By: Robert Hopkins
When you’re relocating to another state, you always think you have everything perfectly planned out—and I was no different. When I decided to relocate my family from New York to Florida—and escape the ever-increasing cost of living and the tumultuous winters—my choice was made easily, especially since my family would be moving with me. But no matter how much you plan ahead, making such a big move to a new home and a new state usually involves a few financial curveballs that you never saw coming. These are two important lessons I learned on my journey to becoming a Florida resident.
My kids were about a month away from completing their school year when the moving process began, so they had to stay behind in New York with my wife when our belongings were finally packed up and ready to go. While I was trying to maximize the time I could spend with my family, I really wanted to give myself some time to get settled in my new home prior to starting my new job. Unfortunately, my timeframe for the official relocation turned out to be very short and stressful: I only had two days to travel from New York to Florida in a 27-foot moving truck, attend my first day in my new position and unload our belongings.
The good news is that as hectic as it was, everything worked out. I was lucky enough to get assistance unloading the truck and return it just in time, and things got even better when my family joined me a month later. Moral of the story: While moving might seem easy in theory, there will inevitably be some hiccups that make the process longer, more stressful and possibly more costly than expected—especially if you’re moving to another state. Don’t forget: If your schedule is delayed, you might end up paying more for moving trucks or other rental services. While everyone’s circumstances are different and it might not always be possible, try your best to give yourself more than enough time to pack up and move. Overestimating your moving schedule, rather than underestimating it, can help save you a great deal of stress … and possibly even money.
You might think that one area of the country provides less expensive living than another area. I have found that cost of living greatly depends on your lifestyle. I know that sounds pretty generic, but let me give you an example.
Let’s say, hypothetically, the price of gasoline in Florida is far less expensive than it is in New York. After moving to Florida from New York, I might assume that I’ll be paying less for gas because the price is lower. But if I decide to take a 45-minute drive out to the beach a few times a week, which I didn’t do in New York, then I might end up paying more for gasoline in Florida since I’m driving longer distances. These everyday expenses—like gasoline and groceries—are important details to consider when moving to a new city, but their true cost may not be as obvious until you factor in the lifestyle you’ll be leading in your new town.
If you’re choosing a new state to make your home, make sure you consider all of the financial factors involved in the cost of living there, and carefully compare them to your current lifestyle before you make the big decision. Do your research online: There are several great websites that will help you compare cost of living in different cities and states, and some will even factor in your actual salary.
You can also reach out to people who live in the city you’ve chosen to ask them what it’s really like to live there, from both a social and financial perspective. That should help to give you greater insight and help you make your decision. You don’t want to arrive at your new place only to be surprised by its unaffordability! Relocating once is tough enough, so the last thing you want to do is put yourself in a position where you’d have to do it all over again because your new home wasn’t what you expected.
Today, I am very happy to say that my move to Florida was exactly what my family and I needed. (After all, we were able to escape the North’s freezing winter temperatures—not to mention that I enjoy never having to shovel multiple inches of snow.) My family has adjusted well to Florida living, and we have been afforded more opportunities here than we would have been in New York. As for me and my wife, the “What if we stayed?” thought never crossed our minds, which tells me that we made the right choice. While there are many reasons why some would question our move (which many of my friends in New York did), we know that this was a great decision.
But I do have to admit that I sometimes miss the snow during the holiday season, and I have yet to eat a slice of pizza that reminds me of home. Luckily these are minor items when it comes to overall happiness, and they just make everything feel all the more special and memorable when I now visit New York as a “tourist,” which is perfectly fine with me.
The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. VyStar Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided.