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Old 04-19-2010, 03:49 PM
18 posts, read 38,469 times
Reputation: 27


Hello all!

I'm a master's student (graduating in May) and currently applying to jobs around the country. In my cover letters, I've generally said that my salary is negotiable. However, today I received a reply from one of the New Orleans area jobs I applied to saying that I met the qualifications for employment, but requesting specific salary requirements before proceeding with the interview process.

I've lived in the Midwest my entire life, and have lived in upstate New York for graduate school the past two years--essentially, I have no idea what the cost of living is like in NOLA, and thus I have no idea what to ask for in terms of a salary.

As I said, I'm about to graduate with my MA, but went straight from undergrad to grad school and so have no full-time work experience. The job itself is non-profit work--a museum, to be specific.

With that in mind, any input on what I should ask for? I'm not a big spender by any means--a roommate situation is fine for this point in my life. I'd just like to be comfortable--enough for the essentials, some entertainment/social stuff, with a little left over for savings. Based on some research, my original guesstimate was in the high 20s, but I was hoping that some locals had some insight before I sent a formal reply.

Thanks for your time!
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:27 PM
1 posts, read 3,779 times
Reputation: 10
I have similar questions to yours. Recently I was visiting New Orleans and coincidently was called from a Federal office to come in to interview for a position I applied to last year. After I returned home from the vacation, the office called and offered me the job. I was excited until I started looking at real estate prices and insurance rates. Wow - I was shocked. $500,000 homes all over the place and sky high insurance.

Am I missing something or expecting too much? They offered me $60,000 per year, but after I did some research I came back to them wanting the max of $77,000 and I am not sure if that is enough to afford a single family home in a decent neighborhood. How much does one need to make in this city to be comfortable? I imagine renting would be more affordable, but I would plan on settling in and having a family at some point soon.
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Old 04-20-2010, 04:02 AM
Location: New Orleans
98 posts, read 260,300 times
Reputation: 45
Try this site it will give you a ball park idea of the difference of where you come from to where you are going.

Cost of Living Wizard | Salary.com
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:36 AM
Location: Philadelphia, PA
35 posts, read 120,966 times
Reputation: 32
Take any CoL converter with a grain of salt with New Orleans. I am yet unconvinced that it's fully representative of the cost of living post-katrina here. I'm not saying don't use it, just try to look into the details of what it's comparing (as mentioned in many posts, make sure if you're planning on buying, the high homeowners/flood insurance are taken into consideration).

That being said, I came here with a starting salary in the mid-40k, and with a month of corporate housing to scout out from, I've been living very nicely on the northshore for the last few years. Within the city, I have a few friends that make somewhere in the mid-30k's and do just fine living in half-shotgun house setups (the local variety of housing) or with roomates (I believe their rents vary in the 450-650/mo range).
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:25 PM
152 posts, read 439,613 times
Reputation: 72
Mid 40k range is a good starting point. That salary will, however, never allow you to buy a home within orleans parish, or at least the fully functioning safe part of orleans. You may find it difficult to purchase in jefferson even. That salary range is tricky too, you will be competing with section 8 and other government assissted/underwritten housing which you will make too much to qualify for, but not enough to pay the rent without help. It also depends on your debt situation. Normally I like to budget no more than 25% of my pretax income toward housing. However with tons of debt you may be in more of a pinch. Theater is sort of right in that there are tons of 500k houses, it may be due to people coming out ahead after katrina when rebuilding, finding themselves with enough SBA loan, FEMA, roadhome and the others monies to build a bigger house than they had before. It may also be a demand thing. MA and working for a local museum? I can't imagine them paying more than 40k but I may be wrong. You may actually do better as a teacher here, more so if you have student debt. Ultimately I think housing/rental costs are overly inflated here due to insurance costs. I also feel that salaries here are still in the stone ages, my father made more in Massachusetts in the late 70s early 80s than he does here now. He tried moving back there after katrina but was like 20 years out of the social loop and had no leads or recomendations for employment while there so he gave up and came back here. I think I would have stayed regardless but I'm young and have time to waste. For the sake of inspiring a salary increase revolution in this area I suggest you ask for 6 figures and storm out if they are in opposition. Demand that your cost of living here would exceed what they want to pay and your only other option would be to live in a tent on the front sidewalk. I think we should all team up and do this, like a city of new orleans residents strike to demand higher pay from the local employers so we can have some cushion in our financial lives! Lol I'm dumb I know.
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:41 PM
152 posts, read 439,613 times
Reputation: 72
Oh one more thing to put 40k into perspective... I have tons of friends who easily break $100 per nite working in local restaraunts, bars, and as delivery drivers even. You could easily make 35k with 2 service industry jobs and working a few doubles per week. My friends complain about doubles but I think they forget that a restaraunt double is only like 8-10 hour shift, the same as the rest of us work with our normal schedule day jobs. My roommate makes between 400 and 600 per week as a delivery driver, that's 20k-35k right there. Not to mention that's working 4-5 days with like 5 hour shifts... Not bad, when I found that out I considered quitting my job and driving for them. Just some perspective on that salary range.
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:57 PM
16 posts, read 49,596 times
Reputation: 11
This book really helped in my job search and making sense of salary requirements and how to word your application materials.

Amazon.com: Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute (0028195083103): Jack Chapman: Books
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:54 AM
37 posts, read 131,717 times
Reputation: 26
anything above $35K and you should be fine in NO honestly. I think you should worry more about what your particular field typically pays and less about what you can afford to live on in NO. NO is a relatively cheap city to live in, so you don't have to worry at all
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