Why moving for a job isn’t always a great idea
If your job search has just begun - or if it's taken longer than you anticipated - you may have been told that you’ll have an easier time if you move to another state. Perhaps there’s an abundance of jobs in a state that has a lower unemployment rate or a higher number of jobs in your field, you’ve been told. What if there are a large number of job openings in a state you’ve never even visited, a friend asks you. But before you make plans to move, look before you leap. Consider these factors before you move for a job.
The Cost of Living
When you don’t have a job, anything seems like an improvement on your situation. But consider what it will cost to buy the basics to live in your new locale. You don’t need a complicated formula to figure it out - just compare the cost of simple items like soda, a loaf of bread and a tank of gas. Do you typically pay $1.25 for a two-liter bottle of soda? How much does it cost in the state you’d be moving to? If it’s $2, consider this just one way you’ll pay every week just for the privilege of living and breathing there. If food costs more, expect to see higher prices on gasoline, rent and utilities.
Another way to compare the cost of living of your prospective new location to where you are now is by the minimum wage. California lawmakers voted for workers in their state to receive a minimum wage of $10. While the law won't give workers a raise by the end of 2013, it does give some perspective on the cost of living there. Even if you've always earned more than minimum wage, comparing minimum wage in both states can help you figure out if the cost of living would be lower or higher after a move.
Knowing the overall cost of living of your prospective hometown is important because it's a good indicator of how well you'll fare when times are good. If your paycheck won't suffice when prices are normal, how will you pay for food if the price of milk rises to $6 per gallon?
Are you thinking about moving to a state that doesn’t impose an earnings tax on its workers? Good for you! But remember, those lost earnings of Uncle Sam's will be paid to him somehow whether by property tax, sales tax or another method. Find out what taxes you’ll be responsible for paying as they can be a significant part of a household budget.
Risk Factors of the Land
Those who live along severe fault lines know how to be prepared for an earthquake. Residents of Tornado Alley have endured Mother Nature’s wrath in the form of life-shattering wind. People living near bodies of water know that when rain exceeds a normal amount, a beautiful river can quickly turn to a flood, creating damage to property and threatening life. What risk factors exist in the place you’re thinking about moving to? Are earthquakes, floods, tornadoes or other natural disasters something locals are accustomed to being prepared for? If so, is this something that you can quickly get used to? Be sure to consider the financial cost of insurance to cover these claims and get clear answers from the insurance company on what is and is not covered in the event you need to file a claim.
How will your prospective new digs stack up to where you’re living now? If you’re accustomed to city life with lots of entertainment and close access to shopping and other amenities, consider the adjustment required if your job offer is in a rural area. Will you enjoy being in a relatively isolated area where the nearest grocery store is 20 minutes away and nearest neighbors a mile away? Consider the same aspects if you’re now living in the country and the job would require you to live in an urban area – would it be an unpleasant culture shock for you? Would you feel like your privacy was being surrendered by having neighbors in such close proximity? Would you miss living in a wider space that allows you to see the stars at night and breathe cleaner air than the city can offer?
The Job Offer Itself
Have you received a job offer yet, or are you just hoping that moving to another state will give you the lucky break you need? If you haven’t received a job offer yet, keep in mind that moving is a costly endeavor and that finding a job may take longer than you expect. It may be more advantageous to continue your job search without paying moving costs at first. Weigh the factors of your situation and decide what is best. If you’ve received a job offer, evaluating it thoroughly alongside your expectations will help you decide whether to stay or go.
Have you ever moved for a job?
© 2013 erinshelby