City cut in half by river lined by trees with water fountain shooting across

5 Ways Job Location Can Affect Your Financial Future

Your first job out of college is exciting, but there are many factors to consider. Here's some advice on how choosing a career location can affect finances.

After dedicating years to completing your college education, landing your first job after graduation is a notable milestone. Finding a role that aligns with your degree and desired career path is ideal, but a factor that’s not often considered is the importance of where your first job is located. As a recent graduate, you may have always dreamt of building your career in a bustling metropolitan area like Los Angeles or New York—although California’s population has declined in the last five years, in part due to the pandemic. Moving to a larger city comes with its share of pros and cons. Before accepting a job offer as a new grad, you should learn how the job’s location can affect your finances later in adulthood and keep these five considerations in mind.

1. Cost of living

Moving out of your family home means taking on significant financial responsibilities. These expenses—including housing, transportation, and groceries—will vary by location. If your first job is in a popular housing market like New York County, expect to allot most of your budget toward rent. The latest Census data found that the median gross rent in New York County is $1,740 per month. Rent in Los Angeles County isn’t far behind at $1,460 per month. These figures are a considerable jump from the national median of $1,062.

What to do: If you’re determined to live in an expensive area due to a lifestyle preference or a potential job opportunity, look for affordable housing options. Searching for another young professional to share an apartment and split costs with, for example, is a great option for recent graduates. Remember, this living situation can be temporary until you’ve saved enough money to rent your own place.

Related: Pros and Cons of Living With Roommates vs. Living Alone

2. Opportunities in your industry

Another factor to weigh is whether your location of interest has a healthy job market within your field or industry. Being eager to take the first job that extends you an offer is normal. However, you’ll want to assess whether there are a good number of employers within the area. This thoughtfulness comes in handy if your first job falls through or when you’re ready to move on, because you’ve already vetted the area for potential employers and future prospects.

What to do: Think about the top three companies you’d like to work for and research their headquarters or office locations. Based on this list, search for their industry competitors and their locations to see which cities have overlap. Tools like Indeed or LinkedIn can help with this research. Consider focusing your job search on the cities with the most employers in your field so you can continuously move up or laterally within your new career.

3. Job market competition

While looking for an entry-level position in a big city might seem like a great idea, you may want to think again. Settling in a location that has an abundance of entry-level professionals in your field can actually work against your earnings. Companies are more likely to offer competitive starting salaries when there’s a sparse employee pool to choose from to attract talent to the area.

What to do: With your potential cost-of-living expenses in mind, research the average starting salary for entry-level workers in the area. Then decide how much money you need to earn to sustain the lifestyle you would want to have in that city.

Related: 5 Secrets to Landing Your Dream Job After College

4. Ability to repay your student debt

In addition to new monthly bills, you’ll likely need to start repaying your student loan debt six months after graduation. Living in an expensive city can result in falling behind on bills or your loan repayment goals—and falling into default with your students loans will only dig you into a deeper financial hole.

What to do: Search for remote positions with companies that have headquarters in expensive cities. A remote job gives you the flexibility to live in a low-cost area while repaying your student loans. After paying off a considerable amount of student debt, ask your company if you can transfer to its headquarters so you ultimately live in your preferred location.

5. Networking exposure

The earliest years of your career are an opportunity to build connections and network with others in your industry. Throughout your career, it’s these lasting relationships that can invite professional advancements, future job referrals, and more opportunities for a successful financial future.

What to do: If you have a potential first job lined up, see whether the area has local professional associations or groups that you can join—or if there’s any alumni from your college living in that area. Also consider vetting each organization to see who else is a member. Networking can be a lucrative way to find a professional mentor.

Related: How to Network With Your College's Alumni on LinkedIn

Where you work can sometimes be just as important as the job you get. As you’re conducting the postgrad job search, be sure to consider all your options carefully. Location, field, and position are all important parts of landing a job that’ll feel fulfilling both personally and financially.

Check out other great career and financial advice with the blogs and articles in our Internships and Careers section.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

career path careers finances finding a job job search student finances

About Callie McGill

Callie McGill is a Content Marketer for


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo


Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Nazira Abdelkhalek

Nazira Abdelkhalek

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2014

I am very honored to be this year’s recipient of the Multicultural Student Community Service Scholarship! This scholarship is vital to helping me achieve and fulfill my dreams, and gives me confidence and motivation as I begin my college career. The CollegeXpress website has been invaluable over the past year as I planned my educational and professional goals. I highly recommend it to all students as they begin to focus on their college and career interests. The website is a wonderful guide to schools and scholarships.

Joan Franklin

Joan Franklin


I love this website and have been using it for years with my students. I originally bought products through Wintergreen Orchard House and appreciated having key facts at my fingertips when advising students. Your site is easy to access and offers a wide array of topics I need as a busy college counselor.



High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress helped open me up to many colleges that fit my interests. I’m only a sophomore in high school, so I like having a lot to look at, and CX does a great job of picking colleges that meet my wants. It's a great website that I'll continue to use until it comes time for me to apply for colleges. I also like that it notifies me through email with options to look at. Thanks CX!

Leah Maciel

Leah Maciel

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me with all aspects of applying for college. The website is extremely easy to navigate and gives access to so many resources. I was able to research all of the colleges I was interested in, find out any information I wished to know about, and keep them organized in a list. I've also been able to research scholarships and save them as resources for later. I've used many websites in my college and scholarship search, and CollegeXpress has by far been my favorite one to use.



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress really helped me by letting me know the colleges ratings and placements. They gave me accurate information on my colleges tuition rates and acceptance. They even let me know the ration between students and faculty and the diversity of the college. Overall they told me everything I needed and things I didnt even think I needed to know about my college and other colleges I applied for.

College Matches