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The Lure of City Life: Why Young Professionals Flock to NYC and Jersey City

More and more, millennials are attracted to city life and are settling in urban rather than suburban centers. The millennial generation (those ranging in age from about 18 to 36) have radically different wants and needs than their parents, who idealized home ownership and suburban life.

Many cities have been trying to appeal to the most educated, ambitious young professionals in the Millennial generation, believing that their tech-savviness and entrepreneurial spirit will drive both innovation and urban revitalization.

Let’s take a closer look at why Millennials are moving to cities like NYC and Jersey City in droves – and how to ease the transition of moving to these big, bustling cities.

Rejecting the Old Ideal, Embracing a New One.

Back in the 1960s, American companies moved their headquarters from crowded urban centers to the suburbs. Young Americans wanted to leave crowded, crime-ridden cities behind and build their lives and their homes in safer, cleaner neighborhoods with good schools and better quality of life.

But today, the reverse is happening. Businesses are re-opening headquarters in busy urban centers to attract young talent who no longer dream of a buying a house with a white picket fence outside of the city.

Take General Electric as an example. Back in 1974 it closed its New York City office and moved to a 68-acre wooded campus in Fairfield, Connecticut, which has represented the quintessential suburban office park. Today, however, management has decided to relocate, choosing to overtake a group of warehouses on the Boston waterfront that won’t even have a parking lot (not even a spot reserved for the Chief Executive!).

GE’s chief executive Jeff Immelt explains: “We want to be at the center of an ecosystem that shares our aspiration. [The city attracts] a diverse, technologically fluent workforce”. In many ways, relocating to the city may infuse companies with new lifeblood. CEO Greg Brown of Motorola Solutions, which is now located in Chicago’s downtown center, praises the city for its “energy, vibrancy and diversity”. They moved downtown to “accelerate a change in [their] culture.”

GE isn’t alone. Corporate giants like McDonalds, Kraft Heinz, Motorola Solutions, Boeing and Archer Daniels Midland have all moved from Chicago suburbs and beyond to Chicago’s bustling downtown core. Online retainer Zappos similarly has moved from outside Las Vegas to the city’s old downtown epicenter.

Building corporate headquarters in downtown cores may attract a younger workforce that resides in urban centers, drawn by the fast pace and social benefits of city life. For instance, millennials fresh out of college and other young professionals with few responsibilities often reject slow-paced, sleepy suburban life and flock to the city instead.

Professor of Corporate Strategy at Harvard Business School David Colis comments that “cities are more attractive places to live than they were 30 years ago and are more willing to provide tax incentives, and young people want to be there.” Mark Vergnano, CEO of Dupont, echoes Colis’s sentiments about the importance of being in the city to attract young talent: “We are going through a change in our workforce, and we wanted to be where we could attract millennials. This is a group that likes to be in an urban setting, with access to public transportation. They don’t want to be confined to a building with a cafeteria or be next to a shopping center.” Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown said his company moved to Chicago’s downtown core because “it was the right thing to do in terms of strategy. Millennials want the access and vibrancy of downtown. When we post jobs downtown, we get four or five times the response.”

Benefits of City Life.

*The Best Job Opportunities. New graduates and young professionals flock to cities like New York City and Jersey City because that’s where the best job opportunities are. They accept the reality of high rent and cost of living in exchange for the ability to gain great experience and move up the ranks at top companies as well as innovative start-ups.

Another reason Millennials search for city-based jobs is that they aren’t eager to return home to the suburbs where they grew up (and where their parents live in) after college – especially if they went to school out of town.*Uber Generation/Public Transportation. Because they tend to live in more urban areas, Millennials are also less likely to own their own cars–and vehicle ownership rates are declining. Those who do own cars put a premium on being green, in line with their passion for environmental causes. Many young professionals living in the city prefer using Uber and public transportation to the hassle and expense of maintaining and parking their own vehicle in the city.

*A Richer Lifestyle. Young professionals want to live in fast-paced cities with great culture, entertainment and nightlife, not sleepy suburbs. In cities like New York City and Jersey City, there are endless restaurants and new cuisines to try, incredible concerts to attend, bars and nightclubs to hit, shops to over-indulge at – the list goes on and on. From live theater and museums to galleries and gardens, cities have it all. Because they have so many diverse entertainment options, cities buzz with energy and there is literally something from everyone.

A Millennial’s Guide to Moving to NYC or Jersey City

If you’re planning to move to New York City or Jersey City, you’re in for an adventure – especially if you’re moving from a small town or quiet suburb! Here are some of the things to keep in mind to ensure you have a smooth move and easy transition.

The Right Job

If you’re moving to New York City or Jersey City for a job transfer, you’re in a good position. Because cost of rent and living can be sky high, it’s important that you land a job as quickly as possible if you don’t already have one lined up. Start actively searching on LinkedIn, attend relevant professional networking events, and connect with employment or placement agencies in your field. The sooner you line something up, the faster you will be able to put your worries about covering rent to rest.

The Right Apartment

The reality is that city living is pricey. There is a general rule that when you are apartment hunting in the city, you will never get price, size and location. Something has always got to give!

Consider your commute to work, your budget, whether or not you are willing to live with roommates and how much you value your space. If you have a very conservative budget, your apartment may be small and you’ll likely have a longer commute to work. If you really value your space, you might find something with a roomier feel, but it will most likely have a larger price tag attached. Once you determine your top priorities, apartment hunting will hopefully become much easier.

Remember the affordability rule – your salary should be at least 4 times your portion of the rent. In fact, most landlords and rental companies require it! So, if you can’t afford Manhattan prices, consider a less expensive neighborhood at a reasonable distance from the city center such as Washington Heights (Manhattan), Bushwick (Brooklyn), Astoria (Queens) and even some gems in New Jersey near the trains.

Be prepared to set aside at least three months’ worth of rent for the places that ask you for first month, last month and a security deposit. Thankfully, you will get a lot of that back when it’s time to move again! If you want to save time and get legitimate help with the search, set aside a Broker’s Fee as well.

Remember to…

*Change your address: Use USPS’s moving tool to officially change your address to your new one so your mail is sent to the right location.

*Change your billing addresses. Don’t forget to change the address attached to your bank accounts, credit cards and other important and ongoing memberships.

*Make an appointment with the DMV. If you are already a registered driver, you need to get a New York State driver’s license and surrender your out-of-state license within 30 days of establishing residency. Read more about that here and set an appointment.

If you’re moving to Jersey City from out of state, you need to transfer your driver's license within 60 days of moving to New Jersey OR before it expires (whichever occurs first).

The Right Moving Company.

Moving to New York City or Jersey City can exciting, but it also involves a lot of planning and preparation. If you have decided that moving to the city is the best choice for you and you have rented or purchased a home or apartment, the next step is to select optimal moving dates and research reputable professional moving companies.

Make sure the residential moving companies you are considering are well-recommended and are actually licensed to provide moving services. Moving companies in New Jersey and most other states require a license. You don’t want to find yourself working with a rogue, unlicensed moving company.

Another thing to beware of when considering professional movers is if the moving company quotes a price that is much lower than everyone else’s. When this happens, they're likely either very inexperienced or will charge countless "hidden fees" when moving day comes around.

Professional movers charge either by the hour or by the weight of your shipment, so there's a good chance that the low moving estimate you received will shoot up when your move is complete. The result? You'll end up paying just as much as you would for a legitimate mover but - most likely - for lackluster service and uninsured employees. Find the best moving company that charges fair, competitive prices and has a track record of providing excellent service.

At All Jersey Moving & Storage, we have decades of experience helping professionals and families relocate from the suburbs to New York City and Jersey City. We use top-of-the-line equipment to ensure that your valuables and your home are protected from the moment we arrive at your old house or apartment until your items are safely unloaded at your destination. If you’re moving to an apartment in New York City or Jersey City, you can take comfort in the fact that All Jersey Moving & Storage moving team is familiar with the unique rules and requirements of many residential high-rise buildings. This allows us to ensure that your move runs smoothly and on schedule.

Some of the services our experienced movers provide include:

*Honest estimates - no-surprises!
*Award-winning service
*Accommodating last-minute moves whenever possible
*Short and long-term storage
*Weekend pick-up and delivery service at no additional charge
*Piano moving, fine art moving, and antique moving
*Packing and unpacking

If you’re moving to New York City or Jersey City, contact All Jersey Moving & Storage today for a free estimate.

Moving to New York City