Relocating due to a new job is often becoming a necessity and fact of life in today's job market. Often it is the primary wage earner who prompts this type of life altering move. The impact of a move for these reasons can have adverse effects on the trailing spouse and the entire family. This can create significant strain within the family and affect your relationship with your partner.
When you and your family are faced with this type of dilemma, there are many things to be considered before making a final decision. To adequately prepare your family to make an informed decision before firmly committing to a move, it helps to educate yourselves about the community you are moving to, how the move will effect your family's long term financial stability and what resources you may need to make the move successful.
Steps you can take to help make an informed decision:
1. Make at least one or more trips to the new community and check out the various neighborhoods, schools, temporary housing, jobs and recreation opportunities. Picture yourselves living there permanently and decide whether you would be happy there. If anyone has any questions or concerns, now is the time to discuss them. Keep a list of these issues for future reference.
2. After all the issues have been noted, create a pros-and-cons list for the entire family to review. Be sure that all family members participate in the creation of the list so that any previously unvoiced concerns can be added. Once the list is made, the two main partners should work out any issues that concern them in particular and the family's overall welfare. Subjecting children to any debate or disagreements between spouses is not helpful. Once the spouses agree, addressing the issues with the rest of the family is advised. If any issues on the list are not resolved because of lack of information, be sure to revisit them later and not just ignore them.
3. After the spouses are in agreement about the move's impact on the trailing spouse, the couple should add up the total costs versus salary increase benefits involved in making the move. This approach can often bring to light factors that may help weight the final decision in the end. It can often highlight future expenses that the move can bring about, such as increased costs in child care, hired household help or the increased mileage and time costs involved in a lengthy commute. These costs should be considered prior to the move.
4. Another way to weight all factors, is to use the pros and cons list to assign a number score to each factor. With the pros listed from top to bottom on the left, and cons on the right, give each factor a number value based on it's impact on the family as a whole. Using the scale of 1-10, with 1 being the lowest impact and 10 being the highest, you can score each issue and add up all the scores under each column. This can often help you visualize how the factors are tipping the scale.
5. When the overall cost of the move is added up, the primary wage earner must be diligent in negotiating for a wage and compensation package that will make monetary sense for the entire family. In some instances companies even offer job placement help for spouses in order to gain qualified employees. Be sure to find out if this is the case when negotiating. Also make sure that the job offer, salary and any perks are firm before committing. This will help prevent any nasty surprises from popping up later.
6. When the trailing spouse is forced to give up a career, finding another job can be challenging. It is a good idea to research jobs in the new community before the move. This can be done by visiting internet career sites that post jobs by employers in or near your new location. It can also help to post your resume on these sites before your move. Be sure to use your new address on your posting in order to keep potential employers from wondering if you are just "fishing" for a job offer. Checking out the state's unemployment website can also provide important local information about typical wages, job availability and unemployment rates. Once you have made the move, allow yourself time to find your next job. This will keep you from becoming discouraged, allowing you ample time to adjust to your new surroundings.
7. If your spouse is reluctant to move to the new area because he/she does not care for the area, the salary of the new job should be great enough to compensate for their feelings of displacement.
8. Many reputable companies will pay for relocation, offer temporary housing, pay escrow closing fees and even buy your previous home if it is on the market for a specific period of time. Even though these perks can seem to be very generous, you need to take a good look at the housing cost differences you may encounter before you make a final decision.
9. When moving, you cannot forsee all difficulties that may arise. When problems arise, deal with them calmly and put them in perspective by viewing them as a learning experience. Do not place blame or become overly discouraged if the entire family participated in evaluating and planning the move. Keep in mind that all new experiences help families to learn and grow. Children in particular learn to be more resilient and open to change when faced with new challenges.
10. Sometimes, a long-term agreement can be reached between you and your spouse when you cannot come to terms with a proposed move. You can always agree to live in the new area for a specified period of time or allow your spouse to choose the location of your retirement.
For local jobs, salary and wage information visit the following sites:
Washington State Unemployment Insurance: www.wa.gov/esd/ui/icapp/start.htm