The costs of moving for a career

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Robert S. Donovan

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Robert S. Donovan

I normally try to avoid mini-rants online, but I have to say that this moving business is for the birds.  I can’t express how frustrating it is to have to shell out big bucks on moving expenses that do nothing but transport our stuff to a new location – we’re talking $4,000 here.  I would have preferred to drive our stuff to our new city ourselves, but when you add in a toddler and two dogs, you can reasonably predict an overwhelmingly stressful trip.  So I am paying for convenience, but I wish I didn't need to.

This has me thinking about the cost of moving for jobs, and how much that diminishes our (you, me, other readers’) long-term wealth strategies.  Not only are there direct costs involved – finding a place to live, paying for movers, renting a moving truck, putting items in temporary or long-term storage, getting rid of items you can’t take with you (as in our case) for way less than you paid for them, etc. – but there are significant indirect costs as well.  I think about all of the time I have already spent finding a place to live, sorting and packing our stuff, disposing of items responsibly, and living life less-than-frugally because we were too exhausted to cook or we didn’t have any food in the pantry or fridge because it was packed up, thrown out, or given away.  Then I think about all we have left to do to unpack and sort through our stuff, probably get rid of more stuff, figure out our new neighborhood’s amenities, and probably eat out more than we like because we are too tired and unfamiliar with the area.  I’m exhausted just looking at this list!

Time spent on all of those moving-related activities is time not spent working on income-generating projects.  In fact, we even delayed purchasing our next rental property because it would have added another layer of stress to our lives to try to work through that transaction and do the rental make-ready. 

All told, I estimate that in real dollars this move is costing us not only the $4,000 in moving fees, but another $15,000 over the next year in rental income and who knows how much is lost in income-producing projects because we are spending time moving.  We are hemorrhaging money - present and future!

I know that we are making a calculated risk that in the long-run, this move will be a good thing for our future.  It just feels like a money pit right now.  

Have you ever decided not to move for a job because the cost-benefit analysis wasn’t in favor of it?  Have you ever moved anyways when the costs outweighed the benefits?  How did you make that decision?