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Hi Taylor - My wife and I are considering moving out of a big city because everything is just so expensive. At the same time, I’m worried we’ll make a lot less money in a smaller town and it’ll just even out. We both have college educations and have experience with administrative work and management. Is there any way to predict how this will work out? - Forrest

Hey Forrest - Welcome to the conundrum that so many millennials are facing. Some people thrive when they move from high-cost living to a more affordable area, while others encounter a whole new set of challenges. Here are a few indicators to help you understand how small-town living might treat you.

     1. Housing. This particular living cost is important for a few different reasons. The most obvious is how much money you can save on your rent or mortgage by moving to a smaller town or a more rural area. Housing and rental prices are also important because they can help you gauge population growth. As much as you want to save money on your living arrangement, a shockingly low price could be a sign that more people are going than coming in that particular area. People who leave cities hastily and head for a region with the cheapest housing are usually the ones who have the most difficulty finding good jobs. Keep that in mind before springing for an awesome mansion in the middle of nowhere.

     2. Adjacent industries. I’m sure you’ll check job availability before you pack up and head to a new town, and I’d encourage you to research the biggest employers in the surrounding counties as well. When a nearby district has lots of jobs in education, government or medicine, that usually helps sustain a variety of other businesses. If an area mostly employs people in a specific trade like mining or forestry, that might limit the open positions. Finding a city or county with an assortment of industries will make a big difference in your job search.

     3. Competition. This isn’t particularly easy to figure out, but you should give some thought to what the professional competition will be like in a given area. Does your work history give you experience that will translate to jobs in a smaller market? In some cases, working as a legal secretary in a Manhattan firm will make you an appealing candidate for a variety of jobs. Meanwhile, some employers won’t care that you’ve worked for fancy companies in the past. As you look for work you’re qualified for and interested in, focus on jobs you’ll be better suited for than someone without your experience.

I believe you can find work when you leave the big city for smaller pastures. As long as you have a strategy in place, you should be able to land a job and enjoy living someplace where your dollars go further. Good luck to you and your wife, Forrest!
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Taylor J Kovar, CEO
Kovar Capital