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The Sandy Spring Way

Money Moments of Truth Blog Series: Week 3

April 15th, 2015 | By Sandy Spring Bank

Relocation Woes

By Alison Presti, Senior Vice President, Portfolio Management Team Leader

Money Management - Relocation Woes

It’s Week Three of our “Money Moments of Truth” blog series. As Sandy Spring Bank celebrates Financial Literacy Month this April, we are taking you on a journey through various stages in life, and highlighting a few healthy financial behaviors along the way. This week, our journey brings us to one of the biggest milestones in young adult life: moving.

In my mid-twenties, I decided to relocate from Baltimore to Rockville, Maryland. After what seemed like a great opportunity and an easy decision at the time, it quickly turned into one of the biggest financial lessons of my life. Through this experience, I learned the value of budgeting and living within my means. But, most importantly, I learned that with proper research and planning, I could have avoided years of pinching pennies.

When I accepted my job offer, I failed to think about what would come along with moving to a new city—even if those cities were less than an hour apart. I signed my lease without taking the time to outline my utility bills, student loans, taxes, or general living expenses. I also accepted the offer before looking into the local housing market, and I quickly realized the cost of living differences from what I was used to. This is when I truly experienced my “Money Moment of Truth.”

After moving to Rockville, I found an apartment that, along with my monthly bills, totaled close to my entire paycheck. While friends of mine had discretionary spending to use on nights out and fancy clothes, I was on a strict $15 per day food and necessities budget. Although it was difficult, I stuck with the allowance I set for myself. Over time, I was able to find a roommate and split the rent. However, I still cut back on my daily Starbucks and other little luxuries, and to this day, I am still conservative about my spending.

I often reflect back on this time in my life, and my advice to young, working professionals is to always do your research before making a move. Three important things to review prior to making a relocation decision include:

  1. The local cost of living and any new expenses you may incur with moving or changing cities (e.g. parking, tolls, public transportation, security deposit, etc.)
  2. Your estimated monthly bills
  3. Salary ranges for your industry and position

In addition to doing your research and starting to save, I always recommend seeking advice from successful people who you trust. Your parents, family members, and mentors can often give you the best advice. Listen to their experiences, and learn from their mistakes. Relocating for a job is never easy, but with a little preparation, you can move into the next phase of your life without financial stress. Good luck!


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