And How We Stayed Sane Through Our Journey
Within our first year of us dating, my husband, Matt, and I created a list of bucket list of dreams we had and wanted to accomplish in our lives. One of those for us was to move out of state.
Now keep in mind that back in 2016, Matt and I were still full time college students and I was working a full time internship in downtown Detroit. We didn't have much money to our names; we just had our eyes on graduating college and getting our corporate jobs. A year later we achieved both of those things, but honestly didn't think that moving out of state was possible for us. We prioritized getting a house, getting married, and working up the ladder in our comfy jobs. We thought this was going to be enough for a while and, as you can tell from the title of this blog post, we changed our minds.
Although I've lived on my own since a month before graduating high school, I was never far from the familiar cities in south eastern Michigan. However, Matt has not only had the opportunity to live out of state, but also in another country during his time in the military. Even then, relocating in the civilian world requires a lot of self-responsibility in order for it to go as smoothly as possible.
Fast forward to a month and a half before our one year wedding anniversary; I just got myself out of a miserable job and into an amazing one within the same corporation I've been at for almost four and a half years. Though Matt wasn't necessarily unhappy with his current job (very content to be honest), he felt inspired to see what the market was looking like in his industry. He found a few openings he really was interested and one day he asked,
"Babe, what if I found something out of state? Like, what if we actually moved to Florida?"
I took a moment to think if this was even possible. This past year we've put ourselves in a great financial position, I looked up at him and said,
"If you really think you'd enjoy the company and the role AND get the offer, let's do it."
Next thing I knew he said he applied to a handful of jobs that weekend, got an interview with one company the following week AND had an offer waiting for him two days later. What I thought was going to take at least one month, he managed to coordinate within 2 weeks. It was a great fit, great company, and great salary; it was perfect. And while we went back and forth about my corporate job, I had to make the tough decision to leave the best corporate job I've ever had just after being in it only a few weeks (at the time).
So how did we manage to actually make the move? We're here to shed some light as to how we planned for this huge bucket list dream. Today we'll be sharing key moments from when we had "the big talk" to actually arriving at our new home in Florida just 2 months later.
The night he accepted his offer, we started planning all of the things we had to do:
Figure out what we needed to do to sell the house and find our new home
Quitting both of our Michigan jobs and moving my business to Florida
Strategy and cost of moving
Have a real talk on how we're doing through every stage so we (mostly just I) stay sane during this HUGE transition
Before we dive into the nitty gritty of these phases, I want to point out a couple key things leading up to the moment we committed to this:
We've prioritized knocking out the majority of our debts and getting a very nice savings cushion in order for us to embrace having financial freedom. For us, we needed $10,000 to have as a back up and maintain most of our lifestyle (we understand that everyone's needs are different. To figure out what your nest could be, figure out and save three-six months of living expenses). This helped us by not feeling tied down to our jobs in Michigan. As long as one of us finds a job that satisfies our lifestyle, the other can feel confident in moving into the next phase too. Which leads me to my next point...
We didn't just pack up our suitcases and pups and drive two days just to get to Florida and be like "Ok, now what?" We were patient until we had to opportunity that was going to make us happy while continuing to obtain our income during this whole process. Don't get me wrong, we're all about taking risks and living with minimal regrets (we're obviously exploring something we've never done together). We would rather not set ourselves back on what we've worked hard to achieve just because we have an itch to do something new. To each their own...
The House (Selling The Old, Finding The New)
Once we figured out where Matt's new job was located, we got back on Zillow (which we've relied on heavily to find rentals and the home we bought) to find our new home and made as many appointments as we could. Something we weren't expecting was the lack of responses from property managers. With the few that we could get tours of, we booked our Airbnb and road tripped down to Florida.
Before we headed down, we already started getting our home set up with our agent that way it was full speed a head as soon as we got back.
As soon as we met our Airbnb host, he was able to give us the low down on why it was so hard working with property managers: when we went down in September, it was just before the "snow bird" season was kicking in, so it's likely that property managers just weren't caring about folks like us until their busy season really started. Lesson learned? Be mindful of migration seasons and holidays, which could effect the variety and quality of care someone is willing to give. Thankfully, we did find a place and felt very comfortable with who our landlord and property managers were (to be completely transparent, we chose to pay at the top of our budget to ensure we have this peace of mind).
So we drove back up to Michigan and immediately started packing. Three days later, Matt went off with 98% of our belongings, while the dogs and I stayed back to sell our home (all while still working my corporate job).
Given that our home in Michigan was the first we ever bought, we also had to learn how to sell a home. Long story short, we had a draining process having to meet city code inspections that although should've been taken care of by our previous owners, I had to coordinate (huge shout out to my Dad during this time. He was briefly living with us and was also in the process of moving into his new home AND helping me sell our home). Once we had the house fixed up and the new buyer ready to take our keys, Matt flew back to Michigan to help pack the four of us up in our Subaru Outback and away we went on our last two day drive to our new home.
Quitting Jobs and Moving The Business
Quitting our jobs was pretty simple, but not as easy as we thought. We both enjoyed the people we worked with and who our leadership was. Matt made a clear separation because he chose to work for a new company, while I took a slightly different approach. I was in my new role for only two months at a company I've spent the last four and a half years at (and I really liked what I did and the people I was surrounded by). When I gave my notice I did offer to work remotely and had a well thought out plan as to how I would make it work/benefit the company. They chose to keep their talent in Michigan and before I knew it, I was handing my security badge to the front desk, left Detroit, and never looked back.
Setting up my business in Florida was a whole other process I had to figure out somehow. I've never lived outside of Michigan before, so I had a very difficult time figuring out what I needed to do to make my business legitimate in the new state I was residing to. To save you days of headache here's my quick guide to relocating a business (regardless of what kind it is),
Check with the current state you reside in and contact someone in the small business department. Ask them what you need to do to transfer your business to your new residing state (if there's anything to do at all). Transferring from Michigan to Florida, the "State of Michigan LARA Department" didn't require anything to transfer to a new state.
Check with your new state or country what they need from you to start conducting business. Your new state or country may need you to provide various types of paperwork and submit specific forms. Florida, for example, needed me to register my business "fictitious name" at sunbiz.gov, provide proof to the county's "Tax Collector" that my business is legitimate from where it was founded, and I had to submit a simple ad in the local newspaper. Your new state or country may need you to provide various types of paperwork and submit specific forms.
While waiting on paperwork to be completed, use this time to update everything related to your business: banks accounts, Google, website, social media, etc. Once the paperwork is all set, get to work to market yourself and get new clients and customers!
The Strategy and Cost to Move
So we founds the jobs, sold the house, moved to Florida. How did we actually make this move happen how much did it cost?
Save three to six months of expenses in your savings. We recommend based on current lifestyle, unless you're planning to downsize or increase your expenses (like your adventure fund!).
Find a new job wherever you're planning to move to, if applicable. Give them one month MAX for you to start working.
Visit your new hometown and find a place to live. Work with a realtor if you're buying a home or a property manager if you're planning to rent.
Hire someone to help move or pack up a truck and do it yourself.
Give yourself about a week to get settled into your new home before starting to work. Matt and I did this even though we started living in Florida at different times. This time gave us the energy we needed to go full speed ahead at our careers.
This move cost us about $8,000 between the 3 total trips we took (driving and flying), hotels, food, a moving truck and extra help. If we were to do it all over again, we would've kept it closer to $5,000 (without having to sell a home).
Keep in mind that this is going to look completely different because of your unique circumstances. Yes, people do move all over the world with a lot less/a lot more and are still able to live the life they want.
What We're Excited and Terrified Of
We don't want you to get it twisted thinking this whole process was easy breezy. As beyond excited as we are about trying to live this dream out, we're also scared about a variety of things. Now that we're mostly settled in to our new home, we had another check-in with each other (basically a sanity check). If we choose one thing to be excited and scared of, they'd be:
being excited for me to try my business full time and Matt's new career
being scared about our happiness and having this move hurt our relationship
Second guessing any decision is nerve wracking, but we're both keeping an open mind and are giving this at least one year before we make ANY drastic changes. Since publishing this post, things have been looking bright for the both of us and are more excited than scared about our new life here in Florida.
What's holding you back from changing your life?
It's hard to believe that we actually made this dream become reality. We've seen and hear people do it all the time, so why can't we? With a simple, strategic plan, we can make any dream become reality and you can too. So what's holding you back from living the life you wan to live or doing things you're dreaming of experiencing? Let me know how I can help you make moves in life and business!