I don't even think SF and SV are good places to start out anymore. You can learn skills anywhere with the internet, and you miss out on early investments due to the opportunity cost of rent. If you want to live in the Bay Area, it's better to hunker down someplace cheaper for a decade or more, save up a down payment, and then lateral into a midlevel or senior role at a tech company, whose salaries are high enough to service a mortgage but not high enough to save a down payment and pay rent at the same time.
I purchased a house with my wife here in northern OH, and while we don't have a rental, we do have around 4 acres of land to use and for our son to play on, in an area with an excellent public school district. I know this would be very hard to come by near most tech-centered hubs in the country, and would be very difficult for me to give up now. The more I think about it, the less certain I am that even doubling my salary would convince me to do it.
I actually think many parts of SF are in a suboptimal density band where it is quite dense, but still car dependent, dense enough to add a lot of cars and concrete but not quite dense enough to reclaim some of the pedestrian space… this link explains it pretty well.
SF really is pretty diverse, especially in terms of language diversity (I read somewhere that the number of languages spoken by 1000 or more households is higher in SF than even NY, though I don't have a cite for this). SF also does have decent density by US standards as long as you're not talking about NY. (http://beyonddc.com/?p=4808). I also find that getting out of the city for the countryside or natural surroundings is faster and easier in SF than almost anywhere else (ie. the time it takes to get from a very high density urban neighborhood into a very quiet forest or rugged, undeveloped coast is amazingly short in SF). Since I really value both things, I do get a lot out of living in SF, but there is a kind of truly urban neighborhood, with trees and open pedestrian areas, that is much more prevalent in larger, more dense cities like NY or Paris. The images in that link about curb cuts, contrasting the street scape between Park Slope and Dolores Street in SF, pretty much sums it up. The image of Park Slope manages to both peaceful and highly urban at the same time, largely because it's urban enough to give up on cars and driveways. It almost seems like SF got just close enough and then blinked.
Aside from NY, though, and maybe a very few parts of Boston or Chicago, there really isn't much else out there, at least in the US. For the west coast, you just aren't going to find as many of those little red dots clustered (high density), even in Seattle. Interestingly, LA is becoming much more urban. That said, SF's high density urban neighborhoods are pretty limited in size, and they are breathtakingly expensive.
But you're right, there aren't many places in the US that hit that balance. I grew up around Boston (found it too small and casually racist), lived in Chicago (you still need a car), have spent a ton of time in SF for work, and have lived in Brooklyn now for about 9 years. When I think of where I'd move if I weren't in New York I usually end up with Mexico City, London, Bogota, Medellin, Tokyo, and other cities abroad.
But it turns out I really like having space to play more. YMMV.
You can buy a 4 bedroom house with a three car garage and a big plot of land for less than a 1 bedroom apartment in SV.
People who stick it out in places like SF, NYC or London tend to have different considerations in mind.
I'm 39, happily single, and live in inner Melbourne, Australia. I pay a small fortune in rent. I could live out in the 'burbs in a 4 bedroom house with a 3 car garage - but that's my vision of hell on Earth!
I absolutely have "different considerations". Bars and restaurants literally on my doorstep, a walk to work, no desire to own a car, singles like me as neighbours rather than families, etc.
Wasn't my intention, in any case. I was really just trying to point out, as dispassionately as possible, that (like many disagreements people have about major life choices) it boils down to preferences of values and taste -- and the inevitable tradeoffs was have to make when choosing to pursue these preferences.
Indeed -- some of my favorite people on this planet have homes with more bedrooms, bathrooms, parking spaces, living rooms, extra playrooms, etc, than they could possibly know what to do with. And I love them all dearly, just the same.
Sure, you can, but your salary would be much lower (half?) in Cleveland. And unless you're fully remote, there are far fewer tech jobs in that area. (I also live in Ohio.)
It's not about need. It's about the fact that my life is pretty awesome, I have tons of spare cash, I can relax on my deck and see nothing but trees and squirrels and my dogs running around.
How much room does a family of three need? I think 4 acres is better than a two bedroom, third floor apartment surrounded by pavement and cars.
Source: Grew up on 4 acres of woodlands. Now live in SF. Would like to move back to a more rural setting after 3 years of hunting for parking spots and spending all my time/money getting away from the city when possible.
If you're an introvert, sure. I love the countryside myself. But extroverts get their energy from being around other people, and dense cities such as NYC are great places for that.
In addition, if you are an introvert, you would love a long commute sitting alone on a bus or train. You should move to the city for sure.
Plus, who said they don't like cold weather? I grew up on the East Coast and I love Winter. I love seasons. I love snowboarding and hiking in the Winter.
I lived in SF for a while and didn't really enjoy it at all. Too much congestion, too many people and no fresh air. I could barely see the stars at night.
That being said. To each their own.
Also, this may or may not be appealing to you, but I find it to be a humbling experience. Being alone in an empty winter forest really makes one feel insignificant. Not in the bad way of making one feel worthless, but instead in the way that makes your worries and aspirations seem trivial. I think it's a nice respite from the myriad concerns of daily life.
Are market prices even remotely comparable to affording that kind of luxury in SV? Hell no.
It's beyond comprehension for me to justify the cost of living out there. I'd be trading in for a postage stamp in an overly populated area.
Concrete is not a weather condition.
Instead we have hot days followed by slightly less hot nights, and I run the A/C all night lest I get no sleep at all.
Note that given the cost difference between living in SV vs Ohio (although I don't live in Ohio) I could spend 12.8 years with my wife at an all inclusive tropical resort. We'd probably get a discount if we lived there full time, so maybe 15-20 years. Not exactly your average retirement home.
Or cash on the barrel no discounts or financial aid at all I could pay list price to send SEVEN kids thru Harvard for four years with a reasonable allowance for expenses and still have money left over. I don't have seven kids, but I guess I could pay cash on the barrel to send a couple thru med school or law school instead, maybe finance a startup or small business for one of them.
Or I could cash buy six rental properties vaguely similar to the house I live in, and retire as a landlord (although from watching my great uncle do this, being a landlord is no retirement!). The rent off six houses, minus realistic expenses, would be a little less than I get paid now, but its interesting to think about.
While you can spend that much for a home in SV, you certainly don't have to.
You'll be paying over $1M for a 5 or 6 bedroom house in a "nice" part of Columbus (i.e. German Village), and you'll be paying around $1.2M for such a house in a decent (though not upper class) neighborhood in Silicon Valley.
The only drawback is cost. But I envy all of those possibilities compared to Miami, where all you have is a big city and sea, maybe watersports but precious little of everything else... and Miami is still not that far behind in terms of cost of living.
The only other experience I'd consider possibly better for raising a child is in NYC (my current home) where the best art and culture exist a short subway ride away, with regular interactions from seemingly every culture in between.
You can have your moderate weather fluctuations (I don't consider cold, rain or snow "bad" weather), I'll take a world of life outside my door.
Northern Ohio? That is not even remotely true. The climate has four very distinct, traditional seasons.
I missed that in SF. Time seems to pass a lot quicker when you don't have nature reminding you that it's happening.
(I live a little ways outside of Boston. The weather here is probably not better overall than Ohio--which I wouldn't describe as cold and rainy for 7-8 months of the year.)
No, no it is not.
Having owned a number of houses - the biggest reason is peace. I've owned houses where I felt the neighbors looked in your back window, everyone could hear what others are doing in their yard around you...
Walking out and having a bit of space is wonderful. And tools like slack and hangouts are making it easier to work remotely as well.
Oh, there's a lot of things you can do with 4 acres. You can maintain extensive gardens and supply substantial quantities of your own food, as a profitable hobby. You can consider owning small farm animals like chickens, or maintain apiaries. Children and pet cats/dogs can run around outside and the children can exercise their imagination through unstructured play in a safe environment, especially in a multi-child family, potentially replacing overly-structured and expensive after-school activities for all but the youngest children (with many opportunities to increase their physical fitness through such activity). You or your children can also practice sports, such as baseball.
I lived in a tiny apartment right in the city growing up. And I mean very, very tiny - we shared beds. I did all those things in my city-dwelling childhood. You don't have to own the land to do that stuff. In fact city life lead me to spend plenty of time with the neighborhood kids, which was really great and you don't get that if you are spending all your time on your own property. If I was bored I literally just walked outside and see which of the neighborhood kids were out. I don't believe there was or is anything "unsafe" about public property and you can do sooooooo much more on public property. We did have a very small backyard that was shared with 6 families and we spent plenty of time there. And we got to interact with the other kids who lived in the building and the kid next door who saw us playing. You can also find a surprisingly large amount of nature in the city if you go looking for it. The idea you need to own 4 acres of land to play baseball is just laughable.
I'm fact, seems more like living on 4 acres would be a prison. You couldn't leave without being driven!!!
The problem is kids aren't allowed to go outside anymore by themselves.
Growing up with very little made me such a better person. I'm way off the hedonistic treadmill.
I wouldn't call it public, it's more of a shared space an apartment complex might have.
The larger the city, the higher is the likelihood of public spaces having a variety of homeless encampments, broken glass, needles and plain old feces.
The larger the city, the higher is the likelihood of accessible but nevertheless private property having those same things; though in either case its likely to be restricted to particular parts of the city, and those are likely to be the ones with lower property values (this reduced property value is both a cause and effect of the condition, its a positive feedback loop.)
The larger the city, also the more likely public -- and accessible private -- spaces are to be fairly pristine enclaves. These will usually be found in substantially different parts of the city than the nasty bits.
Besides they yard was an after thought, I spent most of my outdoor time in public places and I was outdoors every day in the summer.
You may just as well say "I'm too good for public property, I'd rather not share with the peons." Don't hide behind "safety." There's no major safety issues in letting your children use a public park.
And anyways, it's probably much safer to let your kids have a hypothetical chance of running into hypothetical broken glass (that they can just walk away from) than to put them in a car every time they need to go somewhere, as automobile accidents are the leading cause of death in people ages 5-25 (or something along those numbers)
And bicycles are great kid transportation...
I also have a ridiculously lower cost of living - my 15-year mortgage for a nice house on an acre of land is about 1/2 of what rent was in San Mateo, and about 1/4 of what I know friends were paying for apartments in SF.
Before that, I freelanced which ended up turning into a full-time gig with a startup in SF that liked my work.
Could you elaborate?
At least by that metric, that means it's the toughest place for single heterosexual men to find women to date. I'm curious if women find the imbalance awesome or awkward when it comes to dating (probably a little bit of both?).
Plus, salaries at pure software companies and startups are pretty good. I have had four people in the last week quote me 200k salaries.
Might just mean in general, if the person's single maybe the odds are better of meeting someone, no idea.
Edit: I wasn't considering condos. Go fee simple or go home.
The situation is crazy, don't get me wrong, but I think you're a little overselling it.
I was well paid at Google, and loved working at YouTube. I also severely miss our many friends, as well as beautiful San Francisco: I used to walk up Bernal Hill one or two days a week with my toddler. Pictures of oceans and hills and everything else make me sad…
That said, we could never afford a house in San Francisco. And to get affordable, we'd have had to have gone way out, and the commute would have been terrible.
I was lucky enough to find out that Square has an Atlanta office, full of very smart people, so I was able to keep doing Silicon-Valley-style programming, which is a big win.
Yeah, 850k, and that was a steal. The mortgage alone is, what ~3k/ mo? Taxes and everything else push this up to ~4.5k to 5k/ mo, right? And this is going to go for how long? Oh yeah, 20 years.
My folks have no illusions that this sweet couple and little Benny next door are going to be there anymore than 5 years. Even all the way out in the East Bay, it is just not possible.
Get out now before this bubble pops again. Beat the rush.
While the calculation isn't quite this simple (dividends on stock versus not paying rent, and interest deductions) it highlights that real estate appreciation isn't quite as crazy as it's made to sound.
Even so, the approximate return from the S&P 500 (reinvesting dividends) over the same period would be 11.468%.
There’s a huge difference between 300% inflation the BLS claims vs. 2800% inflation you are suggesting.
On a practical level, inflation is always relative to what you're actually buying. If you're buying S&P 500 index funds, the inflation rate is the price appreciation of the S&P 500. If you're buying real-estate, the inflation rate is the rate of increase in housing prices.
(Perhaps this is a bad example because you typically wouldn't be buying stock index funds after 40 years of earning, but the point is to illustrate opportunity cost. If someone's goal is to pass wealth on to their children, for example, then the price of income-producing assets is a lot more relevant than the price of milk.)
The price of goods, services, salaries, etc. have all gone up by roughly 3–4x in the US (with some notable exceptions like housing in certain areas and college tuition). Someone who invested in the S&P 500 and has 29x as many nominal dollars as they did in 1976 can buy about 8 times as much of other people’s labor as they could before.
Some fixed percentage of the total size of the S&P 500 is a practically useless measuring stick. If we use that as a standard, 90%+ of the population in the USA is 8x poorer than they were in 1976.
I know in Chicago if you were old past a certain age you got some tax breaks (MAYBE at some point a tax freeze). Does SF have some kind of tax rate freeze?
But ya, live is too short to spend a million bucks on a 2 bedroom house.
It's almost a double whammy for someone who wants to buy a house, but can't afford the current prices or was outbid by a cash buyer going over asking price. Cheer up as we've incorporated the price increase into your rent.
Assuming we're talking free markets, then the rent should already be set at the maximum price the market will bear. (If not the landlord is leaving money on the table.) Increasing property taxes is to depress the price of real estate. A simple property tax could also discourage new investment, while a land value tax incentivizes owners to maximize the value of their holdings.
So, treat primary residences as primary residences, whether or not they are the primary residence of the property owner. For multi-unit rental properties, the total value of the property is divided among units proportionately to the rent charged for each unit to assess this.
While it's probably not a bad idea, I don't see it moving the needle much.
I'm discussing ways to achieve the goal upthread of insulating people from property tax uncertainty on their primary residence.
I would expect that the larger purpose of that is to allow full-value taxation on all other real property; of which non-primary-residence residential property is a subset (and a fairly small subset, at that.)
Remember that Prop 13 applies to all real property, not just residential property.
Prop 13 is a blatant wealth transfer between people who are new to the area (mostly the young) to the people who were originally here (mostly the old).
Taxes aren't governed by a market; the same rules don't apply. Arguments against government protectionism in markets don't also apply to protection against the actions of the government itself.
That said, proposition 13 doesn't seem like a good implementation of this. There's no good reason for a sudden increase upon sale; that breaks the ability to buy a home. There should be a hard cap on property taxes that doesn't change on sale.
Why should taxes get to increase without bound or control on existing property? Once you've paid off your home, you should not have an ever-growing expense to keep it.
(You shouldn't have an expense to keep it at all, but that's a separate argument.)
My view is that property taxes fund the very things that make a particular neighborhood desirable, like good schools, roads, parks, and other local services. Your property's value is what it is because of these things, and you shouldn't be able to reap these benefits without paying taxes proportional to the value you've captured.
In California, that's less true than it might otherwise be, given the prop 13 limits on both assessments and tax rates. Lots of those things are funded by sales tax revenue, income tax revenue (primarily state income tax funding local programs), development fees, and other revenue sources other than property tax.
I think you're arguing that richer neighborhoods should have nicer schools, roads and parks. Granted, SF is an exception here, but that's precisely how things work elsewhere in California.
And if richer neighborhoods don't get that, California made annexations pretty easy, which is why you see those tiny municipalities in the vicinity of Los Angeles, San Diego, Anaheim, etc.
One can't really arbitrage that effectively.
Municipalities can't run consistent deficits, so the new schools, roads and parks will be built after a wave of newcomers buys properties, locking in higher prices and higher tax base.
In case there are no such newcomers (i.e. everybody is maximizing their Prop 13 benefit by not selling), the municipality just sticks to the last year's budget with a 2% increase permitted by Prop 13. But in that case new schools, parks and roads that make the neighborhood better don't appear either.
That's a really good reason to stop funding those things through property taxes.
Does it apply to anything else you own? If 2004 Honda Civics suddenly got really popular and I already owned one, I wouldn't suddenly be priced out. Or if I own gold or stocks, and the price goes up, that doesn't affect me at all unless I sell.
In California, since the state has ad valorem taxation on vehicles (the vehicle license fee, which is 1.15% of the market value of the vehicle) which does not have prop. 13 style limits, you, in fact, could be priced out of your 2004 Honda Civic if the market price suddenly and radically increased.
That prevents people from being taxed out of their home, without creating a situation that makes it hard for people to buy new homes.
The Deschutes (Oregon) County Tax Assessor's office made a really good video explaining how three almost identical houses in the same location can have completely different tax bills:
In addition to what the video says, I wanted to point out that the 3% hard annual cap you mention is only on the property's Maximum Assessed Value, which is only one of the many inputs into the computation for a property's tax bill. For example, one thing that can cause taxes to go up more than 3% are general bonds approved by voter measure.
Portland Commissioner Steve Novick also wrote a really good article about all of the problems with Oregon's tax system and made some recommendations:
A lot of places I have lived capped property tax at 2% of market value. In Ohio are their taxes significantly higher than 2% of property value? I wonder if they have tax missing somewhere else, like no local income tax or something... Ohio doesn't strike me as a high tax zone.
Basically, it subsidizes keeping property and never selling it. This is because every year the owner's property taxes essentially go down, presuming any normal level of inflation. And because of follow-on propositions, you can transfer that advantage from parents to children. Yes, this does let existing residents stay somewhere indefinitely. Equivalently, we can say it strongly discourages mobility.
The crazy real estate prices you see are simply a result of the proposition-established cartel. This drives up prices for new arrivals, which California depends on to keep this going, which makes the people holding on to their property think two things: "I'm rich because my home is worth so much" and "I could never get by without Prop. 13 because my home is worth so much." This has made Prop. 13 untouchable — it would basically have to be overturned at the state Supreme Court level at the behest of broad popular opinion.
However, this is just another bubble. California as a state has done relatively quite well in the last thirty years, so it continues to inflate. However, California and local governments have also spent a huge amount of future revenue on state workers, so it has become harder to sustain. But for the huge amount of income tax receipts from the investment class of California, things would already be in rough shape.
Someday, the bubble will burst. If Prop. 13 was ruled unconstitutional tomorrow, it would cause a real estate crisis, followed by an economic crisis, that is hard to imagine. But that might be preferable to having Prop. 13 crumble in the middle of a statewide economic crisis, which is the most likely ending of this story. In the meantime, yes, it does keep grandma in her tidily-appreciating house instead of some filthy tech hipsters chasing the next gold rush.
Other forms of non-base include stocks/options/etc.
Fun calculator for relocations:
For instance, it assumes transportation costs in Manhattan are higher than most other places. This is unbelievably inaccurate in my experience. Maybe it assumes people here take taxis all over the place? I've found transportation to be cheaper in NYC than anywhere else in the USA. No car or gasoline or insurance or maintenance, etc. A car costs on average about 9k/year to own according to AAA. In a place like NYC if you take the Subway every day your cost is about 1,300/year. Throw in a few hundred for cabs and you're looking at 1,800/year. It doesn't cover the rent gap compared to most places but it helps.
In effect this calculator says a salary in Chicago goes nearly twice as far (so if you make 200k in NYC that would be 106k in Chicago. In my experience that is simply untrue. 200k in NYC would be closer to 170k in Chicago.
I think this calculator is making the assumption someone would require the same resources, like a car in all places. Or that someone who had 1600 square feet of living space would expect the same in NYC, which would be ridiculous. No reasonable person would assume they would move to NYC and get a car and garage it. That simply isn't the typical lifestyle here. Most my friends born and raised in the city don't even have licenses.
It also claims that living in San Francisco is significantly cheaper than NYC which is untrue as well.
For example, it's not exactly sound to average the price of all neighborhoods in Manhattan.
I hope it would be apparent you should reference many different sources when comparing salaries in different locations.
But re: "Silicon-Valley-style programming", I don't see any difference here than any other similar place.
Especially in Europe, most programming goes to custom software for banking and various industries. There are very few Microsoft, Square or Google style companies in Europe, where software is the product. A lot of software is a cost center for something else. For some, it doesn't give them the same feeling of accomplishment.
Software development != software development
Companies that might pay an employee $110K a year will have zero problem paying rates that end up with take-homes of +$200K a year after paying your own benefits and taking vacation time off.
I landed at one of these a few years ago and got out ASAP. They're out there, but not so much in the Bay Area because the talent war is so hot - any place like that wouldn't be able to hire or keep anyone.
I don't do "SV style programming" but we have no dress code, no death March schedules, no charts, no meetings, etc. Same thing as my last job in another city.
Though we also don't have ping pong, Foosball, stocked fridge, or many young people if that's what you are looking for. Oh, and not a lot of turnover either.
In some places of Europe it's most of the time just working for bank, insurance, industry or european institution with too old technology, long and fixed schedules and not so much excitement or feeling of making something useful. Add this to under-market salary, suits everyday, ... Developers are not killing it there, they just cost money, they don't have that aura of hype, respect, perks and all.
But it's starting to change I guess (and hope).
Also, YouTube's head office is closer to the SF airport.
Which is also not in SF.
Of course, even if the office was in SF that wouldn't be justified. It's hardly unusual for people to commute into SF from places with lower living costs.
If the bubble continues I would expect that both places will get priced out in the next 2-3 years. At that point you'll have to look at the Tri-Valley area (Dublin, Pleasanton, Livermore) for the affordable price points.
tl;dr: 1300 sq. ft. new 2 bedroom townhome for 1.3 million.
In Mikey Dickerson's talks about fixing Healthcare.gov he talks about two strains of programming: that descended from a more engineering mindset, and that descended from the IT department. (I'm paraphrasing badly: I'll try to find a better link when I have more time.) I guess I was using "Silicon Valley" as shorthand for the former.
Note how the word "computer" doesn't appear in that sentence; it's not unique to computer programming.
Work in a profit center, not in a cost center.
But I get to build RPC services and other cool infrastructure in Go.
Still get to write cool stuff in Go, Node, Elixir or whatever else takes my fancy and tinker with IoT hardware during work hours :-)
I am working for a large bank this summer in San Fran on their main website. This site has an Alexa score in the top 25 for the US, and is in the top 100 overall. They have said I would be working in NodeJS, as they are rewriting large portions of the site with node. Will this project most likely contain people of the Engineering, or IT mindsets?
End up around people that already have that strain, get their attention, and become friends so you can learn and they can teach. You unfortunately just can't teach yourself everything.
It sounds like another form of pedigree selection. Or maybe dividing the field up into "us vs. them". Pretty understandable sentiment if you get pushed into fixing Healthcare.gov like he describes in one of his talks and working with guys arguing about tickets not existing because they're on different ticket systems and people with zero motivation to build a decent product. Wastage is immense in IT from the sounds of it in this talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vc8sxhy2I4
Is someone making $80,000 for doing 60 hours a week of highly-skilled, highly-profit-bearing work "overpaid". In my opinion, that's underpaid.
If anything, we've seen recent evidence that SV salaries are "deflated" compared to other industries and areas of the country, due to collusion, frequent targeted hiring of very young, often naive grad, inflated time at work, etc.
I don't work in SV, for the reasons I outlined above, so this isn't some kind of self-justification.
Edit: To be clear, I don't disapprove of people working there, I know it's beautiful and a nice place to live. I'm actually defending SV engineers from accusations of "inflated" salaries. It's just not a good place to go to get rich as an engineer with a family.
When I put everything on a spreadsheet, the lower housing costs in other parts of the country didn't sufficiently make up for the drastically lower salaries. YMMV, but I encourage everyone to very carefully do the math before making these kinds of decisions.
(I do think that SF may be a special case, since it's SO expensive, but even then it's worth doing the math.)
That said, adding in those factors often makes Silicon Valley come out even worse. I've visited it quite a bit and it is not nicer enough to account for cost-of-living difference, unless you simply can not stand to live somewhere with less than perfect weather. But I think that's special to the Valley.
It's interesting that you bring this up. In the case of food, at least, lower COL areas (which are typically more rural) have access to something far better than any store - farmer's markets and actual farms.
There's a "cheap basics" grocery store in a 5 minute walk, a farmer's market in a 10 minute walk, and a Whole Foods in a 15 minute drive.
I don't really care about organic produce, but that flash pasteurized OJ at Whole Foods is really worth the extra $2.
It's a nice area for certain, but it makes me wonder about myself when I'm wearing a parka and everybody else is walking around with a scarf or light jacket.
Parking is a big difference though. You can rent an apartment in the Midwest for what it takes to park a car in some major cities. Not to mention higher gas and insurance.
I live in Cincinnati with one of the most top 10 most expensive airports in the country (CVG). I also spend a lot of time traveling and searching for flights.
One strategy I've used to avoid this is booking Kayak-style "hacker fare" for a domestic ticket to a hub like LAX/ATL/etc. with an international flight out from the hub, then a return ticket from destination to home (with connections of course).
It doesn't sound like it'd be that significant, but it made a recent trip to New Zealand & Australia about 40% cheaper, though it does take some extra effort.
Maybe I'm just not writing my queries just right but it's my major pain point with Wolfram Alpha.
I find that very hard to believe. If you make $12,000 a month in SF and spend $3,000 a month on rent (which is pretty generous for one person), you still have more leftover money per month than your entire paycheck at an $80,000 annual salary.
That is kind of true, but it's also not realistic to just compare identical housing arrangements in very different regions. It makes more sense to compare not just median costs of two regions, but also median housing size/type. But of course, if spacious housing is very important to someone, that's perfectly fine, and it's a perfectly good reason to live somewhere else.
It's expensive to live here. That doesn't mean I don't like it though :)
Glad to be proven wrong here. I'd go back and entertain offers I've had if I knew I was wrong.
The median sales price of a Santa Clara County 3 bedroom house is $820,000. This is $3,877/mo, plus $850/mo property taxes, for a housing cost of $4,727/mo
That $140,000/yr is taxed at $48,922 in the state of California, leaving $91,078, or $7,589/ mo income.
CA Income ($7,589) - CA Housing Costs ($4,727) = $2,682 leftover.
The median sales price of a Cobb County 3 bedroom house is $173,000. This is $818/mo, plus $140/mo property taxes, for a housing cost of $958/mo
That $80,000/yr is taxed at $23,600 in the state of Georgia, leaving $56,400, or $4,700/ mo income.
GA Income ($4,700) - GA Housing Costs ($958) = $3,742 leftover.
I'm not saying my numbers are valid for every person's situation, only that this is an example of a situation where the numbers work in Atlanta's favor.
L4 is ~215k. L5 (Senior) is ~265k.
Factor in free breakfast/lunch/dinner, free gym, free laundry, generous 401k matching, other perks and discounts, and the gap widens even more.
Throwing those out as typical is disingenuous.
Of course, this is just "a couple minutes of google research"--I am not a subject matter expert, as someone on HN kindly pointed out last time I posted these here. Also, they are based on self-reported surveys and don't include sellable equity, so take it with a grain of salt. I don't know where better data would be published. I'm intuitively not too surprised by these figures--I think the HN demographic is probably pretty skewed towards the higher end, judging by all those threads where people toss around $150K and $200K salaries as "normal".
On net you get an extra ~2,600/month after taxes.
Conversely, they're also being propped up by the massive amount of VC money at play there, which is driving an arms race for programming talent not seen elsewhere around the country. I'm not saying you're wrong about your point about collusion, but there are multiple factors at play there.
You're ignoring equity here, which after a couple years will be more than your base salary anyway.
With a total comp of $300k+, a lot SV workers don't mind paying $30k/year more in rent to live in the Bay Area. As many others have noted, it really is beautiful here...
What other place is like this? I mean a lively, diverse city where everyone is from everywhere, mountains nearby, and 3000 hours of sunshine a year?
Boy that's diverse.
The area basically vacuums everyone who fits the exact same mold from anywhere in the world – that does not make the area more diverse.
By the way, many here assuming I'm in Atlanta. I am not (and don't wish to be, because of the crazy traffic).
SF is too expensive though. I like Seattle just fine.
At unsexy companies, and at StackOverflow
You can't fix the lack of proximity to the ocean, but being able to get a direct flight to most airports in the Caribbean almost makes up for that.
here's a tip: don't do that. problem solved.
Passing an interview gauntlet will usually suffice. Be really good at sophomore level data structures/algorithms class materials.
Was the salary the same, or was it adjusted?