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Old 08-04-2012, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Milwaukee, WI
145 posts, read 268,518 times
Reputation: 125

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Quick question... I am looking to start a new life for myself and plan on planting roots in a brand new place. I'll be honest here - I'm from Milwaukee, WI and my first choice is honestly Cleveland, Ohio simply because A) I love it there and B) The Cost of Living is ridiculously cheap!!! I however have dreamed of starting a life in one of America's "Dream Cities", one of which is San Francisco (the other being New York City). Here's the situation (and this may very well sound stupid), I am single and don't have a college degree. I do not have a vehicle, nor do I feel I will need one in SF. I will be moving with a total of $13,000 in my "Life's Savings". I will be coming with no job (unless I get one when I take vacation at work in April) and am willing to work ANYWHERE as long as it provides income. I make $11.92/hr right now and would like to match that (if not) exceed that. Also please note that I have very little debt. My range as far as rent goes is NO HIGHER than $600/month (insert laugh here). That's all I feel comfortable paying anyway. I am willing to go higher if needed (up to say $750), but I better have a job that can support the cost. I am open to living in a rooming house (Room For Rent) of sorts to begin my new life if need be. If this sounds completely insane and downright undo-able, than please let me know so I can scratch San Francisco out of my head. I need to stay within the city limits so suburbs are OUT of the question. I need a "safe" area with a low amount of drug/violent crime activity. To give an overall idea of my "comfort level", I have lived in Chicago's Uptown as well as (where I now stay) Avenues West in Milwaukee.
So is this the craziest idea you've ever heard of? I've heard stories of people coming to New York (as an example) with next to nothing in their pockets and they now have families and lives in the city. They have flourished! I'm coming with $13k. Is San Francisco really that brutal of a place to create a life and "make it" in? Thank you for any/all of your input.
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Old 08-04-2012, 04:43 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 12,250,601 times
Reputation: 2953
Really depends on whether you get a job or not, and how much you make. Honestly you are going to be priced out of SF unless you are making at least $18 to $20 an hour and even then you're going to be living with roommates which is going to cost at least $800 a month, probably more. Right now there are a lot of tech jobs in SF but if you don't work in tech then I wouldn't expect to easily get a job.

The cheapest parts of SF are places like the Outer Sunset District, and those areas are pretty boring and remote from downtown (where most office jobs are) compared to parts of Oakland and Berkeley which are more happening, closer on BART to downtown SF, and are cheaper. Honestly you'd probably enjoy living in Grand Lake in Oakland and having a 20 minute commute to work (if you had a job in downtown SF) on BART compared with living in the Outer Sunset, paying more in rent, and having an hour commute to downtown SF on Muni. You could probably get by on about $15 an hour at the very least and live comfortably in Oakland or Berkeley with roommates. Yes, Oakland has plenty of safe and nice areas, and they are way nicer than Uptown in Chicago. I used to live in Uptown around 2003 and it was a dump, I dunno if it's better now or not.

Best thing to do would be to come to SF for a month or a couple of weeks, stay at a hostel, line up a bunch of interviews at every temp agency in SF and try to find an office job, but be prepared to go back home if it doesn't work out. Honestly the state economy is still just too crappy to move permanently to the Bay Area and expect to find work within a few months. SF is doing better than the rest of the state but only because of tech jobs.

I moved to SF in 2004 with $18 in my bank account and got a job within a week, but this was back when the regional economy was strong, having recovered from the 2000 tech bubble bursting, and the job market was good but not totally dependent on tech, which meant that apartments were affordable even on the somewhat crappy salary I made ($16 an hour). Right now the regional economy is crappy except for tech, and a small number of techies are making a lot of money and driving up rental costs for everyone not in tech. So honestly it's not a great time to move to SF unless you do tech, and even then it can be competitive.
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Old 08-04-2012, 04:46 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,598 posts, read 34,138,117 times
Reputation: 29233
$13,000 a month might just do it!
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Old 08-04-2012, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Piedmont, CA
34,694 posts, read 60,441,007 times
Reputation: 18332
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
$13,000 a month might just do it!
+1 LOL

Anyhow, if you are uberfrugal and find a job, you should be able to replenish your savings pretty quickly.
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn, NY
570 posts, read 1,071,156 times
Reputation: 318
If you love Cleveland, you'll REALLY love Pittsburgh, (aka "The San Fransisco of the East" due to the hilly topography) Have you paid a visit there?
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Auburn, AL
115 posts, read 153,769 times
Reputation: 176
Maybe if you stayed in a tenement room in the Tenderloin or split a bedroom with three other people. Either way, it won't be pleasant. There are very low-income housing options that are basically left to rot and infest until they are shut down. Maybe look around Craigslist for roommates and do some research on the location before you actually move. Try the Sunset neighborhood or consider living in a car. Also, San Francisco culture is very different from Milwaukee, so be prepared. It's definitely safer than Chicago, but you'll run into some characters for sure.
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Old 08-04-2012, 08:14 PM
 
Location: Springfield, Ohio
13,836 posts, read 12,253,469 times
Reputation: 13795
Honestly, Cleveland is undergoing alot of redevelopment, and you might find a better quality of life there if you're just starting out. SF is pretty much unattainable these days unless you're making six figures, have a high-level degree, or have some form of "in" (i.e. family/friends). Otherwise you might find it's not what you expected...
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:45 PM
 
10,629 posts, read 24,948,919 times
Reputation: 6739
You're going to severely limit yourself if you insist on staying within city limits. The rental market is REALLY tight right now, and rents have been skyrocketing. With that kind of budget you would probably get stuck (if you're lucky enough to find a room/bed somewhere) in some neighborhood that comes nowhere near your SF dream -- assuming that living in the Outer Sunset or somewhere similar (nothing wrong with the Outer Sunset, just assuming that it's not what you're envisioning when you say you want to live in the city). I'd be open to Oakland. Or look elsewhere.
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Old 08-05-2012, 02:59 AM
 
Location: Milwaukee, WI
145 posts, read 268,518 times
Reputation: 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by mayorhaggar View Post
...honestly it's not a great time to move to SF unless you do tech, and even then it can be competitive.
I've been hearing time and time again as to how much Technology is in demand in the San Francisco area. I highly doubt that would be anything near what I'd be able to get. Are there any (good paying) factory jobs throughout the area at all? I would assume Oakland is more factory based, but I don't know since I've honestly never been to the Bay Area before. :/

Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
I'd be open to Oakland.
Okay, a few people have been mentioning Oakland. Is Oakland that much cheaper to live in than San Francisco is? Also, what is the population of Oakland, and how long will it take me on BART to get to downtown SF?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ctoocheck View Post
If you love Cleveland, you'll REALLY love Pittsburgh, (aka "The San Fransisco of the East" due to the hilly topography) Have you paid a visit there?
I have been to Pittsburgh and I also love that city as well. But is it really the "SF of the East"? I mean is it that liberal, and does it have that major metropolitan area feel to it? I was only there for a day trip. I chose Cleveland over Pittsburgh simply because I think (not for sure) it feels more urban and also it have a great location with the lake. If I were to go anywhere in Pennsylvania though, I think it would have to be Philadelphia. Which, I might add, is still in the running as well. Trailing a bit behind Cleveland, but still in the running nonetheless.
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Old 08-05-2012, 03:15 AM
 
Location: Baghdad by the Bay (San Francisco, California)
3,530 posts, read 4,668,090 times
Reputation: 3145
I have two bits of conflicting advice:

1) the idea of a "dream city" exists because the kind of scenario you describe is possible -- meaning you can go to one with nothing and be successful. The key is, you must have a unique talent. The people you have heard of who went to NYC with $10 and built a life had a talent. They struggled for a long time and believed in themselves. The same goes here. If you are a programmer, writer, artist, chef, entrepreneur, etc. and you are really good at it, you will eventually rise to success in San Francisco. you may need to struggle for quite awhile and live far from the City. But, the City is where your craft lives, so you will come here to market it and won't be dissuaded by the high costs and rejections that inevitably confront anyone chasing a true passion. If you have defined your passion and you posses the balls to put your ideas of security on the line, by all means, join the millions of Californians who have gone before you and done exactly that. Chase it down tenaciously. There is a rich and, some say, dwindling tradition of this known as the California Dream. We all would be a lot better off if more people still had the capacity to envision this dream.

Conversely,

2) the people of this "dream city" consider it as such because they truly love it and not just the romantic notion of it. Same with NYC. About three months in, you will realize whether or not this place is for you. By then, though, it will probably be too late to react either way. So, it's important to choose a place that meets practical criteria for good living. These include many of the things you list as your baseline requirements. However, SF doesn't offer these things to a broad range of people. Thats part of what makes the City so desirable. She has to want you as much as you want her.

With that in mind, cities that do make it easy to earn a living or get ahead faster in certain fields, with less specific credentials are often touted by their residents as the best places to live in America. Cities like Houston, Dallas, Denver, Atlanta, etc. fall into this realm. They make it easy to get over the hump, find success, survive and thrive for anyone with enough drive to chase down a dream there. They don't challenge as much or punish as hard as places like SF, NYC, LA, Seattle, etc. if you have true love for a city that will go a little easier on you, like Cleveland, you will be much happier in the long run with going there. That is such a bonus -- finding a place that speaks to your soul. The fact that it's not a "dream city" to anyone else is irrelevant. If you can make your dream in Cleveland, you will ultimately be happier and more successful.

The key is to live your life -- not that of the movies or MTV. Success and happiness are already inside you, waiting to be defined. For many, and you may very well be one of them, the challenge of "making it" presented by a city like SF is integral to that. If this appeals to you, go for it, but be prepared for what's to come. Otherwise, make a good life, make something that makes your city (wherever that is) better, raise a family, or whatever. Just know that whichever route you choose, you will ultimately regret NOT doing the things that scare you more than you will regret the things you do from a purely rational perspective.
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