How to Financially Prepare for Work Relocation

Unless you’re afforded the opportunity to work remotely, there’s a good chance that where you live has been strongly influenced by where you work. Whether you’ve been assigned to a new headquarters across the country or have been looking for job opportunities elsewhere, changes in your office’s location will mean a change in your personal address as well.

Relocating to another part of the country is no easy feat—even with a job already lined up—and having to juggle selling your current home, looking for a new place to live, and tying up loose ends at your office only makes the move more challenging.

If you’re moving to the mountain region for a new position, keep these valuable tips in mind to make your transition as seamless as possible (all while minimizing the damage to your wallet).

Leverage Your Benefits

Your work relocation will be much easier to manage if you’re not responsible for all of your moving expenses, which will start to add up quickly with the more distance you put between your old apartment and end destination. It’s part of the reason why the relocation industry nets $25 billion annually—and why companies spend an average of $16,229,125 in relocation costs every year.

Before you cut into your personal savings, it’s a good idea to investigate the extent of your company’s employee benefits, including a relocation package. As the name suggests, relocation packages typically cover moving costs—from hiring professional movers to storing furniture—that a business’s employees would otherwise have to handle. They can be as simple as a lump-sum stipend to cover a set amount of expenses or as comprehensive as a total allowance for the first month of rent and childcare coverage.

Knowing how much (or how little) your new employer plans to cover will help you make a more realistic plan going forward on the best way to financially plan for move-in day. And if your organization doesn’t offer you a relocation package, you might want to sharpen your negotiation skills before agreeing to uproot your life for the new position.

Calculate Your Cost of Living

One of the largest discrepancies between the same job in two locations is the difference in the cost of living. It comes as no surprise that living in urban environments often means a steeper mortgage payment, higher grocery bill, and more expensive methods of transportation. With reports estimating an 18% higher spend in city households when compared to rural ones, relocators typically need to recalibrate their budget to make sure that they have room in their personal budgets for these expense fluctuations.

No singular cost-of-living factor is more important than estimating how much you can afford for your new mortgage or rent fees. Just because your new salary has been adjusted to a higher cost of living does not necessarily mean you have more wiggle room in your budget for a more lavish living situation, and relocators who do not consider these higher price points during their house hunt may end up in a worse financial situation than they were before accepting the new position.

In order to cap your monthly living expenses at the appropriate level for your new area, you should determine the amount of home you can afford. An effective home affordability calculation considers your adjusted gross income, the amount of personal debt you carry, the length of your anticipated mortgage term, the amount of cash you have stowed away in the bank, and more. One important consideration for job relocators, specifically, is that your mortgage application could be impacted by your recent change in employment, potentially impacting your home’s overall affordability.

Create a Local Network

Leaving your old office means saying goodbye to the incredible relationships you’ve developed over the years. As daunting as the task might seem, it’s up to you to rebuild your local network of industry professionals right from your first day on the job. You might take months or years to fully acclimate to your new work and living environments, but having a nearby group of people to support you through your transition period can completely enrich your professional and personal lives—all while streamlining that transition period. Financially, a local network can help ensure that you are receiving proper compensation for that area and will lay the groundwork for other opportunities down the road.

The first step in local networking is to reach out to previous networking contacts who have made a similar migration to your new area. For you, this might mean reconnecting with a coworker on LinkedIn who you worked with at your first job or joining a local chapter of your college’s alumni association.

From there, local networking is, unsurprisingly, all about connecting with new professionals in your area. The easiest pathways to growing your network will come with the relationships you build with your deskmates and colleagues, but making connections shouldn’t stop there. Cities that are home to many organizations within the same industries often provide in-person seminars or meetings where you can meet a wide variety of leaders in your field. Workshops, seminars, and certifications provide you with a chance to sharpen your own skills while broadening your relationships.

Conclusion

With these practices in mind, you’ll have the financial bedrock you need to not only survive the shift to a new position but thrive in the years to come.

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