Working Remotely for Good? 3 Moves It Could Pay to Make

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on May 29, 2021

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A woman works from home as she smiles and waves to a video call on her laptop.

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If you don't plan to return to an office, you may want to make these changes.

Now that coronavirus vaccines are rolling out steadily, a lot of companies are planning for their employees to return to the office -- if not immediately, then at some point this year. But what if you can continue working remotely permanently? If you enjoy not having to commute and don't mind doing your job from home, that may be a positive lifestyle change. But if that's the case, here are three financial moves that could pay.

1. Get rid of a car

If you live in a rural or suburban area, you may regularly need a car to run errands and get around. But if you have easy access to public transportation, then you might consider unloading your car once your remote work position becomes official. And that could save you a lot of money.

In 2020, the average cost of owning a car was $9,561. If you can get rid of yours and spring for the occasional rideshare when you have a large supermarket haul or a late-night event (and would rather not take a train home at 11 p.m.), you could come out way ahead financially and use that money to pad your savings or meet other big goals.

2. Relocate

If you live in an area with a higher cost of living than average, it could make sense to move if you're doing your job from home. Why pay more money for an apartment in a big city if proximity to your company headquarters no longer matters?

Of course, you may have other reasons for living someplace more expensive -- to be walking distance from nightlife, have access to friends, or be close to family. But if you don't have strong ties to your city other than going to an office building there, then it pays to move someplace that better suits your lifestyle and finances.

3. Increase your retirement plan contributions

Unless you walked or biked to work, you probably spent some money commuting to your office. If you won't do that for the foreseeable future, you may want to take that commute money and put it into a retirement plan. That way, you won't be tempted to spend it. If you have a 401(k) through your employer, ask your payroll department to increase your contributions. Otherwise, arrange to have the money land in your IRA.

Doing your job remotely long-term could help you maintain a better work-life balance. And if they fit, take advantage of the above opportunities -- they could work wonders for your finances.

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