What is missing from this comparison are career advancement opportunities and potential growth. The girl from Waco may look like she has a more “established” household and stable finances - but her long-term potential earnings are far less than the girl that lives in Brooklyn. New York is the most expensive city in the country, due to its high-growth opportunities. Just by working in New York - Madeline has a much better chance of being far richer than Mia ever will be, and much faster too. That’s why the upfront costs are so high - the pay off is much greater.