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Old 10-19-2011, 07:14 AM
 
11 posts, read 64,120 times
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Hello everyone:
My husband recently received a job offer in LA for $90,000 a year. I am a stay-at-home mom. We have a 2-year-old daughter and hope to be expecting another in the near future. As such, unless I find a job that will pay me considerably more than the cost of child care I will likely be staying home with our daughter for now, so we would be living on my husband's salary alone.

I would like to get an idea of whether or not we would be able to live comfortably on that amount, given the cost of housing and living in general. We will definitely be renting at first, but at the very minimum would need a 3 BR, 1.5 bath. We are looking for a family-friendly and safe neighborhood. Commute is a consideration (job is in downtown LA) but do not mind living farther out if there is public transportation nearby to get him downtown.

We were able to visit for a long weekend but it was such a whirlwind trip that we did not get a good feel for the area in terms of where to live and whether we would be financially comfortable if we lived anywhere around LA/Southern California We feel very stressed trying to make this decision on limited knowledge of the area. Any suggestions on where we should look to rent will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your help!
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Old 10-19-2011, 07:19 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
12,840 posts, read 23,194,240 times
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Where in LA?
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Moderator for Los Angeles, The Inland Empire, and the Washington state forums.
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Old 10-19-2011, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,687 posts, read 34,675,136 times
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Depends on the person and the family.

I support a family in Japan, and never made anywhere near that. If I were offered that kind of salary anywhere in the world, I'd be on a plane tomorrow.

However, it seems like a lot of people in the U.S., somehow seem to require a very high salaray as an absolute minimum to survive.

In short, the question is too relative. I'm sure most survive on much, much less. But others can't, based on their previous incomes, lifestyles, spending habits, etc.
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Old 10-19-2011, 09:01 AM
 
4,028 posts, read 8,297,103 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post

However, it seems like a lot of people in the U.S., somehow seem to require a very high salaray as an absolute minimum to survive.

In short, the question is too relative. I'm sure most survive on much, much less. But others can't, based on their previous incomes, lifestyles, spending habits, etc.

^^^^^^^^This.

$90K is more than enough IF you live a relatively frugal livestyle.

What this means is that you eat out once a week(at most), you clip coupons, drive modest cars, etc. And of course you live in an affordable area. At you're income level, that means $2K a month for rent(or mortgage), which is doable, but may be a long commute depending on where the husband works.

The areas that come to mind most of all are Santa Clarita and Simi Valley. But those involve very long drives. I'm not a fan of Inland Empire(Chino Hills, Rancho Cucamonga, etc), but thats another option.

Closer to LA, but still considerable commute during rush hour(again depending on where you work) are Lakewood, Whittier, West Covina, Covina, La Habra. All the cities I've named so far...at minimum you should be able to find a 3bd, 2ba home to rent as well as home prices under $400K or so.

Something like this:

2.5Ba, 2-car garage, Yard, Pool,Great Neighborhood, AVAILABLE NOW! (http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sgv/apa/2618465487.html - broken link)

The Los Angeles area seems rife with people who simply "can't" get by without expensive luxuries. People who just "have" to have that $35K car, when they really could do just fine with a $18K car. And so forth.

Bottom line is that $90K a year is solidly middle class and well above the LA County median household income. You can not only get by, but you can have all the necessities of life, a few minor luxuries, a small retirement and short term savings each month, and generally live a good quality of live. But it depends on you personally and how much effort you put into creating a lower cost lifestyle.
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Old 10-19-2011, 09:57 AM
 
Location: RSM
5,113 posts, read 17,026,349 times
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90k isn't going to get you a house near downtown in a good area. If he doesn't mind the commute, you can take Metrolink(rail) from Santa Clarita to downtown. Santa Clarita probably is your best bet at affording a house in a nice area given accepted metrics
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Old 10-19-2011, 10:13 AM
 
11 posts, read 64,120 times
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Thank you everyone for your responses so far. I'm sorry, I was in a hurry this morning when I posted and I should have been more specific about our lifestyle and spending habits to help you guys answer my question. My husband's job would be in downtown Los Angeles.

I think that $90K is a great salary and we would be very comfortable in many parts of the country making that much. However, there is an impression that LA and Southern California is a very expensive place to live. We are by no means big spenders and definitely do not need expensive luxuries; I would say we are typical middle class.

Currently we have a modest house that we are trying to sell and probably will break even on the sale if we are lucky. We have one car. We unfortunately do not have much in savings at this time. We do not clip a lot of coupons because we do most of our food shopping at Trader Joe's and get produce at an inexpensive produce market in our area. We do use coupons if we have them, especially for toiletries and odds and ends at the regular grocery store or Target. We enjoy going out to eat, but usually no more than twice a week and will cut that down as much as necessary. We do however, want to be able to go out for a meal or coffee, etc. and have a little bit of fun once in a while. We don't want to have absolutely no life. But most of our expenses are those we would not be able to get away from: rent/mortgage, car payment, utilities, and food, along with the expenses that come with having children.

JohnG72: Thank you so much for listing some areas for us to look into. I have not actually heard of them and will check them out.

In general, we are basically looking for a middle-class, family-friendly area with good schools, since private school would be out of our budget. Safety (low crime) is very important. As an example, one area we are considering is Pasadena. Is that doable or out of reach?

Thanks again!
ETA: bhcompy: I posted before I saw your reply. Yeah, that is kinda what I figured. I will check out Santa Clarita too. Thank you!!

Last edited by Lapushka27; 10-19-2011 at 10:32 AM..
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Old 10-19-2011, 10:53 AM
 
4,028 posts, read 8,297,103 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lapushka27 View Post
.

In general, we are basically looking for a middle-class, family-friendly area with good schools, since private school would be out of our budget. Safety (low crime) is very important. As an example, one area we are considering is Pasadena. Is that doable or out of reach?
Likely out of price range in the decent/safe areas. The place you'll find in your price range are in the northwest area, which is not good. And the schools there are universally bad.

The areas I listed...be aware that Covina, West Covina, Whittier, and La Habra are majority latino neighborhoods. All have portions with above average schools through high school(which is not all that common), and all are safe. Lakewood is the most diverse population and you need to be careful about what area you live in because there are 4 school districts that cover that area with Lakewood HS(Long Beach School District) and Mayfair HS(Bellflower School District) being the better schools. The Paramount School District is to be avoided, and the ABC school district has placement rules that you would need to look into as ABC has the best high schools in the state, along with some pretty crappy ones. You can go to greatschools.org and find out API scores and demographics for each school.

Valencia and Simi Valley also have good schools and are safe. Of course, make sure to research the particular area you are interested in. Living in either probably means your husband will be taking the metro link train into work

BTW, you may want to consider Burbank for a while since its closer to DTLA, if you can deal with a smaller place for a year or two. Cost prohibitive on larger places I think.

Another community I forgot about is Woodland Hills, but it has the same commute issues as Simi and Santa Clarita, both of which are a bit more cookie cutter and sanitized than Woodland Hills.
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Old 10-19-2011, 10:54 AM
 
Location: South Bay
7,091 posts, read 18,414,084 times
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pasadena would work, but the schools are hit or miss from what i've heard. since your daughter is only 2, you should be fine for at least a coupe of years. Also, Pasadena tends to be an expensive city, especially in the nicer parts. the houses are older and smaller, so finding a 3br home might be tough if you're trying to keep your rent costs under control. if i were in your shoes, i'd live closer to downtown than santa clarita since schools are not an issue at this time. this way your husband can live closer to work and be around the family more often. after you get to know the area better, you can move out to the more distant suburbs with better schools. maybe your husband will making enough to buy a home for the family by that time as well.
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:00 PM
 
6 posts, read 28,687 times
Reputation: 15
I am in your exact situation, identical pay on the offer except my potential office is south of LAX in South Bay. Can't afford to buy because my last house in NC erased all of my housing equity. I'm unable to visit the area until December, but I'm hoping we will find an affordable place within 5 miles of the office. I'll probably focus on West or South Torrance. My wife could potentially pull in another $25K-$30K if/when she finds a job.

IMO you should take advantage of the fact that you right now you only NEED two bedrooms and you don't need to worry about school districts for three more years. Over three years, you could save over $10K on rent, and get familiar with the area.

I already have two kids and they are spread apart in age (girl 9, boy 2). Bunking together in one room would not work out well for them. And since my daughter is already in school, I need a good district right off the bat. We also have one dog, so a single family house with a fenced yard would be convenient vice an upper floor condo. If I had two kids close in age, I'd strongly consider putting them together in one room and saving for something nicer a few years down the road.

My point is for me a 3/2 house is almost a necessity, but if I were in your shoes I would probably wait a few years before upgrading to that.
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:36 PM
 
Location: La lune et les étoiles
17,413 posts, read 18,272,289 times
Reputation: 18588
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lapushka27 View Post
Thank you everyone for your responses so far. I'm sorry, I was in a hurry this morning when I posted and I should have been more specific about our lifestyle and spending habits to help you guys answer my question. My husband's job would be in downtown Los Angeles.

I think that $90K is a great salary and we would be very comfortable in many parts of the country making that much. However, there is an impression that LA and Southern California is a very expensive place to live. We are by no means big spenders and definitely do not need expensive luxuries; I would say we are typical middle class.

Currently we have a modest house that we are trying to sell and probably will break even on the sale if we are lucky. We have one car. We unfortunately do not have much in savings at this time. We do not clip a lot of coupons because we do most of our food shopping at Trader Joe's and get produce at an inexpensive produce market in our area. We do use coupons if we have them, especially for toiletries and odds and ends at the regular grocery store or Target. We enjoy going out to eat, but usually no more than twice a week and will cut that down as much as necessary. We do however, want to be able to go out for a meal or coffee, etc. and have a little bit of fun once in a while. We don't want to have absolutely no life. But most of our expenses are those we would not be able to get away from: rent/mortgage, car payment, utilities, and food, along with the expenses that come with having children.

JohnG72: Thank you so much for listing some areas for us to look into. I have not actually heard of them and will check them out.

In general, we are basically looking for a middle-class, family-friendly area with good schools, since private school would be out of our budget. Safety (low crime) is very important. As an example, one area we are considering is Pasadena. Is that doable or out of reach?

Thanks again!
ETA: bhcompy: I posted before I saw your reply. Yeah, that is kinda what I figured. I will check out Santa Clarita too. Thank you!!
I would recommend the Pasadena area (Pasadena, South Pasadena, etc)for your family.

1) The commute would not be far for the hubby
2) Great friendly neighborhoods
3) Great access to other areas when you are ready to go out
4) Some very good schools in the area (but you would have to research which ones specifically)
5) Relatively affordable rent
6) Lots of things to do in the Pasadena area
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