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Ask Dave

Don't Do the Separation

Lou has been offered his old job in California at a much higher income. He and his wife Annalisa are barely scraping by. Annalisa doesn't want Lou to take the job. Should he take it or allow it to pass by?

QUESTION: Lou and Annalisa in North Carolina moved to Raleigh from California several years ago. Both in-laws have passed away since the move. Lou is making $40,000 a year and has been offered his old job in California at a much higher income. Their home has dropped in value, and they’re barely scraping by. Annalisa doesn’t want Lou to take the job. Should he take it or allow it to pass by?

ANSWER: Don’t do the separation. Leave. Go with Lou and rent a house. Rent your house out. Leave, rent the house, rent a house in California, and stay together as a family.

I’m with Annalisa. I’m not going to be separated from Sharon for a year. There are people who do that stuff, and they’re able to do it. I admire people who are able to do that. For instance, in the military and those sorts of things, but where you have an option to not do that, there’s not any chance. I would dry up and be like a raisin in the sun. I’d be done. I couldn’t do it. If I’m gone for more than about three days, I’m homesick. It’s not necessarily for my pillow because I take it with me, but it’s for my wife, my surroundings, and my dogs, my kids—those kinds of things, and so just take her with you.

Rent the house for a year. If the market recovers, sell it after a year. If it doesn’t recover, rent it for another year. Don’t buy something in California. Go out there and rent something cheap because you guys are taking some extra risk with this move.

The only other comment I’ve got to the whole situation, Lou, is if you want to go back to California and your family’s there, that’s fine. I will tell you that someone who has succeeded in car sales can succeed in a lot of different sales, and it might be that you could use those same marketing skills and people skills—sales skills—to make more money in a different industry that you like equally with cars if you’re having trouble doing this. What you’ve got is a very transferrable skill. There’s a real possibility that there are some things you could do differently in any market whether it’s staying in Raleigh or moving back to California.

I always hesitate. I always try to push back on people when they call in to the show and they give me two options. We still are free. It’s still not communism. You’ve still got as many options as there are ideas, and there’s an idea a moment. You can do anything you want to do. You’re not locked into this. I always say you want to do A or B, my first suggestion is C, none of the above. Let’s find something else. I’m not saying you have to do that here, but you always have that that you can lay on the table, because you’ve got a transferrable skill.