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Old 07-31-2008, 06:49 PM
 
235 posts, read 741,073 times
Reputation: 66

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Hiya,

I may have a job interview very near Palo Alto / San Jose. I was wondering what is considered a decent wage for a married couple with 2 small children. I realize I would have live far out and commute if I were chosen for the position.

If our yearly wages totaled around 180k - 200K in Silicon Valley, that would be just scrapping by as renters, right?

I have lived in many areas myself in different parts of the country (Eastern / Mid-Western US), but most of my career has been in the Greater Atlanta area. Atlanta wages are about the same as the national average, while I realize that SF area and environs is nearly double the national average.

I have read some of the threads here and I appreciate some of the kind advice given to others.

This tool is somewhat helpful for determining how far your $$ goes in different ares of the US
http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/costo...tofliving.html

- Cost of Living Calculator from CNNMoney.com

*possibility (sic)

Last edited by mmenomen; 07-31-2008 at 06:58 PM..
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Old 07-31-2008, 08:19 PM
hsw
 
2,144 posts, read 6,348,691 times
Reputation: 1517
Many variables....

Would guess a single person would need some $200K/yr for a middle-class existence in SV (realize only places in US as costly as SV are Manhattan and LA's Westside; NYC's best suburbs are notably cheaper than SF/LA's best suburban areas).....

Much of relevance of regions like SV/NYC is strategic career value of being in the global epicenter for tech or finance, respectively....w/prospects of rapidly elevating income and/or equity stakes....

If one doesn't fit that career profile, regions like Dallas/Chicago offer a much higher QOL/lower COL.....
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Old 07-31-2008, 08:41 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
802 posts, read 2,056,269 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hsw View Post
Many variables....

Would guess a single person would need some $200K/yr for a middle-class existence in SV (realize only places in US as costly as SV are Manhattan and LA's Westside; NYC's best suburbs are notably cheaper than SF/LA's best suburban areas).....
$200K as a single person in Silicon Valley would afford you a very nice lifestyle in Silicon Valley, much nicer than a middle-class existence IMHO. At $200K a year, you'd net out about $10K a month. I make between $150-$200K a year and I live what I perceive to be quite a nice lifestyle - I travel internationally for fun every year, I dine at very nice restaurants (Manresa, French Laundry and the like), etc. Without really making much of an effort at budgeting, I've been able to save up enough in the past eight years to buy a place if I wanted (not a huge place, but one that would be fine for a couple). Now eight years seems might seem like a long time, but keep in mind that I made substantially less income (<$100K) when I first started working.

Of course, with kids in the picture like the OP, it might be a different story. The cost of day care and private education (if one wants to go that route) is ridiculous here. I know of a couple of families of four who bring an income in the $200K range and they are doing okay. They aren't splurging on fun stuff and luxuries, but I would say that they are doing better than just scraping by.
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Old 08-01-2008, 10:30 AM
 
2,437 posts, read 7,282,830 times
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It's hart to say. Yes, 100k/yr (~5k/month) only affords a fairly minimal cost of living around here, though it is still well above the actual poverty line. $200K will let you live pretty large if your mandatory expenses (like housing) are low. But with kids, you're looking at at least $700k to buy in a decent neighborhood. Unless you have a huge downpayment that's going to cost you around $5k/month, just for the mortgage, so that immediately makes a $200k income feel like $100k or less. Pretty tough to buy around here, but there are ways around it if you're able to forgo the turnkey single-family-home-with-yard lifestyle and consider other options. I hope it goes well for you.
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Old 08-01-2008, 08:46 PM
 
Location: yeah
5,716 posts, read 14,567,378 times
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Good luck getting the job if you can't figure out where to post a thread pertaining to "Silicon Valley."
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Old 08-02-2008, 12:05 AM
 
1,614 posts, read 6,124,771 times
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Way too high, unless you have an unusual definition of "middle class."

Quote:
Originally Posted by hsw View Post
Many variables....

Would guess a single person would need some $200K/yr for a middle-class existence in SV
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Old 08-02-2008, 08:53 PM
 
Location: East Bay
332 posts, read 689,260 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hsw View Post
Would guess a single person would need some $200K/yr for a middle-class existence in SV
That's an absurdly high estimate. Even in Manhattan 200K permits a middle class lifestyle.
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Old 08-02-2008, 08:55 PM
 
Location: East Bay
332 posts, read 689,260 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krudmonk View Post
Good luck getting the job if you can't figure out where to post a thread pertaining to "Silicon Valley."
Why be an ass?
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Old 08-02-2008, 09:24 PM
 
486 posts, read 884,550 times
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Originally Posted by user376 View Post
Why be an ass?
My thoughts exactly!
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Old 08-03-2008, 10:50 AM
 
235 posts, read 741,073 times
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Thank you, hsw, mdwstrnkid, treedonkey for your thoughtful responses. I did read some existing threads here already that touched on some other concerns I have. There are some gems of advice found here regarding how far earnings go or don't go.

I used to have a login sometime ago for this forum and gave some advice a few years ago, but I was not a regular user and forgot about it for a while. Since then, I have lost my password and old email address and could not log back in as that abadoned user. In return, I definitely don't mind to help with hard-earned advice when I am able to sometime later about Atlanta or GA in general.

Sometime ago, I had lived in some of the most expensive cities in the world on a shoe-string budget. A few such cities were in Europe, so I found ways to make my currency go further. So I know to expect many things to be different out West than in the East/Midwest where I have primarily lived when being in the US.

I realize with a young family that making the $$ stretch is much more difficult to accomplish than if you are single, young person with no kids in your 20s.

I follow the Clark Howard way here in GA as it is, and I look forward to a change if I am offered a position that pays well out West. ** Clark Howard is a syndicated talk show host who specialized in consumer finance. (advice on saving $$$) His site is worth checking out clarkhoward.com - general tips on being frugal in all areas of your financial life.

I know for sure the cost of living is easily double where I am now in metro Atlanta. I live as cheaply as I can now, buying used cars, living in cheap housing (very small single-detached house), buying clothes at Goodwill, shopping at discount stores for groceries and other items, not having cable, and doing things of those sorts.

I have been in San Fransisco and Oakland before, and some of the other environs. My thoughts about the SF area was that I could never move there due to the cost of living. I should have said never say never! I have known some people who lived in these areas and I followed the stories about the real estate boom with great interest in CA, FL, NV and elsewhere. Knowing this, I much prefer to rent and see how things are.

My biggest challenge is having the small children, 1 is now school-aged. So I am using online tools such as greatschools.net to locate a few areas that might be ideal for a family of 4.

Last edited by mmenomen; 08-03-2008 at 11:09 AM..
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