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This is true, but 401K contributions are capped at around $17K. You can do that with the Austin salary just as well, usually. In Austin you have no state income tax, and the price of everything else is much lower (in general).

The absolute cheapest home near my work with 2 bedrooms is a condo at $700K (source: realtor.com). (edit: that is an outlier, most are considerably more expensive, and these days the 'ask' is the lowball figure - people will bid several hundred thousand over the ask to buy, because they are competing against other twitter millionaires buying for cash and nonchalant about the housing bubble because they can't be really hurt if it crashes)

To get a home equal to the home I moved from in CO (which I bought for $425K) would be, I don't know, nothing is listed to compare. Over $3M I would think. My friend recently sold his house north of that, and his yard was tiny and the house was smaller. My CO house is comparable to a $4-5M Tahoe mountain home - a few acres, awesome views, wooden beam interior, huge open space interior plan, full basement, multiple decks, and so on. (edit: okay, cabinets are Home Depot, not custom built, etc, but it's still a close comp otherwise)

So, yes, if you want to live in a cramped condo, see your money evaporate to taxes, driving to work, private schools, and so on, you can 'life hack' here. Or, you can live elsewhere, own a few acres, have a big garage, a rec room, work normal hours, have half the commute, and still save plenty of money.




> So, yes, if you want to live in a cramped condo, see your money evaporate to taxes, driving to work, private schools, and so on, you can 'life hack' here. Or, you can live elsewhere, own a few acres, have a big garage, a rec room, work normal hours, have half the commute, and still save plenty of money.

While you aren't going to be living on a few acres working at a tech job in the Bay Ara (barring long commutes), you are exaggerating a bit here.

- If you live in SF, you generally don't need to drive to work. Your commute will be short (<25 minutes). You can get quite livable single-family homes (3 bedrooms, 1400 square feet) for $750k. You may want to consider private schools.

- If you live in areas where you want to get good public schools, prices may surge to $900k for homes that size.

tl;dr If you want a huge home with huge lots, yes, very difficult in the Bay Area. But if you just want a typical suburban lfiestyle, it is pretty easy to do on a tech salary.


> - If you live in SF, you generally don't need to drive to work. Your commute will be short (<25 minutes). You can get quite livable single-family homes (3 bedrooms, 1400 square feet) for $750k. You may want to consider private schools.

I live in Dallas, have a driving commute well under 25 minutes, and have a 3 bedroom, 2300 sqft house I paid $175k for with the same stipulation on the schools. Your scenario would be a major cost increase for me. In fact, I could probably max out my 401k here with just the housing cost delta. Austin is more expensive than Dallas[1], but I wouldn't expect to pay more than about $250k - $300k for my house there (for reference, my house is worth about $190k now). I could downsize to your SF-sized house here for under $100k. Since I would realistically only get about a 70% pay raise max over my Dallas salary for moving to SF, it doesn't make any sense.

[1] And my house was a good deal even for Dallas.




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