You just received an offer from a company in another city. The money is more than you’re making now. It’s time to pull up stakes and move, right? Not so fast. There are more things to consider than just salary.
Cost of Living
The real question is, “How much more is it?” Investigate the cost of living in the new city versus your current one. If you’ll be making a couple thousand dollars more per year, but your rent or mortgage will double, you’ll effectively be making less money. This works in reverse as well. Perhaps the salary you’re offered is the same or even slightly less than your current one. If your cost of living will go down significantly, it still may be worth considering the move. Remember, cost-of-living differences can show up not only in rent and groceries but in sales, property, and state taxes. When figuring total compensation, don’t forget to account for health insurance, paid time off and any other benefits such as free gym memberships.
Relocating is expensive and a hassle. Many companies will offer some sort of relocation compensation. This can include paying for packing and/or moving, storage costs, temporary housing while you search for a permanent residence, scouting trips to your new city and even a stipend for miscellaneous expenses. If they do offer a relocation package, be sure you are clear on the details; there’s no assumed standard, and each one can be unique. A company that does offer to pay for some of your moving expenses, though, shows they value you as a new employee and are committed to you.
If you’re single, relocating can be done more quickly and easily than if you have schools, child care, and a spouse’s career to consider. Think critically about how your family will fit into their new home. The opportunity may be worth relocating your family if your spouse is on board. Consider what resources will be available: quality schools, outside play area, social groups, cultural adventures — whatever is important to your family’s lifestyle.
Sometimes all the salary in the world can’t make up for a toxic work environment or a cityscape that’s counter to your lifestyle. Get to know both the company you’ll be working for and its surroundings. Take scouting trips to the new city with your family to reduce the chance of unpleasant surprises. Talk to locals or people familiar with the area. Don’t gloss over or rationalize things that are really important to you. If you’re a person who thrives on the hustle and diversity of big city life, a move to a small town may make you miserable. Conversely, intangibles may lead you to a new home despite lack of monetary compensation. While relocating for a lateral move and the same salary doesn’t sound advisable, if it gives you access to the hiking trails you love or to services for your child with special needs, it may still be the right move.
Sources: themuse.com, forbes.com, monster.com