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5 ways to make the most of moving for a new job

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A new job often means you have to make other changes: One in 3 Americans have at some point relocated to a different city or state for a job, according to a survey by home-improvement job platform Porch. But of those who did so, 25% regretted the move. Dissatisfaction with aspects of their situation like their job, income, neighborhood, and friendships contributed to whether people ended up feeling "settled" in their new area.

Here are some do's and don'ts experts suggest you consider so that your move goes smoothly and you're less likely to end up with financial regrets.

Do: Budget for moving costs

Movers' rates can vary based on factors including how long the move takes, the distance traveled, and the weight or size of your stuff. The average cost to move a 2-3 bedroom home runs $1,250 for a local move and $4,890 for a long-distance move, according to data from Moving.com. Get a few estimates ahead of time to figure out how much money to set aside.

Moving and transfer costs related to your car can be significant, too. If you move with your car, look up what fees and taxes are tied to vehicles.

In Oregon, for example, renewing car registration costs between $112 and $172 depending on what county you stay in. Getting Oregon license plates costs another $24.50 and transferring your title will be $93. This means that taking your car to Oregon could set you back $289.50. So be sure to budget for that added expense.

Do: Ask about company help

Whether you're relocating for a new role with your current employer or have landed a new job in a different city, it's worth asking if the company provides any relocation assistance. In 2018, 28% of large companies offered a lump sum payment for relocating employees, according to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management. Your employer might also reimburse moving fees, or offer you help finding housing.

That help typically comes with a tax bill, though, says Mark La Spisa, a certified financial planner and president of Vermillion Financial Advisors in South Barrington, Illinois. Tax rules require employers to count that kind of assistance as part of your income, so you'll see that reflected in your W-2 at tax time the following year.

Christine Kendall, 29, moved from New York City to Charlotte, North Carolina, earlier this year for a new role with her current company. She was able to submit her $3,600 in moving expenses for reimbursement — but after taxes, the company really only covered $2,300.

La Spisa says you could ask your company about increasing the amount they reimburse you, so what you net after taxes is the actual cost of your move.

Do: Research state taxes

If you are moving to a different state, look up what taxes you'll have to pay, as they may be much higher or lower than where you currently live. Income taxes are an important consideration, but you should also consider how your new state taxes property like real estate and vehicles, and the sales tax on purchases, says La Spisa.

The difference could be jarring: A household with the median U.S. income of $58,082 has an annual state and local tax burden of $3,567 in Delaware, versus $8,004 In Pennsylvania, according to a 2019 WalletHub analysis.

Research on taxes and cost of living would be important in reworking your budget. It could also be an important point in negotiating your salary for your new role — or even deciding if that job offer is a good fit.

We always tell people they shouldn't buy within the first year.
Mark La Spisa
president of Vermillion Financial Advisors

Don't: Buy a home right away

Don't buy a home before you move, La Spisa says, or even once you arrive. "We always tell people they shouldn't buy within the first year," he says. "I don't care if they can afford it or not. They should always rent because they may pick an area and find out it's not where they go for entertainment. Maybe they want to be 15 minutes north of work instead of 15 minutes south of work."

Rent until you have a full grasp of the city's neighborhoods — and are sure you want to stay in your new location. "You want to have a sense of what kind of community you are moving into, in terms of social connections," says Jennifer Abcug, a social worker who specializes in life transitions.

Do: Save up for trips

Moving away from family and friends could mean that travel becomes an important component of your postrelocation spending. Budget for holidays, birthdays, and the possibility that you may have to catch an unexpected flight back to where you lived before.

For example, if you're from and work in St. Louis, seeing your family may cost the price of a gallon of gas (which is $2.65 in the suburb of Webster Groves). But if you relocate to Chicago, getting back to St. Louis by plane could cost $183, according to a price average from Faredetective.com, or $25 on Megabus.

Research your soon-to-be home and make smart financial choices around the move, and odds are you'll be happier in your new city and job.

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