March 29, 2022

9 Factors to Help You Decide Where to Live

Anna Yen
Former Director at UBS & Associate at JP Morgan

If you’re looking to relocate, your destination depends on many factors. Are you moving for work? For a change of pace? To experience a new culture? Few decisions impact your life in the same way – and you may not know you’ve made the right choice until you try. 

Before you start packing, consider these 10 factors when deciding where to live. 

Cost of living

The cost of living varies drastically between countries, regions, and even cities. Aside from the usual housing, grocery, and transportation expenses, you’ll also want to consider your tax burden. (Bear in mind that Americans may also owe taxes to Uncle Sam even if they live abroad.)  


Access to quality, affordable healthcare can be a nightmare in the United States. Big cities often have more medical options than rural areas, but you may also face higher costs. If you move abroad, you can typically take advantage of high-quality public systems that foot most of the bill.

Career and employment opportunities 

If you’re moving for work, you may have your destination narrowed down already. Either way, understanding local employment opportunities tells you your income potential. Consider:

·      Major employers and industries

·      Average wages

·      Whether you can work remotely 

Unless you’ve already retired with plenty to spare, you may want to line up a job before you move. 

Location preferences

Where you live greatly affects your quality of life. Aside from the particular country or state you choose, decide if:

·      You prefer urban, suburban, or rural living

·      Proximity (or lack thereof) to family is important to you

·      The local climate suits your lifestyle

Access to amenities 

You’ll also want to look at potential living arrangements and amenities. Do you prefer apartment or single-family home living? A large or small house? Access to a yard or community features like a park or pool? Remember: there are no wrong answers!  

The local language

International jet-setters may have to consider the prospect of not knowing the local language. If you’re not fluent, it’s time to start learning – at least enough to navigate your new city. 


The kind of transportation you need varies based on your location and any potential work commute. For instance, you may need a car if you live in a rural town or the suburbs, while big cities often offer public transportation. If you live in a walkable area, you can even mix your commute with a dose of daily exercise. (And don’t discount access to airports if you frequently travel by air!) 


If you have children, access to a quality education usually depends on the zipcode you choose. Consider whether you want to send your kids to public or private school, or perhaps homeschool. Extracurricular opportunities, like the availability of club sports leagues, may also change your child’s experience.  

Culture and recreation

Where you live determines the kind of activities you can enjoy. If you prefer going to museums, theaters, or nightclubs, you’ll enjoy a big city or metro area. On the other hand, avid outdoor enthusiasts may want to live in a more rural location. 

Where you live is a big decision

Moving is an important, potentially costly decision, but it’s worth the effort to find your dream home. Before you start packing, you’ll want to:

·      Decide what criteria matter to you

·      Map out prospective locations within your preferred region

·      Compare potential living spaces side-by-side

And lastly, don’t forget to discuss the decision with your partner if you have one!

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