Top of the Hub, Boston circa 2010.
This weekend I made a super quick (and gluttonous) trip to my coastal hometown in Massachusetts, just north of Boston. I enjoyed fresh seafood, early birthday cake, buckets of gnocchi, and visiting with family and friends. It was a 48 hour trip that now feels almost dream-like as I lounge on my couch in Nashville, trying to recall the details.
I don’t make it home often enough, but I always love my time there. Most of my hometown is militantly protected by historic districts, so it feels frozen in time, barely changing between my visits. I was incredibly lucky to grow up there for many reasons, including access to a great public education, the low crime rate, proximity to the ocean, a state park, a wildlife refuge, and a charming and historic downtown with great restaurants, art galleries, shops, etc.
Most of my friends from high school and college who stuck around have migrated closer to Boston and it’s hard not to wonder what my life would be like had I stayed. I imagine myself a busy city dweller, getting around strictly by the T, and consuming endless lobster rolls (joking…a little bit). Sometimes when I’m out late at a noisy bar in Cambridge or Sommerville, it feels as if I never left.
Yeah, down by the river
Down by the banks of the river Charles…
While it’s a commonly known that Boston is one of the most expensive cities in the country, just how expensive is it? And how does that compare to the cost of living in Nashville?
As an example, I plugged in a salary of $50,000 to see how far that would go in Boston. Ouch. 139% more for housing?!
Check out these other figures for comparison. I’ve also included numbers from MIT’s living wage calculator.
Income tax – 5.2%
Short-term capital gains tax – 12%
Sales tax – 6.25%
Property tax – A residential home in the greater Boston area is taxed at $12.58. The median home value is $351,600.
Unemployment rate – 5.9% (Boston)
Income tax – none
Capitol gains tax – 6%
Sales tax – 9.25%
Property tax – A residential home in the urban services district in Nashville is taxed at $4.516. The median home value is $159,600.
Unemployment rate – 5.5% (Nashville)
Additional posts I found helpful:
As much as I love and miss Massachusetts, it really can’t compete with the cost of living in Tennessee. I moved to Nashville to work in the entertainment industry and it would have been really hard to find the same types of opportunities in Boston. And starting out in Nashville is so much cheaper! As much as I’d like to take credit for being strategic, my decisions to move were embarrassingly impulsive, and I’ve been very lucky that it’s worked out.
Readers: Have you contemplated moving to a cheaper city? How much would it cost you to stay?