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Old 12-08-2011, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Jawjah
2,468 posts, read 1,674,781 times
Reputation: 1099

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Hello everyone,

I am a software engineer in Alabama making close to $90k and have been offered a good opportunity with a startup in Palo Alto. The range being discussed is around 115-125k - the company and the job are great but what concerns me the most is the cost of living for a small family (wife + 1 toddler). I keep reading about sky high rents for 2 bedrooms and super long commutes. But its a choice between non-innovate software work in Alabama but a comfortable and good salary vs cutting-edge work in Palo Alto vs vastly increased cost of living which *may* require some cutbacks.

Ideally I would like to maintain the same quality of life as here in central Alabama and get to do the interesting work. Any comments would be appreciated - thanks !
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Old 12-08-2011, 11:30 AM
 
457 posts, read 676,896 times
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Without knowing your specific situation, I would venture a guess that it is going to be hard to replicate your Alabama quality of life in Palo Alto. You won't be able to live in a nice house, with yard, and multiple bedrooms. Most likely its going to be in a 2 bedroom apartment in a gated community with a decent commute. However, given that you will be working on cutting edge technology, in a leading center of innovation, I would think it would set you up for success in the long term. Once you are into the groove, you may be able to get into the whole start-up, venture, stock options, IPO, cash out thing. If I was in your situation, I will make the move.
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Old 12-08-2011, 11:35 AM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 11,819,060 times
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Palo Alto is one of the most expensive towns in one of the most expensive parts of the US, there's no getting around that. Really basic homes there easily go for over a million bucks.
Maybe look into Fremont, renting should be pretty affordable there given your salary, houses are cheaper than in PA but still over $600,000. Homes around Silicon Valley are generally around $800,000 and up.

I don't think you'll find the same quality of life as in AL given that you'd be making like 20% more here in an area that is 2 or 3+ times as expensive for housing costs as somewhere like AL.
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Old 12-08-2011, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Jawjah
2,468 posts, read 1,674,781 times
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dmode thanks for your comment - I currently live in a good sized 2 bedroom townhouse with a monthly rent of $700, and my monthly take home pay is $5000.

Out of that $5000, $1500 goes towards credit card bill and grad student loan payoffs (which I anticipate to go on for another 2-3 years). My car payment is $300. These are expenses which will carry over if I make a move so essentially after loan and car payments ) I have around $3k left to pay for rent, bills, and other family expenses.
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Old 12-08-2011, 11:47 AM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 11,819,060 times
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Check some of these listings and see what you think, these are 2 bedrooms in the Fremont area:

SF bay area apts/housing for rent classifieds - craigslist
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Old 12-08-2011, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Jawjah
2,468 posts, read 1,674,781 times
Reputation: 1099
Quote:
Originally Posted by mayorhaggar View Post
Check some of these listings and see what you think, these are 2 bedrooms in the Fremont area:

SF bay area apts/housing for rent classifieds - craigslist
Thanks mayorhaggar - after a decade of living in AL, that page certainly gave me a sticker shock
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Old 12-08-2011, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,835 posts, read 31,398,746 times
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Unless there is a lot of probable upside, to get an equivalent standard of living in the Bay Area, you'd want about $180K.
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Old 12-08-2011, 01:55 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 11,819,060 times
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Maybe crack the whip and have your wife get a job.

Most families here have two people working full time, it's pretty rare to see stay at home moms unless dad is super rich.
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:30 PM
 
Location: San Jose, CA
7,688 posts, read 26,412,951 times
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When it comes to housing in the Bay Area, you can get affordability, safety, and convenience, but you have to pick two out of the three. Realistically, most folks take the inconvenient option for the sake of their families, which means a tedious commute over the Sunol Grade in most cases. Those who take what they can afford close to where they work will find it comes at the cost of schools (both in terms of safety and funding) and general quality of life. That's just how it is here. I'm probably going to buy a condo in Dublin or Livermore because I don't like the options I have in the South Bay given my income.
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:04 PM
 
Location: A bit further north than before
1,595 posts, read 3,286,659 times
Reputation: 1301
Quote:
Originally Posted by rorqual View Post
Thanks mayorhaggar - after a decade of living in AL, that page certainly gave me a sticker shock
And that was Fremont. Fremont is CHEAP around here!
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