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Relocation: What To Consider 

Relocation is a big step for most people. So, how do you resolve the question: to move, or not to move?

What Are My Options

Relocation is sometimes not an option, in which case the alternative is to compromise.   

If your job search is limited to local geography, you should be prepared to compromise on career choices. Your career opportunities will be limited. You may need to lower compensation expectations, travel more often or alter your career path to accommodate the local job market.

If relocation is a viable option be specific about where you would want to live, and where you would not.  Consider geographic profiles that fit your life style, then think about specific states and cities that may be more, or less desirable.  You may be willing to consider potential opportunities on the East Coast, but would you move to New York City, Washington DC, or other densely populated area?  Know where you would be willing to move for the right opportunity.

All Aboard 

In the early stages of any job search or recruiting process it is imperative the entire family, immediate and extended, be onboard with the move. Moving can be uncomfortable for most everyone, but it can be traumatic for grandparents, school age children and working spouses. Consequently, it is essential you know how your family feels about packing up and moving away, leaving friends, family or their job behind.

The Cost Of Relocation 

The majority of costs associated with relocation depends on whether or not you own a home. If you currently rent the cost of relocation is reduced significantly. Owning a home, on the other hand, adds to the complexity and expense of relocation. Typical costs of relocation include:

  • Realtor fees for the seller      
  • Pack and move of household goods    
  • Vehicle shipment      
  • Storage of household goods until new living accommodations are found      
  • Miscellaneous household items that remain at current residence (curtain rods, carpet, lighting fixtures, etc.)      
  • Trips to visit the new area and search for housing      
  • Temporary housing in the new location 
  • Closing cost on the purchase of a new home 

Cost Of Living Index (COLI) 

When evaluating the difference in your current COLI and that of your new location it is important to keep in mind this is about purchasing power and not money. In addition to simply looking at the COLI, consider state income taxes and state sales tax. 

COLI published on the Internet may, or may not be accurate. COLI is calculated based upon circumstantial demographic data. As an example, the COLI for Atlanta may be based upon the city of Atlanta proper, which is not necessarily reflective of the surrounding suburbs or rural areas. If an urban area is used to calculate COLI, the cost of housing, transportation, food and other essential living expenses may be higher or lower than a suburban or rural area. The cost of housing is determined by the number of renters and homeowners, the size of families, the average size of a home, the cost of real estate, etc. The cost of transportation is dependent on whether transportation is public or private.

Due to the broad range of profiles, there is no standard for calculating COLI. The data is usually collected by city, county or commonwealth economic development centers, and is a generalization for a specific geographic/demographic profile, at a given point in time. Larger regions with higher population density are generally updated more often than smaller areas.

This does not mean that the COLI is not what you find on the Internet, it simply makes it more difficult to rely on different data collection models and the extrapolation and manipulation of comparable data. This is the reason identical geographic locations show different COLI on different Web sites.   

Calculating The Difference In COLI 

The difference in COLI between geographic locations is not as simple as subtracting one from the other. To obtain an accurate difference in two COLI numbers you need to normalize the difference. This simply means your current location is the base COLI. The percentage difference as it relates to your current COLI is the actual difference.  The correct calculation is as follows.


CLC = Current Location COLI

NLC = New Location COLI