7 Things to Consider Before Relocating for a Career Opportunity

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Jan 2, 2021

Jan 2, 2021 • by Rebecca Smith

Last year, 22 percent of Americans moved or knew someone who did. For some, moving was a byproduct of remote work. It is no longer necessary to live within commuting distance of the office. Others moved to pursue new opportunities and enjoy a lower cost of living. 

 If you are considering relocating for a career opportunity, here are seven things to consider.

Cover Relocation Costs

The average cost of a long-distance move is $4300 according to the American Moving and Storage Association. Whether you are moving for a new job or being transferred by your employer, find out if they cover the cost of packing and moving. Relocation packages are negotiable and cover any of the following:

  • A flat fee for moving expenses
  • Reimbursement for movers, storage or temporary housing
  • Professional movers, packers, boxes and supplies
  • Auto transportation services
  • Lease break coverage
  • Help with selling your current home

Be sure to get the terms of your relocation package in writing.

Compare the Cost of Living

To estimate how far your salary will go in a new location, figure out the cost of living in your target city. Research expenses such as housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare and taxes. Online tools like BestPlaces allow you to compare costs in different cities. If the cost of living is higher in your target city, you will need a raise high enough to cover the difference. If the new location is less expensive, you will have greater buying power at your current salary.

When assessing the cost of living, housing is your biggest expense. The 10 cheapest states to buy a home in 2020 were:

  1. West Virginia
  2. Arkansas
  3. Alabama (tie)
  4. Mississippi (tie)
  5. Indiana
  6. Oklahoma
  7. Kentucky
  8. Missouri
  9. Louisiana
  10. Ohio

Taxes also have a major budget impact. Seven states have no personal income tax. These are:

  • Wyoming
  • Washington
  • Texas
  • South Dakota
  • Nevada
  • Florida
  • Alaska

Two other states—Tennessee and New Hampshire do not tax income from wages, but they do tax interest and dividend income. Use this TurboTax guide to see which states have the highest and lowest tax rates.

Protect Your Health

When you move out of state, you cannot keep health insurance from your old state. If you have a group plan from your employer, HR will transfer your coverage. If you have individual health insurance, you will need to buy new coverage through an insurance agent or on the health insurance marketplace. Benefit options and monthly premiums vary by state and can be reduced by subsidies. In 2019, the average monthly premium for one person on an Affordable Care Act plan was $612 before tax subsidies and $143 after subsidies are applied. For information on average monthly insurance costs by state, go here. For customized quotes, use an online quote calculator like FitScore to compare personalized healthcare plans.

Assess Quality of Life

Think about what elements of a community are important to you when assessing a new city. Do you like museums, concerts and restaurants? Is access to hiking trails a priority? Do you prefer to walk to shopping and coffee shops or to be surrounded by nature?

Consider the weather. Are you OK with snowy winters, sweltering summers, tornadoes or hurricanes?

Visit your target city and talk to people who live there. Think about how you will spend your time when you are not working.

Focus on Family

Make sure your spouse is on board for the move. Will he or she be able to find work? Is your spouse comfortable with moving away from family and friends?

Talk to your children about the move. Explain why you are moving and the exciting times ahead. If they are worried or fearful, listen to their concerns.

While parents typically search for homes in the best possible school district, also consider accessibility to other activities important to your children. These include sports leagues, arts programs, parks, libraries and other recreational venues. Look into access to childcare.

Talk to Your Co-Workers

If your move involves working with a new team, reach out to your prospective co-workers about their experiences. Get a feel for the culture of the local office. How are the work-life balance and the overall quality of life? How is the business performing? What is the boss’ management style? Ask them what they wish they had known before taking that role. Determine how the move will affect your growth with the company.

Use online resources like Glassdoor to find employer reviews and salary information.

Listen to Your Intuition

Once you have done your homework, you should have enough information to make a decision with confidence. But if you have a bad feeling about the move, trust your intuition. When the time is right, you will know it.

Considering Relocation

Relocating out of state for a career opportunity can be stressful and exciting. But with proper planning and budgeting, relocation can be a smart move personally and professionally.