America has always been the land of opportunity. Immigrants have been coming to our shores for centuries to better their lives. And within the USA, we still believe that your success isn’t determined by where you’re born or how you were brought up.
Even though it has become more challenging to make ends meet in recent years, we continue to dare. People start businesses where they perceive demand. They are unafraid to move across the country in search of better opportunities.
In this information age, relocating can be easier than ever. You can compare the cost of living between any two cities using various online calculators. Countless websites offer ratings and reviews from people who’ve lived in an area. And social media provides yet another channel through which you can conduct research.
These sources help you to make a better-informed decision. But if you don’t go deeper, you can end up ill-prepared when you do make the move. Here are some things the numbers and figures don’t tell you.
Keep an eye on trends
One of the first things many people reference as they do their homework before moving is the expected cost of living in their target city. Sensible people wouldn’t relocate without some sort of plan. They have a guaranteed job waiting, are qualified for a good selection of vacancies, or already have a business plan. Thus, they have more control over the income aspect. By comparing expected income with the cost of living, they can more or less work out the margins.
This is an essential consideration when you plan on moving. But problems arise when you stop at this point. The cost of living isn’t static. For example, big cities generally offer better jobs. Thus, more people flock to these cities each year. Populations grow, followed by demand and competition in almost every facet of life. Everything you expect to pay for will get more expensive, from food and leisure activities to duct cleaning service and housekeeping.
Instead of only taking fixed numbers into account, you can begin to research more dynamic indicators. Projected economic outlook and cost of living trends will be more useful than figures that only account for this year or last. Population growth figures also give you valuable insight into how rapidly a city might be growing, and inevitably experience a higher cost of living soon after.
You might need new skills
Knowing that numbers aren’t static, you might want to address the other side of the equation. If you’re moving for a new job or promotion, do you expect your earnings to scale? If you plan on starting a business, do your expectations for profitability and growth need to be revisited and adjusted accordingly?
Of course, income and cost of living aren’t the only two factors that determine whether or not a relocation will make economic sense. Things can still work out if you learn to adjust your lifestyle and habits. Creating and adhering to a weekly meal plan, for instance, can save money that might otherwise be spent on impulse purchases at the supermarket.
However, the bottom line is that you’re trying to offset individual costs that are out of your control. Doing so might require new skills. Younger people leaving their parents’ home for the first time will have to learn how to budget, save, and maybe land a side hustle. These are financial skills you don’t necessarily have at the outset.
You also need to expand your network and sharpen your time management and task prioritization. These skills don’t show up on your resume but can make a difference in staying competitive and growing your income through business revenue or employment.
Careers can change
We shouldn’t be afraid to move if it means pursuing our goals. But in modern times, careers can change quickly. People don’t feel constrained to work many years for the same company, or even in the same industry. They feel burnout or want to do more meaningful work.
Many people feel compelled to eventually change course and seek out new challenges in their careers because they have imbibed the wrong ideas about following passion. Research has shown that if you want to pursue your passion, you need competency, autonomy, and relatedness.
If your career path offers the opportunity for growth, you’ll enjoy the feeling of progress. With more control over what you do, you’ll have the freedom to express yourself. And if your work gives you a sense of being connected to other people or serving the community, it gives you purpose.
Without these three components, your pursuit of passion will eventually wear out. Does the opportunity you’re chasing have the potential to lead to all three? Revisit the reasons for your move, and you can make sure it will be worthwhile amid all other changing factors.