is there. My husbands from Chicago and his family is here. I think there are some affordable housing options here (try western burbs) but it will take some digging to unearth them. Of course it depends on what you define as affordable. Yes, your husband may be able to get his job back, but how secure is it, or anything these days? Chicago is much better off economically, and offers so many more options than Michigan, generally speaking. Life might be better in some ways there, but it's a trade off in other ways. I agree with the poster who said to do a Pros and Cons list and research, research, research your options, then weigh them carefully. Thank goodness for the internet...

For us, staying in Chicago has been the right decision. We have excellent employment options here, great house and schools, close to family and activities and yet it isn't far to visit Mich and we can do lots of weekends there.

Good luck with your decision.



answers from Chicago on

Please really carefully reconsider Michigan right now. Economy there is the worst in the nation. I am from there as well and still have family there...Very tough and friends are having to reinvent their careers because it is tough...You say your Hubby could get his old job back...well maybe true but if the economy is good he could get laid-off then what???? I like some of the other suggestions to look at different less expensive suburbs and rent if you don't own a house...At least until the economy turns around. Pray and best wishes to you and your family. You are not alone.



answers from Chicago on

We live in Countryside, about 20 minutes from downtown Chicago. Not too crowded, lots of nice little houses and lower taxes than the rest of the area. We moved here specifically for the school system.

My whole family is in Ohio, and I have often thought about how different life would be if we lived near them. My brother and his family have a HUGE, custom built house- that they built for only $200,000. My mom and dad and lots of other free babysitters are there ( I have no family out here at all) and all my old friends and cousins and their kids are there too.

Ultimately we have not moved because there isn't a job for me there or for my fiancee, but also because I am divorced and my ex would not want his son to move so far away. So I understand wanting to be where you are- but also thinking about things being easier somewhere else.

If you move back to MI, does your husband KNOW he will have his old job back? Make sure he has an offer in writing! Will you be able to get a job there as well? In these days, you do have to be practical and really look at what will be most affordable for YOUR family.

It's hard if you leave and your dad's feelings are hurt- but he was once a young man responsible for his own family and he should understand that your husband wants to do what is best to provide for you all.

My son is older now and flies on Southwest as an unaccompanied minor every summer to spend a few weeks with my mom and dad and his cousins. He loves it, and we have managed to keep very close and loving ties with people there. I know you want your kids to grow up with your family- but the other side is their family too!

You have to take a cold hard look at your finances, cost of living, the school situation,etc. and make the choice best for your kids. You can always visit your friends and family more if you move and use email and Facebook to keep in touch.

You don't want to stay in Chicago if you will always be struggling, have your kids in a bad school and create problems between you and your husband.

Be practical- is it more important for your kids to play with their cousins, or go to a good safe school? If your husband TRULY cannot find a job here (and Chicago has one of the very worst job/seeker ratios in the entire country right now) is it worth sacrificing his peace of mind and your family's financial security just so you can see your dad more often? At least your family HAS some options. A lot of families out there right now do not have even that! Do what will be best for EVERYONE in your family and it will work out all right!



answers from Chicago on


I don't think that I am going to give you the advice you want to hear. It sounds like you have made up your mind that you want to stay in the Chicago area. Whereas I grew up in Michigan and my husband grew up in Ohio and I would pack up and move to either location in a heartbeat if I thought I could sell my house and if my husband wouldn't be miserable. (My husband works in the theatre and there wouldn't be nearly the opportunities for him in a small town that there are here in Chicago.) But if you have some family in Michigan and the employment opportunities there and the lifestyle there works better for you, I don't see why you wouldn't move back. It sounds like the only reason is so that you can be close to your family rather than his.

I would sit down and write down a pros and cons list about both options and see where it leads you. Also, I don't know how old your children are, but I am assuming quite young since they are in day care, but if they are old enough to understand you may want to ask them how they feel about it.

Someone wrote a message about the economy in Michigan and I agree that the numbers look terrible, but there are a lot of areas outside of the Detroit area that are doing great. My hometown has two very large global companies headquartered there and both are hiring and doing well. So I wouldn't count the whole state out as an option.

If you do decide to stay, my family lives in Chicago proper, just north of Oak Park and just east of Elmwood Park. The area is very affordable. Our elementary school is considered good as far as Chicago Public Schools go, however, I have a feeling that we will send our children to a private school. I did the math however and the cost of private school is less than the difference that I would pay in property taxes to live in a Naperville or an Elmhurst, so I am not too worried about that, plus it is about the same as the cost of daycare, which I am paying now. Plus I am fortunate that I work 15 minutes from my home and my daycare is on the way. My husband's commute downtown isn't too bad now, but I wouldn't want to move any further away or the kids would barely see their Dad at all during the week.

You don't mention where you are living now, or what you are looking to spend for a place (I am assuming that you are renting). However, friends of ours moving into a three flat near us recently and are in a very large 3 bedroom with a nice city sized yard and their rent is about $1300 a month, I think, including utilities.

Good luck with your decision. I am sure you and your husband can find something that works for your family.




answers from Chicago on

If I could, I'd move from the Chicago area today. Michigan isn't that far - you can still see your family - it just may be more of an effort. I'd enjoy the slower pace and then my kids would be happier.



answers from Chicago on

My husband and I live with out 3 children in River Forest. No, it is not an affordable town for your average family. The only reason we are able to afford it is because we live in a 2 bedroom condo. We have been able to save some money and we are trying to sell or rent out our condo(interested??) so we can move a bit farther west, closer to his job. River forest is a short drive to the city and the schools are tops in the state. My point is that you may be able to find something affordable in a nice place with good schools if you are willing to compromise on something like space. Now, living in a smallish condo, or any home with 2 children can have its challenges-but that is what parenting is right, a series of challenges.



answers from Chicago on

This is really a life style issue: If you want to have "more," then moving is the right thing to do, because No, unless you are far out west, Chicagoland is way more expensive than Michigan. But if you want to be near friends and family, then stay and make it work, even if it means living in a small house with no luxuries.

It all depends on what your long-term goals are for yourselves and your children. Will you be able to stay here and save for college education? Can you afford extra-curricular activities for your kids?

I wouldn't stay because of the other kid issues. You can always join a playgroup if you move.

Moving is hard, and of course it upsets you to think about it. If I was you, I'd really sit with the issue and see where your heart and mind take you, once you get past fear, worry, etc.



answers from Chicago on

There are a lot of different issues here, some personal, some economic. Do you currently own a house? If so, moving will be hard because you will have to sell. If not, you have much more flexibility. If you dont own a home, have you considered renting a home in the community you want to be in? Right now there are lots of home rentals because people who want to sell and can't are renting out their homes instead.

Economically, Michigan as a state is in bad shape. Of course, there are always better pockets, and I don't know what kind of job your husband had before, but things are really bad in Michigan right now, and they don't look like they will improve any time soon. Michigan has one of the highest unemployment rates in the entire country. If your husband could get his old job back, would it pay the same? Would it be secure? You wouldn 't want to quit your job and move only to have him get laid off in 3 months. Illinois, and the Chicago suburbs in particular, have a lot of employment flexibility. THere are so many companies and people here that there are a lot of job prospects here, and we will recover faster than Michigan when things start to improve. I really think that you both need to sit down with a notebook and a calculator and really talk about money (which, I know, no one likes to do.) But, there are costs associated with moving, and are things really that much cheaper in Michigan? I mean, groceries don't cost that much more anywhere. Housing, yes, that's cheaper in MI, but mostly because there are no jobs in Michigan. What school district do you want to be in? What size home/condo/apt do you want? What will that cost? Once you have some of these questions answered, I think you will find it easier to decide.



answers from Chicago on

i just wrote you this LONG msg...and i hit the wrong key and it got erased...im so upset..........long story short.....pray talk with your husband make the best decision you can at the moment for your family.
FYI...look into cost of living in fortwayne IN...my sister and most of my family live there......cost of living is SUPER low......my nieces mortgage is under $500.00..............



answers from Chicago on

When you say Chicago, do you mean literally the city?
I'm a suburban girl myself. (suburb of chicago)
And would think that you could find a decent suburb to live in, in Illinois.
Is it just the housing, or everything that is more expensive?

The thing is, if your husband finds a job here, he will probably be making more money than he was in Michigan. It's all relative. I'd say your husband really needs to give it a
good try here. Maybe there is some job counseling or workshops he can go to.
Boy, I think it would be hard to move back after finally coming "home".

Good Luck! I know that it's hard to find work right now. Hang in there! I think the most important thing is that you have family. Either Here or there!

S : )



answers from Chicago on

J.. I can relate on a much smaller scale. My entire family (and extended family) live in the Algonquin area. Before children, we moved to Palatine (about a 40 minute drive) to be closer to our family. After having kids, we needed a larger home and decided to move back home to Algonquin. We now live 5 minutes from my mom/sister/brother and within 15 minutes of the rest of my family. This has been the richest time of my life. My father passed away when I was pregnant with my daughter and I wish every day that he was still alive to get to know her. My recommendation would be to do everything you can to stay close to your family and friends. It is really what is most important.

I don't know what you mean by Chicago, but I'd consider looking in the further suburbs. We love Algonquin - it's a reasonable commute for my husband and we are downtown in 40 minutes east and rurally picking apples/pumpkins 20 minutes west. I'd research suburban or far suburban housing prices before you make a big move. Good luck.

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