Relocating for work comes with a lot of stress. Uprooting your family from their home, dealing with moving expenses, and tackling an expansive moving to-do list in a short period are just a few challenges you may deal with during your long-distance move.
Thankfully, being knowledgeable about the ins and outs of relocating for work will go a long way in making your move a success—and can even reduce some of you and your family’s stress.
1. There Are Changes You May Not Be Considering
Moving comes with change; it is certainly no secret as everyone knows it. You have probably considered the fact that you will have a new home, workplace, and neighborhood, but there may be significant changes that you have overlooked.
Taxes: State taxes vastly vary from 5.7% – 14.9%. If you’re moving to a new state, it is best to check the amount of state taxes you will have to pay beforehand.
Cost of Living: Even if your salary is getting a boost with your new job, it might not equate to much if living expenses in your new city are more expensive. Consider using an online tool that compares the cost of living to see where you stand.
2. Don’t Expect Tax Cuts on Moving Expenses
Unfortunately, moving expenses are no longer tax-deductible when relocating to a new city for work (except for military members). This deduction was eliminated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in 2019. If you are still looking to save on your relocation, you may want to consider:
Movers: Get quotes from at least 3 moving companies to see what is available. If you like one company but find a cheaper quote for the same services elsewhere, ask if they price match. You can also avoid surprise costs by checking if the company offers a binding estimate, which will tell you exactly what you will pay before your move. Binding estimates aren’t common practice at most companies, but it’s always worth inquiring.
Heavy Boxes: An odd tip that can save you a fair bit of money if you have an extensive book collection is to ship your books instead of moving them. Oddly enough, packing books in a flat rate box from USPS or other similar mailing services is often cheaper than moving them in a truck for long-distance moves.
3. Your New Company May Offer Financial Aid
However, there is some good news when it comes to moving expenses—you may not have to foot the bill alone. Many companies offer relocation packages that will cover at least a portion of your relocation costs. Some will even foot the entire bill, including lodging and mileage for in-person interviews, meals on the road to your destination, and professional movers. In some cases, companies help their employees navigate the tax implications of moving expenses by grossing up their relocation package. They may increase your lump sum or reimbursement payments and absorb the tax bill in the process to make the relocation offer more enticing and stress-free.Your new company may also be willing to assist in other crucial relocation activities, like selling your home and finding your spouse a job.
If relocation packages haven’t been discussed either in your interview or paperwork, then be diligent and learn what’s available to you. While it is ideal to negotiate this at the time of hire, it is worth asking at any point in your move.
4. Temporary Housing Can Be More Favorable
If you are moving to a city that you know very little about, then you may want to consider holding off on buying a home. Getting into a short-term rental for the first few months is beneficial for multiple reasons.
– It allows you to leisurely explore neighborhoods firsthand and get a better idea of what they offer as far as parks, schools, and other amenities. Plus, it will also allow you to get a feel for how safe an area is. It can be helpful to strike up conversation with other parents from your child’s school or other locals to see what advice they may have.
– Relocation may not pan out, and being saddled with a house in this case only adds to the stress and financial strain. There is always a possibility that your new job doesn’t work out or your family doesn’t adjust well to the move, especially in the first few months.
With relocating for work, your company may even offer to cover the cost of a short-term rental for a few months while you search for a permanent home. If this is offered to you, we highly advise taking the opportunity. If this isn’t the case, though, a Rent vs. Buy Calculator can aid you in making a sound financial decision.
5. Staying Positive is Crucial
Kids look to adults they trust when they are trying to interpret unfamiliar situations, so it is essential to paint the relocation in a positive light. Maybe your new city has great trails for family hikes or perhaps the new home is roomier than the last. Highlighting the move’s upsides and the unique experiences it offers can help your kids cope and stay positive during the moving process. However, it is important to note that you shouldn’t ignore the downsides of the move altogether.
It can help to talk to your children about all aspects of the relocation, including the negatives—just be sure not to dwell. Instead, keep an open line of communication and try to remain calm throughout the process. Trying to keep stress at bay will not only benefit your health, but it is key to avoiding passing anxiety on to your kids.
Relocating for work can be a frightening step in your career and for your family, but when handled correctly, it is a prime opportunity for growth. Research and planning are the best ways to ensure your relocation for work is a success—if you are thorough with both, your career and your family with thank you.
Nancy Zafrani is the general manager of Oz Moving & Storage in NYC. A day-one employee of Oz, she has 25 years of experience in the moving industry. As a New Yorker, Nancy also has lots of experience dealing with small apartments and organizing.