Getting the Most out of Life

Moving to Another State: 10 Things to Consider

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Approximately 40 million people move each year in the U.S., with over 7.6 million moving to another state. Whether your reason is a new job, college, or simply a change in scenery, there are a few things to consider before you pack your bags.

1. Navigating the Housing Market

In some states, affordable housing may seem impossible to find, especially if you have an extensive list of must-have amenities. Whether you are buying or renting, check out websites such as Zillow.com, Realtor.com, and Craigslist.org to see what’s available, affordable, and realistic.

2. Comparing the Cost of Living

Using a cost of living calculator will show you how far your salary will go in a specific region. Aside from housing costs, make sure to factor in food, utilities, gas prices, and other miscellaneous expenses before concluding if a state is within your financial means.

3. Researching Quality Health Care

Relocating means finding a new general physician, dentist, and other preventative-care specialists. States are rated differently when it comes to cost and quality of healthcare. For example, Minnesota, Utah, and Kansas are among the best healthcare systems in the country. Do your research beforehand, especially if you require specific, regular medical attention.

4. Experiencing the Local Culture

Whether it’s the sports, art, music, or food scene you are into, some areas have a lot to offer, while others may seem dead on nights and weekends. Most towns and cities have websites or local publications that include any attractions, events, and entertainment offered in the area.

5. Seeking Rewarding Employment

Will moving to your dream state propel your career forward? More importantly, will you financially survive living there? In trendier states, nailing down a job can be difficult with so many other newcomers moving in. It’s smart to look up job availability in your preferred industry before you commit. Websites such as Monster.com, Indeed.com, and Craigslist.org are great job-hunting sites to start you off.

6. Managing the Commute

Your transportation needs can be a huge monthly expense. Some areas of the country have exceptional transportation systems, while others will require you to own a car. When it comes to public transportation, make sure the quality and monthly costs meet your standards and your budget. Be sure to measure your commute as well, as a long commute will have a negative impact on your day-to-day routine.

7. Continuing Your Education

Choosing your alma mater can play a pivotal role in finding your next home state. If you’re unsure about where you may want to earn that degree, The Huffington Post reports that some of the best states for attending college include Maine, Montana, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

8. Bracing Against the Elements

Mother Nature is capable of negatively impacting your mood, skyrocketing your utility bill, and locking you indoors. Look up data on precipitation and average seasonal temperatures before you make your decision.

9. Calculating State Taxes

Taxes vary widely from state to state and can greatly affect your paycheck. Before you pick a new state of residency, you should measure how state income taxes, property taxes, and sales tax will affect your bottom line.

10. Befriending the Locals

Lastly, be sure to explore each state’s demographics carefully, paying particularly close attention to local age brackets. You may find it difficult to make friends if you move to an area largely populated by retirees. The U.S. Census Bureau is a great resource for demographic data.

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Michelle Schroeder is an award-winning personal finance blogger. She discusses student loans, budgeting, intentional living, and more, all on her personal finance website. She has appeared on Forbes, WiseBread, Huffington Post, Zillow, Business Insider, Yahoo! Finance, Lifehacker, Lifehack, The Consumerist, US News, Mint.com, Learnvest, BankRate.com, and more. Michelle also has her Finance MBA.