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How Important Is Cost of Living When Considering Relocation for a Job?

If you're pondering relocation to a new city for a job opportunity, you're probably hoping to make more money. But, determining how far your salary will go in your new town can be kind of tricky. We all know that cost of living is a factor to evaluate when considering a job offer, but is it more important than salary? Here are a few things you should know.

If you’re pondering relocation to a new city for a job opportunity, you’re probably hoping to make more money. But, determining how far your salary will go in your new town can be kind of tricky. We all know that cost of living is a factor to evaluate when considering a job offer, but is it more important than salary? Here are a few things you should know.

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(Photo Credit: redjar/Flickr)

1. A higher salary often makes a bigger impact than a lower cost of living.

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CardBlanc recently published a piece that examined salary and cost of living to learn more about the significance of each factor when looking at the big financial picture. They found that while cost of living was important, most people would be better off going for a higher salary. When the cost of living is low, often so are the wages. The reverse is also true. In pricier areas, the long-term financial picture is often brighter, with higher salaries that aren’t negated by higher cost of living.

2. Don’t forget to consider a third factor, standard of living.

It can be all too easy to forget about other super important factors, like standard of living. If you move to an area with a lower cost of living but your pay stays the same, or is only slightly reduced, it might seem like you’ll win out in the end financially. And, that might even be true. But, don’t forget to weigh in things like access to quality health care, or even access to a safe and reliable water supply. These kinds of things can end up costing you a lot more over time than is immediately obvious.

3. PayScale’s Cost of Living Calculator can give you a place to start your comparison.

To get started, just enter your current location, job title, and salary, and the location you’re moving to. A full report will show the cost of living by expense category, the salary range for your job title in the new city, and the cost of living in comparison with other major cities.

4. More information is always good.

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when trying to determine if a move is in your best interests. Learn as much as you can about how the change will really impact you financially, but understand that facts and figures are just a starting point. Once you’ve assembled your research, you might decide that intangible factors make the move worthwhile, even though you’ll take a pay cut. Even so, knowing is always better than not knowing. Armed with information, you can make a plan and budget that work for you.

Tell Us What You Think

How important is cost of living to you, when you’re considering relocating for a job? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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Although payscale is helpful probably good in the estimation, cities such as Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town are not in the calculator. As a result it will work only for someone living in the USA and not “international” or worldwide.
I wish it could be improved to work worldwide or included other international countries

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