Are you considering moving somewhere? Read this before you make a permanent decision!
The moment you graduate college, the world suddenly becomes yours for the taking. Here’s what I mean: from age zero to 18, your parent(s) or guardian(s) decide where you live. Once you turn 18, you’re off to college. You go to whatever school fits your requirements. Maybe you find one nearby because your parents are still your lifeline. Besides, in-state tuition is favorable.
If you forego college and get a job, you’ll probably be living close to home due to a lack of money and connections. But after you graduate – or save up enough money to move – the world is yours. This realization may even come prior to graduation, during your job hunting process.
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With the advent of the internet, millennials can move anywhere more easily than ever. Anywhere. Except Area 51. Or Chernobyl for any length of time …
This is amazing. But this means that you can become paralyzed by choice and go nowhere. It’s awesome if you want to stay close to where you grew up – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if you want to live somewhere else, here’s how to do it:
There are 2,896 cities on the planet with a population of 150,000 or greater. Let’s begin by narrowing it down. Here are a few questions to ask yourself.
1. How Far Do I Want to Move Away From Home?
This question is really important. If you plan to return home even somewhat regularly, this is a major factor to consider. If you're from the States but want to live in Australia, for instance, visiting home will likely cost about $1,500 round-trip – not to mention many, many hours in airports.
If you want to fly home even twice a year, you’ll have to earn $3,000 more per year in Australia than in the U.S. simply to justify the travel costs.
Be sure to save for emergency trips home, as well. Even if you’ll only be going a little ways from home, travel is a cost to consider.
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2. Do I Want to Learn Another Language?
Only consider moving to countries that speak a language you either want to learn or already know how to speak. Sure, you can get away without knowing much Spanish on a weeklong stay in Venezuela, but if you plan to live there, it’s best to learn the language. Look at the Nations Online Project to see which countries speak the same language(s) you do.
3. What Climate Would I Like?
This alone can narrow down your search quite a lot. If you want to live in a warm climate, you’ll probably need to know Spanish. Although Dubai has some interesting opportunities…
Oh, and the United Arab Emirates has no personal income tax for residents. That would be pretty great.
4. What Kind of Culture Suits Me?
This is important because it sets you up for a good social life. Find a culture that fits with your morals and ideas of how to have a good time. If you like biking, maybe Colorado is your place.
If you like surfing, I wouldn’t recommend the desert planet Jakku.
If you’re shy, perhaps you'll like a warm and welcoming culture. Who wouldn’t, right? A little Googling should reveal how receptive a culture will be to you upon your arrival. Keep in mind that some cultures appear cold in public, but once you make friends, residents can be some of the nicest of people.
5. What Will the Taxes Be Like in the New Area?
I’m about to drop a bombshell on anyone who wants to move out of the States to avoid U.S. taxes: you can’t. There is no way you can legally pay any less income tax by moving out of the country.
With all the extra tax documents required, you’ll ultimately pay more after getting a good accountant.
I repeat: there’s no way to legally save money on U.S. taxes by moving abroad.
But some American states have no state income tax, so that’s something to consider. There are currently seven such states: Florida, Nevada, Texas, Washington, Alaska, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Tennessee and New Hampshire offer tax dividends.
You'll want to consider such things as sales and property tax, as well.
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6. What’s the Cost of Living?
California and New York have really high taxes, as do many European countries. Typically, this is okay. Taxes are usually commensurate with opportunities. Yes, Los Angeles is expensive, but the jobs pay enough to cover the added cost of living.
If you’re a freelancer or telecommuter who will not be paid a California wage to live in California, it’s something you’ll have to consider long and hard before relocating.
A Final Tip: Money Can Help
Deciding where to live is really confusing, mostly because it’s hard to quantify things. You may like to live in a lot of places, but you can’t exactly measure something like friendliness of people or the ability to wear sandals 350 days out of the year.
With that said, money can (and, quite frankly, should) help you make a decision.