Will Relocating for a Higher Wage Leave You Worse Off?

The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
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Every professional understands that when you start work, you begin with a certain expectation when it comes to salary. Over time, you gain the experience and the skillset needed to make that progression to a higher wage. However, with many jobs, this can often come with the requirement that you must relocate to another city. Often the city is out of state, so it’s a big decision that requires many factors to be taken into consideration.

So, you will be receiving a higher wage. This is good. This is what you work towards, but this is when you need to think about the bigger picture if relocating:


If you are from and work in a smaller community, it may prove to be quite a shock to suddenly be transplanted into an area much bigger. This is a very real possibility and the move to a city can be overwhelming. Not to mention that you can’t choose the city you are relocating to. It’s all dependent on your companies needs. You and your family may find yourself in Detroit or Cleveland for example. According to surveys, the suffers from the highest crime rate in the US, and Detroit is the second most dangerous city to live in the entire country. Vice versa for moving to a smaller community from a city. You and your family may find it difficult to adjust to a slower pace of life.

And don’t forget the weather conditions too. You may be used to a comfortable climate that suits and will soon have to give that up for an area that may be a lot warmer or colder. The question you have to ask yourself is whether you and your family can deal with such an upheaval for the promise of more money.

Cost of living/moving

You now have a salary increase and have relocated across the country. Chances are it’s going to be expensive moving all your belongings such a long distance. Also, the cost of living may be substantially different than what you are used to. Although this can quite easily be a benefit if the costs are lower than your present home, you may find that the could also be a lot higher too. The extra money you are bringing home could be dwindling as fast as it is earned in a maelstrom of higher gas prices and education fees. There are several ways to compare the cost of living including using an online calculator and reading articles on the matter.


You’ve spent years building a community and social circles near your home. If you take the pay rise and need to move, you are leaving all that behind. If you are lucky, you may only be a few hours drive away in a neighbouring city. The alternative is that you are clear across the country. You may only get to see your parents a couple of times a year. The same with close friends. Relocating may mean trying to integrate yourself into an established community which may prove to be quite stressful and difficult. Not just for yourself, but if you have children, consider how unsettling it would be for them to lose their own friends and move schools.

There are many factors to consider when taking that promotion and relocation. It’s important to really think about how it changes your life in the long run.

Ben is a consultant for AreaVibes, a site specialising in assigning liveability scores to American areas and cities based on research. They also provide a cost of living calculator, allowing you to compare the cost of living index between two areas.

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