But if you've been on the fence, one U.S. city would like to pay you $10,000 to give a try. It's Tulsa, Oklahoma. Maybe you've never thought about moving there. That's kind of the point.
Before we dive in, here's what we know about Oklahoma, for those who haven't been there:
- Most polite state in America, according to this study.
- No. 41 out of 50 in terms of how bad their drivers are.
- 35th out of 50 for average IQ.
- 43rd fattest out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to this one.
- 44th out of the 50 in terms of how much healthy exercise its people get.
- 46th out of 50 in terms of how happy its people supposedly are.
- 47th out of 50 for life expectancy (roughly the same as someone living in the Dominican Republic)
Also, Tulsa is apparently the 14th most dangerous city in America, according to the FBI.
I wrote about a somewhat similar program in Vermont recently (if that's more your speed, you have until January to try to be one of 100 remote workers getting $10,000 each to move there). Maine apparently has a program, too.
And in the wake of all the news about Amazon's HQ2 search, in which New York, Virginia, and Tennessee spent a lot more than $10,000 per job to get Amazon to employ people there ($48,000 per job, $22,000 per job, and $13,000 per job, respectively, to be precise), this seems like it could be a real bargain for Tulsa.
Here are the details, how to apply, and what you get if you're accepted.
First, the requirements. They're really not that strict, although having looked through the 25-question first stage of the application process, it's pretty clear that they're hoping to recruit the most interesting and best-qualified of the people who apply.
If you pass the first stage, the agency in charge will want to do a video interview, followed by an in-person meeting and a visit to Tulsa.
That said, the bare minimum requirements are:
- Have full-time remote employment, or else be self-employed outside of Oklahoma;
- Be at least 18 years old;
- Be eligible to work in the United States; and
- Be able to move to Tulsa within six months of being admitted to the program--and plan on staying for at least 12 months.
There's a bit of confusion as to whether you can currently be working elsewhere in Oklahoma. The program website says you have to have employment outside Oklahoma, but the first page of the application itself just says you have to be employed outside Tulsa County, Oklahoma.
I know this is academic for 99 percent of readers, but for the 1 percent currently living in say, Oklahoma City or Norman, maybe it's something to look deeper into.
But set that aside. If you're admitted, here's what you get:
- A total of $10,000 in cash. It's divided up into $2,500 for relocation expenses to Tulsa, a $500 per month stipend for one year, and a $1,500 balloon payment at the end of the first year.
- A year's free membership at 36 Degrees North, which is a co-working space in Tulsa.
- Optional reduced-price housing, in "new, fully-furnished apartments in the heart of the Tulsa Arts District." They'll cover utilities for the first three months in addition to the discounted rent.
More about Tulsa. We described some of the challenges the city and state face above. But let's be honest--if it ranked toward the top in more categories, it might not be offering money for people to move there.
The program site has some interesting data, especially if you're struggling with student loans and think you'll never be able to buy a house.
There's a suggestion on the site for example that the cost of living in Tulsa is pretty darn low--40 percent lower than Boston, 20 percent lower than Denver, 61 percent lower than New York, and even 7 percent lower than Austin.
The median home cost is $157,200 (they include some real-life listings on the site), and commuting is supposedly very easy. But like any place, it's really the people that help determine if you'd want to live and work there or not.
And the organizers of this program say they're dedicated to recruiting the right kind of people.
"We are looking for talented and energetic people who not only will consider relocating permanently to Tulsa," said Ken Levit, executive director of George Kaiser Family Foundation, which put up some of the money for the program, according to MarketWatch, "but especially for people who want to make something happen here--to add to the dynamism, idealism, and get 'er done spirit of Tulsa."
If it sounds enticing, you can at least check out the program details here.