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Old 09-03-2009, 01:48 PM
 
Location: GA
43 posts, read 74,106 times
Reputation: 10

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Thanks to everyone that has given me great advice so far on my other post...now here's another question for the local employees/employers.

What is an acceptable salary to support a single mom and son in No. VA? I know the costs of living, utilities and everything else are higher in that particular area but I have no idea what is considered low...or medium...?

Also, I'm looking into Administrative jobs with various contracting companies and even government agencies and was wondering if the salary is going to be able to support my 2 person family? I have a Bachelors degree and admin experience so I'm sure that'll help but just wondering.

Please be honest with me so that I know the reality beforehand. Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-03-2009, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Reston, VA
2,005 posts, read 3,527,369 times
Reputation: 1147
I know administrative support staff that make in the low to mid 40's.

Check out a few of these budget posts from a few weeks ago.

http://www.city-data.com/forum/10485080-post6.html
http://www.city-data.com/forum/10369251-post14.html
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Old 09-03-2009, 02:14 PM
 
Location: GA
43 posts, read 74,106 times
Reputation: 10
Ouch...might have to rethink the career path...especially considering the cost of living there...
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Old 09-03-2009, 02:27 PM
 
10 posts, read 21,397 times
Reputation: 14
After moving here I quickly realized 100k a year isn't that great. In fact, it's below average. In my area, the average household income is 165k - and what I find amazing about that is, how many of those households have 1 parent staying home with their kids. I have found that the cost of living here is extreme, but so is the pay - all across the board. Most jobs here - I find pay 50% or more than the state I moved from. It is a big adjustment that you would have to make - but it is also a wonderful place to raise kids, and you can't put a price on that. If you find a job up here - even in the 40-50k range, you could get yourself a nice 2br condo or apt and most likely get by just fine. Good luck to you.
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Old 09-03-2009, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,101 posts, read 67,193,623 times
Reputation: 15748
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbearsmama View Post
Ouch...might have to rethink the career path...especially considering the cost of living there...
You can also just be creative and/or willing to sacrifice/struggle for several years while living here until you are on more firm financial footing. My $41,000 salary leaves me with no "wiggle room" should my car fall apart, should I fall gravely ill, should my apartment complex burn down, etc., etc. However, I'll be guaranteed a generous raise every year for the next several years before my salary starts to near a leveling-off point, so I struggle now knowing that in 3 years I'll be living very comfortably with the luxury of being able to travel for vacation (and I mean "travel", not hop in the car and do King's Dominion for a day and classify that as my yearly "vacation").

If you start out at, perhaps, $45,000/year here, most employers I'm aware of offer 3%-5% annual wage increases. Let's be generous and assume 5%.

Year 1: $45,000
Year 2: $47,250
Year 3: $49,612.50
Year 4: $52,093
Year 5: $54,698
Year 6: $57,433
Year 7: $60,304
Year 8: $63,319.50
Year 9: $66,485.50
Year 10: $69,810

In other words, after a decade you'll be making $70,000, which is more than enough to support you and your son. In the mean time as you climb up the ladder you may wish to pick up a part-time job for a few days a week to supplement your income. You could work as a cashier perhaps at a store for Saturdays and Sundays (16 hours per week x $10/hr. = $160/week x 52 weeks = $8,320).

New figure? (Assuming $0.25/hr. annual wage increase at retail job)

Year 1: $45,000 + $8,320 = $53,320
Year 2: $47,250 + $8,528 = $56,048
Year 3: $49,612.50 + $8,736 = $58,348.50
Year 4: $52,093 + $8,944 = $61,037
Year 5: $54,698 + $9,152 = $63,850
Year 6: $57,433 + $9,360 = $66,793
Year 7: $60,304 + $9,568 = $69,872
Year 8: $63,319.50 + $9,776 = $73,095.50
Year 9: $66,485.50 + $9,984 = $76,469.50
Year 10: $69,810 + $10,192 = $80,002

Would this be a desirable or easy scenario? No. However, it would most definitely work. The money you made at the part-time job might be enough to cover most or all of the money you spend on child care for your son while you're away at work.
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Old 09-03-2009, 03:15 PM
 
10,596 posts, read 12,088,527 times
Reputation: 6458
I am going to assume that you will need some sort of daycare or after-school care arrangements for your son? You will also need/want to live in an area where he is going to have a peer group whose parents value education, discipline, and family?

I will say that while you can come here and do a budget lifestyle, I don't think I would do that with a child because there are so many factors that can influence that child. The biggest ones, as you know, are the school system and the peer group. I've known quite a few single moms who move into the cheapest neighborhoods in my town (because that's all they can afford) and then they are shocked when all their kids friends are the thugs roaming the neighborhood.

My advice to you is to not take anything less than something in the mid-$60s. I would personally not move here for less than $80K if I had children to think off.

I really hate to be a "Debbie Downer" but it is really going to be difficult to break into a job without *some* sort of contacts. I work in Defense and have been on both sides (government and contractor) and it is rare in my field that anyone gets hired as an unknown. Usually there is some "known" person in the chain somewhere. The fact that you have not been working in your field is also going to be a detriment. I don't want you to give up, but just be very realistic about it. Also, definitely go onto USA Jobs for government work. The hiring process is AGONIZINGLY slow but worth it if you can snag something. We just had a job announcement come out yesterday for an Office Administrator (I hardly ever see these). The position is a YA-2 level which pays anywhere from $55,000-$90,000 based on experience. I only glanced at it so I'm not sure if it is open to the general public or just DoD, but there are jobs out there.
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Old 09-03-2009, 04:21 PM
 
Location: GA
43 posts, read 74,106 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you so much everyone! Talk about a reality check. I still want to pursue my venture, its just going to be a bigger challenge than I initially thought. My son's well-being is numero uno so I'm taking everyone's advice into my consideration...I guess my next question is how does someone like me stand out among everyone else? I've sent my resume to my mom and aunt (both of whom are pretty successful) and they don't see any problems but I know there's more I can either add or definitely edit.
Any other advice or comments are more than welcome since I need all the advice anyone's willing to share.
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Old 09-03-2009, 04:32 PM
 
10,596 posts, read 12,088,527 times
Reputation: 6458
Regarding your resume, when you apply for a government job on USAJobs, you are going to be manipulating your resume in a way that you've never done before. The government uses a computer program to sort resumes. This sort is based on you hitting "key" words in your resume that are sprinkled throughout the job announcement. If you pass the first computerized sort, then your resume is passed on to an HR person who will further scrutinize it for relevant information related to the job announcement. The resume that I 'manufactured' to get my current job is so awful looking that I would never send it out, but it made it through the government computer system and got me a 90+ point rating on the certification.

As for finding a job here, it may be helpful to contact an employment agency. I did that many years ago for my first corporate job and it worked out very well for me.
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Old 09-03-2009, 04:42 PM
 
283 posts, read 443,894 times
Reputation: 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbearsmama View Post
Thanks to everyone that has given me great advice so far on my other post...now here's another question for the local employees/employers.

What is an acceptable salary to support a single mom and son in No. VA? I know the costs of living, utilities and everything else are higher in that particular area but I have no idea what is considered low...or medium...?

Also, I'm looking into Administrative jobs with various contracting companies and even government agencies and was wondering if the salary is going to be able to support my 2 person family? I have a Bachelors degree and admin experience so I'm sure that'll help but just wondering.

Please be honest with me so that I know the reality beforehand. Thanks in advance.
All I can tell you is that, living on a salary of 50k was very very hard for me. I was even single back then. I can't imagine having to take care of a family for that. I'm sure you could scrape by but, how much stress would that be on family life. My opinion is you need to be able to bring home a minimum of 120k/yr, just to live in the Northern Virginia area. That's living moderately in a nice safe neighborhood. No splurging. GL
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Old 09-03-2009, 05:16 PM
 
427 posts, read 973,357 times
Reputation: 257
Like the PP, I don't want to discourage you from pursuing your dream. I do think, however, that it's going to be a difficult transition for you, at least financially. Friends of ours who have preschool-age children in all-day daycare tell us that they're spending around $1000/month for that. And while ScranBarre's idea of working a part-time job for a while to help make ends meet is something that he could certainly consider, I don't know how you could realistically do the same as a single mom.

Before committing to a job search up here, I'd do some serious research into the costs you're going to be facing. Serious as in calling up local daycare providers to learn about rates and services offered, looking at the average rent and utility costs in the areas where you'd like to live, etc. You will probably also want to find out what kind of a waiting list most of the daycare places have right now. It would stink to get up here only to find that you have no childcare option immediately, and have to come up with a last-minute contingency plan.

Once you have an idea of what your monthly must-have expenses will be, you'll have a better idea of what kind of salary you'll require, and you can pursue your job search accordingly.

Best of luck to you! I really do hope it works out for you to head up our way. It's a wonderful place to live, and I think it's a pretty darned great place to raise kids, too.
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