The following staff post is by Jessica Streit.
In an economy such as what the United States is currently going through it can be very easy to see greener grass in other cities. In fact, in a 2010 survey, it was found that nearly 25% of people looking for employment have considered relocating to an area that they feel could offer them a better life.
And why not? A new job when you are unemployed is the goal. A move may be exciting, an adventure and lead to bigger and better ventures. Or it could mean debt, isolation, and depression. There are many factors involved with relocating to a new city that should be considered if you hope to avoid the negative impact of debt, isolation and depression.
One of the most important aspects of relocating is the cost of moving. There are many decisions to make before you move:
- Do you want to hire movers to move your entire household?
- Can you even fit all of your belongings in your new place?
- Is it more cost effective to sell things, move as little as possible and decorate with newly acquired items after your move?
- What other expenses will you have before, during and right after you move that should be considered?
The answers to these questions are entirely up to your situation. If you are moving from a house in the Midwest to a small studio in New York City, chances are you will need to sell or donate a good portion of your belongings prior to the move. You may find that it is just easier and less expensive to take the bare minimum and buy new items over the course of the upcoming months following your move.
If you are staying with friends or a relative while you get your situation settled, you’ll be paying to store your belongings, that may become far too expensive as well. Selling things before you move may make more sense and save you on the hassle.
While considering the move, you’ll also want to include in the moving costs a trip to your new city prior to the move. You are going to want to go scope out the area to find out if it’s a good fit. You may need to search for housing if you want to have that in place prior to the move.
While you are in the process of moving and after you get to your new location, you are going to be spending a lot of money on incidentals that you may not have considered. You’ll be eating out a lot more, using a lot of gas as you drive around looking at neighbourhoods or for shops (and getting lost too). You’ll inevitably forget something that you need and realize it is in storage or you sold it and suddenly at 10pm, you’ll find yourself making a trip to Target to get that item. Before you know it, your moving costs have doubled and you are in debt.
Is this move worth it if you’ll be acquiring debt during the process? If you want to avoid this happening, you are going to need a savings account to cover these costs.
Housing and Cost of Living
When considering a move to a new city housing is going to be one of your biggest decisions. If you are moving from a big city to the Midwest, you may find that you can afford more house. The opposite is going to be true as well. The 1,500 square foot town home you have now is going to cost up to four times as much in a larger city. Consider the costs involved with owning or renting in your new location and make sure the income you are receiving will be enough to cover your expenses. $50,000 may seem like enough to live off of when you are only making $35,000 but if housing and cost-of-living expenses are higher in your new location, you may find yourself barely making ends meet or even worse, going into debt. States with the highest cost of living include Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, Alaska and California. Conversely states with the lowest cost of living include Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, Idaho, and Utah.
When you consider all that it costs just to live, you’ll want to really make sure that the salary you are being offered to move is truly worth it.
Friendships and Routines
After you have sorted out the financial aspects of moving, it is important to consider how your social life is going to be affected. Do you know anyone in the area you are considering? Are you going to be living far enough away that seeing your current friends will be difficult? Social isolation is a huge factor in depression and if you are a shy person, have a difficult time making friends or really like being close to your family then moving to a brand new city may be hard for you to adjust to.
If you are determined to move and don’t know anyone, take action to make new contacts and friends before you move. Ask your employer to set you up with a mentor or someone who is established in the area to show you around. Ask your friends on Facebook to see if they know anyone in the city you are moving to. Start looking for interesting groups on the website MeetUp.com and start conversations with the members prior to moving. When you get there, you could have a social calendar already in place.
Saying good-bye to your current friends and family will be one of the most difficult parts of relocating. Be sure to set up times to talk on the phone, Skype or even visit soon. Keep those connections alive after you’ve moved, you’ll need an ear from time to time and that touch of home may be just what you need to brighten your smile when life in the new city gets tough.
Thankfully social media and smart-phones makes keeping in touch super easy these days and you never have to feel too far from home. But if you do, be sure you have routines in place to help alleviate those days when you are feeling homesick. Keep a list of areas you want to explore and new venues that you want to check out. A New-City Bucket List filled with all the museums, restaurants and parks that you are looking forward to should hold a prominent place on your refrigerator. Cross off each item as you get to know your new home!
Moving to a new city can be exciting but it can also be expensive and in some cases a mistake. Be sure you have considered all the options before you make a commitment. Relocating may be great for your career on paper but if it’s not great for you then nothing else will matter.
Have you ever relocated for a job? What was the best and worst aspects of moving?