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As a parent I've found that "kids are pricey" can easily stem from financial illiteracy as well. It's easier than people think to have kids and not blow the budget. Don't go crazy on Christmas gifts, limit eating out, buy secondhand clothes (which are usually in great condition), etc.

We always chuckle when our friends talk about how expensive their kids are, right before mentioning their three cross-country trips. Financial literacy can apply to child-rearing too!

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I'm not going to disagree, since your advice is good. If you're having trouble financially, don't go crazy on Christmas gifts, eat out all the time, or buy expensive clothes.

But keep in mind, in SF, a 3br house or apartment south of 280 (a bit blighted in spots, but far safer than its reputation) starts at 800K, and really, unless you're at the outskirts and buying a property in need of considerable work, you're probably going to shell out over a mil. Child care is easily over $2k a month, so 50K a year.

So at least in SF, you're probably looking at about 90k+ on housing and child care. Health care is another huge cost, but it's hidden.

What percentage of that is really spent on creature comforts like expensive travel or christmas gifts? New clothes? You're a parent, you've seen what things cost at lower cost spots like Old Navy or payless shoes. It's not a big expense. I do a lot of hand-me-downs (I have 2 kids myself), but in the end, I'd estimate very generously that clothing costs about 0.5% of the yearly budget.

Now, one could certainly reasonably say that living in SF is a financially illiterate thing to do (though if this is the case, then many of the employers claiming a shortage of software developers are actually claiming that there is a shortage of financially illiterate developers, since these companies are generally located in SF or Silicon Valley).

But is Boston, New York, Washington DC, Seattle, or LA really that much better? I think it just goes from impossible to difficult.

The reason I mention this is that I believe the middle and working classes in the US are eroding, and while some of this can be self-indulgence (look at the way some people treated houses as piggy banks, for example), I wouldn't write off middle class struggles as financial illiteracy or excessive self-indulgence.

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In Northern Virginia, you can get a pretty nice house in Fairfax for $500k - the SF and Silicon Valley market is special for its terribleness (NY too).

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500k isn't cheap, but of course vastly better than a mil (it sounds like fairfax is a fairly nice place, so you'd probably be comparing it to parts of SF that are more like 1.5mil). Any idea what daycare costs over there, typically? Though at 500k for housing, you have the option of one spouse scaling back on work, and if not, the lower mortgage cushions the extra cost of childcare.

This is an aside, but when silicon valley companies say there is a desperate shortage of software engineers, Obama[1] nods gravely in agreement. Why doesn't he at least ask why they don't let people work from places like Fairfax? I understand that there are benefits to being in the valley, but if the shortage is that desperate, wouldn't they at least try?

As for the original point, even if things get easier outside SF, I'd still say that you'd need to be taking some pretty serious shopping trips for kids clothes to approach the chunk of the budget that goes to health care, housing, and child care/education, even in a less brutal housing market like Fairfax. As for good public schools, well of course that's a relief once they get out of day care age, but you still shell out - I have two kids in public school, and just paying for the local YMCA run after care (so my wife or I can pick them up after work) is $6k per kid per year (so $12k total for me). We cancelled cable, which saved us about $1k a year.

[1] not to pick on Obama, this is common reaction from politicians.

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No clue on daycare costs, but keep in mind this - the counties all around the DC area have the highest median annual income in the US, and Fairfax is probably one of the richest in the area.

The Valley companies in general don't like remote workers, despite all that is said about the shortage. The executives/managers want the convenience of being able to bother an engineer on whim. Amusingly, remote work is in practice more common in the DC area (and for more than just software engineering), in part because the federal government has driven telework as a huge perk.

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I googled around a bit and found some discussion threads on this

http://www.dcurbanmom.com/

sounds like 2k a month isn't unusual, but you can get this down if you look around and find a more neighborhood based one. These exist in SF too, they are licensed but tend to be run out of someone's house.

I'd say that for two kids, you'd probably be at over 3k a month easily in fairfax. Mortage on a 500k house with a 10% down would probably be about another 20k a year, so you're looking at a conservative estimate of $56,000 a year for childcare and mortgage costs (I know there's a deduction, but there are also property taxes and other housing related costs that in my experience offset this and then some). Keep in mind that if you're a 2 income professional family, your income is too high to qualify for a tax deduction for child care (I always wonder why people haven't identified this as one of the things that deters women from re-entering the workforce).

This is perfectly manageable on a good tech salary with a second spouse working - in SF, those numbers would probably be closer to 100k. So what is perhaps impossible in SF is absolutely workable in fairfax, though of course this really just scratches the surface, I don't know much about life in DC.

I'd still maintain that housing, health care, education/child care costs in both places probably still vastly eclipses the savings you can get from cutting back on things like cable, cars, or travel, unless you're extremely self indulgent or are in an unusual situation (such as a sick family member living at some distance from home).

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I thought you were BS-ing me but you are absolutely right (especially if you go up to $600k): http://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/Fairfax-VA/house,mobile....

For some reason I thought houses up there had gotten crazy expensive. Not too far from Reston and Tyson's and some of the best schools in the country. Can't beat that.

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There are people who waste money on toys, eating out, clothes and all that -- but those expenses pale in comparison to the really big costs:

- Child care (necessary if both parents work or there's just one parent)

- Larger apartment/house, in an area with good schools

My wife and I live in a large midwestern city. Prior to having kids, we had more than enough space in a 2-bedroom apartment. We had in the past (as students) lived comfortably on less than $20k each a year.

Putting an infant in a day care costs between $1200 and $1600 here. It drops a few hundred when the baby moves into the toddler room, and a few hundred more when the toddler moves into the older kids' room. With two kids in day care (an infant and an older kid), that still costs in the ballpark of $2000-2500 per month.

The 2-bedroom apartment is too small for 2 adults plus 2 children, plus visiting family members who help with kids, and moving to a bigger place in an area with good schools also increases monthly costs substantially.

Even if you're not spending money frivolously, having kids is expensive compared to not having them.

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THIS!

I have two kids, and it's fairly easy (at least before starting school / sports)

1 - Second hands clothes, toys, etc are super cheap 1.1 - Hand me down across the extended family and your family (seriously, they grow out of it in minutes, try not to buy it new) 2 - Your kids don't need a lot of toys and crayons and paper are cheap 3 - GO TO THE LIBRARY 4 - Parks are really fun, and really cheap, as in free

Where it adds up, at least for me, is I now have a 2 & 4 year old in school and that's $1K a month (drops to zero once they hit public schools), but for a few years that's hefty. However, that's also a choice

1 - I chose private school for preschool, so that's costlier 2 - I moved to a specific area for the 10/10 public schools to save money

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Most places, the areas with the "10/10" public schools cost more to live in, between property taxes and higher purchase prices for houses (because the schools are good, so demand is high). They may also be farther from where the jobs are (more often than not, I'd guess), unless you want to pay even more for both prime location and good schools, assuming such a thing even exists where you live. Higher transportation costs, more time commuting.

You pay either way. Picking the nicer location is probably cheaper, but I wouldn't bet on that always being the case. It's difficult to quantify the costs of location to compare the two.

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I am probably an outlier here, but I stalked my neighborhood and pounced on a house that was WAY on the low end for the area thus in my budget and literally has lowest prop taxes.

My ONLY point being, my family wanted a house sooner, but we waited, and waited, and waited it out to find one that met our financial needs in the area we wanted.

IF you do that (knowing it the stars may not line up) it's incredibly helpful.

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"right before mentioning their three cross-country trips."

You do realize that those are luxuries you are not taking because they're going to other priorities i.e. your family? It has nothing to do with not having kids and being financially irresponsible. Kids are very expensive and have incredible amount of all kinds of risk attached to them.

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Agreed on all the of above.

However, when the going rate for daycare in NYC is $3K/month per child, you need to make an extra $50K/year (pre-tax) to just cover that (if you were to maintain your pre-kids lifestyle). Then there are other expenses. Point it, kids aren't free.

That's where you need to start making choices (less eating out, etc.)

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People in this thread keep using the word literacy to criticize mildly questionable spending. Financially literate people overspend on vacations, too! Let's not start applying the illiterate label to everyone who has ever spent more than they should on something.

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Yeah, all that stuff isn't a big deal, but health care and (especially) child care are a huge expense.

For child care, either a parent stays home (cost = what that parent would be making, including retirement and benefits) or you pay (around here) ~$600-$1200/month per kid for day care, depending on the quality/reputation of the place.

Tax credits help a bit, but not much.

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It sounds like you're looking for advice on this nebulous idea of having your cake and eating it too. I actually did something similar last year - I had a good job but was moving out of state for other reasons. The simplest (and only) approach was to be honest with my boss. I opened a discussion of how we could make it happen.

You have to think about the company's point of view: is it worthwhile to keep you on, regardless of whatever difficulties arise? You need to make it a win-win for them.

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I did this once many years ago. I had been working with the company for several years. I told them I was going to move, and would love to keep working for them. We agreed on telecommuting and it worked great.

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Excellent, thats great news :)

Thanks for the feedback

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SEEKING WORK - Remote. Based in Dayton, OH.

I'm a software engineer specializing in computational modeling and scientific applications. I also do full-stack web dev.

RECENT PROJECT : Co-inventor of the Solar Glare Hazard Analysis Tool (SGHAT), a web app for quickly analyzing glare from PV arrays. SGHAT is required by the FAA for safety assessments, is used by numerous global construction firms and consultants, and won a 2013 R&D 100 award. (www.sandia.gov/phlux)

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www.simsindustries.com

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I've also heard a theory that U.S. federal assistance to mothers gave lots of peanut butter, possibly leading to more allergies. I can't find the reference, though.

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Giving more peanut butter to people might discover an existing allergy, but I was under the impression that more exposure to allergens lowers the risk of the immune response to the allergen. That's the idea behind allergy shots.

I'm not a doctor, though, so some clarification on that would be helpful from anyone who knows more than I do.

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Which is entirely contrary to the results of this research, which indicates that exposure to peanut proteins at a young age radically reduces peanut allergies.

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That doesn't explain the massive increase in wealthy children with these allergies.

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SEEKING WORK - Remote. Based in Dayton, OH.

I'm a software engineer specializing in computational modeling and scientific applications. I also do full-stack web dev.

RECENT PROJECT : Co-inventor of the Solar Glare Hazard Analysis Tool (SGHAT), a web app for quickly analyzing glare from PV arrays. SGHAT is required by the FAA for safety assessments, is used by numerous global construction firms and consultants, and won a 2013 R&D 100 award. (www.sandia.gov/phlux)

SKILLS : C++, C, Python, NumPy, PHP, technical writing, assorted web tech (Javascript, CSS3, Bootstrap, HTML5, etc.)

BACKGROUND : Master's in computer science, B.S. in chemical engineering.

CONTACT : Cianan[at]simsindustries.com

www.simsindustries.com

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Those arguments often represent a symptom of an underlying belief about "the government". I find that many people view "the government" as this monolithic, do-gooding entity. One useful approach is to redefine it - government isn't a benevolent entity, it's a huge group of people with varying goals and beliefs, who wield lots of power over your life. Do you want those people to have that sort of access?

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SEEKING WORK - Remote. Based in Dayton, OH.

I'm a software engineer specializing in computational modeling and scientific applications. I also do full-stack web dev.

RECENT PROJECT : Co-inventor of the Solar Glare Hazard Analysis Tool (SGHAT), a web app for quickly analyzing glare from PV arrays. SGHAT is required by the FAA for safety assessments, is used by numerous global construction firms and consultants, and won a 2013 R&D 100 award. (www.sandia.gov/phlux)

SKILLS : C++, C, Python, NumPy, technical writing, assorted web tech (Javascript, CSS3, Bootstrap, HTML5, etc.)

BACKGROUND : Master's in computer science, B.S. in chemical engineering.

CONTACT : Cianan[at]simsindustries.com

www.simsindustries.com

-----


SEEKING WORK - Remote. Based in Dayton, OH.

I'm a software engineer specializing in computational modeling and scientific applications. I also do full-stack web dev.

RECENT PROJECT : Co-inventor of the Solar Glare Hazard Analysis Tool (SGHAT), a web app for quickly analyzing glare from PV arrays. SGHAT is required by the FAA for safety assessments, is used by numerous global construction firms and consultants, and won a 2013 R&D 100 award. (www.sandia.gov/phlux)

SKILLS : C++, C, Python, NumPy, technical writing, assorted web tech (Javascript, CSS3, Bootstrap, HTML5, etc.)

BACKGROUND : Master's in computer science, B.S. in chemical engineering.

CONTACT : Cianan[at]simsindustries.com

www.simsindustries.com

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Perhaps it's a case of busywork - teams creating work to justify their existence.

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SEEKING WORK - Remote. Based in Dayton, OH.

I'm a software engineer specializing in computational modeling and scientific applications. I also do full-stack web dev.

RECENT PROJECT : Co-inventor of the Solar Glare Hazard Analysis Tool (SGHAT), a web app for quickly analyzing glare from PV arrays. SGHAT is required by the FAA for safety assessments, is used by numerous global construction firms and consultants, and won a 2013 R&D 100 award. (www.sandia.gov/phlux)

SKILLS : C++, C, Python, NumPy, technical writing, assorted web tech (Javascript, CSS3, Bootstrap, HTML5, etc.)

BACKGROUND : Master's in computer science, B.S. in chemical engineering.

CONTACT : Cianan[at]simsindustries.com

www.simsindustries.com

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