NMS Phoenix article. August 2014 steps to successful relocation
When a family is confronted with the prospect of moving, feelings of stress can set in by the very mention of the word. Moving has been compared to the trauma of a death in the family and divorce. It is arguably one of the most stressful situations people go through. However, having moved 19 times, I can assure you that moving can be managed. But! It has to be a process. Relocating individuals need to:
Evaluate their entire situations.
Become informed about the new location.
Prepare, prepare and prepare.
Lack of preparation causes adjustment problems that can result in unhappiness, missed and/or unproductive workdays and problems with children’s educational endeavors. This article will give you the basics to consider that will reduce the stress of moving so you will not only survive—but you will actually benefit from the experience.
The first item on your “to-do” list is to carefully consider how this move will affect you and your family. If your move is at the request of your employer, you need to evaluate the position, whether it will be a “career move” and next steps for you in that regard. Basically consider everything that pertains to you and your family at this point in time. Whether you are 25 or 50, it helps to know what you are committing to. Learn everything you can about the new job/position and work environment, as well as the city you are considering. NewMarket Services’ City Guides have everything you need to know about the new community.
Dual career relationships are increasing annually in the U.S., and pose a significant relocation challenge as families often stand to lose one income. The most difficult aspect of job-hunting in an unknown community is lack of knowledge and especially lack of contacts.
If you are moving at the request of your partner’s employer, his/her company is your first avenue of assistance. More and more companies are willing to assist relocating spouses with employment direction in order to place their first choice candidate in a desired position, and to assure a successful move, especially since relocation is a huge investment. According to the 2013 Transfer Volume & Cost Survey by Worldwide ERC, 9.3 billion dollars is spent annually in the U.S. on corporate relocations.
Engage in the use of social media such as putting an up-to-date profile on LinkedIn, a phenomenally growing professional network. Internships and temporary employment agencies offer opportunities to work without a full-time commitment. These, plus part-time work positions, offer the benefit of a more flexible schedule. Again, consult your NewMarket Services’ City Guide for resources.
Consider the Children
According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, 15.6 million children move each year. Every relocating parent I have ever talked to told me their first concern was how their children would adjust to a new school and a new neighborhood. You cannot do too much preparation for this scenario.
No matter how well your child “sailed” through the last move, be on guard for signs that signify problems and address them immediately. Encourage your children to stay in contact with former friends and family, as well as learn about community activities so they meet other children with similar interests. Having been in this situation often, I also encourage parents to become proactive at school so that they can see for themselves how their children are adjusting, both personally and educationally.
See also The ABCs of Relocating Children on pages 66-77 for more specifics about children’s issues. Need to confirm page numbers
Elder Care Considerations
According to Understanding the Impact of Family Caregiving on Work from the AARP Public Policy Institute, 42 percent of U.S. workers have provided care for an aging relative or friend in the past five years and about one-half (49 percent) of the workforce expects to be providing elder care in the next five years. If you are among this group and have to move, evaluate whether your relative wants to move with you, if he/she could adjust to a move at this time and if the community offers the necessary medical care and desired services and activities.
For elders who wish to remain in their own homes, it is vitally important to have reliable people in place to assure their care and safety—and your peace of mind. If an assisted living facility is necessary, learn everything possible about the staff, services, licensing, accreditation, financial responsibilities, supervision and who to contact with questions or concerns. In our domestic book for adults, Relocation 101, we detail significant elder care issues to evaluate, including family care centers, care checklists and a chapter from Joy Loverde, a renowned expert and speaker on elder care issues.
Moving Your Medical Care
The biggest threats to health while traveling or moving are typically flare-ups of chronic health conditions and unforeseen accidents. Relocation places additional stress on people and, consequently, they are more vulnerable to accidents or illness. During one of our moves, we were in a hotel awaiting our household goods to be delivered when our youngest child contracted pneumonia. We had to locate a physician and knew nothing about the local doctors. This was just one instance. Over the course of our 19 moves, I could write a book on relocation medical challenges alone; the two just seem to go together. Even if you are moving at the request of a company, it is important to recognize that medical guidance is often overlooked in relocation packages.
Medical care cannot be overemphasized. I suggest that you locate physicians and medical care facilities in your new area before moving or as soon as possible after arrival so that you are prepared. DoctorDirectory at www.doctordirectory.com and WebMD at www.webmd.com offer guidelines to select a new doctor. Medical care providers are also listed in NewMarket Services’ City Guides.
Home Sales and Purchases
Talk to several realtors to learn what they are going to do for you. Agents have extensive resources and connections and will negotiate a home transaction to your benefit. This type of service is priceless when you are unfamiliar with local taxes, selling trends and values. They should also give you advice on pricing your home. Houses that are priced too high at the outset discourage buyers, and a seller can end up losing 10–20 percent on the sale. A qualified real estate agent or an appraisal firm can aid you in establishing a selling price while keeping in mind the amount of equity you need for your next purchase.
To expedite a home purchase, become “preapproved” before you home shop. If you shop for a mortgage first, you will have a more realistic idea of the terms and conditions that are available, as well as the amount of money for which you qualify. This is a fairly informal process and will improve your bargaining power with sellers.
Then, as real estate agents like to say: it’s location, location, location that is important. Begin the buying process by first selecting a school, and then home shopping. Homes and good school districts generally go together so you will be buying wisely. Communities and neighbors play a key role in a family’s adjustment and ultimate satisfaction so when you are serious about a home, try to meet a neighbor or two to help evaluate the atmosphere and populous in the area.
BR Anchor Publishing’s books for adults and children are also priceless to newcomers. The books are designed to provide pertinent advice and invaluable moving tips to help families and individuals settle in quickly. In any home buying process, it is important to inform your agent of your family’s personal requirements for a home as well as a realistic price range. Relocation 101 includes a full range of home buying points to consider but in general, consider accessibility to schools, personal interests, favorite activates and the commute to work—basically everything that is important to your family.
The New City
A really fun way to become acclimated to your new city is to act as the proverbial tourist. Book your family on excursions and tours around the city and you will learn a wealth of information about your selected community. As you travel through the city, collect business cards so you will remember the services and locations. Note the office hours and directions to businesses on the back of the respective cards.
If you are retiring and moving from another state, evaluate how your benefits will be affected by the new state taxes. I suggest that you have your existing estate-planning documents reviewed and updated by a local attorney so they will be effective in your new state residence. Documents to consider are Living Wills or Advance Health Care Declarations, Durable Powers of Attorney and Wills and/or Trusts.
In an emergency, people often forget their new telephone number and/or address, and especially directions to their home. Before an emergency arises, consider the following home safety procedures:
- Write down basic directions to your home and keep a copy near each telephone.
- Install new locks on a previously owned home or rental property.
- Plan one or two exit routes for your family in case of fire, and review these with your family.
- Place a locking bar on all sliding glass doors.
- Install nightlights, sensor lights and timers inside and outside the home.
- Keep flashlights accessible.
- Purchase a fire extinguisher for your home and have it readily available.
Tips to Settle In
A great way to become involved in a community is to volunteer your time and talent to worthy causes. Daily newspapers usually list volunteer opportunities on a weekly basis. “Advice for Volunteers” at www.serviceleader.org/advice is a good website to learn how to choose, maximize, set boundaries and develop expectations regarding volunteerism. A few tried and true settling in tips:
- Learn something new every week about your community.
- Readily share your experiences with your family.
- Reach out to meet new people and join groups with common interests.
- Share family stories, photos and celebrations with new neighbors friends.
- Take one day at a time.
The End Result
Relocation affects some people more dramatically than others. People moving within the same country can experience what is commonly referred to as “culture shock” – it is not just an international phenomenon. It can also occur by moving to a completely new environment and not knowing what constitutes appropriate or inappropriate behavior/actions. For instance, our move from Pennsylvania to the mountains of Tennessee was initially quite a cultural change, but we grew to love that community as well and made long-lasting friendships.
Relocating to a new city or to a new region of a country can ultimately become an enriching experience. However, it takes time to adjust and feel at home. Most important is that you keep an open mind, learn about the community, share your own culture and family experiences, go places and do things that everyone is interested in, continually reach out to meet new people and become involved. It is very important that you maintain family customs, celebrations and traditions in any new locale. These “anchors” will help you bridge the gap in your new area. Above all, keep each new situation in perspective and support each other. You will soon discover that your new community is a great place to call home.
About the author:
Beverly D. Roman is recognized and quoted as an expert in the field of relocation. Having relocated 19 times with a family of five, she has a thorough understanding of what is productive and what is counterproductive to achieving relocation success. The author has been featured on radio shows and appeared on CNN, ABC and Discovery Channel television networks. She has written for numerous industry and parent magazines. She has more than thirty domestic and international relocation books to her credit and publishes the popular newsletter, Monthly News.
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“Inability of the family to adjust” (61 percent) is narrowly the second most-cited reason for assignment failure, at just two percentage points behind the top reason, “changing business conditions,” (63 percent).
— The Global 2014 Relocation Trends Survey: family first for assignment Please place this quote near the beginning of the article.
According to 172 international mobility managers who each oversee an average of 581 moves annually, 76 percent of respondents rated “family or personal circumstances” as the key reason employees decline relocation assignments.
— The Global 2014 Relocation Trends Survey: family first for assignment success
“Increasingly, a family’s happiness and ability to adjust are nearly as important to the success of a job relocation as the employee’s own job performance.”
— Matt Spinolo, Executive VP, Cartus, 2014 Global Relocation Trends Survey: Family First for Assignment Success
Nearly half (47 percent) of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child (age 18 or older).
“While the majority of respondents indicated that their mobility activity was ‘status quo’ over the past two years, 50 percent of companies expect to see mobility volume increase overall for the upcoming two-year period.”
—Cartus 2014 Global Mobility Policy & Practices Survey