Everything You Need to Know About Relocating for Work

May 7, 2024 3 min read

Moving your life and family for your job might be a smart choice, but it can turn everything upside down. There’s a lot to figure out, from cost-of-living implications to moving costs and kids’ schools. Our detailed guide can help you prepare.

What to Consider Before Moving for a Job

Should you move for a job? Relocating for work is a big decision that involves financial, professional and personal considerations. Knowing the steps you should take when moving for a job can help you make the best choice for your life and career. Ask yourself these questions before planning to relocate.

Is It a Financial Step Forward?

The cost of living varies a lot throughout the U.S. For example, a $75,000 annual salary in McAllen, Texas, which has the lowest cost of living, according to Axios, won’t go nearly as far in Honolulu, Hawaii, where the cost of living is highest.

You’ll want to use a resource like the Economic Policy Institute’s family budget calculator, which factors in your family size and costs for housing, food, childcare, transportation, insurance, taxes and other necessities. Run the numbers for your current location and the location for your new job to make sure your salary will cover your expenses and your lifestyle.

How Much Will Moving Costs Run?

If you’ve landed a new job in another city or town, your employer might be picking up the moving expenses in a signing bonus, reimbursement or dedicated relocation package. If that’s not part of the deal, or you’re planning to move first and find a job once you get there, you’ll need to factor in moving expenses.

These costs vary widely. A cross-country relocation will cost more than a move within a few hours’ drive. Moving the stuff that fills a five-bedroom home is much more expensive than a one-bedroom apartment. Plus, having the movers do all the packing and unpacking will set you back a lot more than if you DIY.

It’s a good idea to call several moving companies or services and ask for estimates for your move. 

What Will Happen With Your Spouse’s Job?

If your spouse can work remotely or works in a high-demand field, relocating might be easy for them to manage in terms of employment. But if they work in a specialized field or have been working for the same company for a long time, relocating may mean they’ll need to sacrifice salary, benefits or time off. 

You’ll need to consider the pros and cons of both of your career goals when you’re deciding whether it makes sense for your family to relocate for your job. 

What Are the Schools Like in the New Location?

If you have young children, are the public schools satisfactory, or would you consider private schools? If you have a child with a disability, what are the services like? If you have a college-age student, will the move impact in-state tuition costs?

Be sure to look into exactly what the new school district includes. For example, some locations offer free busing while in others, it’s available for a fee or it’s the parents’ responsibility to get their children to school. There could be a long waiting list for before- or after-school care. A district may only offer half-day kindergarten, so you may need to make childcare arrangements for the rest of the time.

Do You Need to Sell Your House?

Depending on when you bought your home and the strength of the real estate market in your area, you’ll need to factor in the money you expect to make or lose on the sale of your home. If selling doesn’t make financial sense, you may need to consider renting it out or rethinking whether you can afford to relocate.

What Will Your Quality of Life Be Like?

What do you expect to gain in the new location, and what are you giving up at your old location? Maybe you don’t like having to drive everywhere in your suburb, and you’re relocating to a walkable city. Perhaps you’ll miss your family and friends, but you know they’ll visit in your new home close to the shore. Maybe you’re done with long winters and looking forward to year-round hiking in a milder climate.

It’s impossible to know what the future will bring but try to imagine the pros and cons of your new lifestyle and compare it to how you’re living now. Does it feel like a change you want to make?

Would Remote Work Make Sense?

Maybe you know you want to relocate, but you’re not sure whether finding a new job compared to keeping your job and going remote makes sense. Of course, remote work isn’t an option for everyone. But if you think you would like to try it, you could write a proposal and present it to your employer. If they’re hesitant, maybe you can test it out for a few months and work remotely in your current location. You can move to your new location once you and your employer agree that the plan is working.

Make Sure You’re Covered

When you’re relocating, you have a lot on your mind. Make sure your insurance coverage doesn’t fall through the cracks. Talk to a Farm Bureau agent to make sure your home and belongings are covered from start to finish. 

Want to learn more?

Contact a local FBFS agent or advisor for answers personalized to you.