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Should you move for the sake of a new job?

By LAURA T. COFFEY
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 7, 2002

Maybe your employer has asked you to relocate. Or you've received an intriguing job offer. Or you've lost your job and you're having a hard time finding work in your field. If you're wondering whether to move to a new location, consider these tips.

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1. Count the costs. Moving can be a daunting experience, especially if it involves leaving behind a place where you're established and you have lots of friends and family. Will a pay increase or a significant improvement in your quality of life make the move worth it?

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2. Consider your standard of living. Make sure the salary you're being offered will allow you to maintain your standard of living in the new city. Check out Salary.com (www.salary.com) for quick cost-of-living comparisons.

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3. What about the place? Ask yourself: Do I really want to live there? Does my family? You can visit the Web sites of the city's chamber of commerce and visitors' bureau, and research specific neighborhoods at Homestore.com (www.homestore.com).

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4. Investigate schools. If you have children or think you might in the future, it's important to find an area near good schools. For reports on schools, visit Homefair.com (www.homefair.com) and the American School Directory Web site (www.asd.com).

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5. Find out about cultural life. What is there to do in the new city? Are there museums, cultural events or plenty of outdoor activities? To research a community, visit www.myjobsearch.com and click on "Relocation."

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6. Know your tax limits. Job-hunting costs cannot be deducted when you're looking for your first job or a job in a new career field.

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7. Moving expenses are tax-deductible. You get a tax break if you move more than 50 miles for a new job. The moving expense deduction is an "adjustment to income," so it's available to you whether or not you itemize deductions.

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8. Lobby to have moving expenses reimbursed. Ask your employer to reimburse all of your moving costs. If that's not possible, push for the biggest reimbursement you can get.

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9. Request an extra allowance. In addition to seeking to have all your moving costs covered, you also should ask your employer to cover the taxes on the reimbursements for those moving costs. Otherwise, you could owe hundreds of dollars in taxes.

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10. Know thyself. Before you head off to the new location, ask yourself whether you're moving for the right reasons. Does the new job coincide with your career goals? Or are you just excited about living in Hawaii?

-- Compiled by Laura T. Coffey.

Sources: Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine (www.kiplinger.com) and TaxPlanet.com (www.taxplanet.com)

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