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Old 08-20-2007, 09:37 PM
 
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Default Do you really need to make that much to live near DC?

So I'm hearing, from various avenues, conflicting information on how much is enough (income) to live near DC. Mind you I'm not talking about living IN DC, just the burbs (VA or MD), within, say a 45-60 minute commute. Assuming one is going to rent a home, not purchase, in a safe and family friendly neighborhood, do we really need to bring home over $100k a year?
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachtraveler View Post
So I'm hearing, from various avenues, conflicting information on how much is enough (income) to live near DC. Mind you I'm not talking about living IN DC, just the burbs (VA or MD), within, say a 45-60 minute commute. Assuming one is going to rent a home, not purchase, in a safe and family friendly neighborhood, do we really need to bring home over $100k a year?
Absolutely. I was told that by someone once, and they're absolutely correct. You really need to be making about 100K a year to have any kind of a decent lifestyle in the Washington, D.C. area.

Anyone who tells you otherwise is in serious denial of the reality of the
cost-of-living situation in that area of the country.
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Old 08-21-2007, 02:18 AM
 
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Yeah, your either rich or poor in DC, no middle class. You need at least 70,000 if single and about 100,000 if your a couple with no kids.
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Old 08-21-2007, 08:09 AM
 
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There are plenty of families living in the DC area on incomes under $100K. Obviously, it can be done, especially if you are willing to rent and can make do with one car. And if you are willing to live within your means, and don't need to live in the most highly sought-after suburb. Silver Spring, South Arlington, the Falls Church area of Fairfax County, Annandale, Springfield -- these are all older suburbs with large communities of relatively modest post-WWII housing, good (but not the "best") schools, reasonable commuting distance of DC.
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Old 08-21-2007, 08:47 AM
 
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Beachtraveller, will you be supporting other family members? How much will your rent be? If you are willing to commute 60 minutes you could easily live on 100'000. I know couple's with children who live in suburban MD who live just fine. Living in downtown DC is different of course.
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Old 08-21-2007, 10:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kowalski344 View Post
Beachtraveller, will you be supporting other family members? How much will your rent be? If you are willing to commute 60 minutes you could easily live on 100'000. I know couple's with children who live in suburban MD who live just fine. Living in downtown DC is different of course.
Dh is the main breadwinner, he would be earning $70k. I work part time and currently bring home about $16k year, but I imagine that would increase a little bit once I get work there, so we would be looking at bringing home $85-90k a year. We do have a 3 yo dd who goes to day care while I work. I've already checked on day care costs for her in DC, since she goes to Kindercare and they're a chain it was easy enough. Her day care costs will double, but still only $220 week, so that wasn't much of a suprise. I have looked at rental houses in the burbs, and the ones (with pics, so I can compare) similar to ours in condition and amenities are running between $2-3k month. Our current mortgage is $2300, so it might be an increase there, but not a huge increase. I think it looks do-able to me, but now everyone is panicking me and I'm wondering what I might be neglecting to factor in.

I also neglected to mention that dh's father is very generous and has consistantly gifted us at least $10k a year, so that would put us right at $100k. Also, the prospective employer has a generous bonus program, typically adding 10% of your annual salary. While I know bonuses are not guaranteed, this would put us over the $100k threshold.
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:38 PM
 
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Have you thought about renting a 2/3 bedroom apartment or townhouse? Those are available around silver spring/rockville for less than $2000. Metro accessable to DC. Its more than doable. $100000 would be a big stretch in DC. In the suburbs, no problem. Don't panic.
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:43 PM
 
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If you are currently itemizing deductions, keep in mind that you will lose the mortgage interest deduction when you switch to renting. But in two years, your child will be in kindergarten, eliminating the day-care expense (unless you have other children), and perhaps freeing you to work more hours. And, depending on your professional skills and where you're living now, you might find that you can earn more in this area, even sticking to part-time hours.

As I indicated before, there are MANY families living comfortably at your income level in the DC area. The notion that $100K is some sort of minimum threshhold is nonsense.
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Old 08-21-2007, 04:26 PM
 
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In 2005, the two counties that had the highest median household incomes in the nation were Loudon County and Fairfax County, two neighboring counties that comprise the bulk of Northern Virginia. Median household income is the midpoint -- half the households make more, half make less. The figures were $98,483 for Loudon, and $94,610 for Fairfax. In Prince William County, it was $76,647, and in Arlington County, it was $63,001.

At the household income levels you're talking about, you'll be no worse than average here...
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Old 08-21-2007, 10:03 PM
 
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Many thanks to all of you. I'm feeling a little bit better now, knowing that there are more than half of you who feel it's definitely do-able, provided we rent in the burbs. Now, anyone have any recommendations on safe, well-kept neighborhoods within 45-60 minutes commute from DC?
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