Even if you’re craving a change of scenery, figuring out if you should move is a big deal. Where to go, what you’ll leave behind, and what you’ll do when you get there. Are all important items to put on your pros and cons list. How do you ultimately decide which city is the perfect place for you? Sometimes it’s about your job — but sometimes it’s about your happiness. Read on to identify what questions to ask yourself before choosing a new place to live.
Budget Basics and Salary Switch-ups
You’re bound to have a change in cost of living — either higher or lower — when you move to a new city. What an apartment may cost in the Midwest could be triple the amount on the East Coast. You may want to think about living in a more rural area. Versus the heart of the city to save on cash. And, don’t forget about property and income tax differences. Some items may decrease, like everyday groceries and gas, but others could increase significantly, leaving less money in your pocket at the end of the month.
If you decide to make the move and you find a new job with a new salary, be sure to do your research about expenses associated with the new location: transportation to work, childcare, and other cost-of-living expenses. If you get a salary bump for your move. It may appear shiny on paper, but when you arrive in your new city, it may not go as far as you were hoping, given the new cost of living. So do your due diligence before your move.
Understanding the Job Market
Whether you’re looking for a completely new job or will be continuing in your current position post-move, being in a place with like-minded individuals doesn’t hurt, especially if they are in the same industry as you. Are there more opportunities in certain parts of the country for your job type? Tech-savvy folks tend to flock to California, while fashion lovers head to NYC, for example. No matter what you decide, relocating for work is a personal choice, and you have to move where you feel most at home.
It goes without saying, but before moving to a new city alone, you should plan a visit — or a few — to scope out the area. Even if you’ve been to the city before on a vacation or business trip, you need to look at it through a different lens if you’re seriously considering moving your life there.
In addition to considering your commuting and public transportation options to get you around town and to the office, you need to find a home that fits your needs. Are there particular areas of the city you want to be near? Are those neighborhoods out of your financial reach? Visiting and getting a lay of the land before you sign on the dotted line with the movers is a must.
You can save yourself a lot of stress and anxiety by being organized from the start. And it’s never a bad idea to bring a friend or family member along for a visit as well. They may be able to point out things you hadn’t previously thought about or noticed.
Go with Your Gut
At the end of the day, you are the only person who can decide if moving to a new city is the right next step for your career or personal life. Your happiness is most important, and making a list of pros and cons, from the biggest things (cost of living) to the smallest (nearby library) can help narrow down your options.
Are you moving for more money, or is there something about the new city that made you fall in love with it? Think about your life in the long-term as well, as difficult as it may be. Can you see yourself living in the new city permanently? Do you want to build a life, have a family, or start a business there?
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