An author I read (can't remember who) published a formula that you could use to calculate how much a reduction in salary you should accept for a closer job versus farther job based on commute time and distance. There is a site which calculates your commute cost ((distance/mpg*gas price) + parking fees), but doesn't include the time factor which was something like (yearly pay/total hours including commute) vs other job. But there were other factors. Does anyone remember it?

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    Zero seems like a good figure here :) – RandomUs1r Jul 24 '17 at 22:55
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    "should" is a bit of an odd choice of word. It may be interesting a "check list" of factors involved in the commute, but the valoration of each is very personal. Some people like driving/have a lot of free time, some other people do not. Some people will be able to, say, get in a bus and while being in it read the same book they would be reading at home, some other no. Some people will buy a car no matter what because they like, some other people will need to buy a car to get to their job.... etc. – SJuan76 Jul 24 '17 at 23:29
  • @RandomUs1r I wouldn't frame it like the OP did, but I'd definitely want a premium of some sort for taking a job with a much longer commute. – Dan is Fiddling by Firelight Jul 25 '17 at 0:48
  • The mrmoneymustache article was very close to what I remember. Yeah, my phrasing could be better, but the cost of commute does not only include the gas, but also depreciation, wear & tear, and the loss of time. The original article that I tried searching for advised to create a calculation that for every mile or so many minutes closer, it was worth a certain amount and that your salary could be less and you'd still come out ahead. – Blackbeagle Jul 25 '17 at 3:51
  • Country tag would be nice. In my country for example you get an extra based on comute. This is not part of your regular salary. It is untaxed and the company can cut it themself when you move closer without signing a new contract. – Jeroen Jul 25 '17 at 6:53

The question is posed in the wrong way: You obviously shouldn't accept a reduced salary. You wouldn't accept £500 less a month than a colleague who lives further away.

You should, when you look for a new job, take all the details into consideration. There's the salary (plus bonuses, plus overtime, plus share options, plus benefits) obviously. There is your cost of getting to and from work and the cost of getting lunch (which may be a lot if you work in a very expensive area). There is the time you spend on your commute. A very important thing to consider is the number of hours that you actually are going to work. Same companies, especially in the USA, want you to work long hours, and suddenly your hourly rate isn't actually very good.

And last, you spend a lot of time at work, which is all part of your life. So try to find a job that you enjoy. Interesting work, challenging work if you prefer that, boring work if that is more what you want. Nice colleagues, nice environment. All that counts just as much as money may count.


Why would you accept a reduction in salary based on your commute time?

If you move farther away and have a longer commute, will your employer give you a raise?

I'm confidident that no, they will not.

The salary should be based purely on your experience, the job duties and level of responsibility, and there should be some consideration for what the going rate is for similar positions in the area. Of course you can also factor in personal interest and convenience when you formulate your desired salary range for a given position, but these are not points you should discuss with the employer as they are of a personal, subjective nature.

Additionally, it is not a foregone conclusion that a job closer to where you live will necessarily pay less than a job that is farther away. If you live in Mountain View and get a job offer over the mountain in Santa Cruz, you're looking at lower salary, with a much longer commute.

There is simply no correlation.

Thus, the answer is there is no formula, and you should not accept any reduction based on your commute time, which is a personal matter.

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    I disagree. Imagine two jobs exactly the same, but one is a 10 minute drive by car (15 by bike) and the other is 45 minutes by car (almost impossible by bike). All the rest the same - I would go for the first job, but as with most things, there almost always exists an amount of money that would rather make you choose the second job. Do you disagree? Question is: how to determine that amount. – Konerak Jul 25 '17 at 6:53
  • I do disagree. Of course being able to bike to work is a huge perk, but it is a personal consideration and should have no bearing on your salary, which should be based on the factors I already outlined. Of course if that company that's closer wants to lowball you, you may want to accept it anyway for personal reasons but that is not what is being asked. The idea of having a formula for a decision factor that is inherently irrational (to the extent it is based solely on personal preference) is sort of funny. – user74538 Jul 25 '17 at 7:12
  • plus, you are talking about how much extra you'd want to be paid for taking the job farther away. The question is about taking salary reductions. – user74538 Jul 25 '17 at 7:17
  • I think we agree to disagree :) I used to work in Brussels, 3 hours commute per day, and changed to Antwerps (30 minutes) while accepting a pay cut just because of the "worth of the 2 extra hours per day". A reduction for closer or increase for further is, imho, kinda the same thing. – Konerak Jul 25 '17 at 9:03
  • Sure your choice makes all the sense in the world and I'm not at all disagreeing that convenience and happiness at work are extraordinarily important. But I doubt the salary offered in Antwerp had anything at all to do with your proximity to the job, did it?. You could have kept the higher salary and moved to Brussels but you would not expect a pay cut in that case, would you? I do agree that we are talking about two completely different things. – user74538 Jul 25 '17 at 9:36

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