How much to move
July 20, 2006 6:50 PM   Subscribe

I am interviewing for a new job shortly. I am trying to come up with a dollar figure for how much I should ask for. I will be changing cities, working a fairly similar job to the one I am in now, and moving to a city where the housing costs are slightly higher. How do I figure out how much I need to make the move? Is a calculator available to help with this decision? I am looking for raw numbers here, I will factor in social costs later.

I own a small house, and my brother has agreed to assume the mortgage or rent the place. I would likely buy a house worth about 10K more than the one I live in now. I expect to incur some expenses in the transfer here but I expect worse case scenario is 2K.

My moving expenses would be fairly small. I don't own much. Two half-tonne loads going about 225KM should cover those expenses. Let's say maximum $500.

I earn right now somewhere around 33K-35K which is factoring in some profit sharing money, overtime and a bit of stock. I pay for most of my own benefits. I can usually expect a 3% raise every year. The stock I hold is the only retirement plan, and it has lost money recently and as far as I know has never paid a dividend. The profit sharing doesn't happen if the company loses money.

The new organization will pay more at least 37K a year, and I will probably seek 40-42K. The workweek is a half an hour a week shorter on average - I get every second Friday off. The benefit plan is cheaper and less comprehensive - which is fine because I don't use it much (knock on wood) except for glasses and drugs to deal with minor ailments from time to time (this year about $60 to me). I live in Canada so basic medical care is socialized. The pension plan is exceptional - if I stay there 20 years I probably retire a millionaire, and the workplace is unionized. Raises tend to come with every collective agreement. 3% is probably average. The Union dues are pretty stiff but tax deductible.

Taxes, auto insurance etc should all be the same.
posted by Deep Dish to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I guess I'm not really clear on what you're asking--are you (a) trying to figure out how the two different scenarios compare financially over time, or are you (b) looking for advice on the target salary you should ask for?

I can tell you that, from an employer's position, those are really two totally separate issues. I mean, sure, you need to make sure that the lifetime numbers for the new job net out positively (option A), but the details of that are not really a bargaining factor with your potential employer (option B).

The company you're negotiating with almost aren't going to care about your monthly budgets, etc. They're going to look at how much they think you're worth to them, and negotiate an offer that's based on that estimated value. As far as they're concerned after that, it's up to you to make your finances work out however you need to do it. (The exception is one-time signing expenses, like moving costs, temporary apartment/car rentals, etc. Companies will often throw that in to sweeten a deal.)
posted by LairBob at 7:04 PM on July 20, 2006

Well I am basically looking for a cost/benefit analysis of moving and taking the new job. Right now I want to figure out what number I need the new job to come up with to make this worthwhile.

So I am looking at how these scenarios compare financially over time and I am trying to figure out how far ahead the break even point is.

I can show numbers that prove I am worth a significant amount of money above what I am earning now. That I am not worried about, they will throw whatever number they want my way but I can always say no.
posted by Deep Dish at 7:30 PM on July 20, 2006

Google cost of living calculator. Check it out, I did it for you.

(I researched this a while back when it looked like my wife's job might ask her to move... but it didn't come to anything so I don't have any advice on which of the many tools out there might be best).
posted by nanojath at 8:00 PM on July 20, 2006

For a simple cost benefit calculation, I would take the cost of a move and amortize it over two years and take the percentage cost of living increase and add that to your current salary and then add whatever raise you deserve.

So, if I were making $35,000 (CS) and it cost $500+2,000 (MC) to move and the costs in the new city were 10% higher (X) and I deserved a 3% raise (y) I would settle for $40,800 (NS) as my breakeven.

posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:10 PM on July 20, 2006 [1 favorite] has a Cost of Living Wizard. You plug in your current city and salary, and choose a target city, and it shows you what salary you'd need to earn in the new city to maintain your current standard of living, and how much more or less employers pay in that city, on average, than in your current city.

Unfortunately, the tool only supports U.S. cities, but maybe you can pick two U.S. cities than are comparable to the Canadian cities in question.
posted by medpt at 9:43 PM on July 20, 2006

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