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Old 01-22-2011, 12:52 PM
 
13 posts, read 20,144 times
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Hi

Looking to budget for a family of four living costs in LA - somewhere near one of the few decent public schools).

I need an idea of:

income tax (state is 9.3%?, federal about 9%?)

any other income based taxes (social security?)

property taxes if renting @ $3500/month? Is there an equivalent of the UK's council tax to budget for?

utilities? What would I expect to pay per month for electric, gas & water? I am guessing $300/month~ish.

car insurance? Is it as bad as I hear?

cell phone per month?

home phone, cable & internet?

I reckon we will need to earn about $70k to get by and cover bills.

Cheers
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:08 PM
 
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State income tax is 9.3%

Federal income tax is not easy to calculate. There are various tax brackets and then a million deductions you can take. Some people pay nothing and others pay a fortune (up to 35%).

Social Security and Medicare are combined into FICA. You pay half and the employer pays half. I think it is 6.75% for each half right now due to the payroll tax rollback.

Renters do not pay property tax per se, owners do. It will be included in your rent.

Utilities depend on usage and type of property. Usually owners take care of gas, water, and trash. That leaves you with electricity, phone, and cable. A combined phone, cable, and internet package is around $125 a month. Electricity varies anywhere from $50 a month up to $300 depending on your place.

Car insurance depends on your driving record, type of insurance (full coverage or partial), and type of vehicle. Full coverage for a Japanese made sports car is $1800 a year for me ($900 every 6 months).

Cell phone plans vary as well. If you are on a family plan, it is probably around $100 a month for everyone combined.

Keep in mind there is sales tax on practically everything you buy. Car registration is expensive too.

Last edited by soon2bela; 01-22-2011 at 01:17 PM..
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:26 PM
 
13 posts, read 20,144 times
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We pay 20% VAT on most things here, so sales tax is no biggie.

I cannot believe how costly cable, internet and phone is over there.

We can get 50 Mbps broadband internet, phone & tv package here for around £50/month - $75/month in your money.

I assume the landlord includes gas as you don't use gas for anything but cooking. I guess you use electricity for air conditioning in summer and heating in winter, so they make you pay for that?

I guess on $80k a year we would expect to take $6600 pcm gross, and maybe $5000 after state & federal tax?

$3500 rent
$150 electric
$100 internet/cable
$80 car ins
$500 groceries
$150 petrol (gas in your lingo)
$400 car lease
$400 eating out/shopping/bits n pieces

$80k won't quite be enough.....
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Old 01-22-2011, 02:03 PM
 
40 posts, read 49,883 times
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I just looked again. Bundled internet, phone, cable is roughly $90 a month.

$400 car lease is on the high end for Acura, Lexus, etc.

Honda, Toyota, and some Acuras are cheaper. That also means car insurance goes down and so does gas prices.

You could get a 3 bedroom home for $3000 a month.
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Old 01-22-2011, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
5,380 posts, read 7,257,964 times
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It’s not necessary to pay $3500 in rent in order to live in a decent neighborhood with good schools. I’m not very familiar with LA, but other people might be able to chime in if you provided more specifics, such as the area in LA where your company is located. You might be able, for example, to find a nice place in Long Beach.

How much time are you willing to spend traveling each way to work? What type of rental arrangement do you want? Are you looking for an apartment or a single-family residence? Will your wife be working?

Also, on the surface, it sounds like your take-home pay estimate is on the high side since you must include deductions for federal and tax taxes, FICA (Social Security and Medicare), health insurance, and any contributions you decide to make to your retirement plan.
Tax Brackets (Federal Income Tax Rates) 2000 through 2010 and 2011
Still, it would probably be hard, but not impossible if frugal, for a family to make it on 80K in the LA area.

I assume the landlord includes gas as you don't use gas for anything but cooking. I guess you use electricity for air conditioning in summer and heating in winter, so they make you pay for that?

Renters generally pay for all utilities, including gas. You would most likely also have to pay small trash and sewer fees. Gas is often used here not only for cooking, but also for heating, hot water and for your clothes dryer. Heating bills are low since it usually only gets cold (usually the 40's) out here during some winter nights (some winter days can be "chilly" and in the 50's). A/C should not be high if you live near the coast.

Just one more suggestion, lighten-up and you might get a number of helpful responses. Maybe you are not angry, but you sound like it.

Last edited by pacific2; 01-22-2011 at 02:54 PM..
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Old 01-22-2011, 02:57 PM
 
13 posts, read 20,144 times
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We have only just started considering a move.

Wife is a TV drama producer and we have one or two contacts at CAA and ICM - show would expect to get a foot in the door at studios or production companies for development/production work.

I have 12 years in UK tv production too, so would likely look for similar work. I expect we will come over for 2 weeks or so in the summer - if we can organise some meetings.

School & renting wise, 91212 looks like it may be affordable for a very very basic 3 bed rental.

BUT, would be tempted to live closer to beach and put up with the commute. There seems to be very good public high school at Mira Costa
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Old 01-22-2011, 03:08 PM
 
40 posts, read 49,883 times
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It might be different for houses and apartments. I have yet to see an apartment advertised that does not cover gas, trash, and water as part of the rent (at least on the low to middle to upper middle type places). High end highrises maybe it's different.

Making $6600 a month, deduct 1/3 for federal and state taxes. State taxes around $660 and FICA around $540 and the rest for income tax. That means he will have $4400 a month to spend. Deduct family health insurance to round it out, he will have $4000 a month to spend.
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Old 01-22-2011, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
5,380 posts, read 7,257,964 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ari Gold View Post
School & renting wise, 91212 looks like it may be affordable for a very very basic 3 bed rental.

There seems to be very good public high school at Mira Costa
Mira Costa is in San Diego County and it's a long ( 2-3 hour) commute to LA. Where is Zip code 91212?
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Old 01-22-2011, 03:20 PM
 
Location: SoCal
2,262 posts, read 6,644,937 times
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Just want to point out that I have never heard of gas being included with rent (gas is usually powers the heat). Also, we pay for our own trash, and that also seems to be the norm here as well.

At every place WE looked at, the only thing included with rent was water.

Recently, we got rid of cable. It's been somewhat of a pain, but if you have a TV that connects to the internet (or a box that can do it), you can watch a lot of shows on Netflix ($10/mo), Hulu ($8/mo if you sign up for HuluPlus), and other less legal places.

Our last bill, we paid $122 for electricity & trash and $54 for gas. Keep in mind, we live in a small 2 bedroom. We also have our own gas-powered washer/dryer. For cell phones, we are on a family plan. I have a smart phone with a data package and my husband has a regular phone (no data package). We pay about $150/mo.

When I was working for my old company, about 30% was taken out of my check for taxes and health insurance.
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Old 01-22-2011, 03:32 PM
 
13 posts, read 20,144 times
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typo.

I meant 90212. Beverly Hills High seems to get decent reviews.

Clearly we need to make more than £80k to enjoy life there - but that won't be a problem if plans come to fruition.
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