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Old 03-24-2013, 09:11 AM
 
1,736 posts, read 1,473,671 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
If my wife and I could find jobs doing what we do in a lower-cost area, we probably would. The thing is, if what you do for a living doesn't really exist outside the federal government, then it's very hard to find job openings that are not in the DC area. (They may exist but are far fewer.)
I don't work for the Fed anymore but even if I look for another job in a lower-cost area, I still won't be able to find it or it wouldn't be very stable. The current job I have isn't even related to the Fed. The only choices I have are NYC, SF or LA (lived there before) and they're just as expensive or even more.

That being said, I'm still a single guy and I'm not ready to settle down yet and I'm saving as much as I can to buy one. If housing (which seems to eat the majority of our paychecks) goes down, I'll be a happy camper, but I know that won't bode well with many.
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:38 AM
 
320 posts, read 400,355 times
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Thanks Carolingtonian!

Question to the forum:

How do the GS 7s and 8s manage to live here (including those workers who have maxed out their step levels)?
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:59 AM
 
7,965 posts, read 18,036,441 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Monkey View Post
Thanks Carolingtonian!

Question to the forum:

How do the GS 7s and 8s manage to live here (including those workers who have maxed out their step levels)?
Assuming they are still in their 20's (or even early 30's) they probably live with a roommate or three, a popular option here if only out of necessity.
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:18 PM
 
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yikes! I'm from Arlington and my family encouraged me and my husband to seek jobs up in NOVA once we graduated (I'm finishing up my Master's). I love Arlington and will always have a place in my heart for it but it is just SO expensive and considering the fields me and my husband are going into, I highly doubt we'd be able to afford any kind of house except way way out in the suburbs and then we'd have to take that AWFUL commute.

We found jobs through the state in the Shenandoah valley which has a much lower COL and even though my salary will be lower, I'm really thankful to not be in that whole mess...I'd rather stick to visiting during holidays.
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:21 PM
 
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A couple of people touched on this but let me make it clear:

For many fields, your salary actually isn't any higher in DC than it would be elsewhere. A minimum wage job is still a minimum wage job. Government and NGOs pay the same, low salary wherever you are. The reason a lot of people make it work here is not because they get a few extra pennies in their paycheck; it's because their jobs simply don't exist anywhere else. If your job exists somewhere else, you will almost always be better off financially in that other place.

That's purely from the financial perspective, of course. The DC area appeals in ways that aren't directly tied to jobs.
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:25 PM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,738 posts, read 8,935,882 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone509 View Post
Assuming they are still in their 20's (or even early 30's) they probably live with a roommate or three, a popular option here if only out of necessity.
Exactly. (Just now back on here.) Or if they rent their own apartment, it's somewhere farther out. But I think most young people share a place these days.

If this theoretical GS-8 or -9 is 30 or older and single, then they would probably live in an older apartment/condo that is not within walking distance of a Metro station (unless they were lucky/shrewd enough to buy their place before the Metro arrived)--or in Maryland (especially PG County). If they're married, then of course it depends on total household income.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seiketsu View Post
That's purely from the financial perspective, of course. The DC area appeals in ways that aren't directly tied to jobs.
Very true.

I'm not trying to dissuade people from moving here; I just want people in other areas of the country to have a clear picture of what the financial reality is. Most people will have less disposable income here, even with a big raise. You have to ask yourself if the other factors (job stability, reasonably good weather, proximity to other large cities, etc.) make it worth it.

Last edited by Carlingtonian; 03-24-2013 at 12:35 PM..
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Old 03-24-2013, 01:27 PM
 
2,670 posts, read 4,517,764 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cy_flembeck View Post
So you think Congress should change the tax code so wealthy people in the DC area can get a better deal on their Federal Tax Liability?

Let me address your last statement specifically. If you are paying more for a mortgage, real estate taxes and state income taxes because you have a higher income and a more expensive house, you will have proportional increases in deductions on your Itemized Deductions form (schedule A). That will offset your Federal Tax Liability more than the person who makes less money and lives in an area where a house costs less. In fact because you are at a higher starting tax bracket/rate, the deductions for you are more advantageous.
You may be forgetting that the AMT may wipe out many of those advantages because it doesn't allow SL tax deductions.
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:04 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,555 posts, read 12,613,293 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
My husband and I are spending our evenings lately searching for jobs in other areas. It's so scary though, looking at cities where there are only a dozen major employers. There are a lot of negatives to this area, but the stability of employment is hard to find anywhere else
That is quite true where I moved to. NC has become a mecca for people seeking lower-cost living on the East Coast. But, the jobs are just not as plentiful as in DC. So even if one person gets transferred here, the spouse may have a hard time finding a job. Job pay is very low, too. My husband does hiring for his company and starts people at $35K. I've looked into part-time jobs. And I see a long list of requirements including a bachelor's degree, a couple years' expeerience in a certain field, knowledge of certain software programs, etc. And then I see the pay - $12-$13 per hour. It's crazy! It just doesn't pay for me to work here.
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:45 PM
 
1,638 posts, read 2,590,699 times
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I got into a discussion about this with a coworker. I've also worked in the finance dept in my company (aerospace and defense industry), lived in a few different cities (with this company), so I'm aware of who makes what (yes, I know experience is slightly different, but the averages are pretty much the same). Her argument was the higher salary. When I look at my fathers salary (around 110K, varies because he makes his own hours, and his equivalent salary in the DC area, it's only about 15K higher. After taxes, not that much. He also has a boat and a paid off house. I see keeping that boat as a huge expense if he were to move here.

I see that an "average" house in NoVA is 500K at least. I move outside of NoVA and I can buy myself a decent home for 200k and under (again, depends what you want). My salary may be 10-15k less, but when I see that my commute is 15 minutes instead of an hour, food is cheaper, my home could be less than half, along with several other factors? I'm not sure it would be worth it to me to ever move back there. I loved the DC area, however I think I'll settle just fine for my sporadic weekend visits now.

If I ever go back, my pay would need to be more than I'm worth, and that just won't happen anytime soon.
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Old 03-24-2013, 03:12 PM
 
2,670 posts, read 4,517,764 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michgc View Post
That is quite true where I moved to. NC has become a mecca for people seeking lower-cost living on the East Coast. But, the jobs are just not as plentiful as in DC. So even if one person gets transferred here, the spouse may have a hard time finding a job. Job pay is very low, too. My husband does hiring for his company and starts people at $35K. I've looked into part-time jobs. And I see a long list of requirements including a bachelor's degree, a couple years' expeerience in a certain field, knowledge of certain software programs, etc. And then I see the pay - $12-$13 per hour. It's crazy! It just doesn't pay for me to work here.
Aside from the recession (etc.) I suspect part of the problem for the low pay is the tremendous people that the universities there draw, allowing employers to be very picky and not to pay a premium. When I was in grad. school in another location (more of a college town), I found it amazing how many great low-level staff the university hired--very smart, with masters' degrees--they were often trailing spouses while their spouses were working on PhDs. They were paid next to nothing but were priceless in what they did for the university. I'm not equating this type of job to what you are looking for -- but just am guessing that the same principle applies for higher level job as well.
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