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Should I Move?

Moving is an exciting prospect -- and a daunting one. Here's how to decide whether it's worth doing.

[Updated: Feb 04, 2021 ] Apr 11, 2020 by Maurie Backman
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Some people find a place to live and decide to call it home for years on end. Others move frequently, and for a variety of reasons. If you're thinking of moving, you're no doubt aware that it's a tough decision to make. Here's how to navigate your choices and decide whether it's time to pack up and find a new place to live or stay in the area where you've already settled down in.

Common reasons for moving

There are plenty of factors that prompt people to move someplace else, even when they’re reasonably happy where they are.

1. A new job

Sometimes, the best way to further your career is to accept a job in another part of the country. If there's a company you're itching to work for that's made you an offer in a new city, then you may be tempted to take that job, even if it means packing up your belongings and finding a new home in a city you've never stepped foot in before. It could also pay to move someplace with a better job market, especially if your local market isn't great or has been on the decline.

2. Proximity to family and friends

If you don't live near friends and family right now, you may be missing that support system -- so much so that you're tempted to hire a moving company and transport your belongings to a different city. Having family nearby could prove especially helpful if you have children, as you may get more help with childcare. And if you have friends with children in another part of the country, being closer to them could help you better navigate the challenges of parenthood.

3. A cheaper cost of living

If the city you live in has a high cost of living, relocating to a more affordable one could make sense. Of course, there are a lot of factors that go into affordability, like home prices, the cost of common goods and services, and state and local taxes. But if you're able to earn a comparable amount of money in an area of the country that's less expensive, you could stretch your salary and improve your finances in a very meaningful way.

4. Better amenities

Some cities or towns offer better amenities than others. For example, it could pay to look at moving somewhere with a better school system, more efficient public transportation, or a healthy mix of shops and restaurants. If you're a homeowner, moving could also mean getting access to better local services like garbage pickup and recycling.

5. Love

If you have a romantic partner who lives in another city, you may be tired of maintaining a long-distance relationship. Living near the person you love could not only make you happier but help you determine whether that partner is the right one to spend your life with. Therefore, it may be worth moving closer for a period of time and seeing how things shake out -- though in that scenario, it could be better to rent, not buy, so that you have the option to change your mind and leave if things don't work out romantically.

6. Climate

If long winters wear you down and impact your mental health, it could pay to look at moving to a place with a warmer or more moderate climate. And if you crave seasons, you might consider trying out an area of the country that will give you a distinct winter, spring, summer, and fall.

Benefits of moving

Even if the above reasons don't apply to you -- meaning, you don't have a specific person or factor driving you to move -- there are still some general advantages of picking up and trying out a new corner of the country (or the world). For one thing, moving gives you the chance to experience someplace new. If you try out a different city, it could lead to a host of professional opportunities and positive social connections.

Moving could also mean enjoying a change of pace. If you're bored of rural or suburban life, you may really enjoy living in a city for a while -- or for good. And if you're tired of the hustle and bustle of being in a city, a move to a quieter neck of the woods might serve you well.

Benefits of staying put

On the other hand, there are plenty of good reasons to stay where you are and not uproot your life. For one thing, moving can be an expensive prospect, between hiring movers, paying for supplies like boxes and packing tape, and possibly having to store the items you don't know if you'll have space for in your new home. Of course, the amount you spend to move will depend on a number of factors, like the amount of belongings you need to transport and the distance involved.

A local move costs $1,250, on average, for a two- to three-bedroom home. Long-distance moving, which often involves moving from one state to another, can cost closer to $4,900, on average, assuming a two- to three-bedroom home. Even if you don't hire movers, you could still end up spending a lot of money to relocate, and if you don't have an employer to pick up that tab for a job-related move, it could really strain your budget.

Furthermore, by staying put, you get the comfort of the community you already know. You don't have to learn your way around a new town or stress about making new friends.

Finally, not moving means not having to deal with an unfamiliar real estate market. Finding a new home, whether to buy or to rent, is no easy prospect, and if you don't move, you won't have to deal with it.

Is moving right for you?

Clearly, there are pros and cons to moving that you'll need to consider before packing up your entire life. Think about the things you stand to gain by moving (say, a better job/higher paycheck, more room to spread out, or a lifestyle pace that better aligns with your personality) versus the things you stand to lose (the stability of being settled, proximity to the neighborhood friends you've already made) and see which makes a more compelling argument.

There's lots to be gained by making a move, but there's also nothing wrong with deciding you'd rather stay where you are and not face the unknowns of trying someplace new.

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