Relocating for a nurse practitioner job can make for a very exciting adventure, especially if you’re a new grad NP. Not only do you have a fresh start in a new career, but exploring the sights and attractions of a new city can make relocating for a job feel like a dream come true. That is, until you start seeing just how much moving is going to set you back financially.
In 2016, the American Moving and Storage association found that moving outside state lines costs the average household around $4,300, while moving to another city within the state can cost about $2,300. For new graduates and seasoned NPs, the cost along with the other added stressors of moving (such as licensure) might make you think accepting job offers outside of your current residence altogether. Nevertheless, the benefits of relocating for a great job opportunity can certainly be worth it. When switching nurse practitioner jobs, it pays to budget. Here’s how.
Start saving as soon as you decide to relocate
Regardless of whether or not you’ve even accepted a new position in another city yet, if there’s a chance you might relocate (i.e. you’ve begun applying for positions that would require you to move cities), the sooner you can begin budgeting and saving in anticipation for such, the better. Treat your savings like an extra bill by automatically putting aside a certain number each month to go towards your potential relocation expenses. Consider ways in which you can generate extra income like picking up extra shifts at a hospital or clinic; adding whatever additional earnings to your relocation fund.
Consider the cost of living
Although enticing, don’t assume that a bigger salary equates a larger net income. Since the cost of living varies from city to city, a calculator such as this one will allow you to compare the differences housing, utilities, taxes, etc. A cost of living calculator will also show you what you need to earn in order to comfortably make ends meet as a nurse practitioner in your new place of residence. You can also check salary norms for the cities in which you’re applying to so you can be sure you’re receiving a fair offer, if and when the time comes.
Prepare for smaller expenses
Don’t neglect to factor in smaller, yet often overlooked, moving expenses into your budget as well like the added cost for moving boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, etc. If you’re driving to your new home, add in some wiggle room for expenses like gas, meals and hotel accommodations if you’re planning to stop somewhere overnight. Remember, small expenses can add up fast if you’re not careful, so have a plan in place for how much you’ll have to spend on these items.
Budget for the cost of leaving your old residence
Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, it’s important to determine and budget for the fixed costs of leaving your residence. For homeowners, consider what the closing expenses will be and how they’ll affect your bottom line. You can get a rough estimation from your Realtor as well as from the title or escrow company that will be handling your closing.
If you’re renting and will be breaking your lease, you need to be well informed of what the termination fees are according to your rental agreement. This is especially important as property management companies can be a financial nightmare when it comes to breaking a lease; so the more informed you are in advance, the better. Schedule a sit down with the leasing manager to go over what you’ll be responsible for paying. In some cases, you can negotiate monthly payments to pay down any incurred fees associated with breaking a lease.
Think carefully about deposits and fees
While putting down a deposit can sometimes come with the “promise” that it will be returned to you if you adhere to certain stipulations, don’t count it as additional income that can be used towards your relocation budget. For example, if you’re currently renting and breaking a lease, your deposit may be forfeited. Likewise, your current utility company may apply your deposit towards your last month’s bill. If you know for certain that a deposit will be returned to you, bear in mind that it can take some time for companies to return the funds to you; which may not until well after your move is complete.
In addition considering deposits and potential cancellation fees for services in your current city, you’ll also want to factor in what new deposits and fees you’ll need to pay; such as application fees to lease a new apartment and start up fees to set up new accounts for utilities, cable and internet.
Plan for lag times between paychecks
Anytime you’re switching nurse practitioner jobs, there’s a potential for a lag between your last paycheck with your previous employer and your first check with your new employer, especially if you begin your new job in the middle of a pay period as HR may make you wait until the following pay period to collect your first check. It’s a good idea to talk with your new employer about when you can expect your first paycheck so that you can plan your budget accordingly to accommodate for any lag times.
Negotiate your relocation package accordingly
Once you understand what the cost will be for you to relocate, the easier it will be to negotiate for a suitable relocation package. Remember, just like salaries, relocation packages are always negotiable so if one is not offered, don’t be afraid to ask. If the company is not willing to give a lump sum to apply towards the total cost of relocating, consider asking them for smaller and more direct reimbursements such as covering the cost of a moving company, lease termination fees, or for travel expenses.
Once you’ve determined what it will cost you to relocate for your new job, it’s wise to tack on an additional 10% for unexpected fees that may crop up.
Are you relocating for a nurse practitioner job?