Imagine this: You’ve received an attractive job offer with a company that feels like a great fit. There’s just one small snag — the position’s in another state.
Moving can be stressful, especially if it’s across state lines, but it’s also one of life’s most transformative events.
Of course, a big move also has the potential to shake up your finances. Considering an out-of-state move? Here’s how to prep so you can focus on settling into your new town (and gig) without the money stress.
Find out if a relocation package is on the table.
More companies are offering flex benefits for employees who relocate, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Typical perks include reimbursement for moving expenses, household items, storage options and even cash allowances for miscellaneous expenses.
If an adequate relocation package isn’t part of your initial job offer, open it up for negotiation. An employer who really wants you may be willing to meet you halfway when it comes to footing the bill for a major move. If not, how do you plan on financing the relocation? Having a rough plan in place before accepting the offer will make for an easier transition.
Prepare your budget for gaps in income and insurance coverage.
Your new start date may carry a lot of weight where your finances are concerned. Pull out your calendar and pinpoint your final payday from your current employer. Now, find out when you’d get your first paycheck with your new job. Is there a gap? If so, you’ll need to make a plan for how you’ll cover it. This may require dipping into your savings account, taking out a personal loan, or tweaking your budget to free up extra money so you can financially manage the transition.
When negotiating your job offer, see if you can time your start date so your paychecks continue arriving without a hiccup. The best-case scenario, of course, is having an overlap where two paychecks will hit your bank account around the same time. In this situation, the cash windfall can help cover moving expenses.
Health insurance should also be top of mind when moving to a new state. A gap in coverage could translate to a costly expense should an emergency rear its ugly head. Ahead of your move, price out how much it would cost to pay out of pocket for health insurance until your new plan kicks in.
Lock down housing.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but finding a new place to live when you’re currently living in another state can be complicated. If you’re renting, you’ll need to have a security deposit at the ready, as well as a broker fee if you hire someone to help you find an available property. Preparing your budget for these expenses can head off unpleasant surprises, take the stress out of the move and help you feel empowered about the decision.
If you’re looking to buy in your new state, the National Association of Realtors suggests connecting with a relocation specialist ahead of the move. They can help you find a local agent, negotiate your home purchase, lock down movers and help with everything in between. You can begin your search via Worldwide ERC, a relocation services industry trade group.
Other costs to add to your financial plan include furniture, household items, appliances and so on. Within the first year of buying a home, most homeowners drop more than $10,000 on these expenses, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
Determine your auto expenses.
Heading to a town that isn’t exactly known for its public transportation? In addition to any costs associated with buying or leasing a car, insurance costs should be on your radar. (FYI, insurance is generally more expensive for folks who are leasing, as most leasing companies require a higher level of coverage for leased cars).
Let’s say you’re moving from California to Florida. When it comes to auto insurance, Floridians on average spend $1,098 annually on auto insurance, 34% less than Californians. You can potentially save even more by shopping around for companies that offer the lowest premiums — a little bit of homework on the front end could translate to major savings.
Find out how the move will affect your taxes.
When tax season rolls around, no one likes missing out on a refund — or worse, owing money when you weren’t expecting to. But you don’t have to be an accountant to prepare your taxes for an out-of-state move. Do a quick Google search to find out if you’ll be on the hook for state and local taxes in your new location.
In New York City, for example, residents have to pay federal, state and city taxes. Meanwhile, Floridians enjoy no state income tax. If your new company is hiring you as an independent contractor, these numbers matter even more since taxes won’t be taken out of your paychecks.
Making the decision to head off for greener pastures in another state could very well supercharge your career and earning power in the long run. Getting your finances in order before accepting the job can help make the leap a little smoother.