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

Tags:

About Callie McGill

Callie McGill is a Content Marketer for ValuePenguin.com.

 

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
Carlie Cadet

Carlie Cadet

High School Class of 2019

CollegeXpress has helped me learn about an abundance of scholarships available to me and my situation. I was able to do research for colleges in my best interest with your website. I've had multiple colleges email me and offer me multiple scholarships and things of that nature because of this website! Thank you so much for uploading scholarships I didn’t even know existed, even if my life took a huge turn and I wasn’t able to go to college straight out of high school. CollegeXpress helped me a lot in high school to be even more motivated to get into my dream college (which I did, by the way). I'm looking forward to using the materials CollegeXpress has kindly provided me for free to look for scholarships to help pay for college.

Casey Kammeyer

Casey Kammeyer

$500 Refer-A-Friend Scholarship Winner

I love the site CollegeXpress; it has been very helpful finding colleges and getting them to send me information. It has also been very, very helpful with finding tons of scholarships. Also, I told many of my friends about it and they love it as well!

Ruth Aguilar

Ruth Aguilar

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me by providing me with many scholarship opportunities and information about universities I want to attend. What I love about CollgeXpress is how it provides a variety of information, and as the first child attending a university next year, it has been very essential and helpful. I’m so grateful for this because the information provided by CollegeXpress has also helped me see that there are so many college opportunities, and it always informs me by email. In other words, CollegeXpress has been like a guide for me as a future college student.

Maurice Whan

Maurice Whan

$2,000 Spring Scholarship Contest Winner, 2021

This year has been tough for my family and myself, so receiving this scholarship has been a blessing in disguise! CollegeXpress has been an excellent resource in helping me prepare financially for college. Thank you again for this amazing opportunity!

Jada Bohanon

Jada Bohanon

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me find scholarships for the colleges I applied to. It was very hard for me to find scholarships in the beginning that I was qualified for. My teachers recommended this website to find some, and not only did I find some scholarships but I also got to look into some schools I hadn’t heard of before. I was very happy to have discovered this website, especially with the coronavirus spreading all over as I can’t really go visit many colleges.

College Matches
X

Colleges You May Be Interested In

University of Missouri

Columbia, MO

Seton Hall University

South Orange, NJ

Whitworth University

Spokane, WA