Today's post is a guest post from Kyle Taylor, who is the editor of ThePennyHoarder.com, a daily blog with weird & wacky tips on how to make extra money.
Coming up with a reason is the easy part. Looking for an adventure, running from a bad job market, getting away from a relationship gone south, heading to college, avoiding nagging parents and even just simple boredom, there are millions of reasons make people want to pull up familiar roots and start fresh in a new place.
Don’t jump out of your seat and pack the car quite yet: consider career options, geography and many other deciding factors before you take the out-of-state (or country) plunge.
Job Market and Cost of Living
Many different dynamics contributed to the 2008 financial crisis, and the ensuing economic slump that persists to this day. Likewise, many states weathered the Great Recession better than others, and still are weathering it better today.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists both Dakotas, Nebraska, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa, Wyoming, Minnesota, Utah and Virginia as having 2012 unemployment rates at or below 5%. The cost of living varies from these top-ten states; for example, Vermont is considerably more expensive than North Dakota.
Plus, the list is dominated by agricultural-based economies (hence the lack of exposure to the real estate bubble that caused the economic crisis). Start out at an individual state's .gov site (example: type in www.nd.gov for North Dakota) to see if you think it might be a good fit for you. From there, research unemployment statistics (also available at the BLS site), available industries, infrastructure, and get a general feel for what the state is all about.
Granola to Cowboy (and Cowgirl)
Life is more than career and money: don't forget that different states are a better fit for different personality types.
Nuts and granola and outdoorsy? Colorado likely is a good middle-of-the-road cost of living fit that offers a plethora of outdoor adventures. Comfy in a cowboy hat and stirrups, and looking for a low cost-of-living alternative? The cowboy king of low-cost-of-living states, the Lone Star state, beckons you, weary traveler. But remember, Texas summers are stickier than grandma's crusty-old fly paper (lots of bugs too, so keep the fly paper and bug spray handy). Shorts and sandals? Hawaii offers year-round balmy 80-degree sun but the cost of living and career opportunities (outside of the tourism industry) are onerous. Alaska is beautiful (especially in the summer) but is a foreboding and frigid Arctic region once Old Man Winter settles in. Is the world your doorstep?
Some Places Will Pay You to Move There
Amazingly, several cities across America actually pay you to move there. Seriously. Michigan's Motor City entices would-be bohemians with generous college allowances or even a potential fixer-upper residence (cash from the city of Detroit to remodel it). Conditions apply (such as employment with certain companies within Detroit) but the fact still remains: you could be paid to make Motown your town. Want adventure? Alaska's oil is black gold for state wanderlusters: The state of Alaska pays residents a nifty dividend each year, all you have to do is claim Alaska residence and U.S. citizenship and your yearly Permanent Fund Reserve oil dividend will arrive in the mail. The average dividend check is around $1200.
Camden, Maine and Curtis, Nebraska also offer out-of-staters promos and goodies. NASA is even paying people 5k per month to lie in bed (as part of a research experiment at the Houston, Texas Johnson Space Center).
So, have you made any big moves lately? How many months/years of homework did you do before you moved?