Relocating for work? Make your move confidently with this in-depth guide.
If you're moving for a new job — congrats! There's a ton to be pumped about. This guide will help you confidently plan the more stressful parts of moving, so you can focus on the exciting ones.
Fun fact, you're actually part of the 7-8% of Americans who relocate for work each year, according to the Census Bureau. By definition, that makes you exceptional!
Here's what you'll find in this in-depth guide:
- Things to consider when moving for a job. It can definitely seem like there are a million things to do before making the move for your new job. This guide will help you get a handle on how manageable your move can be, even if you've only got a few weeks to sort through everything!
- An overview of the costs of moving. The name of the game here is "relocation assistance." Moving an old couch out of your house has a cost (even if it's just the toll on your back). Moving to a new state for work definitely has a price tag. The good thing is your employers know that and luckily 92% of employers reiumburse all or part of their employees' relocation expenses!
- Tips and advice on relocating with family. Moving can be especially hard for children, so we wanted to make sure to point you to some resources that offer great advice on helping your kids prepare for and make transition to a new location and home. In the end, moving often ends up being a very positive experience for everyone!
- Tips for finding roommates in a new city. If you're moving to a new city straight out of college or you know you want to live with roommates, we've got some recommendations on how to safely connect with possible roommates!
- Help for anyone still grappling with whether they want to relocate or not. If you're offered the opportunity to relocate for work, it's not necessarily a done deal. We'll help you sort through the pros and cons!
But before we get started, just remember to breathe!
Everything is going to work out great.
It's really easy to have negative predictions about big transitions. Yes, the transition won't be as smooth as you'd like. But that doesn't have to hinder your ability to be really excited about this new chapter in your life.
Some people live in the same town for their whole lives, barely even exploring the edges of their comfort zone. You're about to embark into uncharted waters — as scary as that can be, it's also pretty darned cool.
Stay positive and stay excited and this whole thing will be a lot more enjoyable!
Things to consider when moving for a job.
Never underestimate the amazing power of reddit.
Reddit — if you've never heard of it — is essentially a network of different online communities focused on hyper-broad and hyper-specific topics. It can be an immensely helpful community if you genuinely need help or insight.
I discoverd this wonderful, in-depth post on "how to move long distance cheaply" that is thoughtful and incredibly comprehensive. For anyone reading this article looking for tips on making an ecnomical move, look no further. Simply click the image below and revel in the awesome advice.
Here are just a couple tips in the post that I found really insightful and helpful:
- Moving in the summer, May - September, is going to be about 20-30% more expensive generally. Avoid Labor Day, July 4th and Memorial Day at all costs.
- Moving at the end of the month, when renter’s leases turnover, usually is going to be more expensive because of increased demand. Weekend moves can also be pricier.
Bring only the "must haves" with you.
It can be really easy to convince yourself that you still need that couch you love. But when that couch weighs 100 pounds and you'll need to ship it to a new state, the effort and expense might outweigh the value you get from having it with you in your new home.
There are a bunch of great apps and websites that can help you sell your stuff — they're all pretty much the same, with some minor feature differences:
- LetGo — "Start making cash by selling your stuff or find bargains for sale near you."
- Flogg — "Flogg is a fun, easy way to buy and sell with your friends and their friends."
- OfferUp — "With a single snap, you can take a photo of an item and instantly circulate it to people nearby."
And there's always Craigslist. If you've never used Craigslist before, feel free to check out this WikiHow article on how to sell items successfully on Craigslist.
When you're moving to another state, don't forget that expenses can be tax deductible!
The IRS has a special form where you can report moving expenses, called the Form 3903.
According to the IRS: If you moved due to a change in your job or business location, or because you started a new job or business, you may be able to deduct your reasonable moving expenses but not any expenses for meals. You can deduct your moving expenses if you meet all three of the following requirements:
- Your move closely relates to the start of work
- You meet the distance test
- You meet the time test
The cost of moving and getting relocation assistance from your employer.
Moving.com has a handy web tool that will help you get a feel for what moving across the country (using 3rd party shipping services) will cost you.
By no means is this an exact estimate of what your move will cost, but it's a great place to get an initial ballpark. Of course, if you already know that you'll want a 3rd party shipping service to assist with your move, then you can move right into getting quotes from some vendors.
Click the image below to check out Moving.com's moving cost estimator!
Some cost cutting + "asset liquidation" inspiration.
Meryl Williams, a Chicago journalist who moved to Portland, wrote a great article on the cost of moving between two major cities. The most enlightening section for me was about Amtrak Shipping. I had no idea you could ship stuff with Amtrak!
"Amtrak will let you ship up to 500 pounds of stuff from one station to another, and they’ll even hold onto it for you if your boxes beat you there. The price is right, and if you follow Amtrak’s basic requirements (the 500 pound limit, no single box can weigh more than 50 pounds, some box size restrictions) you can get a lot of stuff shipped for cheap."
Definitely worth a read!
Don't forget to contact your employer about relocation assistance!
For starters, if you're looking for an incredibly comprehensive guide to relocating and negotiating a relocation package, check out this wonderful guide from Moveline. They cover everything from:
- Negotiating your relocation package.
- Relocation package "types" (lump sum vs. reimbursement, etc.)
- Caveats on relocation policy terms & conditions
- And more!
Click the image above to read the full, in-depth article on negotiating a relocating package.
Here are two great techniques for negotiating a great (or better) relocation package from your employer.
Create some competition. This is where interviewing at two different companies really pays off. Look at the employment offer from a different company that's offering a good relocation package. You can use this relocation package as negotiating leverage, including as many details as possible. If you ask the other company to offer something similar, they might just give it to you!
The "salary gap" approach. Sometimes your job offer comes in with a salary that's under your target. If the new job involves moving to a new city, you’ve actually got a better shot at closing the "salary gap" by asking for some relocation assistance, as opposed to an increase in salary. Since payroll typically happens twice a month, the company will feel the impact of that salary every month as opposed to the one-off expense of providing some (or additional) relocation support. Definitely worth a shot!
92% of companies reiumburse all or part of employees' relocation expenses.
Relocating with family?
Parents Magazine offers some terrific insight to "help dial down the drama [of relocating with kids], so everyone can have a smooth move." Author Caroline Schaefer breaks down her article into a few key sections to help you help your kids prepare and make the transition from current home to new home.
- Get Them Ready: "If I'd properly prepared my kids, I might have alleviated some of their stress"
- Allow Their Angst: "Heartbreaking as they were to witness, Austin's crying jags and Avery's tantrums were a normal response to the seismic shift that had taken place in their lives."
- The Best Books to Share Before the Big Move: This section offers some book selections that feature protagonists who are experiencing a big move. The section is broken into "ages 3 to 5" and "ages 6 and up."
Finding roommates in a new city.
Living with roommates in a new city is a phenomenal way to save money and quickly meet and mingle with locals after you relocate. Check it out below!
Still wondering, "Should I relocate for a job?"
Atlas Van Lines conducts and releases the findings of a corporate each year. Here are the top 6 reasons that people choose not to relocate for work in 2015. "Family issues/ties" ranks as the top deterrent to accepting a corporate relocation.
Source: Atlas Van Lines
According to the survery, "Most (67%) respondents state that declining the opportunity to relocate does not hinder an employee’s career." As such, there's no reason to panic that declining will damage your career. Obivously, opening up an honest discussion with your manager will be the best way to really get on the same page about what impact not relocating might have on your career.