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Old 03-12-2014, 07:04 PM
 
294 posts, read 688,234 times
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So i"m moving back to the U.S from abroad very soon and naturally, I will be seeking employment. The good thing is that I am completely mobile, so I"m open to the whole U.S.

Obviously, I"ll be going where the job takes me, but in reality, if I had a choice, Cali is one of my 'top choices.' 1)I"ve always wanted to live there, and 2), a lot of my industry is in California, so opportunities *might* be higher. My question is, given the choice, would it be impractical to live in California with an entry level salary?

I did my research and the salary for my occupation ranges from 40,000 to 60,000 per year(60 being in a higher cost of living area).

Assuming there is an opportunity and I get the upper limit of the salary, say 55,000 to 60,000, is that still enough?

I live in a 4xx sqft apartment now so I"m not looking for anything huge or glamourous. My main concern is living in a neighborhood that is not run down, is safe, and is not occupied by questionable people.

It also looks like rent is around 1500 to 2500 depending per month. Would a 1500 apartment be adequate in what I need, or do I need to go higher? I don't mind a 35 to 45 minute commute, so I don't need to live close to work, but right now, all of companies who hire are in the thousand oaks, west lake village area.

With 55,000, google tells me my take home pay will be around 1600 per 2 weeks, or 3200 per month. That doesn't even include insurances and any sort of savings. So with that said, is it almost guaranteed that I"m going to spend at least 50% of my month paycheck just on rent.

I'm just wondering at this point in my life, if it makes sense to live in California, if I had a choice between a few states...
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:13 PM
 
Location: The High Seas
7,379 posts, read 13,342,091 times
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All else being equal (and it rarely is), you will likely save a bunch more money by living in a place where the cost of living (and rent is the big cost) is not so high.
There are places in the state of CA that do not cost an arm and a leg and then there are the places in the metro areas and along the coast from SF to SD that will be on the very pricey side.
Trust me, it's hard to find anything in the 'bargain range' for the places you may be thinking of moving. Did I say hard? Impossible, would be a better description.
It's a trade off for good weather, scenery, things to do, etc...
That said, there are some places outside the state that are also great and worthy of investigating before you make any decisions about moving. And they'll come at discount prices compared to many places in CA.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:09 PM
 
2,147 posts, read 4,341,893 times
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If there's any market in San Diego for what you do, you can definitely live fine/well and have more options for lower rent in a decent area, than in LA. (Your lower end salary range would even work here, as a single person-though you probably don't want to do that forever...). There are several neighborhoods where you could get an older unit [with 'character'] in central SD, for $700 and up [one bedroom], and some of the more upscale/suburban will have one bedrooms from $1200 and up. You'd have more choices and less commute.

Also, Sacramento is cheaper than SD (which is cheaper than LA, which is cheaper than the Bay Area, etc etc).
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:48 AM
 
Location: Southern California
4,426 posts, read 5,295,531 times
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Considering you don't demand a lot of living space you can easily live off that salary in LA. Although housing cost may be high, you also have the potential to save a lot of money. You can then take the money and relocate somewhere cheaper and buy a house or just have a big savings.
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
8,392 posts, read 9,136,940 times
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Urban CA can be expensive, but most of CA is not expensive. I live in a great area-scenic, clean air, low crime, no traffic, friendly people and plenty of stuff to do-esp if you like the outdoors.

What can $1200 get you in my area? A nice four bedroom house.
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:02 AM
 
Location: San Diego, California Republic
16,434 posts, read 22,351,050 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrmsd View Post
If there's any market in San Diego for what you do, you can definitely live fine/well and have more options for lower rent in a decent area, than in LA. (Your lower end salary range would even work here, as a single person-though you probably don't want to do that forever...). There are several neighborhoods where you could get an older unit [with 'character'] in central SD, for $700 and up [one bedroom], and some of the more upscale/suburban will have one bedrooms from $1200 and up. You'd have more choices and less commute.

Also, Sacramento is cheaper than SD (which is cheaper than LA, which is cheaper than the Bay Area, etc etc).
^^This. In San Diego, it's still possible to find some decent places at reasonable prices. You have to do some searching but they're there. Central SD is good but also Chula Vista which is very nice and certainly more affordable. You'll just have a longer commute.
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:34 AM
 
43 posts, read 73,390 times
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SF is very expensive. Rents for a one bedroom apartment can go anywhere from 2,000 - 4,000 a month, sometimes higher. Its Location Location Location. Generally, you can probably expect more affordability the farther away from a city you go. I will eventually be moving to the Bay Area and have looked at all sorts of areas. You get a lot more bang for your buck out in the suburbs than in the City. However, living in San Francisco, while it is expensive, you must remember that you would be living in SAN FRANCISCO, which is a special city to most people, and it is something most aren't able to do.
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Old 03-13-2014, 04:36 PM
 
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Can you buy a small single family detached home anywhere in Chula Vista (San Diego) for 150,000 or less without HOA fees and without Mello Roos.
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,083 posts, read 22,934,448 times
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OP, do you really think there are no people living in California on entry level salaries?

Do you think we send our high school graduates to other planets until they gain experience and are worthy of a salary high enough to live here on?

Puleez. It's all about doing the math, and sacrifices. If you aren't a millionaire - yet - you can't live like one.

Contrary to a lot of opinions out there, there are a lot of us living in CA who are not millionaires...and we're not all homeless either.

So, look at Craigslist where the jobs are. See how much the rents are. Consider a roommate. Eat at home instead of out at restaurants. Go watch a sunset or have a barbecue at home, instead of going to a pricey concert. Welcome to my world! And you couldn't pay me to ever leave CA again. I'd rather live in my tiny studio apt in sunny CA anyday than in some gloomy PNW city, or some humid city in the South. And don't even get me started about snow!

If having a huge apt matters more to you than great weather, then move to Podunk. Been there, done that, couldn't WAIT to get back to CA!
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:43 PM
 
289 posts, read 517,222 times
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It all depends on your expectations and the potential of your career to earn more in the future. If you want to own a nice home & have a nice big private yard without living with roommates then no. If you don't mind living a simple to average life & renting for a while or forever you should be fine. Just DONT move to the Bay area if that is your expected pay because you will live a much lesser life than you will elsewhere as far as housing costs being just ridiculously expensive.
I make $50kin the Bay area self employed & I feel like poverty level sometimes, I feel like if you're living on your own here with no 2nd income you should make 80k or more to have a half decent life.

It is a beautiful area but it's really unreasonable to find rentals & they are hard to get into with ridiculous expectations being put on renters like making 3X the rent in income to qualify or first,last & deposit on a $2,500 a month 1 bd. so you're at $7,000 to move into a tiny place & then you will still have to pay for everything else plus utilities not to mention there are 40 other people looking at the same place you have to compete with.
I've been thinking or relocating recently because I realize if I made my same 50k current income anywhere else in CA I'd be a little better off & if I made it in Oregon or FLorida I'd maybe be "middle class" again instead of living check to check haha, instead I'm trying to build my business up to the $100k plus mark which is a lot of stress and hard work and if & when I reach that I will still be just average joe.

Check out Spierlings best places cost of living calculator & you can put in your annual income & compare the cost of living in different areas. I put SF in & it was 20-50% more expensive than any other coastal place in CA which was mostly housing related. In state SF housing was 44% more than San Diego, 76% more than Sacramento, 45% more than LA area & 20% more than Santa Cruz.
Out of state SF housing was 65% higher than Portland, OR, 71% more than Miami, 83% more than Philadelphia,etc. So really find out where in CA you're job is going to be & then do the math. Commuting 30-45. min from SF you're still gonna be poor living on your own in a studio as you have to get an hour or more from the city before prices get near "affordable". Commuting 30-45 min. or less from San Diego or Sacramento you could do pretty decent.
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