Relocating to New York can be both incredibly exciting and incredibly daunting. It’s got a reputation as a tough place to live, being the city that never sleeps filled with hundreds of people who work hard and play hard too. There are many good reasons why you should think twice before committing to relocating here, but if you like a challenge and enjoy fast-pace and unparalleled vibrancy, then relocation to New York could be one of the best decisions you ever make.
The most important thing about New York is the career opportunities. For many professions (fashion, finance, PR, advertising, publishing to name but a few) New York is an international hub and if you want to really make in those industries, living and working there is almost mandatory. But don’t expect to work 9-5. New Yorkers work long hours, have a lot of responsibility and often have to compete amongst themselves to land the biggest clients and the biggest opportunities. While team work remains valuable, you need to shine as an individual making quick decisions and meeting short deadlines.
As an expat moving to New York, one of the most important things is to make sure you negotiate a fairly high salary package – cost of living is astronomical. You need to make sure your personal finance management is impeccable to avoid slipping into any form of debt. In a high-end bar, a beer can cost as much as $10, and groceries are considerably higher than other cities in the US. Rents on apartments are also very large and it’s all about the neighborhood. Unless can afford several thousand dollars of rent a month, expect your apartment to be tiny, though don’t rule out certain areas based on past reputations. Harlem, while it may have been a no-go area in the 1970s in now a vibrant area of regeneration and expansion, with affordable rents and some of the trendiest bars and restaurants. Those $1 brown houses are now worth millions.
In the same way, modern New York is exceedingly safe compared with a few decades ago. The public transport is also very safe, as well as being quick and cheap and 24 hours. There are hundreds of things to do and places to visit, many of which are free (such as the many museums). You never know who you might meet or where you might end up.
The social life in New York is fairly unparalleled. Cultivating a group of new friends or networking amongst other industry professionals is fairly straightforward. The opportunities you get in this city are the ones you gain through people you directly know or their associates, but remember you might be expected to return favors. New York is not renowned for being the birthplace of serious love affairs however – while it has a vibrant dating scene, New York is full of very busy people who are likely to value their careers and a busy social life over a serious relationship.
Before arriving, the most important things to do are to ensure that your healthcare and bank account are in place. Health issues can cost you a fortune in the USA, so having insurance in place is key. Checking with your current insurance provider for if they cover the USA could save you some money, otherwise a relocations department can help point you in the right direction. Once you’ve organized a policy, always make sure you have the policy and emergency number on you at all times. Bank accounts are very straightforward to set up and typically all you need are two forms of identification, a proof of your address and possibly your social security number (if you have one).
As a city of abundant opportunity, New York can be the launch pad for an amazing career, but it can also be a city where the lifestyle grinds you down. The best advice before committing a relocation there is to really scout the place out and get a feel for the kind of life you’d be living.