• filter:
  • Text Only
  • Search this Topic »
Voting History
rated:
Hello fatwalleters,

Has anyone made the move from Florida (Major metro area) to California (SF Bay Area)?  Does anyone have real world experience for cost of living adjustments?  Let's say making $200k in FL, how much is needed in SF to keep same living level?  I've seen the online calculators, but would like to hear real world experiences.

Thank you in advance

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Roughly, very dependent on neighborhoods, garage apartment, condo, apt building, house, etc
800-1500 1br
1200-2500 2br
170... (more)

scrouds (Mar. 19, 2017 @ 4:56p) |

Wow. Big difference. Last I looked, the median rent for a 1 BR apartment in SF (within city limits) was $3500. Probably ... (more)

TravelerMSY (Mar. 20, 2017 @ 5:08p) |

Yeah at one point I considered looking at jobs in tech central, saw the price of an apartment and backed away slowly.

scrouds (Mar. 20, 2017 @ 6:54p) |

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

rated:
It probably matters more how you spend than how much you make.

rated:
blue_lily said:   Hello fatwalleters,

Has anyone made the move from Florida (Major metro area) to California (SF Bay Area)?  Does anyone have real world experience for cost of living adjustments?  Let's say making $200k in FL, how much is needed in SF to keep same living level?  I've seen the online calculators, but would like to hear real world experiences.

Thank you in advance

  
In my opinion, this is somewhat different for each person. The biggest difference is going to be housing and is dependent upon you are single/married, have kids, willing to share, willing to commute, willing to trade square footage etc. Best bet is to visit SF bay area and spend a day or two doing some housing search based on your conditions and compare the cost of what you are paying now versus what you will pay.

I didn't make exactly the same move - but did move from Austin to CA. It is only after I did the housing search that I was very comfortable with my new salary numbers relative to the additional that I was going to be paying for housing and it also convinced my wife that we were not going to be trading from a mansion to a garage.

It also depends upon the type of job transition. If you transition from old world economy company to a new world economy company with RSU's, believe it or not - those RSU's are real income and that factor in the affordability picture.

rated:
I should have added - you are moving from "no state income tax" to "state income tax". So that is going to be 2nd biggest expense that you need to add to your calculations.

rated:
It was many years ago, but my mother moved to Florida and found that registering & operating a car was much less in Florida.

rated:
9.3% state income tax bracket, so right off the top an extra ~$20k would be first thing to consider.

Biggest change from FL to CA is the adjustment not of just the cost of housing (much higher!), but of the size. For example, a common house size in much of the Bay Area is a 3BR/1BA at 1200sqft. While common house sizes in much of the country might have a 2000sqft+ 3BR home. If you want a house the same size and wherever you're at in Florida (barring South Beach Miami ultraluxury), you'll pay significantly more. If you're comfortable with a more compact house, then the cost of housing will be much higher (double-ish, depending) but not crazily so. Much more desirable place to live for many folks and price reflects it.

While most of the Bay Area is expensive, some parts are markedly more expensive than others for housing. Helps to know potential areas/cities as it varies quite a bit.

Food and energy costs should be comparable, gasoline more expensive, home/auto insurance generally less in CA but that varies as well. Eating out will be more expensive, as a rule, given higher labor costs. Better Mexican food. Worse Cuban food. Much better Asian cuisine of all stripes.

Without all the details, if I was being asked to transfer, I'd expect a good 35-45% increase as a point of departure, adjusting significantly for whether I wanted to move, my industry, and where precisely in the Bay Area I wanted to move. People don't realize how big the Bay Area is (or Los Angeles is, for that matter), but its incredibly spread out, about the same size as New Jersey is.

Good luck!

rated:
Factoring in taxes and higher cost of living, I would say you would need to make at least 2x the salary you do now to maintain the same lifestyle.

rated:
Source: http://swz.salary.com/CostOfLivingWizard/LayoutScripts/Coll_Star...

200k in Orlando, you'd need 350k in San Fran for similar lifestyle.

rated:
$200K is probably the top 1 percent anywhere in the country. I couldn't imagine you having to spend all of that when living in Orlando. Plenty of people live comfortably on a quarter of that there. You will save less in CA and spend more on housing, insurance, gas and taxes. What do you do in FL that is worth $200K? Dr., lawyer?

rated:
Here's another data point. If you made $200k in Orlando, you'd need $353,286 in San Francisco. Largest cost difference is in housing, but everything will increase in price. There's a reason some people move to high COL places to get jobs that pay more but live like misers to sock away the pay differential and then move to a low COL place with a large nest egg and hopefully the ability to leverage current job/experience to stay near current salary.

rated:
200k in the bay area would just make you average. You would not be able to afford a 3 bedroom house in san francisco. 200k just makes you slightly above the rest of the tech world but when you figure out their options etc, you would be below.

rated:
$200k is good money in SF bay area . it just depend where you want to live and how much commute you want .

rated:
imbatman said:   Source: http://swz.salary.com/CostOfLivingWizard/LayoutScripts/Coll_Star... 

200k in Orlando, you'd need 350k in San Fran for similar lifestyle.

This sounds about right. Housing in Orlando is practically free compared to SF. 

rated:
I actually moved from South Florida (Miami suburb) to the Bay Area, then to Los Angeles, then back to South Florida.

Many things were dramatically more expensive in CA. State income tax (10% vs. 0%), sales tax (almost 10% in LA vs. 6%), car registration (it was literally over $500 when I was there compared to $35 in Fla), gas (25 to 50 cents/gal more), etc. And of course housing, the big one. It is expensive anywhere near SF or LA, but it can range from astronomically more expensive (3-5x more) in parts of SF or Beverly Hills to "only" 2-3x more expensive in suburbs if you're willing to commute 1-2 hours each way.

What people mention above about 1.75x more salary seems to be in the general ballpark. I would say at least 1.5x, and run the numbers for your actual situation, neighborhood, taxes, etc. Because remember, the more you earn, the more of each additional dollar gets taxed. So if you need an extra $100K you may actually need an extra $135K or whatever after state income taxes and higher fed taxes/phased out deductions kick in.

Long story short, the numbers didn't make sense for me to stay in California and struggle for a mid-range house, when I could return home and buy a much nicer/bigger house without wrecking the budget.

jarfykk is right though. The Asian food is much better out there. Amazing food of all kinds in the Bay Area especially, it's one of the big things I miss. (I do not miss the traffic or Seattle-lite gloomy weather.)

rated:
Costs shouldn't vary that much, but it depends on what you spend your money on now.

I'd say, find the cost of the new apartment/house, and deduct 10% from your salary off the top for taxes (this gives you a bit of cushion). Most other things should remain similar enough if you're just looking to get an idea. If you have other large budget items, maybe tell us what those are so people can specifically comment on the differences in cost.

rated:
AlwaysWrite said:   I actually moved from South Florida (Miami suburb) to the Bay Area, then to Los Angeles, then back to South Florida.
  Isn't the climate a big draw there and why the housing is so expensive? It's like Florida but without 8 months of oppressive heat and humidity.

rated:
The replies you are getting are pretty spot on.  I know a couple people that have made the move from Florida to the bay area.  Both ended up living in apartments with roommates where before they had been living in a house with a yard, etc.  A lot of it depends on where you are in life and what your lifestyle is like.  If you really want to be able to replicate a typical family living environment, commute, etc. that you have in Florida in the bay area, it will be astronomically expensive.  If you're fine with a longer commute, possibly taking the BART and living in a smaller house then it's a lot more practical.  If you are single and want to live in an apartment in the city, that's even more doable.  A lot of it is very dependent on what you are looking for.  Central Florida and the SF Bay are two very different places in many ways so it's hard to compare them directly.

rated:
atikovi said:   $200K is probably the top 1 percent anywhere in the country. ...
  
1% is more like $400k level.

 

rated:
jarfykk said:   9.3% state income tax bracket, so right off the top an extra ~$20k would be first thing to consider.

 

  
1. 9.3% is the tax bracket. You would have to figure out the actual taxes.
2. Depends upon whether hit with AMT or not. If not in AMT, lesser bite from higher state tax brackets due to federal deduction.

rated:
$200K in FL. Are you spending all of that? Let say you are saving $100K out of $200K then in CA, you will be saving may be only $25K. Basically similar kind of house will cost you around $5k/month more in payments.

If you can't do this kind of math, I am surprised who is paying you $200K in FL.

rated:
blue_lily said:   ...how much is needed in SF to keep same living level?  
  
Stanolshefski's first answer is right on.   THe key is how much youre spending now.     Plus it really matters what your'e spending money on.

Someone making 200k could be 1 ) living frugally in Orlando in a 1 bedroom apartment for $1k a month rent and saving 50% of your paycheck then    or 2 ) spending their whole paycheck living in a 4000 sqft mcmansion and driving a luxury car.

You might be able to easily afford lifestyle #1 in a 1 bed apartment in SF on your 200k income but to replace lifestyle #2 with a mcmansion in the bay would require you to make $800k.

 

rated:
imbatman said:   Source: http://swz.salary.com/CostOfLivingWizard/LayoutScripts/Coll_Star... 

200k in Orlando, you'd need 350k in San Fran for similar lifestyle.

Having lived in both I would say $350k is a very conservative.

rated:
Are you comparing Miami to San Francisco? or to Oakland or Concord? Miami has some areas with housing costs above even San Francisco. Housing costs are the biggest difference. If you do not have a lot of pets or a large family there may not be a large difference in housing costs, but if you need 4+ bedrooms and a yard you will be spending a lot more in CA, or you will have a long commute. This will depend a lot on where in the bay area you are working.

At 200k+ the state taxes are more substantial and you should take it into consideration. If you are making $200k, married filing jointly, and maxing out both you and your wifes 401k(18k each), and taking the standard deduction you will be paying $9229 in state taxes.

rated:
PrincipalMember said:   
jarfykk said:   9.3% state income tax bracket, so right off the top an extra ~$20k would be first thing to consider.

 

  
1. 9.3% is the tax bracket. You would have to figure out the actual taxes.
2. Depends upon whether hit with AMT or not. If not in AMT, lesser bite from higher state tax brackets due to federal deduction.

  
Correct PrincipalMember on both counts. Perhaps I should've bee more clear. They will pay in the neighborhood of ~$20k in state income taxes based on the salary I recommended he ask for (40-50% more than he's making now as a point of departure). This will obviously vary based on income/decutions/AMT/etc but wanted him or her to have a round number to think about.  

Edit: And keep in mind OP that afte $268k you hit the 10.3% state tax bracket if you're single or filing seperately.

rated:
king0fSpades said:   $200K in FL. Are you spending all of that? Let say you are saving $100K out of $200K then in CA, you will be saving may be only $25K. Basically similar kind of house will cost you around $5k/month more in payments.

If you can't do this kind of math, I am surprised who is paying you $200K in FL.

wtf? that was:

a) arbitrarily rude
b) incoherent
c) not math 

rated:
Same lifestyle in SF as 200k in Orlando FL. I am very familiar with both states & locations.

If OP is talking home ownership then get ready for a shock. A house in SF of equal amenities & sq footage as in Orlando will be 3x-5x more expensive.

State income tax 9.3% vs 0%. So 18.6k off the top.

Gasoline 75 cents per gallon more in SF.

Restaurants non fast food & no plastic chair type places are 2x-3x more in SF.

In SF proper parking for a 2-3hr event is $15-$25. There is free or metered street parking <10% of the time or less than 0.75 miles away.

These are just a few of the differences. More escape me at the present. But LOL there are MANY more $$$ differences between Orlando & SF.
 

rated:
atikovi said:   
AlwaysWrite said:   I actually moved from South Florida (Miami suburb) to the Bay Area, then to Los Angeles, then back to South Florida.
  Isn't the climate a big draw there and why the housing is so expensive? It's like Florida but without 8 months of oppressive heat and humidity.

Some like it. I found it quite often was cold (not snowing, but cold for my Florida blood) and cloudy and drizzly, I would not say it's like South Florida at all. It is also quite dependent on just where in the Bay Area you are, climate can vary quite a bit on the other side of a hill or across the bay.

I prefer the sunshine, even if 6 months are too hot & humid here. But it's definitely personal preference. I would say the weather in L.A. and definitely San Diego is better, San Diego is hard to beat anywhere. But L.A. has its own issues that would take another long thread or 10.

This month, I'd say Florida wins hands down. Don't bother asking me in August, I'll be nowhere to be found.

rated:
Another question:

Are you looking for a specific reason?  Tech job, family, etc...    Have your considered other places where $200k would go a lot further like Utah or Colorado?

Utah has a huge tech industry that is growing rapidly.   Seems to be no shortage of jobs and $400k will buy a McMansion.

rated:
atikovi said:   
AlwaysWrite said:   I actually moved from South Florida (Miami suburb) to the Bay Area, then to Los Angeles, then back to South Florida.
  Isn't the climate a big draw there and why the housing is so expensive? It's like Florida but without 8 months of oppressive heat and humidity.

SF and FL similar weather?  

rated:
solarUS said:   
atikovi said:   
AlwaysWrite said:   I actually moved from South Florida (Miami suburb) to the Bay Area, then to Los Angeles, then back to South Florida.
  Isn't the climate a big draw there and why the housing is so expensive? It's like Florida but without 8 months of oppressive heat and humidity.

SF and FL similar weather?

  How is that similar?  In the winter months both are pretty mild, but the rest of the year, especially May-Nov S.FL can be pretty miserable. I remember looking at the weather in the paper most anytime in July or August and when it's 95 on the east coast, it's often 65 in SF.

rated:
I made a move from CT (suburbs of NYC) to SF Bay Area in 2014 and would agree with everyone here. The housing prices are insane and the traffic is terrible.

The highways are wide and well-built, but there are simply too many people on the roads. Going 5 miles could take 30-40 minutes depending on traffic.

Don't do it. Or work remotely for the Bay Area company.

rated:
Everyone here is technically correct. I moved from a location in Arizona to the Bay Area back in late 2015. The place in Arizona had a similar COL as the greater Orlando area for comparison. I'll share some of my observations and give some advice:

Purchasing a home is made easier with many ways to circumvent the standard 20% down with a 30 year conventional loan - 80/10/10 type loans. Being with Quicken loans in Arizona, and using them again for my Bay Area home purchase I was only required to put 10% down to avoid mortgage insurance with a slight .10% bump in rate through a "relocation" program they have - I recommend looking into it. Granted, I still had to put enough down to get it into the standard loan threshold. There are also 80/10/10 type loans, and typically the rules allow for higher borrowing than the rest of the country. Expect a lot of competition for homes. They are shown on Saturdays/Sundays from 1-4pm, then offers are expected the following Wednesdays. You'll be competing with cash buyers in a lot of regions.

The majority of homes around here are post WW2 construction in the east bay. This is the typical 3/1 or 3/2 (bedroom #/bath#) that was mentioned previously. These homes are at the point where they require major repairs and a number of them have had the funkiest remodel jobs ever. You'll find many of them are in need of serious repair. Because of the soil around here, many are simply sinking into the ground. I downloaded a  bubble level app for my phone and would put it on the ground during open houses to make sure I wasn't just having inner ear problems or something. School districts drive a lot of home prices in the east bay as families duke it out for homes in areas with good school. If you don't have kids, you're at an advantage as this doesn't factor into the equation as much. I scored a 4 bedroom, 2 bath built in the late 90's in my price range with an actual concrete foundation. I put in one offer and got it. I was lucky as this typically isn't the case. 

I recommend moving close to where you work. While many employers are very accommodating to the traffic situation here, it sucks regardless. Redfin and Zillow will give you an idea of the costs of living in that area, or where you can afford and then you can decide if the commute is worth it. While living in Tracy might sound appealing because of the home offerings, 580 traffic is some of the worst... you pay for it in the commute or the standard of home you choose.

Traffic: Ageing infrastructure and freeways not keeping up with demand make traffic a nightmare. Carpool lanes are nice, but actually make traffic worse in their implementation. If you're crossing over bridges you'll have to pay for the toll. Traffic is more of a square wave function instead of "peak" like most places. It sucks straight from 2pm to 8pm especially in certain bottle neck areas: 680 sunol grade, any bridge crossing, 101 at any time, 880 at all times... 

Job and career: The bay area cannot be beat if you're in the technical field, but even then, almost all areas are represented here. Part of the reason I moved here was following this logic: if I move for my job, and it totally sucks, I can find a million other jobs. And this has turned out to be more true than I expected. 

Weird things you notice: 

  • Since the population density is so high here, it pretty much sucks to leave your house during busy hours. I pay for a lot of convenience items I wouldn't have dreamed of paying for in AZ. Services like landscaping, food deliveries etc. These things add up. Sure I could do this stuff myself, but my time has become limited and therefore has become more valuable. 
  • I spend a lot of time commuting, so I purchase things like audible for books on tape to keep me entertained in the car. Also I pay for the use of the HOV/carpool lane because like I said, time and well-being is valuable. 
  • There are limited drive-through establishments around here. Things are mostly inconvenient in that sense. 
  • Services in the east bay (mainly pleasanton, dublin, livermore area) are not very good or few and far in-between. 
  • Some of the best asian food around is in the bay area, including sushi - but you're moving from Florida so maybe a wash
  • It is a true melting pot of cultures here, this diversity brings great ideas
  • You'll have head-hunters contacting you every week to see if you're interested in other jobs
  • It's cool to drive by eBay, paypal, then apple or google and Tesla... all these cool industries are located here. 
  • Most of the gyms around here suck, even the chain ones
  • If you're a guy and in San Jose- your dating pool will shrink drastically where all you can focus on is your career



 

rated:
Having lived in California Bay area, then moving to Florida to take care of aged parents....it will be for you
like moving from Estonia to Zurich....I would live in Marin County...take the ferry to the city in the morning.
Florida sucks, no matter how much money you make...hot and humid from May to November...rains in the afternoon most everyday.
Highways UNLIT...freeways..also no lights....poor schools at best....lots of red necks in Pickup trucks...guns everywhere...
poor quality food ....San Francisco Bay is going to be terrific......Florida looks best in the rear view mirror. Florida is Mississippi with better beaches.

rated:
belgique said:   ....poor quality food ....
 When I moved back from FL the food in L.A. & San Diego tasted like dog food. It was really gross. Took me a couple years to get used to the slop.

SF is different but 3x more $$$ than FL.

rated:
belgique said:   Florida is Mississippi with better beaches.
  Yea but the water off California beaches is like that of Iceland without the icebergs. Brrrrrr.

rated:
atikovi said:   
belgique said:   Florida is Mississippi with better beaches.
  Yea but the water off California beaches is like that of Iceland without the icebergs. Brrrrrr.

  
Great point not mentioned here before. Californian ocean temperatures are definitely colder than Floridia's.

Here's several good maps showing how the water off California flows from the North Pacific (like from Alaska) while Florida's water flows  from the equator/Caribbean. Bath water in Florida, cool ocean in California.

https://i.stack.imgur.com/O6Icf.jpg

rated:
Florida, especially Orlando, is very dependent on where you live. Living out by rat central was the worst place I've ever graced withy presence.

Downtown Orlando, specifically the bungalow neighborhoods surrounding downtown, great place to live. The southern live oak canopies even make summer outside tolerable. It's surprisingly cheap for what you get too.

I haven't been to the bay area yet (it's on the list), but comparing it to San Diego and Orange County, great places to visit but I wouldn't want to try living there.

Oh and someone mentioned car registration earlier. It's up, just paid $48.85 for an suv. I call it the birthday tax, as it's due on midnight of your birthday. That and 6.5% sales tax is all I pay.

rated:
scrouds said:   

Oh and someone mentioned car registration earlier. It's up, just paid $48.85 for an suv. I call it the birthday tax, as it's due on midnight of your birthday. That and 6.5% sales tax is all I pay.

Are you telling us you don't pay property taxes?

rated:
Not if you rent.

Skipping 7 Messages...
rated:
Yeah at one point I considered looking at jobs in tech central, saw the price of an apartment and backed away slowly.

  • Quick Reply:  Have something quick to contribute? Just reply below and you're done! hide Quick Reply
     
    Click here for full-featured reply.


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.

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2017