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Is Moving Worse Than Divorce, Death Or Dentists?

A new study from Unpakt.com tells us that “one in four Americans would rather forfeit vacation for two years than pack up and move.”

Actually, the number is surprising: I would have thought that packing and moving were on the famous Holmes and Rahe stress scale, a list of 43 life events which are so awful they are believed to contribute to illness.

Is divorce (73 “lifetime change units” according to the scale) really worse than moving? For some couples divorce is actually a good thing but how many people can say that about packing 10,000 pounds of furniture and personal goods, handing them over to unknown packers and movers, putting everything in an unfamiliar truck and carting a lifetime of possessions 1,200 miles away?

Getting a “major mortgage” is on the list (32 points) but certainly moving can’t be worse than the typical closing experience. Death is on the stress list several times and probably moving is not that bad, though we don’t actually know given that no one recovers from death and can tell us differently.

Foreclosure sure seems like a fairly stressful event but it only gets 30 lifetime change units. Perhaps the psychiatrists who developed the scale have never lost a home, otherwise this event would have gotten more attention than being a high school senior (42 lifetime change units).


Short sales are not even on the list, though they surely deserve recognition on a stress chart. Then again, the stress list does not include dental visits, a sure source of anxiety for most people.

Facts & Figures

“Americans move an average of 8.2 times in their lifetime and 88% of Americans chose to move by themselves rather than hire a moving company,” according to Unpakt.com.

Unpakt, which describes itself as “an instant pricing application helping consumers find reputable moving companies and book their moves online,” also says:

  • Almost half (46%) of Americans are afraid movers will steal their belongings during a move.
  • 69% of Americans fear that movers will damage belongings during a move.
  • 72% of Americans preferred at least one unpleasant activity to moving, such as visiting a dentist (40%), sitting in traffic (40%), going to jury duty (37%), doing their own taxes (34%) and more.
  • And most importantly, well over half of Americans also agreed that it is hard to find a good moving company.

Federal Information

Given that so many people regard moving with horror and trepidation you might wonder if there is any site where you can complain if your moving experience is less than wondrous. There is: ProtectYourMove.gov. The site — operated by the Department of Transportation — has moving fraud prevention checklists in English, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.

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