Leaving Chicago for a New Job
Chicago has been a great city to live in the past 7 months. Though I’ve always considered myself more of a small town person, it has been really fun living the urban lifestyle. (I grew up in a city of around 6000 with the closest largest “big” city having around 65,000 people. So Chicago is huge!)
While living in Chicago, I gave up my car (for convenience and cost) and have been doing a lot more walking than I usually do. There’s some of the best restaurants in the world just a few minute walk from my apartment. When I can’t walk I take the train or bus and occasionally use Uber/Lyft or a taxi.
And, you can’t beat the view from my 8th floor outdoor pool/hot tub. (Oh yeah, there’s also an indoor cardio and weight lifting area as well as a gym where we play volleyball twice a week!)
Part of the perks of living in such a big city is that there’s always something to do. Summers here are the best. The city is active. Everyone is running around, biking, playing volleyball on the beach, listening to free concerts in the parks, and spending as much time outdoors as possible.
Since summer is so short, there are block parties and ethnic festivals it seems like nearly every day of the week. It is definitely different than a city where it is warm year round. You really need to compress everything into a short couple of months.
It has also been really fun living near the shores of Lake Michigan. Although this past summer I didn’t do as much big boat sailing as I did in the past due to work being busy, I was asked to be the bowman for a J-109 during the Verve Cup Offshore Regatta. Here’s a picture of the city skyline from that race. Chicago has an amazing skyline!
For those of you unfamiliar with the midwest, winters here can be bitterly cold. This winter, other than a week or so of subzero temperatures, has actually been very mild compared to the frozen tundra of Wisconsin.
I could definitely see myself living here for a couple years, but in the longterm it doesn’t really fit my personality. When I lived in Wisconsin I usually tried to get out skate skiing (type of cross country skiing) a few times a week. I lived a short 30 minute drive from some of the best cross country skiing in the country! I also enjoyed snowshoeing through the kettles (hilly area in southeastern Wisconsin created from the glaciers). Other than having access to outdoor ice skating at Millennium Park, there’s no really easy way to cross country ski or snowshoe without a long drive.
Likewise, in the summer, I really like going road biking. I brought my bike down with me and managed to make it out exactly one time. I road the entire time on the lakefront trail pictured above. While it was fun, it was always quite crowded. I really missed the wide open windy roads that I enjoyed in Wisconsin.
At the end of January I accepted a job near the Minneapolis area. I’ll start there soon after my contract in Chicago ends at the end of June. I’m very excited for this next stage in my professional life. Minneapolis also constantly ranks near the top of the fittest cities in America.
I’m excited to be able to do more of the outdoor activities that I enjoy. Though it is early to buy a boat or lake cabin (land of 10,000 lakes, remember?) I might splurge to buy a windsurfer. My true love for sailing is on small boats like Lasers and 420s though I’ve been doing more big boat sailing recently. There’s just something fun about being close to the water. The smaller boats are also much easier to set up. I’d be able to fit a windsurfer on or in my hatchback Subaru as well.
From an investing standpoint, I’m almost more excited. I’m going to be making more income and living in an area where the cost-of-living is much cheaper compared to Chicago.
As a quick example, I found an excellent apartment close to where I’ll be working. It is a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, end unit apartment with just under 1400 square feet for $1295/month with parking. I’m paying $1905/month without parking (which was $235/month extra) for my 720 square foot place in the West Loop of Chicago right now. No wonder I have so little money to invest this past year!
I won’t be changing my lifestyle to accommodate the higher income (other than traveling more!) but will become much more active with buying stocks and options trading. I really look forward to sharing this next stage of my financial life with you all. I’ll also continue to make updates to my investing spreadsheets, as time allows.