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It's only like doubling your salary if you spend your entire income. When you move to a new area, the change in disposable income is determined by salary - expenses*cost of living.


You make $100k in city A and spend $40k on expenses. That leaves $60k disposable.

You are considering a job in city B with half the cost of living and the same pay.

You still make $100k but your expenses have gone from $40k to $20k. Your new disposable income is $80k.

Cost of living is half but it's not like having 100% more income, it's 33% more .

Your math is right. But, you've got to understand the cost of real estate is much much more than double in SF. Realistically, in Ralleigh regional area you can pay 120$/sq ft vs 1000$/sq ft in the SF Regional area (perhaps 500$/sq ft if your willing to commute for 3 hrs/day).

Now, SF might be a great place if you have no kids, no expenses and rent a tiny little room. But, as soon as you want to have a family and backyard, you better get out! SF and CA in general is no place to raise a family. The key in this strategy is, don't put down roots in the CA bay area.

I live in SF, I understand the cost of real estate. I'm not arguing that lifestyle expectations are very different between cities. So given you move to SF and understand you'll be in a smaller house because that is the market norm, the COLA still is only on what you spend.

When my mortgage for a house on 1/2 an acre costs less than my 650 sqft apartment in L.A. did, it sure feels like my cost of living was cut in half.

When a round of golf at a Davis Love or Fred Couples designed course costs the same as playing at a shitty muni in L.A., it feels like my disposable income has tripled.

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