Moving out of state is always a huge undertaking. You leave behind everything familiar to start a new life from scratch. Having a job lined up for you in the new state before you move does help with the settling-in period. It offers a sense of stability and predictability, ideal for a new environment. But if you are seriously considering moving to another state without any job at all, then that can add a lot more stress to your life. Whatever the reasons for doing this may be, it is impossible to ignore the level of uncertainty you will be experiencing. You might be worried about the risks involved and what could happen if you don’t play your cards right. But this doesn’t have to be a disastrous experience, and it could actually be an excellent opportunity to grow, rediscover your strengths, and acquire new ones.
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Is Moving to Another State without a Job a Good Idea?
Before you decide, you need to sit down and ask yourself some important questions. You must have clarity on why you are moving in the first place and then why you are moving without the security of a new job.
Why am I moving out of state?
Are there any special reasons I want to move to another state?
Why am I moving at this particular time in my life?
Are you moving out of state to avoid something or someone back home? Do you feel like it is just time for a change? Are you adventurous and seek new beginnings like a new challenge? Are you relocating for financial or professional reasons? Perhaps you are dating someone from another state and want to move closer to them. Or it could also be a planned move for the sake of your physical and mental health. Any of these reasons and many more are possible and legitimate. But ask yourself as many questions as possible to gain clarity because this clarity will keep you going during uncertain times.
If you know you are moving with a job in hand, then you have to be smart about your finances and save up a good chunk of money to subsist on until you find a job. The worst thing you could do is move without a financial safety net and not land a job right away. So ensure you have at least six months’ rent saved up and living expenses.
Moving Cost: The moving cost includes not only moving your belongings but also the transportation for moving your things, for yourself to reach the new state. This could include moving trucks, flights, trains, buses, taxis, or hired vehicles. You would also have to find a new place to stay, and whether it’s a house or apartment, you will need to keep aside money for a deposit.
Monthly Expenses: Before you move, start tracking your daily expenses in a ledger or book to get an idea of how much you spend per month on daily essentials like rent, food, water, clothing, transport, utilities, entertainment, and health. A few months of recording this data will let you know how much you need to save and how many expenses can be cut back.
Even though you may not have a job lined up, it doesn’t mean you can’t start looking for one before you move. Get an idea of what industries are the most lucrative and popular in any given state. The state you are moving to may not have the same professional opportunities as you are moving from. Find out which jobs are hot and happening and constantly available. If you have any specialized skills, see if there are companies looking for people like you. Get on social media forums with local companies, people, guides, and friends. Ask for job advertisements in the local newspapers.
See what companies are getting a lot of media attention or are rising up in the stock market. Don’t forget to update your resume with your latest achievements, jobs, and any testimonials you can get your hands on. Also, look for freelance and part-time jobs so that you have some income while you wait for the perfect job. You can always apply for a job before moving and do interviews online if necessary. Even if nothing works out right away, you will be warmed up for the main job hunt once you move and settle into your new home.
Update your profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social networks and with the news of your moving to another state. This will automatically get you feedback from your Network about where to live, where to work, what to do, and how to live comfortably in the new state. You can also make new friends who are goals so that when you do finally move, they are around to help you get settled in. You can also job hunt online – by talking about your skills and accomplishments and a brief explanation of what kind of work you are looking for. There are many companies that hire people via social networks.
Working from home (or any other place that suits you) has become more popular now, and companies have begun to give greater accommodation to remote jobs. So you could apply for remote jobs that give you the flexibility to live anywhere and still provide a stable income for your living expenses. You could try part-time jobs at the local gas station or supermarket and even resort to writing for different blogs and papers online if that is in your wheelhouse. You can babysit, walk dogs, clean cars or houses, and get yourself where you want to be. If you do not want to leave your current job, you could discuss working remotely from another state. You might get lucky, or at the very least, your company might put in a word for you and transfer you to their branch in the new state, if they have one.
Instead of buying a new house right away, consider living on rent in temporary housing for a while until you land a secure job. Otherwise, you may be stuck with house loan debt, unpaid electricity and utility bills, and other financial problems. You can always buy a house or apartment once you know you have a steady stream of money coming in every month, such that your daily expenses are covered, and you still have some savings left over.
One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make while moving is procrastinating, thinking things will sort themselves out in time. This is the worst thing you can do for yourself. So stay proactive and take the initiative to keep searching for the ideal job or any job opportunities that can help facilitate your best life as soon as possible. Keep your eyes and ears open, and always look for good deals, offers, discounts, opportunities, and hidden costs.
Starting a new life in a new state doesn’t necessarily mean you have to leave all your connections behind. You can maintain old friendships, family connections, and relationships even while settling into your new neighborhood. Whether they are your oldest friends, cousins, or colleagues, it’s always good to stay in touch where you can because you never know when someone might be able to help you out during a difficult time, and vice versa.
Finding a job and settling down in a new state is all very well and necessary, it is also important to note that for whatever reason, if all this preparation does not go as you had envisioned, then make sure you have a backup plan! You may have thought of every possible scenario hypothetically and prepared for it, but even so, you never know what might happen when you take that leap forward. So whether it is living with family for a while, not moving from your old home and job, sharing space with friends, or Couchsurfing, keep an exit strategy in your back pocket, which will save you financial problems, mental distress, and extra physical exertion when moving to another state without a job.
If you plan to move to another state in search of a job, make sure you are thick-skinned and ready for the dark side of job hunting in the US. You are likely to face more rejections than offers initially, but this is likely anywhere in the world when you move to a new place and start making cold calls about jobs in the area. It does help to know someone in the new city, and even better to know someone in your desired industry.
How much money should I save to move without a job?
Ideally, it would help if you moved to a job that pays you three times your rent. But if you have decided to move out of state without a job locked down, you need to make sure you have enough money to subsist on until you do find a job. So you should save up and keep aside at least six months’ worth of rent, so you don’t lose sleep over food and daily expenses until you land a good job.
How do I live without a job?
While being unemployed isn’t a good idea, especially long term, if you are in between jobs and still searching for that perfect job offer, then you need to be smart about your expenses. You will be living on your savings until you get a salaried income, so in order to live without one, you will need to:
Be frugal in your expenses.
Make your money work for you by investing some of it.
Make sure a good chunk of money is in the bank.
Don’t stop looking for jobs that pay well – big or small.
Make sure you are not in credit card debt.
Prepare for downsizing your life in case of the interim period before you land a job is longer than you envisioned.
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.