Ask HN: How do you weigh off life satisfaction against income?

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I'm in my late twenties working in a European high cost of living (HCOL) city, and I'm considering a move to a medium cost of living (MCOL) city because I have a slight suspicion that I'd be happier there. I'm struggling to weigh off the potential increase in life satisfaction against the guaranteed decrease in compensation.

The reason for my suspicion that I'd be happier in the MCOL city is that I really liked the vibe in the city on the multiple occasions I visited it, and the fact that I have friends there who enjoy living there. In the HCOL city I'm living in, on the other hand, I don't have any good friends, and I'm not too enthusiastic about the vibe here either. However, the salary is great.

The company I'm working at would agree to a remote work arrangement in the MCOL city. However, the guaranteed decrease in compensation would result in a ~50% decrease in annual net savings post expenses. I don't particularly care about money at this stage of my life, but obviously higher savings allow for an earlier retirement and/or transition to a fulfilling low-paying job. There's also a possibility that being remote would negatively affect my career progression.

The obvious problem I'm facing is that the only quantifiable variable in this equation is the sum of annual net savings. I have no idea if I'd actually be happier in the MCOL city, and if so, by how much. It would be a real shame to move to the MCOL city only to find out that I don't really like living in that city as much as visiting it. That would be a very costly lesson. On the other hand, if I knew for a fact that I'd be a lot happier in the MCOL city, I think that would be worth the diff in savings to me.

That situation doesn't seem unique. It applies similarly to deciding between jobs with differences in compensation and suspected job satisfaction. I'm wondering, do any of you have experiences in approaching a problem like that? Do you just go with your gut?