Hidden Costs of Relocating for a New Job
Relocating for a new position or even a different career path is a reality for many employees. And while the relocation package you're offered might look shiny and appealing, there are hidden costs to relocating that you should be aware of first.
Let's take a look at where unexpected relocation expenses can hide and what you can do to to negotiate and plan your relocation package so that you come out on top.
Under the new tax plan, moving expenses for those relocating for a job are no longer tax-deductible (unless you're in the military). This means that you'll be bearing the brunt of any costs not paid up front or reimbursed by your employer. Be sure to ask about moving expenses and which party (you or your employer) is expected to pay for what so that you don't wind up facing an unnecessary reality check on tax day.
If you're changing states with your relocation, you might be faced with changing your health plan. That can mean starting over with your deductible, which could be a significant cost for those with high deductible health plans — especially those coupled with health savings accounts (HSAs). Be sure to review your health insurance options and what this will mean for your deductible with your new employer's human resources or benefits department.
Selling Your Home
You don't want to be stuck paying for two homes. Relocating can mean a hefty living expense tab each month, especially if your existing home doesn't sell within the first 30 days. A slow sale may also inhibit your ability to close on a new home in your new city. Be sure to speak with your employer about how they handle selling your home and helping you secure housing in your new city, along with what happens if your home doesn't sell right away.
A substantial salary jump is one thing, but are you losing valuable benefits by relocating? Be sure to compare the value of the benefits at your current position and the position that requires relocation to ensure that the bigger salary isn't going to be used to make up the difference between what you had and what you've lost.
Cost of Living
Moving for your career might mean a shift in living expenses. Be sure to do the match before you accept a relocation offer. A cost of living calculator can help you make detailed comparisons, even down to the zip code. You might find a lower salary and lower cost of living puts you way ahead, while a higher salary with a high cost of living leaves you strapped for cash.
Simply knowing about these five areas that hold potential for hidden relocation expenses is a smart start. Your next step is to ask questions about each, understand how the relocation package offered addresses each one, and make sure that you're aware of the costs of relocating before you make that career jump. A great final tip is to ask to speak with an employee who recently relocated for tips on unexpected expenses or benefits they've encountered in their new city and position. This way, you'll have first-hand knowledge to add to your relocation conversations.