Moving’s expensive, but you can be prepared

This was originally published on Monday,October 28, 2013, in the Pacific Daily News.  Click here to subscribe to the PDN.

Question: I recently received a job offer off island and I am planning on moving. Do you have any tips on making this move a smooth financial transition?

Answer: Congratulations on your new job. Moving is never easy and always financially draining. There are many things to consider. The first step should be getting organized, especially with your financial records. Because it’s a professional move there are some expenses that you may claim come tax time. You may also want to create a calendar of dates and deadlines, a to-do list, and a binder that you can hand-carry that contains all the paperwork you will gain during the process.

There are several things you may need to consider.

• Create a budget. This may be difficult, as you may not know what to expect. You will need to start researching the cost of living of the new area. How much does an apartment/home cost to rent or buy? What is the average utility bill? You will need some cushioning in case you run into an unexpected cost.

• Negotiate. It’s OK to talk to your new employer if the company will be helping with any relocation costs. Some companies pay for these and you may be surprised how flexible some companies are willing to be if you ask.

• Banking. Check with your bank if there is a branch at your new location. You may have to open an account at a local bank in the area. Check with your current bank if there are any transition fees or penalties.

• Property insurance. If you are moving your household goods or car, you may need to consider extra insurance to cover your belongings. Having the right amount of insurance could help keep a huge disaster to a mere nuisance.

• Realtor or no realtor? This is a decision you may have to make on both ends. If you are planning to sell or rent your home, it will be very helpful and less stress to get professional help. You may also require a realtor at your new destination. A realtor can give you the ins and outs of an area. Decide how much you can afford for a realtor.

• Medical insurance. Will your insurance cover you at your new location? You may have to purchase another plan. Let your insurance company know of your move and do not cancel your coverage until you reach your destination. You may never know what happens while you are in transit.

• Your retirement plan. Talk to your current human resource manager about transferring your retirement plan. Will there be a fee or taxes to pay? Can your plan be transferred?

• Vehicle(s). Do you plan on taking your car with you? Shipping a car is dependent on how much your car weighs. If you’re currently paying on your vehicle, can you sell your car to cover the remaining balance? If your car is paid, do you want to start another loan? Is there reliable public transportation at your new destination?

Michael Camacho is president and chief executive officer of Personal Finance Center. He has more than 20 years of experience in retail banking and at financial institutions in Guam and Hawaii. If there is a topic you’d like Michael to cover, please email him at moneymattersguam@yahoo.com and read past columns at the Money Matters blog at www.moneymattersguam.wordpress.com

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