• Page :
  • 1
  • Text Only
Voting History
rated:
Does living in a high COL location( Sf bay area) have its benefits (career wise) ? Do people living there end up saving a lot of money ( monthly)? Do you guys think living in a High COL pretty much eliminates the chance of retiring early due to high mortgage payments...

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Times are different now and you will not find cheap housing in an area, you'd consider settling down raising your family... (more)

archstenton (May. 13, 2013 @ 11:08p) |

If you are good at your job and in tech, it's rather easy to make 200+ K a year with 5-10 years experience at an establi... (more)

ironfist99 (May. 14, 2013 @ 12:46a) |

I'd prefer to have both. Nice income = nice CLs and nice savings = cash to ramp up

rsrvoir (May. 14, 2013 @ 9:34a) |

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

1) Yes
2) Some do. Some don't
3)It depends

what career?
Staples store manager? Prolly not

Some high COL areas have more job opportunity (DC, SF, NY, etc.). Then again, there are also low(er) COL areas that have really good job opportunities, just with lower pay (Dallas comes to mind, although I'm sure there are others).

My thoughts regarding savings/retirement: If you make X and have the discipline to save Y%, there might be benefits to living in a high COL area.

For example, if you have the discipline to save 20%, and you make 50k vs 100k in two different areas (with similar standards of living):
After 20 years at 50k, you'll have saved up 200k.
After 20 years at 100k, you'll have saved up 400k.

If you then retire and move to a cheap area, that 400k will get you a lot farther.

Then again, COL is a factor of many things - housing expenses, transportation expenses, food expenses, etc., all of which can vary greatly. A place with very high housing expenses might have significantly lower transportation expenses. So there are a lot of variables that go into this. It might be easier or harder to save that 20%, depending on where you are.

You can always move out of a place with high COL when you retire, assuming you've saved enough.

I have lived in both a high cost of living area (start of career) and low cost of living area once I reached mid-career. There is no easy answer to your question. My experience at least in IT is that for the vast bulk of folks high cost of living areas do have higher pay but generally not enough to off-set the higher cost of living or taxes (taxes are a bit less of an issue in DC because VA is pretty reasonable tax-wise at least compared to CA and NY/NJ). However, if you are exceptionally skilled and/or lucky you can make more than enough to offset the higher cost of living area. Also there tend to be more opportunities for advancement, other jobs, starting your own company in high cost of living areas (this is why in part they are high cost of living).

My take is that early in your career it is worth living in a high cost of living area as you get more rapid advancement and more opportunities. Also when you are young and single and especially without kids it is easy to minimize your costs (you can live in a closet, don't care about schools, etc). As you get older if you get married and have kids the equation gets more complicated. Then the costs of living in a high cost of living area may begin to outweigh the positives. There are exceptions as some careers are going to be much less "portable" than others.

For me personally I got opportunities living in DC when I was young that I would never get in my current location however once I had reached mid-career and realized I wasn't going to start my own company and had no desire to enter management it made sense to leave the DC area. I would probably have to double my salary in DC to live like I currently do and that just was not going to happen.

Basically you have to do the numbers for your situation. There is no single right answer and the averages don't tell you much about your particular situation. Also assuming we are only talking US the major differentiators in COL are housing and taxes by a wide margin. Transportation, private education (if you want to send you kids to private school), utilities/energy costs are also important but much less so. Everything else is fairly similar in my experience.

career benefits?
YES

do people save a lot of money montly?
MAINLY NOT, but it's possible for some people to save some

retiring early?
If you wish, you can plan to live in a high COL area for part of your life, while you are moving up a career/income ladder, then transition intelligently to a lower COL area, depending on many things like what your work is, what your salary is, what your family needs, etc.

===
some other considerations:

The education level, sophistication, variety, quality, and sheer numbers of other residents around your age and in your stage in life -- in terms of making friends, having romantic dates, finding a life partner (if that's what you want), etc.

The cultural aspects (ranging from variety of ethnic foods/restaurants, to museums/zoos etc, to major league sports teams, to scenic spots/parks/beaches, etc.) and socializing options, if any of that is important to you.

The ease of travel in and out, both for local (everyday, weekend and evenings) and distant travel (like when you go on vacation, go to visit relatives, have people visit you, need to travel for work) -- good public transportation, a nearby airport, train stations, ferries, etc.

The variety and price-competition of goods and services (which tends to be better in a metropolitan area).

The stress of living (noise, pollution, population density, parking availability, maniac drivers, greater crime levels, always-crowded restaurants/trains/doctor's offices/whatever).

Tax rates, laws that might affect you (like marriage/divorce laws).

Proximity to good medical care, good hospitals.

Proximity to good schools and universities for any children you might have.

General atmosphere, general profile of the typical resident - does it mesh well with your interests, or if not, can you at least be tolerant of it? For example, are you okay with constant bombardment of...
...country music, cowboy boots, southern twangs, big hair (or whatever!) in Nashville, TN vs
...Latin music, club/beach culture, Spanish-language prevalance, hurricanes in Miami, FL vs
...Historical Asian influence, big gay culture, Silicon Valley ethos/personalities (which aren't everyone's cup of tea), CA breezy shallowness , or whatever is the 'vibe' in San Francisco, CA.

Personal space, outdoor space, pets:
Do you need to live in a house/apartment with a private outdoors area (like a patio, a backyard, a roof terrace, a BBQ grill area)?
Do you really want to keep a pet, and to give it enough space (indoors or out) to thrive?
Do you want to have space enough to give parties at your house, or have friends/relatives come to visit you and stay for a few days?
Are you okay with having roommates and perhaps sharing a fridge, a bathroom, a tv with several strangers?

Do you have any hobbies or pursuits that you can only do easily in certain places (like surfing, sailing, spelunking, etc.; participating in certain religious/ethnic community groups)?

CAguyIP said:    Do people living there end up saving a lot of money ( monthly)? You are married and you and your spouse both work and pull in six figures in SF/LA/NY, and you happen to have a relative who is in the area and looks after your kid. You don't have to pay for day care, after school care. You might also live with said relative to save rent.

If you moved somewhere cheaper, you'd make less and have to pay for childcare. and maybe rent.

There's very few jobs that require you to live in a high COL area. The US has an advantage few industrialized nations have: a huge number of metro areas, with much lower COL than SF/LA/NY. Not so for Canada (Vancouver, Toronto) Western Europe (Paris, London, Frankfurt), Oceania (Sydney), old Asia (Toyko, Seoul). My hypothesis is this is why India and China are rising powers.

It's worth it to live in the Bay Area if one is looking for good jobs, especially in the tech field. SF Bay Area has one of the most exorbitantly priced housing market in the nation.

I live in the SF Bay Area, but only because I work in the software industry for one of the largest tech firms (a household name). For folks in the tech industry, the abundant work and career opportunities probably do justify the high COL. But I'm pretty sure I wouldn't stay here if I were in a different industry and had no family ties to the region.

Finding a chick can be very hard if you are not already married. You can save a lot of money if you are married to someone with a high salary.

If you are female, there are many free agents in the valley to choose from.

Do anything you can to avoid high housing payments unless you are a two income household (2x100k). This usually means roommates or living in a semi-crappy area such as parts of east San Jose. If you are single, have lots of roommates and buy a Crown Vic as a backup vehicle. Use the train or bus to get to work.

I know certain posters here really hate to hear this, but if you live in SF and get pre-1979 housing, you will have rent control. Your rent will only go up 60% of the CPI. It also frees you from having to worry about being evicted by rent increase (a real threat here - in 1999 rents on non-rent control units went up $1000+/month due to dotcom boom 1.0).

Agreed about the dating scene here. It's awful for men. Tolerable in SF and Berkeley but just horrible everywhere else.

SF has some of the ugliest women with a skewed ratio that is bad for men. Are you married? Then it could be good. Single male in tech? Haha good luck

SFcapitalist said:   SF has some of the ugliest women with a skewed ratio that is bad for men. Are you married? Then it could be good. Single male in tech? Haha good luck

Not only that, they expect you to make a high salary because half the other guys hitting on them do. So they expect fancy dinners and gifts etc. if you're not willing to provide it, there's another guy who will

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   SFcapitalist said:   SF has some of the ugliest women with a skewed ratio that is bad for men. Are you married? Then it could be good. Single male in tech? Haha good luck

Not only that, they expect you to make a high salary because half the other guys hitting on them do. So they expect fancy dinners and gifts etc. if you're not willing to provide it, there's another guy who will


On the other hand, most of the men are douche bags. If are a douche bag, it could be a good fit.

It depends what you want from life. It also depends on your abilities but then if you are good ... you can rise anywhere.

Assuming you are in tech
- High Tension career
- Lot of office politics
- Low productivity ... long hours
- First place to see job cut during downturn (and first to recover)
- Saving ... forget it ... until you don't get good cash bonus or you work for start up that get sold and you get a piece (not always true).

- Housing (rent or mortgage) takes away your one by-weekly paycheck.
- If you need 100K/yr in Austin or Atlanta then to maintain same life style you need 200K in bay area
(That too in two income (you and spouse) because jobs goes here in minutes).

BTW if you already made up your mind ... you will not agree to this but keep this thread in safe place and after moving you will realize that every piece of information contributed or mentioned here is true.

I'm saving very little living in SF

SFcapitalist said:   SF has some of the ugliest women with a skewed ratio that is bad for men. Are you married? Then it could be good. Single male in tech? Haha good luck

If you are a single male in tech, you probably already suffer from chronic sea-dementia, and don't know what it is like to work or be around attractive women. Or even to be around women at work.

skyracer3 said:   I'm saving very little living in SF

I hope at least you got pre-1979 housing so you can reap the benefits of rent control in a few years.

A real newbie mistake is to move into one of those turnkey condos in Soma because they are fancy and hip. But then a year later they realize that rent increases are at least as large as salary increases (and during boom times right now, larger). A friend of mine in one of those was raised from $1900 a month to $3300 a month in 1999. Didn't matter that by 2001 it was back down to $1900, the damage was done and he was living in Oakland.

sfchris said:   skyracer3 said:   I'm saving very little living in SF

I hope at least you got pre-1979 housing so you can reap the benefits of rent control in a few years.

A real newbie mistake is to move into one of those turnkey condos in Soma because they are fancy and hip. But then a year later they realize that rent increases are at least as large as salary increases (and during boom times right now, larger). A friend of mine in one of those was raised from $1900 a month to $3300 a month in 1999. Didn't matter that by 2001 it was back down to $1900, the damage was done and he was living in Oakland.


Yeah I live in a pre-79 building, but moved in late 2012. Rent was ridiculous at that point but I was rushed to find a place (corporate housing was expiring). I heard prices have gone down SLIGHTLY since then, so I'll look for another pre-79 building. Plus I'm in North Beach and want to get out here. haha.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   SFcapitalist said:   SF has some of the ugliest women with a skewed ratio that is bad for men. Are you married? Then it could be good. Single male in tech? Haha good luck

Not only that, they expect you to make a high salary because half the other guys hitting on them do. So they expect fancy dinners and gifts etc. if you're not willing to provide it, there's another guy who will


OP, don't listen to all these Negative Nancies.
Come to the BA, join Google, or find someone who works there who can get you Google Glass.

My buddy has the Super Beta version of the Google Glass ... has women falling all over him.
He don't have time to call me, just to text me saying he's had to get a 2nd bottle of Viagra to keep up with all the poontang he's getting.
And, yes, he used Google Glass to send that text.

evlemonkfish said:   SUCKISSTAPLES said:   SFcapitalist said:   SF has some of the ugliest women with a skewed ratio that is bad for men. Are you married? Then it could be good. Single male in tech? Haha good luck

Not only that, they expect you to make a high salary because half the other guys hitting on them do. So they expect fancy dinners and gifts etc. if you're not willing to provide it, there's another guy who will


OP, don't listen to all these Negative Nancies.
Come to the BA, join Google, or find someone who works there who can get you Google Glass.

My buddy has the Super Beta version of the Google Glass ... has women falling all over him.
He don't have time to call me, just to text me saying he's had to get a 2nd bottle of Viagra to keep up with all the poontang he's getting.
And, yes, he used Google Glass to send that text.


Is your buddy featured here?
http://whitemenwearinggoogleglass.tumblr.com/

Y'all are assuming the OP is into women. The Bay is awesome if you're gay.

Anybody got any insights on the prevalence of "move to the Bay" threads in the past month or so? Curiously, I've been faced with a similar dilemma recently. Company has announced my satellite office is closing and I'll be unemployed in August. They've "encouraged" me to relocate to the Bay Area for a job that is a further move up the ladder. Wife has vetoed any possibility of relocating, so it's pretty much out of the picture...

Is my situation more common than it appears?

jfunk138 said:   Anybody got any insights on the prevalence of "move to the Bay" threads in the past month or so? Curiously, I've been faced with a similar dilemma recently. Company has announced my satellite office is closing and I'll be unemployed in August. They've "encouraged" me to relocate to the Bay Area for a job that is a further move up the ladder. Wife has vetoed any possibility of relocating, so it's pretty much out of the picture...

Is my situation more common than it appears?


I'd guess it is a function that the BayArea is pretty hot these days for IT jobs. Rather than forced relocation like you. Also the cost of the Bay Area which outside of NYC is probably the most expensive area in the U.S. to live causes folks to think harder about whether it is "worth it".

Even if you don't save a penny more there is prestige and satisfaction with having a high income. Also areas of high COL generally are nicer with the city providing good more services and infrastructure.

do178b said:   Even if you don't save a penny more there is prestige and satisfaction with having a high income. Also areas of high COL generally are nicer with the city providing good more services and infrastructure.

Huh? Dallas, Houston, Austin, Nashville, Atlanta to name a few all provide those things and are not high COL.

mikef07 said:   do178b said:   Even if you don't save a penny more there is prestige and satisfaction with having a high income. Also areas of high COL generally are nicer with the city providing good more services and infrastructure.

Huh? Dallas, Houston, Austin, Nashville, Atlanta to name a few all provide those things and are not high COL.
Translation: I like dining at the famous restaurants. The infrastructure part is bizarre since SF, LA, NY have terrible traffic.

do178b said:   Even if you don't save a penny more there is prestige and satisfaction with having a high income. Also areas of high COL generally are nicer with the city providing good more services and infrastructure.

Personally I get a lot more satisfaction with having savings/wealth vs. income alone. The two are related of course but high income without saving is worse to me than moderate income with saving. But hey to each their own.

secstate said:   do178b said:   Even if you don't save a penny more there is prestige and satisfaction with having a high income. Also areas of high COL generally are nicer with the city providing good more services and infrastructure.

Personally I get a lot more satisfaction with having savings/wealth vs. income alone. The two are related of course but high income without saving is worse to me than moderate income with saving. But hey to each their own.


If you are paid competently in high CoL area and are careful with money, you can get to large savings pretty quickly.

gruntwork said:   

If you are paid competently in high CoL area and are careful with money, you can get to large savings pretty quickly.


I agree I was taking issue with do178b's comment, not that you cannot save in a high cost of living area because you can. When I lived in DC my savings rate was 25-30% most years.

SFcapitalist said:   SF has some of the ugliest women with a skewed ratio that is bad for men. Are you married? Then it could be good. Single male in tech? Haha good luck

Well you clearly are not from the east coast ...

I'm a recent SV transplant and I can tell you for sure the year round warm weather + outdoor lifestyle has positive effects on the female population. Maybe not if you're comparing to SoCal.

Also any single guy in tech who is an interesting person, stays in shape, and is not a troll can absolutely crush here, just like anywhere else.

motuwallet said:   SFcapitalist said:   SF has some of the ugliest women with a skewed ratio that is bad for men. Are you married? Then it could be good. Single male in tech? Haha good luck

Also any single guy in tech who is an interesting person, stays in shape, and is not a troll can absolutely crush here, just like anywhere else.


Yes, but there are some areas (NYC) that are MUCH better than others (LA/SF).

It shouldn't be a dealbreaker, but if you're single it's definitly a factor to consider.

Times are different now and you will not find cheap housing in an area, you'd consider settling down raising your family for the next 20 years.

I grew up in San Rafael, Marin County, a very good area. My Dad got us an 1800 S.F. 3 bed house on a grocery clerk's salary. But that was the 1960's. If you're a professional in the technical services industry, there's opportunity to make big bonuses but of course that's not guaranteed.

Between housing and college, don't plan on early retirement. Of course, the weather does make it a little easier making those mortgage payments

If you are good at your job and in tech, it's rather easy to make 200+ K a year with 5-10 years experience at an established company. Or you can gamble and take 150K a year with the shot at a high 6/low 7 figure payout at a startup. Everyone bitches and moans about the high COL, but it's actually very easy to save lots of money if you are willing to live in east San Jose (bad schools) and don't eat out much.

People bitch because they can't afford to get a 4400 sq foot house, with a view, in a private gated community, with a 200K salary. But if you don't care about any of that, live cheaply and you will amass enough money to live like SIS in thai land after 7 years.

secstate said:   do178b said:   Even if you don't save a penny more there is prestige and satisfaction with having a high income. Also areas of high COL generally are nicer with the city providing good more services and infrastructure.

Personally I get a lot more satisfaction with having savings/wealth vs. income alone. The two are related of course but high income without saving is worse to me than moderate income with saving. But hey to each their own.


I'd prefer to have both. Nice income = nice CLs and nice savings = cash to ramp up



Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

TRUSTe online privacy certification

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2014