American workers soon will be on the move — big time — if they aren't already.

Job hunting could become a new national pastime, with millions of individuals ready to shop around for better opportunities as the national economy continues to improve.

One recent survey by estimates that 55% of people in the workforce are likely to look for a new job over the next 12 months. That implies a lot of change ahead.

Mesmerized by the possibility of higher pay, better benefits and more flexibility (including remote-work options), job seekers sometimes overlook other factors that can take the sparkle out of a new employment opportunity.

More advice: Would – and should – you take a pay cut for a better job? Ask yourself these questions

Here are six questions you should ask:

1. Can you handle a disruption in pay?

Expect at least a short lag time between the last paycheck at your former employer and the first one at the new entity, especially if you take at least a couple of weeks off before starting the new job.

Could you cover the gap in income? Many people can't.

One-quarter of adults said they didn't have any emergency savings, according to a separate survey released in July. That's in addition to another quarter who have some money in reserve but not enough to cover three months of expenses.

If you're living paycheck to paycheck, plan how you will bridge any income disruption. Perhaps it's time to reschedule a bill due date or two, for example.

Conversely, you might receive a payout of unused vacation time or other benefits that could make your last paycheck fat.

That would require some thinking about what to do with this money. Everything from paying down debts to splurging could be a possibility, or you could build up savings or open a new investment account.

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2. Can you deduct expenses?

Moving and job hunting expenses used to be available as a deduction on federal income-tax returns. But for most people, that's no longer the case, with these tax benefits suspended at least until January 2026. (An exception applies to active-duty military personnel ordered to locate to a new station.)

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Even if moving and job-search expenses still were deductible, they might not be enough for most people to use. Now that the standard deduction is enhanced and even increased slightly in 2021, most taxpayers no longer find it worthwhile to itemize. (The standard deduction is $25,100 for married couples and $12,550 for individuals.)

On the plus side, many job applicants are doing employment searches and participating in interviews remotely, thereby cutting back on more costly in-person visits. That takes some sting out of the lost tax deductions.

3. What about other tax impacts?

If you find a job that pays more, you might need to boost your withholding or plan for estimated quarterly tax payments.

Conversely, if you're taking a pay cut, possibly by reducing hours, that might open up other tax-saving opportunities, such as the Retirement Saver's Credit, for which you couldn't qualify before.

If you have been out of work and received unemployment benefits, be aware of changes.

Jobless benefits typically are taxable, but Congress made the first $10,200 in such benefits received in 2020 tax-free for people with income below $150,000. But that was for 2020 only. Going forward, plan on jobless benefits to be fully taxable.

Bailey Tocco is managing director in the Phoenix office of CBIZ. She specializes in tax consulting and wealth planning.

An even bigger tax shift awaits if you switch from being an employee to an independent contractor, warned Bailey Tocco, managing director at tax/accounting firm CBIZ MHM in Phoenix.

For example, contractors often can deduct expenses normally covered by employers such as computers, business travel, supplies and home-office costs, she said. But they also must pay a higher self-employment tax and should prepare to make quarterly estimated payments, as nobody will withhold taxes from paychecks.

"There's a lot of movement to contract work," Tocco noted.

Those making the switch should mind the different tax and cash-flow ramifications, she added.

4. Should you reevaluate your budget?

A new job likely will bring changes in both income and expenses, making it a good idea to take another look at your budget, said Nayan Ranchhod, managing director of Silver Lining Wealth Advisors in Scottsdale.

Your income could change substantially, and the costs you have borne for workplace benefits could change, too, possibly altering your take-home pay significantly.

For example, your new employer might not let you participate in its 401(k) plan for maybe three months, Ranchhod said. Consequently, you could reap an unusually high amount of take-home pay over that period. Make sure you realize it's temporary, if you intend to join the employer's retirement plan eventually.

A new job likely will bring changes in both income and expenses, making it a good idea to take another look at your budget, suggests Nayan Ranchhod, managing director of Silver Lining Wealth Advisors in Scottsdale.

You might add more to other savings or investment accounts over this period or elect to pay down credit card debts, he said.

You would have more money to work with if you receive a signing bonus.

These incentives appear more common at a time when many employers are having trouble attracting workers.

5. What to do with your 401(k) plan?

If you already joined a 401(k) plan, you face several options.

You could leave the account at your old employer (if that option is available), switch to the new employer's retirement plan (if available), transfer the money into a rollover Individual Retirement Account or cash it out.

Transferring the money to a rollover IRA at a brokerage of your choice often is a good choice, providing flexibility, a wide choice of investments and the ability to consolidate investments.

With a rollover IRA, you also retain the tax-sheltered nature of the account. However, 401(k) plans typically feature greater creditor protection compared to IRAs.

Cashing out your 401(k) and spending the money usually is the worst decision.

You would incur ordinary taxes on the amount withdrawn and a 10% penalty if you're under age 59 1/2. Plus, you would remove money from your retirement account, possibly setting you back years — if not decades.

6. Are you ready to scrutinize benefits?

A new job usually entails a lot of change — new colleagues, a new culture and possibly different responsibilities.

It all could feel overwhelming, but you should make time to get acquainted with the many health, retirement and other benefits at your new workplace.

In fact, it's a fresh chance to evaluate some of the less-obvious benefits that might be available such as dependent-care help, tuition reimbursement plans, employee-discount programs and disability insurance, Ranchhod said.

Disability insurance isn't just for physical injuries.

"It also could be good for mental health, being burned out or having stress-related issues," he said. It's a means to protect one of your most important assets — your paycheck.

Read more on mental health: Should I disclose my depression struggles during a job interview? Ask HR

Choosing the right benefits package isn't so critical if you land a new job in late summer or early fall. That's because the annual open-enrollment season typically starts in early November, so you will have another chance to get things right if you failed to do so when first hired.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: 6 questions to ask yourself if you're looking for a new job

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