Making a life change: What to consider before moving to another state
Whether you’ve got a new job or you’re looking for a change of scenery, there are plenty of reasons to pack up and move to a new state.
However, it’s essential to be aware that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. States are unique – everything from schools to housing and even health insurance can differ when deciding to cross state lines.
So, what should you consider before relocating to another state? We’ve broken down the basics below.
Education costs vary according to state. If your children are young, you’ll need to carefully research the public schooling opportunities available in each state and bear in mind their virtual capabilities. According to a recent article in Forbes, “the COVID-19 pandemic has shined a powerful light on the inequities among schools and the families whose children attend those schools, particularly when it comes to technology.” Digital teaching has now become a metric by which schools are measured – and Alabama, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia were all high-scorers for their digital teaching methods.
The cost of college is another factor to consider when moving your family out of state. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average price for undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board was $17,797 per year at a public university and $46,014 at a private university. Bear in mind that some state institutions are more competitive than others, so be sure to do your research if this is an avenue you’d like to explore.
Health insurance varies by each state – states control which providers are available and what coverage is offered to their residents in the insurance Marketplace. Consider health insurance on an individual basis but know that healthcare costs are objectively higher in some states.
According to research from HealthMarkets, the national average premium for health insurance is $452. However, those costs vary by state. The average price of health insurance in Massachusetts is $363; in Maryland, it is $344, and in Minnesota, it is $305. However, in some states, the price of health insurance is considerably higher. The average cost of health insurance in Wyoming is $719, $669 in Vermont, and $699 in Nebraska. That’s a difference of almost $450 – sure to make a dent in anyone’s monthly finances.
A state’s culture makes a huge difference to your happiness, and states are undoubtedly different. An article from Business Insider suggests that America consists of 11 particular cultures – and has broken down those cultures (and their stereotypes) accordingly. We’ve summarized six of the most prevalent below:
• New England, upstate New York, and much of the industrial Midwest from Northern Pennsylvania to Minnesota: Business Insider classes this part of America as ‘Yankeedom.’ Founded by Puritans, residents of these states are generally very comfortable with government regulation, and inhabitants are usually very welcoming.
• Greater New York City, northern New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut: this area was settled by the Dutch and has become a diverse commerce center.
• Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and New Mexico: this Midlands part of America is organized around the middle class and rejects government intervention.
• Coastal Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina: this region of America values respect for authority and tradition.
• Southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Kentucky, Arkansas, and parts of Oklahoma and Texas: known as Greater Appalachia, this area of the US prioritizes personal sovereignty and individual liberty. This region is also known for being suspicious of outsiders.
• Rural North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, northern Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Northern Louisiana, and parts of Texas: the Deep South has its roots in slave societies, and residents generally resist regulations.
American culture is diverse, so be sure to research the different areas before making your move.
Taxes should certainly factor into your decision to move to a new state – different tax structures mean that your monthly budget could suddenly look very different, even if you have been offered a raise to move to another state. States usually tax their residents in one of the following ways:
• No income tax
• Flat tax, where all residents are taxed the same regardless of income
• Progressive tax, when residents are taxed proportionally according to income
However, many states have made notable changes to their tax structures over the past year. According to the Tax Foundation, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Tennessee have all announced considerable tax changes beginning in 2021. Be sure to conduct the relevant research if you are considering relocating to one of those states.
Note: Before rushing to a state that doesn’t have an income tax, beware – many states without an income tax choose to tax other assets, such as housing or investment dividends, to make up the difference. This could radically affect monthly bills, so be sure to do the research (and the math) before moving.
Moving is exciting – it’s full of potential and possibility. With a bit of research, you’ll be able to set yourself up perfectly for your new life across state lines.