The biggest expenses to consider in SF besides the obvious housing costs:
- Food + drink + groceries are way, way, way more expensive. There is no Walmart in the city. Get used to corner stores that charge a hefty premium. I miss Walmart and strip shopping malls.
- Income taxes. Tennessee for example has 0% income state tax, excluding dividends. The 0% state income tax in Tennessee also includes capital gains (stocks, company selling) which is huge.
- Health insurance. San Francisco according to my quick research using Blue Shield retail prices are some of the most expensive in the entire United States. I pay $500 a month for a middle of the road plan (single). That's a car payment for a nice BMW or Mercedes. Absolutely absurd.
Agreed with your other points though. Not having staate income tax is a huge bonus.
Because they don't want to spend 6 hours a day commuting?
44mi x $.535/mi + $5 bridge toll = $28.54 per day to commute to work.
That's $~628/mo all-in to commute via car. My additional housing costs in the peninsula would easily be more than that for equivalent housing (2br SFH).
Commute is typically 40m-1:10 to work and 28m-1:10 back, depending on when I leave (and time of year). I normally head to the gym after work which means I skip the heaviest traffic on my way home.
Averaged, commutes are 40m each, which was my door-to-door time when I used to commute to the city via Bart (admittedly, not as pleasant).
 Based on IRS mileage rate.
Its a reasonable rate to reimburse employees for driving their own vehicles for work by (I'd estimate its about 95%ile of expenses), but a poor rate to estimate general car ownership costs by.
What's the breakdown for your actual all-in commute costs on a per-mile basis, and how have you arrived at those numbers?
I lived (edit: in SF) for about six months a few years ago. One thing I did find is that liquor at SafeWay is way cheaper than it is back home, lol.
Also have you lived in SV before? I did years ago and didn't care for it even as a 20-something. At least WA has no state tax, mountains right next door, and eh, I like the culture better. More real, less flashy, and still has some blue-collar too. I think better for families. If your offer is from a big name, then they've certainly got a Seattle office. I'd inquire about that possibility. And salaries are very close, especially considering the state tax.
But like I suggested, even Seattle is hard to call a slam dunk. If there was more than one crappy company to work for in Kalamazoo I'd have loved to stay. It's cheap, it's a college town so there's stuff to do, has an amazing arts scene for its size, great outdoor activities, good public schools and park/trail system, and a good mix of political views that still talk to each other. I've lived in IN and OH too, and had less affection for those. So I guess a lot of it depends on your current situation too.
But if you've got a decent job with benefits and are living in a place you don't mind, 140K won't get you far in SV. One other quick note: before moving out here I looked at housing prices but didn't realize that the places that were showing up in my budget were all horrible school districts, so if you think you're seeing some nearly-affordable options, cross-reference the school guides.
That said, perhaps that's one upshot of SV over Seattle. If you don't like your job in the big 5, there are lots more options from startups and mid-range companies to choose from. Seattle isn't quite as deep, especially east side. Granted, I haven't tested those waters, so maybe it's deeper than I realize.
However, it was a one company town, that's why I left.
- 1500/mo in 401k
- 6200 after-tax, after 401k income
- 2800 savings from after-tax income
- Total discounted savings/mo, roughly: 2800 + .85 * 1500 = 4075
I do think you overestimate the average skill level on HN though :-)
But you get to write some cool things. The last three things I built were
A system that takes sensor data from wells across the world, runs them through a physics engine, and displays those results to users across the world in real time.
A web app that lets users easily write complex queries to retrieve cancer tissue information across multiple departments in a large research institution.
An app to upgrade an entire codebase using a compiler to figure out the semantic meaning of different code snippets and transform them to the new version.
So it's not all boring :).
And I haven't met a mediocre dev who was familiar with Hacker News. Honestly I've thought about replacing my tech interviews with one question "Have you heard of Hacker News?"
Nothing at all. I've done quite a bit of it (ColdFusion too!). Nothing wrong with health care or energy industries either. I do think there's a lot of the HN crowd that only have eyes for the hip languages or fun startups though, whether it makes sense or not.
It is very nice. And Bridge.Net is very mature as well; all our core libraries compile with only a few injects and it is not too big either compared to what I see most people doing online.
I do a lot of JS because legacy but it really hurts when you have such nice languages and tools.
If only it were that easy.
The good devs I know are all making 120k-150k while the mediocre devs I know with 5+ years of experience are making 100k+.
Mind breaking that down?
What's your housing situation?
Plenty of families in the Bay Area earn less than $120k and get by. I feel very fortunate to earn more.
Craigslist shows many rooms in the Bay Area less than $1,500, though almost no studios.
My take home is around 77k annually and I got about 1300 back from taxes last year. I eat out/go to bars a couple times a week, but mainly try to cook for myself. I have a few hobbies that eat money and I end up spending a couple hundred at least every month on them. I travel every 3-4 months, have gone to Seattle, NY, Vancouver, LA in the last year.
With all this I've still saved somewhere between 30-35k. I also bought a motorcycle with all the crap that comes with that (gear, insurance, parts, etc) in that period, so if I hadn't then I'd probably have another 8k or so.
I honestly make more than enough money to live comfortably and when I moved to the city I was only making 80k and my rent was the same. I still felt I had enough to live comfortably but I wasn't able to save nearly as much.
120k will be fine as a single person in SF. If you have a family maybe not.
Rent $1600 in SF (lucky here). But I still have over $2k month after all expenses. As a single person, I consider myself fortunate.
People will complain about living expenses but they need to calculate the income - expenses plus what the area you want to live in. City living isn't always a viable option for people. Whereas some people love it.
I don't think I can find any urban city that I can live in and find myself in a situation where I can bank more than $2k a month after expenses and maxed out 401k.
SoCal was an option for me. However I hate the suburbs, hate having a car and the salaries for new grads were 50-80k where most rents were still at least $1300.
Also, how does the rest of your budget break down? Math suggests $1200/mo for all other expenses and I'm curious how that's allocated.
Yea rent for studios are between 2k-3k a month. And I'm near downtown with only 20 minute walk to work. I live with my brother but if it wasn't for him, I still prefer to live with other people.
Again, depends on the lifestyle that people want. I know people who want their own place, have a car, maybe even a boat. They will have to work in places that aren't NY or SF.
it really depends on where you want to live but man its really nice to live where there are no income taxes
1) Your take-home pay will change. Use a calculator for you exact number, but according to , a single person will take home about $6,400 / month.
2) Unless you live in Manhattan, your rent will dramatically increase. Like everywhere, there's a huge range. Want to live in Oakland with a roommate and bike to BART? You could probably find $1,500 / month. Want a new construction 2 bedroom downtown or close to Caltrain on the peninsula? $5,000 / month. Houses can easily run $8,000 / month with mortgage + taxes if you can scrape together the $300k down payment. Look around on Zillow and ballpark it.
3) Eating "nice" food out isn't cheap. There's plenty of good, cheap eats, but if you're thinking date night, it's easy to drop $120 for 2 people then go off and order half a dozen $8 beers. The high end is really bad --
there's a bunch of amazing restaurants that are $75 - $100 for 6-8 courses. If you're moving from a small city, these simply don't exist. This might be a shock if you're used to eating at "the best place in town" for a special occasion.
4) Depending on where you are in life, there's a bunch of family-ish things that can really eat up a budget. Dog walkers are $20 / day. Infant day care is $2,000 / month. Getting around is kind of a pain if you don't exclusively live, work, and play in the city, which can be fixed by giving Uber $25 / ride. And unlike other cities, there isn't anything that's remarkably cheap (e.g. when I lived in VA, groceries were like half the price I expected. It was great.)
Ultimately, though, a lot of people make it work. The networking and career attitudes in tech are unmatched (I moved from Boston at age 30), the weather is great, and it turns out that a bunch of my friends who I thought had disappeared had just moved out here and they all hang out.
If you're just in it for the money, it's a close call. Your best bet is to work out here between age 22 and when you have kids, then move somewhere affordable with the $5mil you made during that time. But that's not exactly why I moved here -- I've learned more in the last 2 years than I thought possible, and I've fundamentally altered the arc of my career. I may leave at some point, but I'm glad I moved out here.
But quality of life with that much commuting (?) :-/
With expanding family, I have been contemplating a lot to move outside of CA for cost saving but thoughts about racial issues plaguing the country just makes me nervous.
As a white person, I occasionally experienced verbal aggression from Black people (didn't talk back, so it ended that way). I think the other way round is more or less a taboo these days.
Used the savings to quit my job try and get a startup or consultancy going.
For reference, I was saving 50% of take-home on a $90k salary three years ago, living without roommates in a nice neighborhood in NYC - which isn't exactly known for being inexpensive.
What do you spend that much money on?
Numbers are from a year ago, but rents haven't increased too much since then, and we had assumed the grad's salary was $100k.
housing ate 48% of my monthly income
- you will learn a lot at these companies
- you will work with very smart people, which is a great experience
- your expectations (toward yourself, your peers, the product you're working on) will be torn apart and recalibrated at a much higher level, which is a good thing
- working on products that are used by 100s millions / billions of people is a positive human experience because you're helping give people services that improve their lives (buying books so they can learn to program, building products so they can keep in touch with their loved ones, helping them find information on the web, etc.)
But, keep in mind:
- these are big companies, so the peopleware is slow: getting promoted takes time and depends on a myriad of factors outside your control; don't _count_ on it [in the first 2 years]
- the signing/relocation bonus won't be around in year#2, so dependending on how much of a refresher you get, you could make less in year#2
- stock prices fluctuate! it could go down 30% (as well as up 70%) in the next 9 months; as a rule of thumb, make sure your base salary covers living expenses
- as a rule of thumb, assume your refresher grant will be 1/2 of the initial stock grant, and has the same vesting schedule; use Quora to get more details on your specific company, or ask a friend who works there
- be sure to use the correct tax rates (also for stocks) when net'ing the offer numbers (look out for federal and state taxes, income vs cap.gains)
- if you're a software engineer, the offer numbers seems a bit low vs your 20 years of experience for SV, esp. the stock part
--- either this company pays less than others or they're under-leveling you
--- if you care, ask your recruiter what level they put you at
--- there's rational reasons for these big tech companies to under-level people with lots of experience, which is that they have their own internal stack and ways of doing things, plus they're very good at spinning people up in their bootcamp programs, so they don't care _that_ much about prior experience
- if you take the offer, you will probably soon meet people at the company (or in SV) who are doing roughly the same job as you are, are a _lot_ younger, but have _significantly_ better packages because they had better signaling (went to top uni, had competing offers); depending on who you are, this may end up bothering you
Another thing to consider: many of these companies also have offices in the US, but outside of SV, eg. Seattle, Washington, Texas, NYC, where I believe they offer roughly the same packages, but cost of living / commutes are much more reasonable.