You’ve just been offered your dream job in a city far from your current home. While you’re excited for the opportunity, it can be stressful to think of all the to-dos and costs associated with managing your transition to a new community. With careful thought and advance planning, you can make your move less stressful and more affordable.
The biggest challenge to relocation is often selling a home (if you own a property) and finding a new one. Large employers may offer assistance with the sale of your home and other aspects of your relocation. However, if you’re on your own, talk to a realtor as soon as possible to find out how quickly houses have been selling in your area, fair market value and what you need to do to get your property ready for sale.
You might consider renting your property if you are concerned about selling your home in time or if you think your relocation will be temporary. Talk to property management companies to explore services that oversee rental properties for absentee owners.
If you need to start your new job right away, you may need to find a place to rent near your new employer. Look for rental agencies that specialize in temporary housing for executives to find quality properties with more flexible lease arrangements. When you’re ready to purchase a home, a realtor can help you identify desirable neighborhoods and narrow your search to properties in your budget. There are realtors who specialize in relocation and are especially skilled in helping families manage any issues that could arise with a move.
Don’t underestimate travel costs. You may need to make several trips back and forth before you permanently relocate. If you’re traveling by air, try to book at least two weeks out. Generally speaking, you can nab the best prices on tickets when you buy and travel midweek.
If your move brings you to a larger city, expect to experience a higher cost of living. There can be significant regional differences, which hopefully your employer considered when determining your new salary. In any event, as you manage your monthly budget, make adjustments that reflect your new reality and modify your discretionary spending to fit your new lifestyle.
You might be surprised to learn that relocating may affect what you pay for insurance and health care costs. For example, if you’re moving to a more metropolitan area, you’ll likely pay more for home, renter’s or auto insurance. Consider the time and possible impact on your budget if you need to change banks, get a new driver’s license and license plates or pay home association fees in your new neighborhood. While these costs may seem nominal, they can add up. If your employer offers financial assistance, be sure to look at what costs are covered. In many cases, employers will reimburse any additional or increased costs you incur as a result of the move.
Coordinating the physical move can be tricky. Ask your family, friends or your employer to recommend reputable moving companies. Get a quote in writing and compare terms. Make sure you agree on timing as well as cost. Some companies wait for a full truckload before leaving town, which could add weeks to the transit time of your sofa and chairs. If you need temporary storage on either end of your move, factor in that cost as well.
Talk to your financial advisor
Because there are many aspects of a job change and physical move that impact your finances, you’ll want to consult with your financial advisor. Discuss whether you will maintain your relationship – many financial advisors are accustomed to working with clients virtually. Talk with your advisor to see if that is an option for you.
Christopher Zarra, CFP®, ChFC®, CFS®, is a Financial Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Rockville Centre, New York. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 22 years. To contact him, www.ChrisZarra.com, (516)764-0951, 119 N. Park Avenue, Suite 307, Rockville Centre, NY 11570.
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