Bust a Move

| Hazel Cormier

Ten years ago, Shawn, then my boyfriend of four years – now husband – asked me to move from sunny Los Angeles, California to St. Louis, Missouri.  I couldn’t have been more enthusiastic in my response if he had asked me to marry him, which he later did.

I knew a thing or two about moving.  I had moved myself from San Francisco to Santa Cruz and from there, to Los Angeles with all my worldly belongings packed in my trusty Honda Civic coupe.  I had conquered 400 miles so 1,800 miles is like making five trips, right?

Not quite. A move across the country is a lot more complicated – and expensive – than city hopping. I did not qualify for the spousal benefits Shawn’s company offered. And I was too excited and naive to ask my new employer if they provided moving assistance. In retrospect, I should have at least inquired about relocation benefits; they could have referred me to local resources for transplants.

Express Scripts, for instance, offers a range of relocation benefits determined by the level of the role.   For eligible positions, the company provides what relocation consultants dub as a “buck and a truck” – miscellaneous allowance to cover expenses and a household goods move.  This alone, can be a stress reliever as the average cost of shipping household goods for domestic transfers is $12,652 according to Worldwide ERC.

As manager of domestic relocation for Express Scripts, I realize what a difference these benefits make to new hires, employee transfers and their families.  The process of relocating can include selling a home or transporting large amounts of belongings and goods – which surveys show can be a major challenge for most home owners. You may need to break a lease, find news schools for your children, figure out how to transport a pet…the list is seemingly endless. Being organized can help.

Here are a few other things to consider when planning a move:

  • Do your research: The internet serves up a goldmine of free lists covering logistics such as conversations to have with children, placing a home on the market and scheduling movers
  • Comparison shop: As with everything else, you get the best deal this way. Get quotes from a couple different companies and remember to check their ratings
  • Make lists and take inventory: This applies both to things that you need to do and things that you own and need to move. One missed detail could derail the whole plan
  • Things take time: Remember to give yourself ample time to plan and execute your move and some wiggle room in case things don’t go exactly as planned.

And remember that for a cross-country move like mine, good friends and a soundtrack to accompany your travels are indispensible.

As for me, I upgraded my tiny car to a small SUV, and with two of my best friends in tow, followed Route 66 to my new life in St. Louis. We even made a detour to Memphis to visit the King.

In case you are curious, here is the soundtrack that best captures my relocation experience:

  1. The Long and Winding Road; The Beatles
  2. Under Pressure; Queen & David Bowie
  3. Where the Streets Have No Name; U2
  4. Life is a Highway;Tom Cochrane
  5. Route 66; Chuck Berry
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