Understand Your Finances
What to consider when relocating for your career
A big career move can be costly—and takes lots of planning.
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You did it. You landed the big job — one that will require a significant move. You're in good company. According to the US Census Bureau, 20% of all movers' reasons for relocating were job-related. Whether it's on the other side of the state, or across continents, few things are more exciting than a life change full of new opportunities. But you've got a lot of work to do before receiving that first paycheck, and the average state-to-state move can run more than $5,600, according to the American Moving & Storage Association.
Here are five key ways to plan your move —and make it a smart one for both your career and your bank account:
1. Understand your new cost of living
Is that 30% pay bump worth the move? If you're moving from San Francisco to Omaha, there's good chance it is, considering the cost of living is an estimated 68% cheaper there. But if you're headed to a location with a significantly higher cost of living, spend some time crunching the numbers.
Use a cost of living index to compare everything from relative home prices to the cost for one pound of potatoes. And don't forget to research local taxes as well, whether you're moving to a new city or country. If higher costs negate your potential pay bump, consider whether the new position offers other benefits — such as a prestigious company or possibility of growth —will still make the move worthwhile.
2. Take time to plan and save
A big job offer is exciting. It's tempting to immediately put in your two-weeks notice and tell your new employer you'll be ready to start work in the next month. But there are compelling financial reasons to take it slow.
And while your new employer may offer help with moving expenses, that may be limited in both what it covers and how much they'll pay. Meanwhile, you'll have a security deposit or down payment on a new place to live. If you're in the middle of a lease or have to sell your home, you could be on the hook for months of double housing expenses. During your transition there will be hotels, meals on the road, moving insurance, and an assortment of other costs. The more time you give yourself to strategize and save, the easier the move will be on your bank account.
3. Plan out your personal relationships
As important as your career is, let's face it: family and friends may be even more important. How often do you anticipate visiting them, and what will be the associated travel costs? Will weekly video calls hold your over until the holidays? Can they afford to visit you? Regular travel can add up quickly, so calculate it into your anticipated living expenses.
4. Sell what you can
If a new couch is going to cost $700, but shipping your old couch can cost $500, it may not be worth hauling it along. By selling some of your larger items — like couches and bedroom sets — you can accumulate moving funds while simplifying your transition. Even better: If you're moving from car-dependent Cleveland to public transit-heavy New York City, consider selling your car as well.
5. Keep close track of old bills
Take careful inventory of all your existing bills and follow up with every account to make sure no outstanding balances remain after your move. A late payment can stay on your credit report for seven years.
You want your career move to be a huge success in every way. That means minimizing the financial burden of the transition as well. By keeping these tips in mind, you can you lower your relocation costs and focus on making the most of your big break.
For more tips and resources on mastering your finances, visit chase.com/financialfitness.
Natalie Burg is a Chase News contributor. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, and Forbes BrandVoice.