So you are looking for new job opportunities and your local market isn’t a great fit. Eventually, you may have to come to terms with looking at less-local options. This could mean at-home or virtual opportunities, but if your work takes place in person, it would likely mean relocation.
Relocation can be a scary idea. The concept of taking a chance on a job opportunity and moving (literally) out of your comfort zone is definitely something that needs more than a moment of thought. There are two main questions that come with determining whether relocation is an option or not: can you relocate and do you want to relocate?
Who is relocating?
There is a noticeable difference in the way questions need to be addressed when you are moving alone versus when you are moving with family. Before we can talk about the ‘can’s and ‘want’s of relocating, we need to figure out the factors that are involved.
Your situation changes immensely depending on if you are moving completely alone, with pets, children, or spouses. Depending on who is included in the relocation, it will change the budget on the move, viable locations, and what amenities will be necessary to have within a certain distance.
Pets may have special care or housing needs, such as active dogs who need large backyards or play areas or horses who need stables. For children, good school zones and safe communities will be high priorities. A spouse will need to have the same opportunities available to them that you are pursuing, should they relocate.
For the sake of this article, we will consider family relocation as moving with a spouse and/or children. If you are looking for a Individual relocation guide, that check out this article!
Relocating with family has benefits and drawbacks, as every situation can. The benefit here is that you have the financial, emotional, and physical support of your family. As you move, you have others who can help limit stress and strain, making the process much more enjoyable.
The drawback here is that you now have a lot more factors to consider before thinking about relocating. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing, it just means that you, partners, and children will need to have open and honest conversations before making any decisions on this matter.
“Can we afford to relocate?” is the first question that needs to be asked. Since you are relocating with others, you will have to consider your individual and combined financial status. It’s always important to stay on top of your finances, separating money for bills and necessities from regular savings and spending money. Assuming you have already done this, come together with the other providers you plan to relocate and figure out what your moving budget is.
Keep in mind that a relocating or moving budget will not only include the finances that you have, but also a reasonable idea of the finances you will have. This means that you might have enough savings for the average rent/down-payment in a state, but that doesn’t mean you have the additional necessary finances to capitalize on that. While you may be inclined to add in any offers of ‘relocation assistance‘ or a ‘sign-on bonus‘ to your funds, keep in mind that those are usually paid out as reimbursement after you start your new opportunity.
When calculating your budget, it is good practice to calculate if you could live off of your savings in an area for 6 months without additional income. This gives you a good idea of the worst possible scenario you could face when relocating for a new job and will give you peace of mind in terms of financial preparation.
In terms of numbers, for renters, it pays to keep in mind the 50/30/20 rule, which states that your monthly budget should divide 50% for needs, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings/debt payments. You can use this as a guide for what you can afford to move into from the get-go and what you can afford as a minimum salary. For people looking to buy a house, there are mortgage calculators that can help you decide if the housing marketing is a good fit for your financial profile.
“Is there space for us?” is the next question that needs to be asked. City living is full of places to live, but rural and suburban areas do not necessarily promise the same. Suburban areas are a bit more flexible, usually with a close-knit community and options for temporary housing, but rural areas may not have any options available. Additionally, these temporary or limited housing options might not be a good fit for a family to live comfortably.
Many rural communities are aware that housing is limited, so job opportunities may offer temporary housing to help in the beginning. While that is wonderful, you should make sure to take the time to look beyond temporary measures before committing to a move. Whether you plan to buy or rent a place to live, one of the best ways to get updated information, especially in rural areas, is through a chamber of commerce.
In large cities where much of the market is covered by name brands, chambers of commerce will give you the same information as a Google search. In smaller locations, these places serve as a hotspot of information with the personalized touch you may not get from an electronic search. Take this as an opportunity to speak with someone who lives in your future community. They can give you the best look at the financial truth of the area from a day-to-day perspective, or they can give you contacts who can help as well, such as local realtors or renters.
This is also a great way to get a feel for the general population, which could help with finding a partner a local job and ensuring that the available schools are a good match for children. To know if the area around your job has a good school system, check out Great Schools. If you are having trouble finding a good school system or opportunities for a spouse close to your new job, take a bird’s eye view of the area. Set a radius for a 45 minute drive and see what other nearby areas might serve all your needs best.
“Why do we want to relocate?” is a hard question to ask and to answer. The easy answer is that you are moving for a job, and that is a good answer, but it shouldn’t be the only one. Even if you dedicate your life to your career, you and your family will still have to exist outside of it. In those times where you and your spouses are not working and your kids are out of school, everyone needs to have a reason to want to be where they are, or they will burn out.
A good way to find things your family would genuinely enjoy about the area is to start with a list about the things you all like to do. Start as a family and see if you can find a few activities in the area to come together over. Then, take some time to list out activities each individual person is interested in. This will give your family a list of things to plan for and get excited about as you look for new places to live.
Another way to set yourself up for a healthy relocation is to have a social support system. If you have close friends or family, you should try looking in their area. Technology makes staying in touch much easier than it used to be, but direct, in-person support could be the difference between a good day and a bad one.
You may not have friends or family in the area of your dream job, and that’s okay too! Before moving to the location, try to start getting involved from a distance. Join the social media groups for the region, learn about the local culture, and try to set up a plan of activities to do when you officially relocate. Good ways to get socially involved are to attend local sporting events that you are interested in or to attend event nights at social areas, like a bowling alley or drive-in movie theater. These events are fun for your family and give you a chance to naturally connect with neighbors.
Most importantly, allow yourself time to enjoy the idea of the opportunities ahead of you and your family. Relocating can be a fresh start or a new adventure that people need, so outside of planning and packing, make sure your family takes time to be excited, as a family and as a set of individuals, for all that has yet to come.
While this is a good guide, keep in mind that you can always find a reason to not do something. Our recruiters are great at helping candidates relocate to their dream jobs, so connect with our recruiters today! Send in your resume or apply directly to an opportunity!