The job search and interview process takes a mix of practical and personal considerations and checkboxes, especially when you’re adding a relocation into the mix. Most of all, though, it takes a lot of time. To help with all of that, we’ve pulled together all of the questions to ask yourself while considering where to apply, where to house hunt, and which job offers are promising for you and your crew.
Comparing generic cost of living with a proposed salary really only gives you the barest layer of information. Pulling up a bit more information about personal expenses, daily life, benefit options, and career opportunities can make the decision a lot clearer. Plus, you’ll know you’ve given yourself the best chance at making a positive decision for your life and plans, even decades down the line.
Let’s break down what you should consider in each of those categories:
Personal Expenses and Daily Living
- Sufficient available housing options and the commutes that may come with them
- Overall housing costs and market trends
- State and local income taxes
- Property taxes
- School availability and costs, if you need them
- Travel expenses for visiting family or regular trips
- Public transportation availability and costs
On a broader note, you want to look at what the location is like. Do you care about walkability, college town, access to nature, historic towns, or being near water?
Are there any concerns like special health considerations for heat or allergies, heightened risks from wildfire or floods, or lack of access to certain utilities or systems you need?
What local laws, needs, or challenges could you face there, like abortion access or LGBTQ protections?
Benefits and Policies
- Health insurance costs and available health care in the area for your needs
- Short-term disability insurance and long-term care insurance or benefits
- Retirement options, company matching, and how it aligns with your personal goals
- Childcare benefits and costs
- Available educational benefits for you and your family
- Any additional stipends for things like fitness memberships, office equipment, or tech upgrades
- Leave policies and pay rates for sick leave, personal leave, and parental leave
Everyone has different non-negotiables and nice-to-haves, but you’ll also want to think about access to services like local fitness spots, legal support, aging services, or mental health and mindfulness.
Career Opportunities and Expectations
- Your impression from the interview process
- In-person, hybrid, or work-from-home options
- Expected work hours and flexibility
- Process for team communication, project management, and performance reviews
- Company mentorship opportunities
- Sign-on and regular bonuses and possible stock or equity options
- Is there more ladder to climb once you’re there? Is this position meant to be the peak of your career?
If you’re someone that cares a lot about the “why” behind the work, make sure you take time to learn more about their mission and their current vision for growth. It’s also good to see whether the whole company and community understands and buys in or if it’s mostly just fancy words on their website.
You can also dig into other common small business employee benefits companies offer and see if there’s anything you want to add to the list.
How to Start the Search
Talk to a financial planner before job searching and again once you have specific offers to get help with all of these variables. Planners can walk through your goals, the flexible and non-negotiable variables in your potential plans, and help you create a strategy for the kinds of job benefits you are looking for and what will impact your decisions beyond just the salary.
You'll be able to see how each piece impacts things like your long-term savings, eventual retirement timelines, the house-hunting budget now and on future purchases, and more. These points keep your search focused before diving into an all-consuming mess of applications and interview rounds and give you what you need to compare apples to apples when considering new (and hopefully multiple!) job offers.
Side Note for Remote Workers:
Work-from-home, traveling remote work, and hybrid options have all changed how we relate to our commute and the office. That means the answers to these core questions need to change, too.
If you end up finding a remote-only position, the way you apply this list will be different! But every category is still absolutely essential.
Since you're able to set what you want and look anywhere, you’re not limited to comparing only certain areas near an office. Imagine how much possibility that can offer!
But you'll need to think about whether a fully work-from-home role makes sense for you and how you like to spend your days, as well as any additional costs like co-working spaces or trips into headquarters.
Don't forget that you may be paying multiple jurisdictions’ taxes, depending on where you end up living and where your job is technically held. You can get the jurisdiction's tax info on Willowfinch and your Financial Advisor can help you map out which locations have reciprocity or tax agreements.
That information on housing, local costs of living, and other personal expenses you’ll need to compare jobs in different locations? Willowfinch has it ready for you!
You're able to get a general view of each place and its available properties to help make an educated decision based on real data pulled for your needs. We'll even help you narrow in on the specifics that bring clear answers to these questions for the consultation with your financial planner if you'd like.
If you tap into the information, tools, and expertise available, getting the most out of your job search becomes a whole lot easier. You can contact us or your financial planner to get started!