Moving For Work


I was recently offered a new job in Calgary. The salary is about 20% more than I currently make and it seems like a good gig but…it’s a long way from home. My wife and I have lived just outside of Halifax our entire lives so we are nervous about moving all the way across the country. Should we follow the opportunity and uproot our family? Or should we stay where our roots are? What are the types of things we should be thinking about when making this decision?

Marc T.
Bedford, Nova Scotia


When I was younger, I was given the opportunity to go to business school in out of the country. It was an extremely tough decision. On one hand, my entire family was in Toronto and I didn’t want to leave them. But, it was a great opportunity for me. In the end, I made the decision to go and I’ve never regretted it – although I did end up moving back to Toronto after I graduated.

Your problem is a little bit more complicated than my situation was but I’ll take you through some of the things I think you should be considering as you make your decision.

  • Run the numbers – A 20% salary increase sounds good on paper but you need to examine if that money will go as far in a different city. Are you going to a place with higher real estate costs? Will you be paying more rent? Those things could take a big bite out of your raise. What about the general cost of living in your new city? Is your grocery and entertainment budget going to increase? Finally, factor in the cost of visiting home a couple of times a year. That raise may start disappearing.
  • Quality of life – More money doesn’t necessarily equal a better life. Think of the things that are important to you. If you are motivated by professional and financial success, moving may be a good choice. But if you care more about raising your kids near your family, why move?
  • You are not alone – Before we got married and started raising a family, making decisions was a lot easier. We just had to follow our own path without worrying about anyone else. But, now your decisions affect a variety of people in your life. So, don’t just think about your own success. You need to consider your wife and children as well. Can she get a job in the new city? If she is in a licensed profession, does she have to go through a relicensing process? How about your children (if you have any)? Do they want to move? Will uprooting them and taking them away from their friends be too painful for them? All of these things need to be carefully considered.

Moving across the country is a huge decision. There are a lot of things that need to be carefully considered before you pack up and go. It may be the best thing for you or you may decide you are happy where you are. Whatever you decide, good luck! And send me a postcard!

Jeffrey Schwartz
Executive Director

Jeffrey Schwartz is the Executive Director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada and President of the Credit Association of Greater Toronto (CAGT).

If you have a question about a debt management program or just about finance in general, Jeff is here to help. Send us an email with your question to [email protected]. You’ll get the expert advice you need and your question may be featured here on our website.