At 10 years old, Stephanie Ross fell in love. The object of her affection: Boston.
“It was like nothing I've ever seen or experienced in my young life,” says Ross, a marketing and PR professional. “I immediately fell in love with Boston, the New England beaches, the architecture, the food — everything! I knew I wanted to live there.” So, following Ross’s graduation from the University of North Texas in May 2013, the Texas native fulfilled her long-held dream and moved to Boston.
She had chosen to relocate there without a job (or a planned budget) — a decision she later came to regret. “I really wish I’d set a budget, because I did run into debt due to the cost of living adjustment. I was young with very little real-world job experience,” she says.
Today, Ross looks back on those early days as valuable experience, and a time of tough financial lessons. She was also able to lean on her strong network (family members, sorority sisters) to help secure a job within a month, and has found ways to save money while living in a pricey city. “Instead of going to bars or expensive dinners, my friends and I cook together,” Ross says. She and friends often take advantage of the huge number of the city’s free activities and events. “The most fun I've had in one summer was just hanging out on a blanket in the Commons with friends, reading books and chatting.”
Not every recent college graduate is quite so sure as Ross about where they wish to land after school. However, there are scores of grads just like Ross whose financial statuses may not be compatible with the likes of a San Francisco or New York, at least while they begin to get on their feet. So for those who A) haven’t had a dream city beckoning since elementary school, B) view big, bustling metropolises as full of opportunities for both personal and professional growth, and C) want to make a smart financial choice, what’s the next move after turning in that gown? This guide is here to help you plan for moving out of state.