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Old 01-10-2013, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Forest Grove, OR
720 posts, read 588,564 times
Reputation: 599
Default Quality of life for families in Silicon Valley?

My husband is looking into a possible job in Sunnyvale. I'm very hesitant to pursue it due to the very high COL.

I grew up in CA (san diego area mostly), but left for school/job before the housing boom in the early 2000's. That said, the california I remember seems to be very different than what's there now and I don't want to get caught up in nostalgia and have unrealistic expectations.

I don't have exact salary details but I'd guess it'd be around 150K/yr to support our family of 4. I currently work but am not sure what I would do if we moved.

Do you think a family with that salary can do alright in the sunnyvale area? I'm not really interested in landing in a prestigious neighborhood or school. We rent now and would like to buy again in the future but i'm having some sticker shock just cruising around on realtor.com.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:23 PM
 
3 posts, read 4,629 times
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Certainly lots of families do fine in SJ on a salary of 150k or less but you are smart to be wary of the COL - it will impact you to a certain degree.

There are lots of great things about the bay area (things to do, weather, etc) but but the main things you are likely to not be too happy about are the following...

- The rent for what you get especially for a decent sized family pretty much is just disheartening and buying a place can seem like a pipe dream when a 2000 sq foot house in a good district can be 1M+. On top of it saving for a downpayment can be more difficult than in a lower COL area.

- Getting into a decent school district definitely can cause you to stretch your budget - those without kids have it easier in that they can pick from a greater pool of housing stock with no consideration for school quality

- If you work in tech, many people consider a normal work week to be 50-60 hours. There are certainly workplaces that do not require this but it is more normal than abnormal in my experience.

- If you and your partner both have jobs and require childcare it can be very expensive. I know a few couples that have opted out of childcare due to the fact that it was costing more than one of their paychecks.

That being said you can definitely do it on 150k - you should be able to live quite well but part of living in much of the bay area is dealing with high costs. Its good you are looking before you leap - many move and then are shocked when they look at their budget.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:42 PM
 
345 posts, read 301,610 times
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$150k is a good income for the silicon valley. Homes are very expensive in the area but it is doable you are not going to find a single family home under $500k in the area. Most are closer to 3/4 of a million. Unless you want to commute that is what you area going to deal with. If you want to drive about an hour each way for a commute then you can get a home for closer to $300k.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:44 PM
 
748 posts, read 971,196 times
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Quote:
We rent now and would like to buy again in the future but i'm having some sticker shock just cruising around on realtor.com.
Just wait till you see how much the rentals are going for on Craigslist............
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Forest Grove, OR
720 posts, read 588,564 times
Reputation: 599
Quote:
Originally Posted by easybay View Post
Just wait till you see how much the rentals are going for on Craigslist............
yeah i've seen them.

i don't think the bay area is a good fit for us but i suppose it doesn't hurt to check it out in case the job lead develops into a good career option.
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Old 01-11-2013, 01:34 AM
 
14,085 posts, read 11,709,491 times
Reputation: 9950
Quote:
Originally Posted by christiner81 View Post
My husband is looking into a possible job in Sunnyvale. I'm very hesitant to pursue it due to the very high COL.

I grew up in CA (san diego area mostly), but left for school/job before the housing boom in the early 2000's. That said, the california I remember seems to be very different than what's there now and I don't want to get caught up in nostalgia and have unrealistic expectations.

I don't have exact salary details but I'd guess it'd be around 150K/yr to support our family of 4. I currently work but am not sure what I would do if we moved.

Do you think a family with that salary can do alright in the sunnyvale area? I'm not really interested in landing in a prestigious neighborhood or school. We rent now and would like to buy again in the future but i'm having some sticker shock just cruising around on realtor.com.
150K is doable, but you are going to live what, in other parts of the country, would be considered an "ordinary middle class" lifestyle here on that income...maybe slightly better than ordinary...but not by much. You'll be living in an ordinary tract house which will be less than 2000 square feet, paying a fortune for it (whether rented or purchased) and will be able to send your kids to ok or slightly better than ok public schools. You should still be able to save for retirement but you'll still have to spend carefully if you want to avoid living payday to payday or being heavily in debt.

You could do the 1HR commute thing, but I really don't recommend it. It eats into family time and some of the savings are illusory when you factor in the increased gas and maintenance costs an the increased risk of being overweight/obese and the resultant increased health care costs that come from that.
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
3,814 posts, read 5,048,077 times
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Obviously $150k is a good income for a single earner, even in California, and if you were to work even any old job you guys would be doing just fine.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:47 PM
 
1,030 posts, read 1,537,990 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 80skeys View Post
Obviously $150k is a good income for a single earner, even in California, and if you were to work even any old job you guys would be doing just fine.
Yes, but a $150k combined family income is not going to buy you a nice house in one of the more desirable areas of the Silicon Valley. I can tell you that my household income is well above that and while we live fairly comfortably, our dream house (3-4 bedroom) in Palo Alto or Los Altos is well out of reach.
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:29 PM
Status: "California Uber Alles!" (set 7 days ago)
 
Location: San Jose, CA
7,472 posts, read 6,355,909 times
Reputation: 4505
Quote:
Originally Posted by roadwarrior101 View Post
Yes, but a $150k combined family income is not going to buy you a nice house in one of the more desirable areas of the Silicon Valley. I can tell you that my household income is well above that and while we live fairly comfortably, our dream house (3-4 bedroom) in Palo Alto or Los Altos is well out of reach.
Thus, you would need a dream income to afford that dream house. Or it wouldn't be a dream, would it? Many of those places are acquired by people who are getting massive amounts of money in ways other than the usual salaries and wages the rest of us have to work for, so it isn't really a level playing field in the competition for housing. Big bonuses, stock options that explode, investments, trust funds, family property...intuitively, something must justify why $1 million buys a pretty shack in those parts, leaving so many wondering why they're left on the sidelines, wondering how anybody gets in on this game, despite the hard work and long hours they put in. It's the big money mere mortals have little or no access to.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
3,814 posts, read 5,048,077 times
Reputation: 1478
Quote:
Originally Posted by roadwarrior101 View Post
Yes, but a $150k combined family income is not going to buy you a nice house in one of the more desirable areas of the Silicon Valley.
Yep, one definitely must cut corners when it comes to housing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdumbgod View Post
so many wondering why they're left on the sidelines, wondering how anybody gets in on this game, despite the hard work and long hours they put in. It's the big money mere mortals have little or no access to.
Unfortunately hard work and long hours is no guarantee of getting ahead financially in this world. That's why I put in minimal work and low hours
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