Tips for Moving to a New City: 10 Considerations
First, Do Your Research
Are you contemplating a move to a new city but aren’t sure that moving is the right thing to do?
It pays to do your research and ask around. Talk to people who have lived there, look up online resources, and read local newspapers or blogs to get a feel for the area.
Once you understand what the city offers, you can list the pros and cons. Even if you’re moving for a job or relationship, and that move is inevitable, it never hurts to review your options.
1. Consider your career path.
Some cities can be fabulous for your career, while others are career killers.
A friend once lectured me about “have” cities with ample opportunities and “have not” cities, where opportunity went to die. I happened to live in a “have not” city at the time. I could see his point.
Kudos to you if you’ve landed a dream job out of state. But most jobs and even companies don’t last 10, 20, or 30 years as they did back in the day. They’re stepping stones to other employment.
When your job ends for any reason, will you be able to find other work as good or better without having to move again?
Many cities have specialties, like human beings. Austin, TX, and San Jose, CA are tech centers, but in the post-Covid era, you may be able to negotiate a telecommute for a tech assignment. Some cities have ties to the insurance industry, while others are hotbeds for medical.
Unless your skill set aligns with the market, a new city may offer you a better job but fewer career choices.
2. What about the cost of living?
Your wages may be higher in another city, while taxes and the price of essential goods, services, and rent are also higher. You’ll be making bigger bucks, but you won’t be getting ahead financially and could even lose ground.
A cost of living calculator compares the price of goods and services in different cities.
Factoring into your cost of living are:
- City and state taxes
- Housing costs
- Transportation and travel costs
- Food prices (and quality)
- Utilities and internet
- Child care costs
- Entertainment costs
3. What’s the quality of life?
Closely related to the cost of living is the quality of life. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, you won’t enjoy your new home no matter how pleasant the weather.
And if you live in a high-cost city but can’t find decent employment, that’s a recipe for disaster.
But let’s not kid ourselves. Some cities are just plain nicer than others. There’s a reason why some cities in America have grown exponentially while others are dying.
Quality of life includes:
- Housing quality
- The cost of living
- Job opportunities
- The crime rate
- Educational and recreational opportunities
- A strong sense of community. Some places have it; others don’t
4. Will you have a nerve-racking commute?
Imagine a daily grind of two-hour white-knuckle commutes in stop-and-go traffic, breathing exhaust fumes while praying that your bladder doesn’t burst.
And that’s just one way.
Some people manage to do it. We don’t know how they do it unless they enter a zombie-like trance, numbing them to the experience. Or maybe they’re like the proverbial frog in slowly heating water who doesn’t recognize his predicament.
For many of us, a long commute is a non-starter. It’s not just the time involved but also the cost of gasoline or transit fares and the effect on our health from sitting in traffic day after day.
Telecommuting solves the problem, but not every profession allows for it. We’re all waiting for the day of telecommuting nurses, plumbers, and restaurant staff. It was promised to us once, like flying cars.
As for public transportation, is it even an option? And how clean and comfortable are the rail cars you’ll be riding? Will you be standing for an hour each way, pressed against other sweating and irritated commuters?
5. Does the climate suit you?
For someone prone to SAD syndrome (seasonal affective disorder), a move to Seattle would be an ill-advised move.
San Francisco is notorious for its microclimates and dreary summers, prompting the apocryphal Mark Twain quip, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”
It’s so hilarious that Mark Twain must have said it, right?
He didn’t, but that’s beyond the scope of this humble blog. We just happen to like the quote.
Another quote comes from The Atlantic.
“Unusually hot days cause the suicide rate to rise, according to a study published Monday in Nature Climate Change. If a month is 1 degree Celsius warmer than normal, then its suicide rate will increase by 0.7 percent in the United States and 2.1 percent in Mexico.”
Huh? We’ve heard that cold, dreary weather can lead to depression, but new research shows that excessive heat is also a factor.
Know thy climate self.
Know the weather conditions that help you thrive.
If you like to hike, play golf, and picnic, Los Angeles is preferable to Manhattan. If you enjoy the nightlife, where the weather rarely comes into play, you might want your new assignment in Chicago.
6. Does the city have good schools?
For parents, schools are often at the top of the list. Bad schools can ruin children, while good schools can set them up for success in life.
Test scores, graduation rates, college preparation programs, and college entrance rates are clear school quality indicators.
In a high school where kids aren’t graduating, what are the chances your child will receive a first-rate education? Peers and classmates also play a critical role in a child’s mental and emotional development.
Finally, consider extracurricular programs and whether the school has strong community ties and support.
7. What’s healthcare like in your new city?
This is a critical consideration, particularly if you have children or elderly parents.
You’ll want to research hospitals and clinics in the area and their ratings for quality of care.
You’ll want to know if specialists are available and how long you’ll have to wait for an appointment.
It’s also a good idea to find out what your insurance will cover and what restrictions apply.
8. Do you have family or close friends in the area?
People are social animals by nature (even introverts need their “we” time). If you have family or close friends in the area, you’ll have a support system should you need it.
If you don’t know anyone, find out what kind of social activities and clubs are available. Will you be able to meet people who share your interests?
9. Does the city foster your values?
Some people feel more comfortable in a city that shares their values. Others couldn’t care less.
Think about the things that are important to you: religion, politics, social issues, etc.
Do you want to live in a city known for its progressive values? Or are you looking for a more traditional environment?
10. What about the crime rate?
The reality is that crime exists everywhere.
That said, some cities are safer than others. When you’re researching a new city, find out the crime rate and what types of crimes are most common.
If you have young children, you’ll want to be especially mindful of their safety.
Crime rates can fluctuate from year to year, and rates may fluctuate wildly in a smaller city with a small sample size, so get the most up-to-date information before deciding.
Let Walsh Moving & Storage Help with Your Move
These are just a few things to consider before moving to a new city. Take your time and do your research to make the best decision for yourself and your family.
And when you’re ready to move, give Walsh Moving & Storage a call. We’re happy to help with all your moving and storage needs, and we deliver to any city in the continental USA.
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