October 21, 2020

Career Couch: Deciding to Relocate Involves More Than Just the Pay

A. Obviously, pay is one of the most important factors when deciding whether to move. Ideally, your new salary should allow you to maintain your current lifestyle in the new area.

Create a chart that compares the cost of living and real estate prices in your current city with those of the new one, says Brenda Harrington, president of Adaptive Leadership Strategies, a coaching firm in Reston, Va., that specializes in mobility and relocation. Beyond housing costs, include the stuff of everyday life, like the price of groceries, restaurant meals and gasoline, she says. Find out if the new city has a local income tax in addition to state tax.

If you own a house, the financial equation can change, even if the cost of living in the new area is lower than it is where you live now. If you have to take a loss to sell your house, the financial burden may be too great to make the move worthwhile, says Anna Ranieri, a career counselor and executive coach in Palo Alto, Calif.

Q. How can you minimize the risks, both financial and personal, of moving for the sake of a job?

A. Temporarily renting a house or apartment in the new area while renting out your existing house, if you own one, is one way to do that, Ms. Ranieri says. It lowers your financial risk and gives you time to learn about the job and the new city before making a long-term commitment. “You can’t really know everything about it until you are living and working there,” she says.

Research other job opportunities in the new location. “If this company is the only company there in your industry and the job doesn’t work out, it may be difficult to find something else,” Ms. Ranieri notes.

Don’t make plans to move — or give notice at your current job — until you get the new offer in writing, advises Donna M. Ballman, an employment lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. It’s a good idea to send the new employer an e-mail “with a return receipt confirming what you were promised and stating you’re relying on that information in leaving your current employer and moving,” she says.

Some companies ask new hires to sign an agreement that they will pay back moving expenses if they don’t remain employed for a specific time, Ms. Ballman adds, but be wary of doing so. Although many companies offer relocation assistance, those packages are often less robust than they used to be, says Ms. Harrington, and many companies offer one lump sum to use for a move. Make sure to get an estimate of the move’s cost before you agree to take the job, she says. Q. What kinds of factors, besides financial ones, might indicate that moving is the right decision?

A. One would be that the new job is necessary and important for the growth of your career, says Lora B. Poepping, a job search coach and founder of Plum Job Search Strategies in Seattle. If so, it can be the right long-term move even if you have to take a small pay cut or deal with a higher cost of living, she says.

A great manager would be another positive sign, so make sure you meet that person before you commit to moving. “Your manager will make all the difference as to whether you feel supported, valued and heard,” she says. It’s also important that the new location offers activities and amenities that you value, whether that’s music and theater, good weather, places to hike or ethnic restaurants, Ms. Ranieri says.

Q. Your children don’t want to leave their school and friends. Your spouse or partner has a job and ties in the community. What can you do to get them on board?

A. Take a family scouting trip to the new city and spend a few days walking around, says Ted Stimpson, chief executive of MyMove.com, an informational site. A trip like this “lets them focus more on the upside,” he says. Some companies also offer support for spouses, to help acclimate them to the new community and to find work there.

Getting your family behind a move may take time. It may be best to live apart from them during the workweek for a while, Ms. Poepping says. “The initial period in the new job is about making connections, meeting people and working many hours to get up to speed,” she says. “Sometimes, a decision to go out before the rest of your family can be a great one. It gives you time to focus on the transition and pave the way for the rest of them to join you.”

E-mail: ccouch@nytimes.com.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/jobs/deciding-to-relocate-involves-more-than-just-the-pay.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Bucks Blog: Cutting Back (But Not on Coffee!) To Save Money

Courtesy bills.com

The old savings advice about skipping your daily cup of coffee and banking the cash instead has never really resonated with me.

For one thing, I really, really like my morning Joe. Plus, would I actually put the money in an account? Or would I spend it on, say, Altoids instead? So I’m happy to ignore the financial benefit of delaying that particular bit of gratification.

But what about a bottle of water? Or a weekly car wash? Are there some things I might forgo to help save some cash? A new tool from Bills.com, called My Savings Machine, provides a fast, fun way to calculate your savings in different categories over time.

You click on the category you want to analyze (coffee, cigarettes, groceries, etc.), select an anticipated interest rate and slide the marker over to your chosen time period. Voila: An actual number.

I entered $10 a week (roughly a $2 cup of coffee, five days a week), invested at a 1 percent return over two years. The total savings: $1,040. Okay, that did gave me pause. But it would likely cost friends and family, who would have to deal with my noncaffeinated, cranky self, a lot more unless I managed to get the coffee made at home each day for far less.

I found the tool a bit more helpful in other categories. Say, for instance, I spend just $25 a week less on groceries — maybe by buying more store brands. That would save me $2,602 over two years, assuming the same 1 percent rate. And, if I combine the grocery savings with one less meal out a week — saving, say, $50 a week — I’d end up with a heftier $7,855 in my savings account. Not too shabby.

So what’s most cuttable from your budget, and how much would it save you?

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=f48d651b1896be15859120066b9c0eb2

Wal-Mart Tests Service for Buying Food Online

The company has been expanding its online options, including a nationwide rollout of a service that lets customers order merchandise (not food) online and pick it up in the store the same day. While that program is aimed at getting shoppers into stores more frequently, this one creates a more convenient way to buy from Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart declined to make executives available for interviews about the grocery test, which started Saturday. In early March, asked about the possibility of an online grocery ordering service, Steve Nave, senior vice president and general manager of Walmart.com, would not discuss specifics.

“One of the great things about Wal-Mart is we’ll put something out there, test and learn from it,” he said. “I would say nothing is off limits.”

Other grocers, including Safeway and Peapod, which is affiliated with Giant Food, offer a similar service. Choose grocery items via a Web site, select a delivery time and the groceries are dropped off at your house. Fresh Direct and AmazonFresh, neither of which are run by brick-and-mortar grocers, also offer a grocery delivery service.

But some grocers have said it is not a good use of resources. Supervalu, for instance, ceased offering online grocery delivery in 2009, saying most of its customers would prefer to get groceries in a store. And one of the more notorious dot-com busts was Webvan, a grocery delivery service that went bankrupt in 2001.

Delivery charges for Wal-Mart to Go start at $5.

For the test, Wal-Mart is shipping groceries from a San Jose store, packing them in tote bags and delivering them in temperature-controlled trucks that the company owns. Deliveries can be scheduled for the next day.

Currently, the groceries available lean toward prepackaged goods. Customers cannot order beef to specifications, for instance — they must buy precut meat in a range of packages. And in the produce category, while fresh mangoes and bananas are available, oranges and lemons come in bags of several pounds rather than individually.

Its prices are competitive. A 64-ounce carton of Horizon milk was $3.50 on Wal-Mart’s site, $3.99 from Peapod and $4.29 on Fresh Direct.

Sixteen ounces of celery at Wal-Mart to Go was $1.98, where 16 ounces of celery at Peapod was $3.29 and at Fresh Direct $3.49.

On shelf-stable food like crackers and candy, Wal-Mart had a broad selection — it sells 12 varieties of Triscuits, for instance, versus 10 at Peapod and two at Fresh Direct.

Wal-Mart is the biggest grocer in the country — according to estimates from Janney Capital Markets, it has about 33 percent market share in the United States. Kroger has 9 percent, Safeway 5 percent, Supervalu 4 percent and Target 3 percent, according to Janney. And groceries account for more than half of Wal-Mart’s American revenue, excluding figures from Sam’s Club.

Craig Johnson, president of the consulting firm Customer Growth Partners, said that the move made some sense.

Wal-Mart’s big stores are patronized for large stock-up trips, not for on-the-go grocery shopping, he said, and the delivery could help address that issue.

Yet Wal-Mart would need to tackle questions like how to deliver groceries on a wider scale (use its own trucks? rent a fleet? use U.P.S.?), and how to handle and keep safe prepared foods like sandwiches or ready-made dinners rather than just basic groceries, Mr. Johnson said.

“These are not simple operations to set up profitably, as Webvan and a host of others have found out over the years,” he said.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=d04d425407ba3defe3f87858339dc661