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I was going to post earlier, but I didn't want to be the first to say it: stay in MA. You are already well set with family, a house and prospects of getting a higher paying job. As your kids get older they will be involved in activities... it just adds up to more costs (I just paid $180 for 8 weeks of gymnastics). With two kids you could be looking at an additional $100-200 a month for their hobbies.
We are at the end of making this same exact decision. My husband got an offer, higher than what he makes here, and it would open doors for him down the road. There are more high tech companies in SV. However it would force us to lose the great life we created here in the Seattle area and we would be forced to reduce our savings rate by two thirds just to keep up with the COL (and that's only considering the rent of a 2 bedroom apartment, not 3!). Supposedly there is an offer in the works inside his current company and he still has other interview loops in the coming weeks. We don't "need" this job anymore. While the career path would be nice, it's not worth losing the upper-middle class status that took us 10 years to work up to... no way, San Jose
So after rereading your original post - I agree with the others - you are better off in MA.
For starters - you are a home owner in MA, becoming a renter is a BIG downgrade in lifestyle. We went from a 4600 sq ft house (cul d sac, pool) to renting a 1650 sq ft townhouse. We ended up purchasing and are now in a 2400 sq ft patio home which is worth double what we owned in TX. I miss my old house with the big closets, the triple garage and the pool. Where do you envision yourself? You need a 20% downpayment to get into a jumbo mortgage here. Prices are going up again - do you have $200K to put down on a $1M house (generally a small rancher with no basement). Will you be able to save up the downpayment, and at the same time contribute to a 401K and save for the 529s? I'm not familiar with the cities further north - but the places you listed- Menlo Park and Palo Alto are completely out of reach for home prices.
Lastly - family. I go back home to Texas 6-8 times per year to visit family. When we first moved here flights were around $350. It's up to $550 out of SJC. (SFO is a bit cheaper, but then I have to pay for parking or a cab). Make sure you set aside $$ for your wife and kids to get back a couple of times a year, because she will need it. It's TOUGH to move away from family. It sounds sexy to move, and reinvent your life, but then you have to live that "sexy" life, and suddenly, it's not as sexy. Good luck with your decision!
Stay in MA! California's only redeming factor is the weather! I've been here my whole life in the bay area. It's changed so much in the last 15 years! Way over crowded, way too expensive! It might be a good idea to visit before making the move.. I lived on the peninsula for 2 years, it was nice, but again, very expensive. To own a home with some privacy is at least 1.5 million. Otherwise you will have virtually no yard and neighbors within a few feet. If you don't mind that then come on down.. either way good luck!
Unfortunately, yes you would be living paycheck to paycheck, unless you nickle and dime everything and live very very very modest/cheap. Every town has its bad areas stay away from East Palo Alto, anything over the 101 freeway headed east is pretty shady.. Parts of San Mateo are really nice, Belmont, San Carlos... Also most of these citys are located on hills, so when I lived there I had to get my breaks done more often..
Originally Posted by supwithyou
I'm really confused about the offer though. Should I take this offer?
Is the area really affordable with net income of $6800/month? I'm afraid that half of take-home income ($3400) would be gone in rent or mortgage+tax+insurance+hoa of 3BR/2BA house/townhouse.... Utilities + Phone/Internet/TV/Cell would probably take another $500. Fuel would take about $400, plus groceries for 4 would take another $500. So, left with $2000, and I haven't even calculated other insurances (life, auto, disability, etc), health co-pays, clothes, basic maintenance/repair to house or autos, going out to eat once awhile, etc.
I know this sounds like a crazy question, but would I be living paycheck-to-paycheck with $130K household income for the family of 4?
Since I don't have kids, I'm not as qualified as the others, but I'd say the move isn't worth it for the salary offered. Especially if the area where you live is noticeably cheaper than Boston, it's going to be a major lifestyle downgrade. I think Palo Alto & Menlo Park would definitely be out of the question on the income you listed...unless you want to be one of those people with crazy mortgages that you're paying off when you're 80 (if you don't default on it before then)...but I could never recommend that path.
We moved here from Boston (but we live in the East bay where cost of living is cheaper than where you are looking.) It was the right decision for our family. We don't make significantly more pay wise but we HATED living in Boston (we are family of 5 living on 130k). The quality of life for us here in suburbia is so much better than it was where we came from.
It really depends of if you are happy in Boston. We weren't and so the move was worth the sacrifices (slightly longer commute, paying (only slightly) more for a house.) We moved from Cambridge so the COL adjustment was only 10% vs. Danville/Walnut Creek/Lamorinda area. Some things (like food, utilities) are much cheaper here. Some things are more expensive (Gas, housing) but it isn't earth-shatteringly different over all. We are also much happier with the schools.
Just the fact everything is newer and cleaner, there is no snow, the infrastructure is better, traffic is better (YES.. TRAFFIC IS BETTER compared to Boston), people are nicer, there is more to do.. It changes my perspective on the cost living. They just need to add Dunkin Donuts and there would never be a reason to ever go back to Boston.
FWIW it isn't a "city vs suburbs" thing for us either. We lived in a southern suburb of Boston for a while and we hated it too.. So it was an easy call to move here. Sometimes there are more factors than just money. We would NEVER want to go back to Boston. But that is us. If you and your family like it there, why rock the boat?
All, thank you so much for your replies.
This forum is great. I really appreciate all the input. Please excuse my long post, but I really wanted to get back to everyone who replied.
easybay: Regarding the relocation package, I had misunderstood the package. They would offer $10K + shipping & handling of all our stuff (including our cars). The $10K can be used for airline tickets, house search trips, and temporary housing. But, there would be no assistance in helping me sell our current house (they would get me in touch with a relocation specialist though; I'm guessing on my dime).
peninsular: I like your suggestion of looking at the per capita median income. You are right that our $35K will be well below $41K-$45K in CA. But presently, I live in Middlesex County in MA, where per capita is $40,139. With my current salary (since I get no bonus), our per person is only $27-$30K. So, even presently, we're well below the average.
flyingsaucermom: Thanks for your response. I figured about $100/month for kids activities in my monthly budget. I probably need to bump that up. But the price would likely stay the same in both states. Also, one big cost chunk is preschool. Unfortunately, preschool is not free in either states (my wife and I feel strongly about preschool to build strong foundation for social/academic behavior), so for at least 5 years, I need to figure about $1000/month for that in both states.
easybay: It is funny how our stories are somewhat similar (with you in TX and me in MA). I also currently live in large 4000+ sq ft house, large yard, and the works . For mortgage (if our current house sells), we won't need jumbo. Probably $200K-$300K mortgage. I agree that Palo Alto and Menlo Park are definitely out of reach. Good tip regarding saving money for trips back to MA.
mariarox76: Weather is definitely a factor... Today's nor'easter blizzard doesn't help I'm afraid of living paycheck-to-paycheck.
new2beantown: I like reading about your journey. I like the question/comment 'why rock the boat' .
So here are couple of other issues: our house currently is too big for us. I'm not a handy person at all , so it is a little expensive to maintain as well. As I had mentioned in the first post, we are in more of a country-feel like town in Rt 495 belt (for folks familiar with MA highways). No matter what, we're definitely going to list this house for sale this spring. Once sold, if we decide to live in MA, we'll move around Rt 128 / Rt. 2 belt. The towns we are considering (Lexington, Newton, Brookline, and Belmont) will be much more livelier than where we are currently, and they are much more diverse. Diversity in school is very important for us. Only 5-10% of students in my current town are non-white (compare that to typical 30%+ in any bay-area town). For something approaching close to that, we'll have to move to towns mentioned above. Unfortunately, those towns are also very expensive. There aren't many community-style townhouses in those towns, and we definitely don't want to move to apartments (the ones with long window-less hotel-like lobbies)... I'd only be able to buy small beater/old houses in those houses for $850K, and like I mentioned I can't hold a hammer to save my life... So, that is where all the confusion is... We don't really enjoy living in Rt. 495 belt, and Rt. 128 belt (with great schools, diversity, and somewhat urban-like living) is very expensive with very limited inventory (somewhat similar to bay area in that sense)...
Also, with no bonus at my current job, is $110K in MA vs. $143K in CA comparable?
peninsular mentioned that I'd have to make $160K for it to be comparable. That is what I found as well, but during negotiations, I was told that that is not going to happen. Right now, final ofer is $143K. If I were to make the move to be 'worth it', what should be the minimum package? $155K? $160K? I can try negotiating once more, but I'm not sure I'd have any success...
If money is the most important factor and want to live exactly like where you came from then no, it won't go as far, but if you want to make it work you definitely can on 143k.
143k will allow a comfortable life but there will be tradeoffs. Better weather, more opportunities, way more diversity & restaurants, in exchange for much smaller housing. YMMV on how worth it these tradeoffs will be.
Also, I'm not really sure that the average 45k salary per person quoted includes kids. The census website lists the average household earnings in San Mateo county as 87k with an average size of about 2.9 people. Prorate that to 4 and that makes it 120k, so even with 130-143k you're slightly ahead.
Last August I moved to Boston from Santa Cruz. What a mistake. I would say : leave as fast as you can. The Bay Area is the most beautiful in the country with near-perfect weather, beautiful scenery and warm lovely people .
BOSTON'S WEATHER REPORT : potentially historic winter storm and Blizzard will drop around 2 feet of snow through Saturday.
Blizzard Warning remains in effect until 1 pm EST Saturday.
Locations: eastern and southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island including Block Island, and southeastern New Hampshire.
Hazard types: Heavy snow, blowing and drifting at times. Quarter Mile visibilities, and winds gusting up to 80 mph.
Accumulations: snow accumulation of 18 to 24 inches.
Timing: strongest winds and heaviest snow now through Saturday morning.
Impacts: blizzard conditions will make for dangerous travel with visibilities near zero in White-out conditions and winds gusting up to 80 mph. In addition, anticipate damage to trees and structures along with widespread power outages.
weather Station -
SAN JOSE'S WEATHER
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Clear 37 °F
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10-Day Forecast - Hourly Forecast
Tomorrow is forecast to be nearly the same temperature as today.
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People may not recall what you said to them, but they will always remember how you made them feel .
Last edited by nancy thereader; 02-08-2013 at 11:51 PM..
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