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Old 10-16-2007, 04:25 AM
 
Location: cradle of liberty
192 posts, read 413,016 times
Reputation: 123
I have actually lived in MA my whole life and own a home here. I feel that I live a comfortable life, but not really getting ahead. I would like to save more, without feeling like I have to watch every penny. Just wondering where others stand, and how much they feel they need to make to be "comfortable". It seems to me that a family of 4 needs to make at least $100,000 per year in order to own a modest home, have a decent car(s), be able to buy the kids an ipod without having to stress about it. I know there are alot of factors, just wondering what the general sentiment is. Is it better to live in a place that offers a less expensive cost of living, but also comes with lower wages? Do the wages in MA make it possible for people to live here without going from paycheck to paycheck?

Thanks,
BWG.
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Old 10-16-2007, 05:53 AM
 
Location: Indian Trail, NC
241 posts, read 493,964 times
Reputation: 52
My guess is you would need to make at least 6 figures to live 'comfortable.' Cost of living is one of the main reasons we moved on to bigger and better things. But it all comes down to lifestyle. If you want a 3,000 sq ft house, 2 SUV's, a beach home, and go out to eat 2-3x a week, 6 figures may not be enough! Oh, and my salary increased by 7,000 on my relocation. So MA doesnt pay top dollar to the workforce..I find it depressing at how much the middle-class is feeling the pinch in MA. They are simply being priced-out. I guess some people can swing a 'comfortable' lifestyle up there; no way we could of!
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Old 10-16-2007, 07:51 AM
 
Location: Metrowest, MA
1,815 posts, read 7,596,270 times
Reputation: 842
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomnNC View Post
My guess is you would need to make at least 6 figures to live 'comfortable.' Cost of living is one of the main reasons we moved on to bigger and better things. But it all comes down to lifestyle. If you want a 3,000 sq ft house, 2 SUV's, a beach home, and go out to eat 2-3x a week, 6 figures may not be enough! Oh, and my salary increased by 7,000 on my relocation. So MA doesnt pay top dollar to the workforce..I find it depressing at how much the middle-class is feeling the pinch in MA. They are simply being priced-out. I guess some people can swing a 'comfortable' lifestyle up there; no way we could of!
It is not your mom's middle class anymore....You should read this... not only in MA... it is the entire country...

How the Middle Class Is Getting Screwed - New York Magazine
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Old 10-16-2007, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Indian Trail, NC
241 posts, read 493,964 times
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I agree that it is a widespread issue. I am just not sure if the middle class in MA have the same opportunities they could have in other states. I just think the 'have and have not's' is pretty distinct in certain states. I find it very unforunate that honest and hard-working citizens have to struggle so much to make ends meet...Who's to blame?
Quote:
Originally Posted by smarty View Post
It is not your mom's middle class anymore....You should read this... not only in MA... it is the entire country...

How the Middle Class Is Getting Screwed - New York Magazine
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Old 10-16-2007, 12:16 PM
 
1,863 posts, read 2,123,974 times
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I'm originally from upstate NY, and feel that I might have to go back there for retirement in 10 years, even though I've been here 30 years and all my friends are here now.

When I came here, the rents at the time were about twice the rents in upstate NY, BUT the salaries were not twice as much! The salaries here are ok, but do not keep up with the other costs in regards to housing. I'm talking about Eastern MA, which is a lot different from Western MA, which is rural like upstate NY.

My salary goes up 3% a year, working for a large-sized nonprofit, and my oil costs go up 15%, my property taxes go up 20%, other utilities go up, condo fees go up, gasoline goes up, etc. etc. ALL except my salary. I make a "decent" salary for a single person, and it's just lucky that I was able to buy a condo 18 years ago, because I sure couldn't afford the rents now!

It's pretty bad for most people, unless you're pretty well-off. Even rents outside the city of Boston are high now. And, if you want to buy a house? Even with the prices coming down, you need quite a bit of money upfront to buy, and quite a large salary in order to qualify. I sure couldn't buy a place today.

I'm even thinking of moving in with a friend, selling the condo. It's just getting too expensive.

The so-called "good economy" is only good for the rich. The middle-class is disappearing, and we have the haves and have-nots now. I think it's probably worse here than many other states. When there are a lot of rich folks like around here, everything gets jacked up for everyone - that's the "market", I guess one would say.

So, for a single person, maybe $60-70K, a family of four, maybe $200-300K to live in Eastern Mass.
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Old 10-16-2007, 08:29 PM
 
468 posts, read 553,763 times
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I grew up in southern MA, and moved south last spring. Honestly I can see no reason to move to MA. I've looked over most of NC and SC, if I could work out a job for my wife (she's in the financial area) I'd go for Greenville SC. As for how much you need to live in MA, we had a combined salary of over $150k and didn't feel we could afford anything but a dump of a house south of the city...a dump in a reasonably good area was around $425k...
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Old 10-17-2007, 05:45 AM
 
Location: Metrowest, MA
1,815 posts, read 7,596,270 times
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I just want to add one thing...

The basic idea is if you rely on salary only, you will be screwed...

The key is to supplement with other income... like investment..
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:22 AM
 
1,863 posts, read 2,123,974 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smarty View Post
I just want to add one thing...

The basic idea is if you rely on salary only, you will be screwed...

The key is to supplement with other income... like investment..
Unfortunately, most of us do not have much money for investment BECAUSE of the high cost of living, compared to our salaries. Sad, but true.
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Old 10-17-2007, 08:22 AM
 
10,046 posts, read 13,819,366 times
Reputation: 10042
"we had a combined salary of over $150k and didn't feel we could afford anything but a dump of a house south of the city...a dump in a reasonably good area was around $425k..."

I make half that and live quite nicely. I do think it's a bit extreme to say that all you could get is "a dump for $425K." In what towns, Weston and Lincoln? In most areas, $425K, for instance, will buy quite a bit of house, and not in crappy areas, either.

I think of how I lived in 1978 (of course, without a clue about owning real estate or saving a cent). From then until, oh, 1988, my salary doubled, but car expenses (basic purchase and insurance) quadrupled, as did rent, for just a couple of examples.
I believe it is true that the "higher salaries" here in eastern Mass. are not commeasurate with the much higher expenses in key areas, especially housing. Yes, the numbers work a lot better in many other places.
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Old 10-17-2007, 09:34 AM
 
35 posts, read 102,626 times
Reputation: 15
We have been looking to move back to the Boston area and we make 6 figures but try and find a nice 4 bedroom colonial in a good school district with a decent commute and it feels like we have forever been priced out of the market. We live in the Midwest where home prices never saw that huge jump just a normal slow and steady rise. So if we wanted to sell our small starter home in the Midwest to get into that next size home in the Boston area, forget it. It seems the only way you could do that if you had been in the Boston market when it first started to go crazy and you had a huge windfall in appreciation from your first house. I really feel that Suzy Orman would tell us it was financial suicide. It is depressing because I really miss the area and always thought we would go back but when you work so hard to give your kids a decent life you don't want to end up being house poor.
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