There are so many things to consider when moving for a job – and this is even that much more important for families with special needs to consider. This post has been sitting as a draft for a long time but now that we have made it public we are moving I can share this with you. Being that many of my readers are in the education field or are struggling financially I’m betting there are at least a few of you either moving or considering a move right now in hopes of a better place financially for your family. It’s a big decision!
This is the 3rd move we’ve made specifically in pursuit of a better school-related job (teacher/administrator) for my husband. Since my school age kids are older now (heading into 6th & 3rd grade) it seems like a much bigger deal than the last time we moved when they weren’t in school yet. There are SO many things to consider when making the leap to apply for another job, or specifically for us, jobs in the field of education. Here are some of the considerations we’ve come across and needed to weigh out in our decision making.
Career Opportunity / Advancement:
This is of course is usually one of the main reasons you consider moving right? Aside from financial of course. If you are a teacher with (or in pursuit) of your master’s degree (or whatever other field you are looking to advance in) you have to look at your long term goals. Can you advance in your career in this new location? What does this new job provide you that you aren’t getting now? Is it worth moving for?
AH money! Can’t live with it can’t live without it right?! I wish money didn’t take precedent in our lives as much as it does but unfortunately bills need to be paid. However, especially if you are in a private school, income from a new job is not always a straightforward answer. In addition to your salary you may need to factor in cost of insurance, housing allowance, discounts on your children’s education, etc. Also keep in mind the cost of the actual move can be a small fortune.
Education / Schools:
As a mom this is always a top concern of mine personally. What sort of resources to local schools offer? How do the schools rank in safety and academics? What other educational resources are within driving distance (museums, parks, libraries, extracurricular clubs, etc.)? What is the size of the projected new school in comparison to what your children are attending now? Although not all of these are deciding factors on moving they are still things that come to mind in consideration.
Cost of housing is huge. HUGE! Can you afford a mortgage or rental in the area you want to move? Can you afford the property taxes? – this can be a deal breaker on your income! If you have any special type of requirements (moving horses and such) then you’ll need to find property zoned for that specifically.
For my family this is a big one. Right now we live in a very very small town and resources for special needs children are extremely limited. Thankfully we have finally found a minimal amount of care and those that we work with here are absolutely phenomenal. (Check out our article on Tips for Sensory Therapy When You Can’t Afford It.) But not all of the locations we have considered moving to have a nearby place for occupational therapy, pediatric counseling, etc. Where we currently live there is no ABA therapy which we would really like for our son with autism. Make sure you look at every aspect of your child’s needs when considering a move.
We’ve had absolutely HORRIBLE medical care and we’ve had phenomenal medical care – but if you have a child with specific medical needs sometimes that can be hard to find when moving. Whether it’s a specialist or someone trained specifically in a rare disease you’ll need to take this into consideration when moving. When we moved to Iowa there was no one within hours that was licensed to work with or diagnose children with autism – in the entire state! That has since changed but I never realized this when we moved up here. And when my middle son needed testing to narrow down his language processing disorder we had to be sent out of state for an evaluation.
The crux of family – sometimes it’s great to have them nearby and sometimes it’s just a burden. Some people do great “out there on their own” and others need a parent or sibling nearby for support. Everyone is different but moving near or away from family is another consideration. And I’ve found that this can change different times during your life – for example when you have children. My husband and I have a rule that we will never move within an hour of anyone in our family. It has helped our marriage and our sanity. That being said our upcoming move will literally bring us 1 hour away from most of his family. We want to be able to help my husband’s parents out as they have no one else to rely on.
Children are resilient and can handle much more than we give them credit for. But that doesn’t stop this mom from worrying about how her kids will do leaving their friends behind and making new friends at their new school. It’s in our nature to worry about our kids! Sometimes there are legitimate concerns of safety and well being – please do not take that lightly. There are many things you can do to make your child’s move smoother such as letting them design their new rooms. Buy passes to some local attractions to get them excited about the area. Let them shadow at their new school before they begin attending so they meet kids and see where they will be. If you’ve already got a counselor relationship established for your child this is a great time to make some extra appointments to help smoothen the transition!
This is specifically for those that pay for your child’s education. Are there sibling discounts? Discounts for employees? Cost of school. All of this can vary wildly and is something to be taken into consideration when determining new budgets and whether you can afford a new location.
This is a HUGE consideration for my family as we got majorly burned on unexpected insurance costs that my husband’s employer decided to force us to pay for. (long story!) If you have great insurance at your current location but end up switching to a high deductible or high insurance cost at your next job you definitely need to sit down and look at that. On the opposite side maybe you’re lucky enough to be moving from a lousy insurance situation like us into a fantastic coverage situation! This is one area that can be a make or break kind of deal when paired up with new salary!
As if everything else wasn’t a lot to think about – don’t forget about your pets! They are your family too! If you have an unusual or farm pet (pig, horse, goat, etc.) there are special considerations to look at before moving. If you are moving into a rental you’ll need to see what their allowance is for pets. If you’re buying a house you may need to factor in the cost of building a fence or pen. There are many articles out there to help your prepare your animals for a move – but don’t forget that this is another area you need to consider when moving!
Cost of Moving:
This is a huge consideration and can vary greatly depending if you’re moving to the next town over or across the country (or globe!). Begin by getting estimates for movers, moving trucks, trailers, etc. Don’t forget you’ll need to transfer your drivers license, vehicle titles and registrations, utilities, and other costs that can add up quickly. And of course begin slowly stocking up on boxes, packing tape and labels! I HIGHLY recommend this tape that has rooms pre-printed on them!