Consider costs of living, relocation financial assistance, job opportunities and your family's happiness.

For more than two decades, Steve and Ranu Hubbard built their lives in Richmond, Virginia, where they owned a house and raised three children.

So it was hard to decide what to do when they learned Steve's job would soon relocate 700 miles away. His company was shifting its headquarters to St. Louis. Employees had a choice: Move to Missouri and keep their jobs, or stay put and lose them.

It was the middle of the Great Recession, so job opportunities were scarce. There was no telling how long it would take Steve to find another comparable position. Just as difficult to predict was how their kids would adapt to different schools and new classmates.

"For us, the evaluation was, 'What's the negative impact of moving away from family and a place we had been for over 20 years versus the negative impact of staying there and maybe having to take a significant pay cut or not being able to find a job for a period of time?'" Steve Hubbard recalls.

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