Working Closer to Home vs. Making a Higher Salary

Traffic jams can cause stress on you and your car.
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Traditionally, job changes involve an increase in salary. But there may be times when accepting a job that pays less makes sense. Working closer to home for a lower salary often has advantages over commuting a greater distance for more money.


Better Health

A shorter commute may improve your physical and mental health. Driving more than 10 miles one way to work is associated with high blood sugar and high cholesterol, according to Time magazine, which can lead to diabetes and heart disease. Commuting during rush hour is associated with blood pressure spikes. Long commutes can contribute to long-term high blood pressure, back aches and poor posture. Those who drive long distances to work experience higher anxiety and are at greater risk of depression, Time magazine says. More commuting also leads to less sleep and less time for exercise.


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Better Quality of Life

A shorter commute may yield big dividends in terms of time for family, friends and hobbies. Workers who commute several miles during rush hour often leave home before dawn and return after dark, making finding time with small children challenging. A Brown University study showed that commuters who traveled one hour or more typically had 6 percent less time to eat meals with families. Long commutes could increase the chances of separation and divorce by 40 percent, according to MarketWatch. Bus rides of more than 30 minutes are associated with high levels of unhappiness, according to Time magazine.


Lower Costs

Commuting is expensive. For drivers, costs include gas, parking, tolls and more frequent maintenance like tire care and oil changes. Those taking public transportation will have fares and sometimes parking, as well. In some cases, commuting costs exceed the benefits of the additional salary. Finding a lower-paying job closer to home may actually improve your financial bottom line.


Saving the Planet

Personal transportation accounts for 20 percent of all greenhouse gases, according to MarketWatch. While public transportation may do less to damage the planet, more commuters still equals more buses on the road or trains on the track. Choosing a job closer to home provides the satisfaction of knowing you are helping to keep the planet habitable for future generations.