Living in a different city than where you work may be worth the long work commute. Understanding the pros and cons of a longer commute to work can help you decide if the longer drive is worth it financially or if the inconvenience of battling traffic and having to leave work earlier and arrive home later each day makes moving closer to your job a more ideal solution.
The potential advantages to a longer commute to work
For many, a longer commute to work is not a bad thing as it provides flexibility in where they can live and offers them a way to think and relax on the way to work. The following is a review of the benefits that a longer commute to work provides, rather than living closer to your work.
You have more time to think and relax
Many commuters enjoy the time they spend in the car before and after work. For many, it offers an opportunity to relax and mentally prepare for the day ahead. It is also a great opportunity to listen to your favorite music, podcast or radio station before and after work each day as well. While it may seem like a small detail, the opportunity to start each day with a drive that allows them to relax, listen to music and catch up on the news is a huge advantage that many miss when they no longer have the longer commute to work.
You do not have to move closer to your work
You should also consider the financial impact of a longer commute to work. If you work in an area that has a high cost of living, then it may be a better decision for you to live outside of the city in which you work. If you already own a home that is relatively far from your job or prospective job, then it may be easier or more practical to stay where you are rather than looking for a home that is around where your office.
You have more choices for where you want to live
If you are looking for a home to buy, limiting your search to only the immediate area surrounding where you work can significantly limit your opportunity to find your perfect dream home, especially if you work in an area that has higher housing costs than the surrounding cities. Broadening your search and being more open to the idea of a longer commute can make finding the right home for you and your family much easier.
It may make it easier to leave your current employer
Those who are willing to have a longer commute to work have more flexibility with where they work, rather than limiting the area in which they can accept a job. This provides more flexibility when looking for a job, when considering a transfer to a different branch of your current employer and when you want to leave your current employer to work elsewhere.
The potential disadvantages of a longer commute to work
The notable disadvantages of a longer commute to work are having to leave your home earlier each morning and arrive later, an increased risk of arriving late and higher gas and car service costs. Understanding the disadvantages of a longer commute to work can help you decide if the long drive is worth it or if you should make arrangements to live closer to your job.
You have to leave earlier and get home later
Perhaps the most notable drawback to a longer commute to work is having to leave your home earlier and get home after work later than you otherwise would. This may require some compromise, such as not being able to sleep in and making alternative arrangements to have your children picked up from school.
Also, those who have a demanding job and simply want to get home as soon as possible and relax after work may prefer a closer commute. This problem is likely made worse if you live in a highly-populated area that experiences slow traffic in the mornings and during rush hour.
You risk being later more than you normally would
A longer commute to work also means an increased risk of being late to work. If you are starting a new job, the last thing you want is to consistently show up late because you did not leave your house early enough, got stuck in traffic or had car trouble. Therefore, those who are concerned about being late may want to put more thought into living closer to their job. This is, of course, more of a factor for those who work in busy cities with a lot of traffic in the morning.
You may not be able to make emergency situations
If you work a job that requires you to come into work during emergencies, then you may need to live closer. For example, a registered nurse or doctor may decide to move closer to the hospital or doctor’s office to ensure they can get there quickly when they are on call. If you work predictable hours and are rarely called into the office unexpectedly, then this may not be as much of a concern. Nevertheless, considering how you are able to respond to emergency work situations where you are asked to come in unexpectedly is important.
Gas prices and car service can add up over time
You should also do a cost analysis to find out how much you will have to spend on gas prices and car service if you choose to live away from where you work. Of course, the type of car you drive plays an important role in this determination. A car with poor fuel efficiency will require an increased budget for gas costs and an older car that requires more maintenance will lead to increased car service the more you drive. However, if your car is reliable and gets good gas mileage, gas prices and car servicing may not be as much of a concern.