Trust me when I say this (talking directly to the native New Yorkers who are proud of never leaving) : Leaving New York City has been the best decision I ever made.
I recently saw this article on my Facebook newsfeed from Forbes about how New Yorkers are leaving the city in droves. As someone who identifies as a native New Yorker* and who left New York City in 2015, I wanted to share my perspective about how it was the greatest decision of my life.
*I was born in Mexico but adopted by New Yorkers at birth so I’ve been in NYC since I was a month old.
Trust me when I say this (talking directly to the native New Yorkers who are proud of never leaving) : Leaving New York City has been the best decision I ever made. I really think the best way to grow is to push yourself out of your comfort zone and NYC isn’t really a comfort zone. Money and career are the priorities because as we have all read recently, you need to make $220k+ a year to be happy there. And let’s be honest … how many of you chose a career where you’re making this much money or will ever be close to making this much? Maybe 5% of you. For the record, it takes $550k a year to be considered the 1% in New York State.
I was making far more than the amount required to be happy and I not only left it behind but I never looked back.
According to Katie, 29, a business executive in Manhattan who resides in New Jersey, even for families, the higher salaries in New York City don’t offset the higher costs of living. She says, “New York City isn’t affordable for families at all. Daycare in the city is extremely expensive, even in Jersey City. Not only is childcare more affordable in places like Charlotte, but one decent salary is often enough to raise a family on, versus needing two just to pay bills.” I guess even for families who are attracted to the higher income, maybe moving elsewhere is better. However, I can understand staying in New York City if that’s where you’re from as you’d get some help and support from your family.
My point is to move somewhere. Anywhere. Your cost of living will drop, your stress and anxiety will drop, your happiness and health will skyrocket. And maybe even your savings account will grow! Also, you’ll likely need a car anywhere outside of NYC and having to drive really makes you drink less which is always a good thing.
I wanted to leave New York City before the lifestyle killed me or started a family and then I was stuck there. The jury is still out on whether or not I will start a family but if I do I am extremely open to the possibility of doing it as a single dad…an epic single dad @epicsingledad.
It is estimated that over 25% of New Yorkers have hypertension (high blood pressure), including me, as a result of :
- The restaurants in NYC are generally very unhealthy with oversized portions which creates an overindulgence of sodium. For those who want to eat healthy (“organic”), you’ll be paying a premium which prices many people out of the market. How funny is it that you have to pay more for a product that requires less to make? The stupidity.
- Alcohol (and for many people, drugs) is a key part of the social fabric for most friendships, dating, nightlife and work. To make the amount of money I did, I was going out with clients for lunch 3 times a week and then going out for dinners and drinks at least 3. With dating and friendships, I was drinking over 5 nights a week. You simply can’t out train a bad diet.
- The stress and anxiety of always being behind the financial 8ball, the disgusting and decrepit public transportation system, the commute, the traffic, the constant GO GO GO mentality, and the unpredictable weather patterns make living in NYC a nightmare. New Yorkers aren’t rude … we’re just always in a rush. Time is money people!!!
- The abhorrent 2 weeks vacation that many industries adhere too because worker productivity is tantamount! I know many people that have to work between Christmas and New Years … just sad.
As the original article goes on to state:
“Does it make sense to earn a higher salary in NYC, but end up with less money in your pocket after taxes, rent and the high costs compared to living in North Carolina?…You need to figure out where can you find the best jobs and lifestyle for yourself. It’s imperative to factor in the quality of life, how far your salary will go and future growth opportunities when navigating your career.”
I was fortunate enough to be with a company that valued me enough to move my position to Los Angeles in 2015. In hindsight, I should have expected this courtesy as I was the second employee (essentially a co-founder without the title). But why did I chose LA? I didn’t want to be an actor. Instead I was attracted to three things:
- The beach. I learned that you have to leave Los Angeles proper to get to the nice beaches. Venice and Santa Monica are cool but too touristy.
- Summer weather year round. I also learned that LA isn’t as hot as I thought it would be. It gets down to the 50s during winter time at night which is unacceptable when I thought it would always be warm.
- Push myself out of my comfort zone and moving across country with nothing but my dogs was scary but exciting. What was also scary but ultimately awesome was being forced to get rid of 90% of my possessions which started me on the path of minimalism. What’s up Marie Kondo!
I hit a crossroads where I either had to get a full-time job again so I can maintain the quality of life I had as a 1%er in New York City or I could move somewhere significantly cheaper and multiply the value of my dollar.
After 3 amazing years in LA (possibly the best years of my life), I hit a crossroads where I either had to get a full-time job again so I can maintain the quality of life I had as a 1%er in New York City or I could move somewhere significantly cheaper and multiply the value of my dollar. We all know what option I chose. Hello Thailand!
Why did I choose Thailand? I was attracted to five things:
- The beach. Thailand beaches are truly as beautiful as the internet and Instagram would have you believe. I will be starting 4 months of island-hopping across Thailand this December and then 2 months in the Philippines and you’ll be able to see it all on @adamfrancisco.
- Summer weather year round. Thailand is the weather I was promised in LA but only received a few months a year there. Bangkok is the hottest city in the world (too hot if we’re being honest) but the beach towns like Hua Hin and the islands like Koh Phangan are very pleasant.
- The food. Thai food is arguably the best in the world and you can eat organic, healthy meals for as cheap as $1.33 USD. And I know New Yorkers love Thai food as it’s one of the most popular types of restaurants and delivery choices in NYC.
- The cost of living. Thailand is as cheap as 15% the cost of New York City which means if you have $100,000 USD in the bank, it’s like your money is instantly converted into over $600k USD in terms of buying power.
- Push myself out of my comfort zone and moving across the world with nothing but my dogs was exciting. The move to LA prepared me for an even more extreme move so there was no fear this time – just pure anticipation. Once again I reduced 90% of my remaining material possessions (10%) leaving me with 1% of the things I started with in New York City. Wow.
And for the record, life without snow is better in execution than in theory.
I’m not saying Los Angeles or Thailand are the solutions for everybody. I just hate the winter (it must be the Mexican in me that desires the warmth of the sun) so living in cities that completely removed this from my life was the priority. The point is that I took a risk and thus far, it’s completely paid off. And for the record, life without snow is better in execution than in theory.
I’m happy that New Yorkers are moving to Florida, California and Texas. New York can use the congestion relief that comes with fewer people living there. But I’m proud that only a select few of us are legendary enough to move to Thailand. Is this real life? What once sounded like such an exotic and faraway place to me now feels so familiar and that’s incredible.
You’ll be reading an interview on BeFreeMySheeple.com soon about an advertising executive that was a top global seller and like me, left it all behind. He was shopping at a mall in Thailand and got discovered by a talent agent and now he’s moved from a Thailand commercial actor to his first Hollywood role. He never even thought about being an actor and only because he left a stabile career for an abyss of uncertainty did he discover a new passion.
You have no idea what life will bring you if you give up the financial stability in exchange for potentially creating a life you never knew existed.
I’m light on new video content so here’s a vlog from New York City. It’s a great city to visit but I would never want to live there full-time again. Get in, make money, get out. Also, the dating life sucks there. The average date is $300! Gentlemen – stop taking girls out to expensive dinners and start taking them out to coffee.
Have you left NYC too?
Leave a comment or you can e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org. If you enjoyed reading/watching this, you can follow me on Instagram, @adamfrancisco & @befreemysheeple.
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