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What to Know About Relocating for Work, a Midlife Career Change, or a Post-Career Retirement Move

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Guest post by Nicole Rubin,

Moving is one of the most stressful life events, and it’s no easier when you’re simultaneously changing careers in your 50s. You might already have a new job lined up, but you’ll still need to choose a place for your family to live, sell your current home, pack up your belongings, and get settled into your new home and role. Use this guide from Coach Win to make your job-related relocation, midlife career change, or post-career retirement move as hassle-free as possible.

Find a New Place to Live

As exciting as it may be to embark on a new career path after working in the same job for many years, relocating for work is incredibly stressful for most people. You’ll need to choose the right community for your family, determine whether to rent or buy your new home, pack up and move your belongings, set up the utilities in your new residence, and adjust to your new work environment.

Here are some things to keep in mind when searching for a new place for your family to live:

Renting vs. buying. Renting is a great alternative to buying a home when relocating for work. Rather than making a long-term commitment right off the bat, renting gives you the chance to try out a new city or neighborhood to determine whether it’ll be a good fit for your family. Plus, you can use websites like to search for properties in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or anywhere else in the U.S. It's easy to narrow your search by price range, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, property size, pet-friendliness, and other desired amenities.

Proximity to work. To reduce stress and save time and money on your daily commute, look for a home that’s close to your new place of work and other conveniences such as grocery stores, laundromats, banks, public transportation, medical facilities, and schools for your children.

School districts. Use websites like and Parents for Public Schools (PPS) to compare schools in your desired area. When enrolling your children in school, however, note that you’ll typically need to provide proof of residence, vaccinations, guardianship, and birth.

Pet-friendliness. If you’re moving with one or more animal companions, make sure the home in question is suitable for your pet(s). Are there walking trails, dog parks, screened-in windows and doors, and local pet services such as groomers, veterinarians, and dog walkers?

Cost of living. When choosing a new place to call home, make sure you can comfortably afford to live there on your new salary. Consider the cost of housing, utilities, transportation, food, healthcare, education, and taxes.

As you think about where you’d like to live, use NerdWallet’s cost of living calculator to compare housing, transportation, food, entertainment, and healthcare costs in two cities. The median home price in San Francisco, for instance, is $1,263,813 — while the cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment is about $4,128. Sacramento’s median home price is $455,600, while the cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment is $1,947.

Sell Your Current Place of Residence

During this time, you’ll also need to think about selling your home if you own your current place of residence. Check with your employer to see if relocation benefits are offered, as costs associated with the following may be covered:

● Home buying and selling.

● Long-distance travel.

● Temporary housing.

● Professional moving and storage solutions.

Regardless of whether your new employer will cover your relocation expenses, it’s important to hire an experienced real estate agent to sell your home. A listing agent will price your house for a quick sale, and refer you to professional home stagers if your family will be vacating the home before it sells.

You can also use websites like Thumbtack to look for professional home stagers, cleaning companies, painters, handymen, furniture movers, junk haulers, and other types of moving professionals.

Plan Your Move

After finding a new place to live and deciding what to do with your current home, you’ll need to choose a move-in date, plan your relocation, and prepare for your first day of work. Start by creating a relocation budget, taking into account your transportation expenses, lodging, storage needs, and any fees your employer has offered to cover. Aim to book your moving companies about two months prior to your move-in date, or even further out if you’re relocating during the peak moving season.

If your new employer will cover all or some of your moving expenses (e.g. professional movers and packers, storage solutions, and temporary housing), the employer may have preferred relocation companies they can recommend. If not, you’ll need to find your own moving companies, storage solutions, and extended stay hotels (if necessary).

In addition to planning your move, you’ll want to start preparing for your first day on the job. Be sure to plan your commute to the office, shop for a professional outfit, review your onboarding materials, and practice self-care to keep stress to a minimum. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night, moving your body each day, and spending time together as a family.

Keep Moving Costs Down

When moving on a tight budget or without relocation assistance from your employer, there are several things you can do to keep costs down. Start by decluttering your belongings and donating or selling the items you no longer want or need. Fewer personal belongings means less stress, lower moving costs, and a simpler move overall.

You can also save money on your move by obtaining free moving boxes from local grocery stores, and doing your own packing and unpacking. However, this isn’t the best option when you’re busy raising a family and preparing for a major career change — especially if you’re juggling deadlines, work-related duties, career training and education, childcare, and other responsibilities.

Remember Your Reasons for Changing Careers

Moving is stressful, but it’s important to focus on the benefits of changing careers and remember your reasons for relocating. It’ll take some time to adjust to your new living space, job, and work environment — and you’ll surely miss the friends and family you leave behind — but these tips should help to take some of the stress and worry out of moving into a new home and career.

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