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Old 06-03-2017, 05:01 PM
 
Location: Columbia SC
7,974 posts, read 6,732,133 times
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My son, his wife, and an 8 year old child live in Andover. Between them, they make about $150K per year with little debt. He commutes to Salem, she commutes to downtown Boston (Fenway area). Fortunately they have a low cost of housing due to sharing a home with her parents so they live comfortably at $150K. If they were to have a private home in Andover they would be able to get by but they would not be living a real comfortable life style.

The suburban, blue/white collar life style in the greater Boston area (generally outside Rte 128/I95 area begins at about an income of about $150K. A family of 5 with $100K will be hard generally pressed to live inside Rte 128/I95. To many towns to list but as examples: Yes there are some less expensive towns like Malden, Watertown, Quincy, etc. Forget Brookline, Newton, Winchester, etc.

I would suggest to the OP that with a family of 5 and an income of $100K, you will be struggling in the Boston area.
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Old 06-03-2017, 05:26 PM
 
418 posts, read 247,672 times
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The OP should mention at what point in his career he's at and what profession. I.e. If he's in the tech/bio sector with 5 years experience... I would take the risk due to possible income growth.

If he's around mid career then I would hesitate especially if they have a comfortable life where they currently are.
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Old 06-03-2017, 05:57 PM
 
42 posts, read 26,599 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bugelrex View Post
The OP should mention at what point in his career he's at and what profession. I.e. If he's in the tech/bio sector with 5 years experience... I would take the risk due to possible income growth.

If he's around mid career then I would hesitate especially if they have a comfortable life where they currently are.
I am early career in tech/bio and will be at major university in the area. Income may not increase much. I like the intellectual component of the Boston, but it may not be even viable. From most cost of living calculators, I need about 190k equivalent to keep my standard of living. My kids are in a top school district (The high school graduates routinely go to Ivy schools) here and sacrificing their education will be a deal breaker.

I think the obvious question is how does anyone survive there? My profession usually tops out at around 180k late in career, and that would just be enough to be comfortable there. In Texas you could own a plantation complete with maid service with that salary.
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Old 06-03-2017, 06:23 PM
 
2,769 posts, read 2,215,465 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaustinTejas View Post
I am early career in tech/bio and will be at major university in the area. Income may not increase much. I like the intellectual component of the Boston, but it may not be even viable. From most cost of living calculators, I need about 190k equivalent to keep my standard of living. My kids are in a top school district (The high school graduates routinely go to Ivy schools) here and sacrificing their education will be a deal breaker.

I think the obvious question is how does anyone survive there? My profession usually tops out at around 180k late in career, and that would just be enough to be comfortable there. In Texas you could own a plantation complete with maid service with that salary.
Most households here have two incomes. The concept of a SAHM is reserved for the super wealthy and even many of them send their kids to daycare instead.
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Old 06-03-2017, 07:01 PM
 
Location: Westwood, MA
3,472 posts, read 4,360,408 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaustinTejas View Post
I am early career in tech/bio and will be at major university in the area. Income may not increase much. I like the intellectual component of the Boston, but it may not be even viable. From most cost of living calculators, I need about 190k equivalent to keep my standard of living. My kids are in a top school district (The high school graduates routinely go to Ivy schools) here and sacrificing their education will be a deal breaker.

I think the obvious question is how does anyone survive there? My profession usually tops out at around 180k late in career, and that would just be enough to be comfortable there. In Texas you could own a plantation complete with maid service with that salary.
1) Two incomes
2) More reasonable expectations

The median household income in Norfolk County (the highest in Massachusetts) is $82k. If your household income will maybe top out at $180k you will still be earning double that; it's not like you're going to be begging on the street or anything. You just aren't going to get to live comfortably in the richest of the richest towns and neighborhoods. Thinking that your options are a) Brookline b) Newton c) failure isn't very realistic. There are LOTS of options in your price range. Maybe not as good as you'd like (which you should seriously consider) but not nearly as dire as "how does anyone survive?".

You either need to:
1) drop the idea that only the best schools give your kids a chance to go to be successful. It's not true. It helps, but probably not as much as real estate agent would like you to think.
2) figure out how to earn more
3) stay away from Boston (or New York, or DC, or SF, or LA)
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Old 06-03-2017, 07:15 PM
 
418 posts, read 247,672 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaustinTejas View Post
I am early career in tech/bio and will be at major university in the area. Income may not increase much. I like the intellectual component of the Boston, but it may not be even viable. From most cost of living calculators, I need about 190k equivalent to keep my standard of living. My kids are in a top school district (The high school graduates routinely go to Ivy schools) here and sacrificing their education will be a deal breaker.

I think the obvious question is how does anyone survive there? My profession usually tops out at around 180k late in career, and that would just be enough to be comfortable there. In Texas you could own a plantation complete with maid service with that salary.
I still think you can do it, but only if you are willing to give up some comforts.

Since you want to stay in top school district, which is very understandable (also help with peer group)
- 2BR rental. Yes, someone will be sleeping in the living room
- 1 car, no more new cars.. think honda civic
- majority of meals are cooked at home, eat out maybe once a month?
- no whole foods for groceries
- no cable, just internet
- 1 modest vacation a year

or get a bigger place but commute may get to 1 to 1.5 hours on way.


You need to consider savings so you can eventually buy a place in the area too..

**If** you are very good at what you do, 10 years experience should get you around 130-150k and you can start relaxing alot of the stuff in the above list..

That list probably looks crazy to the average american living outside NYC, Boston, SF
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:02 PM
 
42 posts, read 26,599 times
Reputation: 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayrandom View Post
1) Two incomes
2) More reasonable expectations

The median household income in Norfolk County (the highest in Massachusetts) is $82k. If your household income will maybe top out at $180k you will still be earning double that; it's not like you're going to be begging on the street or anything. You just aren't going to get to live comfortably in the richest of the richest towns and neighborhoods. Thinking that your options are a) Brookline b) Newton c) failure isn't very realistic. There are LOTS of options in your price range. Maybe not as good as you'd like (which you should seriously consider) but not nearly as dire as "how does anyone survive?".

You either need to:
1) drop the idea that only the best schools give your kids a chance to go to be successful. It's not true. It helps, but probably not as much as real estate agent would like you to think.
2) figure out how to earn more
3) stay away from Boston (or New York, or DC, or SF, or LA)

If the average is 82k, I still struggle to rationalize the COL. it is obviously geared to benefit longstanding residents and old money. if young people can't afford to move there, the city will die. Same goes for LA, DC, etc.

As for my situation, it looks like I'll be asking for more than I thought I originally should. If I don't get it, I stay put.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:53 PM
 
418 posts, read 247,672 times
Reputation: 364
Quote:
Originally Posted by BaustinTejas View Post
If the average is 82k, I still struggle to rationalize the COL. it is obviously geared to benefit longstanding residents and old money. if young people can't afford to move there, the city will die. Same goes for LA, DC, etc.

As for my situation, it looks like I'll be asking for more than I thought I originally should. If I don't get it, I stay put.
For younger ppl, they have lower expectations. ie none of them expect to have a 3BR apartment in expensive areas like brookline/newton.They'll be in a studio, room or small 1BR with a 40-60 minute commute.

It is a shame that you either need one huge income or 2 incomes to not sacrifice too much, especially if you have kids. Trust me, many ppl in Boston are envious of the low stress, comfortable living folks have in the mid-west.. they just choose to live with all these sacrifices to stay in a liberal setting

I think your main problem with the salary is that its at a university. They are not known for very good salaries, but for stability and perks (less stress, perhaps free tuition for the kids, pension?)

If I had to guess, if a university pays 100k, a similar skilled private sector job would be 120-130k.. if that's the case, why not take the university job for a few years and get a higher paying one later if you really like the area..
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Old 06-04-2017, 06:07 AM
 
Location: North of Boston
2,945 posts, read 4,930,119 times
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With 3 kids I can understand why your spouse is not working, however, a household income around $100,000, just isn't going to get it done for a family of 5 in a community like Brookline or Newton. Heck, my wife and I had a household income over $100K over 20 years ago and we lived in Lynn.

Coming from a low cost of living location like Florida, Texas or the Midwest, it is very difficult to make the transition to Greater Boston.
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Old 06-04-2017, 01:36 PM
 
418 posts, read 247,672 times
Reputation: 364
Also want to add:

Consider the long term view in terms of career. Besides Silicon Valley, Boston gives you access to startups and you get to work with smart people in the same field. If you are looking to advance your career in this direction, it's worth the risk.

If you simply want a 9-5 for most of your career, then the col/quality of life is too much of a sacrifice.

No risks, no rewards
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