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Old 04-07-2007, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring,Maryland
884 posts, read 2,365,713 times
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I posted this on the DC board but there is more traffic here..


I have relatives in MD and they have been trying to get my hubby and I out of Cincy. I'll have my MBA completed in Dec 07' and in the past I've been in sales, cust serv and supervision.. I'm looking at Govt AND private employers..I am trying to get a feel for what I should make...There is no comaprision with here in Cincy where the avg pay is SOOOO LOW.. and no everything here is not cheap...I have a co-worker paying $1200 for a TH and she makes $37k/divorced mom.

....HOW DO PEOPLE AFFORD TO LIVE THERE? Give up eating? No car? exterme budgeting? High salaries? Secrets, pointers, suggestions? Someone is doing it and I want to know HOW???.


My mind is made up and we are moving..I know how to be thrify..just looking for suggestions.
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Old 04-07-2007, 03:13 PM
 
1,261 posts, read 5,616,479 times
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Default Bugeting...

I think it's the only way to know how much you can afford. To give you a ballpark figure in terms of salaries, you can start as a GS-9 (approximately $46,000) in the federal government based on your education alone (MBA). The problem is that many agencies are experiencing a hiring freeze and the clearance process can take many months.

Your highest expense will be housing. If you live within walking distance to a metro station or bus and it's an option for commuting into work, you may want to do that even if the rent is higher. Many employers provide transportation subsidies if you choose to commute by public transportation. If you have to drive to work then you have to estimate the cost of personal property tax for having the car, insurance, gas, parking, etc. Many people out in the suburbs "slug in" (i.e., ride with others so the driver can get on the HOV lanes during rush hour).

If it's just you and your husband, I think you can manage if you work within a budget, particularly for entertainment. This area has many cultural events and other activities that are free to the public. Once your salary starts increasing over time, you'll live more comfortably. Good luck.
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Old 04-07-2007, 03:44 PM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,382,298 times
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Originally Posted by mlv311 View Post
I think it's the only way to know how much you can afford. To give you a ballpark figure in terms of salaries, you can start as a GS-9 (approximately $46,000) in the federal government based on your education alone (MBA). The problem is that many agencies are experiencing a hiring freeze and the clearance process can take many months.
Most agencies are operating under a form of continuing resolution, which limits both their funding and their ability to switch it around. That may and often does put a crimp into hiring 'druthers, but there is not a hiring freeze. Clearances do take a long time to run, but relatively few positions require them, and in most cases there are conditional arrangements that are implemented while waiting for clearances to come back.

For info on open federal positions, try www.usajobs.com...it's the central USG hiring portal...
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlv311 View Post
Your highest expense will be housing. If you live within walking distance to a metro station or bus and it's an option for commuting into work, you may want to do that even if the rent is higher. Many employers provide transportation subsidies if you choose to commute by public transportation.
The very last thing you want to do is drive into the city. Whether you walk, bike, or drive to it, you want to use mass transit if at all possible, and not merely because all USG and many private employers will pick up as much as the first $110 of your monthly transit costs (excluding parking) for you...
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring,Maryland
884 posts, read 2,365,713 times
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No way do I want to drive...see my nickname..I am not trying to drive Landy everywhere.. : )
I figure if we are both making $90k+ we should be ok. I'm not lazy by any means and if I have to work then I'll work hard at getting ahead..However WHY did housing prices spike so much between 2000 and 2006? what was going out that way?
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Old 04-08-2007, 06:54 AM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,382,298 times
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Originally Posted by Bigbluelandrover View Post
No way do I want to drive...see my nickname..I am not trying to drive Landy everywhere.. : )
LOL. Good one!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigbluelandrover View Post
I figure if we are both making $90k+ we should be ok.
You should indeed. At a household income of $90K without kids, your security should be quite well-settled, and you should be on about the business of adding a few of those nice luxuries on top of the completed collection of necessities. You'll still be a tad short of the median income for the area, but as a two-person household, you'll also be a tad short of the median on the mandatory outlay side, so things should balance out rather nicely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigbluelandrover View Post
I'm not lazy by any means and if I have to work then I'll work hard at getting ahead. However WHY did housing prices spike so much between 2000 and 2006? what was going out that way?
Music to an employer's ears! As for the home prices, you perhaps find it odd that the median home value in Fairfax County was $233K in 2000, and in 2005, it was $517K. Well, there were lots of contributing factors in that, but two of them were interest rates and the maturing of second-income earners into their peak earning years. The latter are primarily the liberated women who flooded into the job market in the 1970's. They and their families had been through the glass-ceiling and child-care wars, and they were now in their 50's with the kids grown and gone, and all of a sudden, it wasn't at all unusual to have a dual-income household where both parties were making more than $100K. That doesn't say anything about wealth (that's a whole different story), but it does say something about cash-flow, and cash-flow is all you need to service a mortgage. Now cut interest rates on mortage debt from say 8.0% to 5.0%, which is approximately what happened between mid-1999 and mid-2004. Well, that's free money. A lot of free money. As in about 35% of whatever your mortgage was. Put another way, if you were carrying a mortgage of $300K, you could suddenly, for the exact same monthly cash-outflow, carry a mortgage of $410K. Do you see the elements of a perfect-storm building here? You've got all these 'new' type of households moving into their peak earning years and simultaneously shedding their child-support burdens thereby significantly increasing their disposable incomes, and at the same time you've got the financial sector willing to hand you huge sums of money for the price of filling out a few forms. What would you expect to happen? Well, here's what did happen. Everybody who was dissatisifed with their housing moved up a notch or two. They all overbid on the new place, so they only got maybe 50 cents on the dollar in terms of actually improved housing out of the deal, but they didn't care because the other 50 cents was free money to start out with. Everybody who loved their housing and had roots where they were put on an addition, thereby turning a $300K home into a $500K home. And everyone who was about ready to retire and move away anyway, took advantage by selling their $300K home to a builder for $500K, and the builder then knocked the place down and built a $1.2 million home in its place. Now obviosuly, this is all an oversimplification and many actually pertinent factors have simply been steam-rollered right out of the picture, but the implications for median home values should be quite clear in each example in this scenario, even if it is only a caricature...
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Old 04-08-2007, 07:06 AM
 
268 posts, read 1,555,547 times
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The bigger money in the govt and private industry here especially in the Loudoun County, Fairfax County area involves having clearances. At one time the majority of my family have had some kind of clearance. The majority of my friends and neighbors do too. Once you have clearances you are worth more money and can easily command higher salaries. I have friends who do not have degrees and make over 90K/year because of length of time (15 years usually) and clearances. It takes up to a year (usually 6-7 months) to get cleared so it's a process that needs to be started sooner rather than later. Gov't agencies all had web pages that include job listings and how to submit your resume. Once you have your foot in the door, you have a ton of options. Otherwise in the field you mentioned (sales, cust svc), you're not talking megabucks at least not for a while. And, BTW, incomes are higher here, but so is cost of living. A townhouse here will run closer to $2000/month in rent. Everything is relative.

BTW, what does your hubby do?
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Old 04-08-2007, 07:24 AM
 
Location: Gainesville, VA
1,261 posts, read 5,052,606 times
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Thanks for that explanation saganista. I always wondered about the home prices myself. It's crazy to think that the neighborhood just south of us that people are carrying mortgages of $200k to $300k on really nice homes, but that's because they were built approximately 5 years ago. If I could only go back in time! Here in Gainesville, I just bought a house for $510K. However, I know most of my neighbors paid well over $600k for their homes in early 2006. So, I guess I got a "good deal". Laughs.

Speaking of overpriced homes, we have a lot of houses for sale on my street that were bought by investors looking to make a quick buck. Now they can't unload the houses because you can buy a new home from the builder for much less. I don't have much sympathy for them because investors weren't suppose to purchase homes per the convenants anyway.

- Heather
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Old 04-08-2007, 07:43 AM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,382,298 times
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Originally Posted by ashbrn4 View Post
The bigger money in the govt and private industry here especially in the Loudoun County, Fairfax County area involves having clearances. At one time the majority of my family have had some kind of clearance. The majority of my friends and neighbors do too. Once you have clearances you are worth more money and can easily command higher salaries. I have friends who do not have degrees and make over 90K/year because of length of time (15 years usually) and clearances. It takes up to a year (usually 6-7 months) to get cleared so it's a process that needs to be started sooner rather than later.
No question that updated clearances can be worth their weight in gold in the Beltway-Bandit industries, particularly if they include both the background and lifestyle poly's. That's an all-access situation there, and you can pretty much write your own ticket at that point. But while a typical fed employee may indeed be bound by an array of security regulations and have access to sensitive information, the vast majority does not have actual clearances and agenicies typically try to minimize the number of those that they have to run. This is different from the situation of say fifteen years ago, when clearance reviews were much less formally conducted and clearances themselves were much more widely held. If you're talking about intelligence-related positions of course, that's a whole different ballgame. Everyone in those positions will need clearances just to be able to go to the cafeteria.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashbrn4 View Post
Gov't agencies all had web pages that include job listings and how to submit your resume.
Many still do, but OPM is trying to consolidate everything behind www.usajobs.com, and that's a very good place to go to as well.
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Old 04-08-2007, 08:16 AM
 
19,183 posts, read 28,382,298 times
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Originally Posted by HEATHER72 View Post
Thanks for that explanation saganista. I always wondered about the home prices myself.
Well, it's only a scenario, actually. An explanation would have to have many other variables, lots of equations, and go on for 100 pages or so. Be thankful I didn't go there! :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashbrn4 View Post
It's crazy to think that the neighborhood just south of us that people are carrying mortgages of $200k to $300k on really nice homes, but that's because they were built approximately 5 years ago. If I could only go back in time! Here in Gainesville, I just bought a house for $510K. However, I know most of my neighbors paid well over $600k for their homes in early 2006. So, I guess I got a "good deal". Laughs.
Yes, you probably did do well. Time will tell, but in this case, I would hazard that time is on your side. The recent cycle, though, is actually exceptional only for the speed with which it occurred. What normally might have taken 12-15 years to unfold went down in about 5, causing some rather odd-looking results to come into being. But everything occurs faster and faster these days, so perhaps it shouldn't be so surprising.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashbrn4 View Post
Speaking of overpriced homes, we have a lot of houses for sale on my street that were bought by investors looking to make a quick buck. Now they can't unload the houses because you can buy a new home from the builder for much less. I don't have much sympathy for them because investors weren't supposed to purchase homes per the convenants anyway.
Yes, usually new and existing homes, while not being separate markets, are somewhat separated segments of the same market. But new homes have just been battered, and they are going to undercut existing homes just to get those non-producing assets off their books. This should provide a nice addition to rental markets as those who invested in existing homes try to minimize their own losses. I join you in a snicker or two at their expense...
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Old 04-08-2007, 09:00 AM
 
Location: Silver Spring,Maryland
884 posts, read 2,365,713 times
Reputation: 630
Ashbrn4
No Cust serv does not translate to a lot of money--that is why I am trying to use some of those skills, get additional education and certifications (if needed) before I move. It just happened that when I needed a job, those were the places hiring. I'd like to get into HR. I've been checking out the www.usajobs.gov site and I have applied in the past locally and I "almost" got hired with the SSN but there were 5 women I had to compete with and 2 of them had vet pref. I do have some relatives that may be able to help though.

Hubby currently work as an Accountant for an IT firm..He's looking to do Analyst type work/or trading..Has a Finance & Accounting degree.
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