Bay Area budget for $350k family income

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Rob1
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by Rob1 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:07 am

San Francisco - 49 square miles surrounded by reality

[although a truly wonderful 49 square miles in many ways]

Topic Author
mervinj7
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by mervinj7 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:25 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:08 pm
$1,900 mortgage interest * 12 +
$10,000 SALT +
$3,600 charity
=
$36,400
Good catch. I've updated my initial post with corrections as folks point them out.

dziuniek
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by dziuniek » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:55 am

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:43 am
dziuniek wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:37 am
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:28 am
unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:23 am
HockeyFan99 wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:15 am


That’s actually low for our VHCOL. You can find cheaper but only if you go unlicensed or a significant reverse commute to get them there.

Nanny could be cheaper but only if you pay under the table, which is a whole different conversation that I won’t start here but, for many, not an option.

Point about day care not being a forever expense, however, is correct. There are good and free public school options starting at age 5 even in VHCOL places.
My kid will start the public school system next year. We bought in this neighborhood because of the school district. (Which just means we grossly overpaid for the house).

Public schools in my area are half day. So then you pay for after school care, gradually replaced with after school activities. These usually run several hundred dollars per kid, with any savings going into a 529.

Once they are self sufficient so they didn't need constant supervision, you start paying for summer camps, which run $1,000/week here.

Then you pay for college when they're older.

When they done with college, you pay for the wedding and help them with the house down payment.

By the time the expense of kids goes away I'll be collecting social security!!!!

I'm not saying the article isn't ridiculous, but kids are very expensive! For the amount we spend on them I could be driving both a Ferrari and Lamborghini!
I wonder how the median American household who can’t afford to pay for any of those things manage to raise their kids.
One spouse doesn't go to work... is often the case.

If wife and I had a 3rd child soon... I am not sure going to my state job would make sense.
- Yes it would due to SS credits + pension, but from a cashflow perspective... not so much.
Not sure what that has to do with Unclescrooge's statement that paying for all of college, wedding, and providing a home down payment for your children were just normal "costs of raising children".
It answers hedgefundie's question on how some people manage to raise children.

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noraz123
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by noraz123 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:12 pm

muffins14 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:16 pm
Really boggles my mind that $4500 a month is what someone considers reasonable for daycare/preschool
I think this is a reasonable cost.

We pay half that for one child. Nothing fancy - just an in-home daycare run by wife/husband. The cost is $14/hour. 40 hours/week. That's $2240 every 4 weeks. So slightly higher for monthly child care. To also put this in perspective, minimum wage is $12/hour.
Last edited by noraz123 on Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ron Ronnerson
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:12 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:53 am
sawhorse wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:47 am
brianH wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:36 am
The issue here is clearly one of defining the term "middle-class lifestyle". The hypothetical family is living an upper-class lifestyle, but trying to 'convince themselves' that they are middle-class. $4200/year for a baby, $6000/y for 'entertainment' ($500/m buys a lot of Netflix), and $8000/y for vacations is not what anyone would consider middle-class.
The same issue pops up a lot on this board. People claiming to be earning middle class money and living a middle class lifestyle when in fact they are earning more and living more lavishly. In fact on this board a lot of people living above an middle class lifestyle claim to be living below middle class.

I've seen people claim that driving a 3-5 year old Honda Accord is being frugal. I've even heard the claim that a buying new Subaru Forester is being frugal. Give me a break!

Lifestyle creep is real.
Why does anybody even read these click-bait articles? We're an upper middle-class family of 4 by pretty much any standard and this hypothetical family spends literally 5x what we do on food, vacations, and entertainment. There are members of this board whose families live a great (real middle-class) life in the Bay with 1/3 the income (calling RonRonnerson).
I see that I’ve been paged. I’m a public-school teacher in the Bay Area and make around $115k. My wife is a stay-at-home parent. We bought our home earlier this decade (new construction). It’s a 2150 square foot townhouse (4-bedroom/4-bathroom) in a great neighborhood with amazing schools. Things can be expensive around here but don’t necessarily have to be. Housing is the biggest challenge these days but there are less expensive options available for that too. We have found inexpensive alternatives for just about every spending category. This allows us to live a very comfortable lifestyle, save half our income, and work a reasonable schedule that leaves us with plenty of time and energy to enjoy life.

oldfatguy
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by oldfatguy » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:19 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:23 am

Then you pay for college when they're older.

When they done with college, you pay for the wedding and help them with the house down payment.
My parents didn't do this. Neither will I. I don't really know anyone who did/will. Maybe I need a better class of friends. :)

an_asker
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by an_asker » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:26 pm

Let me modify the blogger's numbers with some realistic once - after all, we are talking a middle class family, not a top dog high falutin upper class family!

Childcare + preschool - $24,000 per year (no way paying for babysitting - that will reduce eating out expenses and the obligation to party with Joneses too)

Food - $12,000 ($1,000 per month for a family is way more than enough - you don't need to have competitions with co-workers and friends on who gets to eat out most often)

529 Plan - $12,000 (don't know why it is listed under expenses - should be part of savings just like the 401(k) and hsa, if any)

Mortgage - $50,000 (let me go with his numbers, though at $3.5% interest, $1,900 per month of interest equates to a loan of less than a million unless I've got my back of the envelope calculations messed up)

Property Tax - $22,000 (his numbers)

Insurance - $2,000 (his numbers)

Maintenance - $3,000 (his numbers appear overly high - if the place is a small place, I don't see a lot of maintenance costs)

Utilities - $2,000 (his numbers again appear way too high - I doubt whether folks need to run their AC as much as we do in FL, so their costs should be less)

Life insurance, umbrella policy - $2,500 (go with his numbers)

Baby items - $0 (surely he's kidding me that these are annual expenses!! They would be a one time expense and should be less than $1,000)

Vacation - $0 (do staycations or local sightseeing - enough stuff to do around the bay area for free

Entertainment - $3,000 (seriously $6,000 per year on Netflix, sporting events, shows, social functions, w/e getaway? If you already have the w/e getaways why are we talking vacations on top of that?!!)

Car payment - $4,000 (and I am assuming two cars for $20,000 each that last ten years, which is seriously underusing them)

Car insurance and maintenance - $2,000 (this is definitely a steal - we pay nearly $4,000 annually just for insurance; of course, it includes an older, college going kid)

Gas - $3,000

Mobile phone - $600 (I would say the $10 plan with Tello is more than enough - Bay Area is wired all over and you can use WiFi for free in public areas)

Clothes - $1,200 (seriously, I don't think we've ever spent more than that per year EVER - I doubt very much that clothes cost more in the Bay Area than elsewhere in the country - if they do, mail order is your friend; I am sure everyone is eligible for the same Amazon sale price)

Personal care products - $1,200

Charity - let's talk about this separately (as this is discretionary to say the least)

My total comes to $144,500

I'm laughing when I see that Miami is included in this list - HAHAHAHAHA!! I can only think of the Bay Area (and maybe Manhattan and Boston, that too if you live in the most expensive neighborhoods) that would have these kinds of expenses

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LadyGeek
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by LadyGeek » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:36 pm

To keep this discussion actionable, please focus on your own situation.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

Miguelito
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by Miguelito » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:47 pm

bligh wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:40 am
Well said!

I will add one more point to this. Just like there is a false sense at the lower end of the income ladder that the high income people (ie. making $350K+ .. top 2% by income for the US) fly by private jet, and have super cars and such. There is a false sense among the high income folks of what a middle class house and lifestyle looks like. The expectation of a decent middle class lifestyle is a largish, well maintained and manicured house, good newish cars, eating out frequently, taking vacations, etc. Basically quite close to what is described in that article.

I put some of the blame for this "lifestyle expectation inflation" on the entertainment media and now social media too. If you look at the vast majority of tv shows , movies or ads portraying middle class folks... what does the "background" set look like? It looks like what I described above... largish, well maintained and manicured house, good newish cars, eating out frequently, dont ask how much things cost, take vacations without much planning, etc. If they want to portray the rich, the background set portrays the super high end lifestyle with butlers, chauffeurs and private jets.

If they are going to show a small apartment, or an older ill maintained home, or cheaper/older compact cars or show the people asking how much something costs before buying it.. or discussing their credit card bill this month... they are usually portraying the lower middle class or poor. Someone working hard but down on their luck. In California with its aging homes, super high house prices, high taxes and cost of living.. the middle class looks like what is usually portrayed on TV as the lower middle class or the poor.
This is very true.

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mervinj7
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by mervinj7 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:50 pm

an_asker wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:26 pm
Childcare + preschool - $24,000 per year (no way paying for babysitting - that will reduce eating out expenses and the obligation to party with Joneses too)
$24,000 is accurate for 1 kid but certainly not 2.

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Procopius
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by Procopius » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:56 pm

Can someone explain to me how this hypothetical includes a $1.8M house with only a $900K mortgage? Where did the 50% down payment come from? Clearly not savings.

Miguelito
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by Miguelito » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:56 pm

mervinj7 wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:50 pm
an_asker wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:26 pm
Childcare + preschool - $24,000 per year (no way paying for babysitting - that will reduce eating out expenses and the obligation to party with Joneses too)
$24,000 is accurate for 1 kid but certainly not 2.
We were paying 3,300/month for two toddler/preschool-aged kids 8 years ago at a good place (no waiting lists though) in a somewhat wealthy suburb in the Northeast. That's with a 10% sibling discount. I'm sure that is well north of $4k a month now. And if one is an infant it climbs quickly due to caretaker:child ratios for young kids. We had a nanny (on the books) before then and that was $40k/year all in.

So I completely believe 24k/year/kid in a VHCOL area. I could believe 30k.

softwaregeek
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by softwaregeek » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:37 pm

HockeyFan99 wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:15 am
Starfish wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:22 am
njdealguy wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:34 pm
Post this same article link on MMM and will get shred to pieces there hehe.

Seems like a lot of bloated expenses such as over 2k on food, 400 for clothes, and whoa 4.5k for childcare expenses for 2 kids? Can imagine in this case a full time nanny can be had for maybe half that amount to care for both kids.
2-2.5k per kid for childcare is normal price in BA.
A nanny is 25$/h for 2 kids. Multiply to 50h/month and you end up with more. Plus pre-school is much better for kids.
That’s actually low for our VHCOL. You can find cheaper but only if you go unlicensed or a significant reverse commute to get them there.

Nanny could be cheaper but only if you pay under the table, which is a whole different conversation that I won’t start here but, for many, not an option.

Point about day care not being a forever expense, however, is correct. There are good and free public school options starting at age 5 even in VHCOL places.
I pay $25/hour for my nanny, same as mentioned above. Normal in Silicon Valley . Half time. Free public school ends in the afternoon, you have to pay for childcare then.

High end after school programs are also expensive. By high end, I mean the ones that offer various lessons. With two kids, a nanny is only slightly more.

This budget actually looks a bit like what mine looks like although I spend more on my kids and less on some other things.

The car payment actually looks low to me. Even if you own, $40k over 15 years (how long I expect to keep my cars) gives about $2.7k per car per year. And $40k is not an exceptional car anymore, not when you can pay $33k for a nicely optioned Camry.

Cell phone plan is reasonable if you include newer phones.

We spend about $400/month eating out and probably $700 on grocery store food, or $1200 a month. That is for a larger family though. We get takeout once a week and eat out 1-2x on the weekend at a modest restaurant. Eating out is expensive here, but my wife and I both work so time is at a premium.

We definitely spend less on entertainment. We really ought to do more, but taking the kids to the zoo is a $100 admission day here. That stuff adds up. We probably do a couple of those a month (we belong to a couple at $200 a year) plus internet and Netflix at $65 combined. This probably puts us in the $4k range.

I think this looks like a reasonable budget in my area.
Last edited by softwaregeek on Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rage_phish
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by rage_phish » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:42 pm

Raybo wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:37 am
I am always amazed at how much bashing the SF Bay Area gets on this forum. Yes, housing is expensive. Yes, it is a liberal place. But, if one can swing it, it is a great place to live. Aside from housing, food is not expensive, all kinds of cuisines are available from non-pricey restaurants, world-famous sights are everywhere, and public transit is widespread.

This article is yet another example. How can people who earn so much money have a tight budget? Well, lots of people want to live here and lots of people in the Bay Area make this kind of money. They bid up the cost of certain services. Isn't this just what economics says should happen? Why all the tsking?


Lived here my entire life. Nowhere else on the cou try like it. Wish my house cost less but I’m not leaving anytime soon

And man do I love how liberal it is

rage_phish
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by rage_phish » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:45 pm

HockeyFan99 wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:15 am
Starfish wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:22 am
njdealguy wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:34 pm
Post this same article link on MMM and will get shred to pieces there hehe.

Seems like a lot of bloated expenses such as over 2k on food, 400 for clothes, and whoa 4.5k for childcare expenses for 2 kids? Can imagine in this case a full time nanny can be had for maybe half that amount to care for both kids.
2-2.5k per kid for childcare is normal price in BA.
A nanny is 25$/h for 2 kids. Multiply to 50h/month and you end up with more. Plus pre-school is much better for kids.
That’s actually low for our VHCOL. You can find cheaper but only if you go unlicensed or a significant reverse commute to get them there.

Nanny could be cheaper but only if you pay under the table, which is a whole different conversation that I won’t start here but, for many, not an option.

Point about day care not being a forever expense, however, is correct. There are good and free public school options starting at age 5 even in VHCOL places.

I live here and have 2 kids in daycare. $2,500 is expensive. That’s a little more Han I will pay this year for two kids at a daycare. And there are plenty of cheaper licensed in home day cares as well. And there are many more expensive

FrugalConservative
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by FrugalConservative » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:20 pm

Ron Ronnerson wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:12 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:53 am
sawhorse wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:47 am
brianH wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:36 am
The issue here is clearly one of defining the term "middle-class lifestyle". The hypothetical family is living an upper-class lifestyle, but trying to 'convince themselves' that they are middle-class. $4200/year for a baby, $6000/y for 'entertainment' ($500/m buys a lot of Netflix), and $8000/y for vacations is not what anyone would consider middle-class.
The same issue pops up a lot on this board. People claiming to be earning middle class money and living a middle class lifestyle when in fact they are earning more and living more lavishly. In fact on this board a lot of people living above an middle class lifestyle claim to be living below middle class.

I've seen people claim that driving a 3-5 year old Honda Accord is being frugal. I've even heard the claim that a buying new Subaru Forester is being frugal. Give me a break!

Lifestyle creep is real.
Why does anybody even read these click-bait articles? We're an upper middle-class family of 4 by pretty much any standard and this hypothetical family spends literally 5x what we do on food, vacations, and entertainment. There are members of this board whose families live a great (real middle-class) life in the Bay with 1/3 the income (calling RonRonnerson).
I see that I’ve been paged. I’m a public-school teacher in the Bay Area and make around $115k. My wife is a stay-at-home parent. We bought our home earlier this decade (new construction). It’s a 2150 square foot townhouse (4-bedroom/4-bathroom) in a great neighborhood with amazing schools. Things can be expensive around here but don’t necessarily have to be. Housing is the biggest challenge these days but there are less expensive options available for that too. We have found inexpensive alternatives for just about every spending category. This allows us to live a very comfortable lifestyle, save half our income, and work a reasonable schedule that leaves us with plenty of time and energy to enjoy life.
115K income, live in a VHCOL and you save half your income. Seems VERY suspect.

So you can live in SAn Fran with a family and surive off 4K a month?

softwaregeek
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by softwaregeek » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:22 pm

softwaregeek wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:37 pm
HockeyFan99 wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:15 am
Starfish wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:22 am
njdealguy wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:34 pm
Post this same article link on MMM and will get shred to pieces there hehe.

Seems like a lot of bloated expenses such as over 2k on food, 400 for clothes, and whoa 4.5k for childcare expenses for 2 kids? Can imagine in this case a full time nanny can be had for maybe half that amount to care for both kids.
2-2.5k per kid for childcare is normal price in BA.
A nanny is 25$/h for 2 kids. Multiply to 50h/month and you end up with more. Plus pre-school is much better for kids.
That’s actually low for our VHCOL. You can find cheaper but only if you go unlicensed or a significant reverse commute to get them there.

Nanny could be cheaper but only if you pay under the table, which is a whole different conversation that I won’t start here but, for many, not an option.

Point about day care not being a forever expense, however, is correct. There are good and free public school options starting at age 5 even in VHCOL places.
I pay $25/hour for my nanny, same as mentioned above. Normal in Silicon Valley . Half time. Free public school ends in the afternoon, you have to pay for childcare then.

High end after school programs are also expensive. By high end, I mean the ones that offer various lessons. With two kids, a nanny is only slightly more.

I think this looks like a reasonable budget in my area and fairly close to what I spend. I definitely know people who make *much* more than this and *feel* strapped (even if they aren't in reality.) I have a couple of friends who make probably about $300k and feel pressured by the housing market. I know very few families with children in my area who don't feel under financial pressure here, regardless of what they make, unless they bought into the housing market many years ago.


Part of what makes my area strange is that $1.5 million gets you a house that would not get a second glance in a working class neighborhood in most parts of the country.


softwaregeek
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by softwaregeek » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:35 pm

FrugalConservative wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:20 pm
Ron Ronnerson wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:12 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:53 am
sawhorse wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:47 am
brianH wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:36 am
The issue here is clearly one of defining the term "middle-class lifestyle". The hypothetical family is living an upper-class lifestyle, but trying to 'convince themselves' that they are middle-class. $4200/year for a baby, $6000/y for 'entertainment' ($500/m buys a lot of Netflix), and $8000/y for vacations is not what anyone would consider middle-class.
The same issue pops up a lot on this board. People claiming to be earning middle class money and living a middle class lifestyle when in fact they are earning more and living more lavishly. In fact on this board a lot of people living above an middle class lifestyle claim to be living below middle class.

I've seen people claim that driving a 3-5 year old Honda Accord is being frugal. I've even heard the claim that a buying new Subaru Forester is being frugal. Give me a break!

Lifestyle creep is real.
Why does anybody even read these click-bait articles? We're an upper middle-class family of 4 by pretty much any standard and this hypothetical family spends literally 5x what we do on food, vacations, and entertainment. There are members of this board whose families live a great (real middle-class) life in the Bay with 1/3 the income (calling RonRonnerson).
I see that I’ve been paged. I’m a public-school teacher in the Bay Area and make around $115k. My wife is a stay-at-home parent. We bought our home earlier this decade (new construction). It’s a 2150 square foot townhouse (4-bedroom/4-bathroom) in a great neighborhood with amazing schools. Things can be expensive around here but don’t necessarily have to be. Housing is the biggest challenge these days but there are less expensive options available for that too. We have found inexpensive alternatives for just about every spending category. This allows us to live a very comfortable lifestyle, save half our income, and work a reasonable schedule that leaves us with plenty of time and energy to enjoy life.
115K income, live in a VHCOL and you save half your income. Seems VERY suspect.

So you can live in SAn Fran with a family and surive off 4K a month?
He didn't say San Fran. He said Bay Area. You can live in Gilroy or Antioch or Vallejo much cheaper, especially if you bought housing early and have prop 13 benefits.

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ray.james
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by ray.james » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:59 pm

FrugalConservative wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:20 pm
Ron Ronnerson wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:12 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:53 am
sawhorse wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:47 am
brianH wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:36 am
The issue here is clearly one of defining the term "middle-class lifestyle". The hypothetical family is living an upper-class lifestyle, but trying to 'convince themselves' that they are middle-class. $4200/year for a baby, $6000/y for 'entertainment' ($500/m buys a lot of Netflix), and $8000/y for vacations is not what anyone would consider middle-class.
The same issue pops up a lot on this board. People claiming to be earning middle class money and living a middle class lifestyle when in fact they are earning more and living more lavishly. In fact on this board a lot of people living above an middle class lifestyle claim to be living below middle class.

I've seen people claim that driving a 3-5 year old Honda Accord is being frugal. I've even heard the claim that a buying new Subaru Forester is being frugal. Give me a break!

Lifestyle creep is real.
Why does anybody even read these click-bait articles? We're an upper middle-class family of 4 by pretty much any standard and this hypothetical family spends literally 5x what we do on food, vacations, and entertainment. There are members of this board whose families live a great (real middle-class) life in the Bay with 1/3 the income (calling RonRonnerson).
I see that I’ve been paged. I’m a public-school teacher in the Bay Area and make around $115k. My wife is a stay-at-home parent. We bought our home earlier this decade (new construction). It’s a 2150 square foot townhouse (4-bedroom/4-bathroom) in a great neighborhood with amazing schools. Things can be expensive around here but don’t necessarily have to be. Housing is the biggest challenge these days but there are less expensive options available for that too. We have found inexpensive alternatives for just about every spending category. This allows us to live a very comfortable lifestyle, save half our income, and work a reasonable schedule that leaves us with plenty of time and energy to enjoy life.
115K income, live in a VHCOL and you save half your income. Seems VERY suspect.

So you can live in SAn Fran with a family and surive off 4K a month?
Ron has been quite open about his numbers for years. Some excellent posts on the forum on balance between frugality and happiness in my view. You can read more here: viewtopic.php?t=262062
When in doubt, http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=79939

FrugalConservative
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by FrugalConservative » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:11 pm

cj2018 wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:00 am
mervinj7 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:40 pm
There was a post today by Sam Dogen, the financial samurai, on expenses breakdown for a family of four making $350k a year trying to live a "typical" middle class life in a VHCOL coastal city.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/11/you-nee ... s-why.html

In my opinion, it's surprisingly accurate for our situation and a good reference post for the bi-weekly moving to Bay Area posts. Did he miss anything?
I’m a regular reader of Sam’s article and DW and I are also a household making over $350k/year in UVHCOL on west coast, and we have no kids - we don’t feel like we have a comfortable lifestyle to be honest. I’m always feeling stressed about job and trying to save on every penny we make as we know the good time doesn’t last and we can go from a $350k household to probably $0 in matter of days. Our minds simply don’t stop and rest/chill - sometimes I envy those who can constant just chill and relax and feel no pressure since they don’t have high expectations of anything!

Folks who don’t live work and live in Bay Area these days simply have NO CLUE how expensive this place has become!

Let me give you a dose of reality here:
  • New grad engineers at FB start with $250k in total comp. (my cousin)
  • day care/pre school for 2 kids cost at least $5k and you have to be on the wait list over a year in advance
  • a decent 1B apartment rents for well over $3k
  • a decent 2B apartment rents for well over $5k
  • medium house price: well over $1.5M

Obviously you can “survive” in Bay Area on much less than $350k but those are “poverty line” lifestyle (which SF government defines as anyone making below $110k).

Also keep in mind that SF/BA is an international city which has talents from all over the world competing for high paying jobs and bidding up housing prices. That’s totally not the case for any inland/Midwest American cities where you see mostly locals who probably truly earn the medium income of $60k and live just fine.

The “techtopia” is not worth for
  • new comers
to relocate and live in unless you clear over $200k individually or $350k in combined total comp. if you are one of the Bay Area incumbents/locals who own properties - this obviously doesn’t apply to you. But if you are young person trying to start and establish yourself? This place is absolutely abysmal if you don’t have a high paying job!
But you HAVE a high paying job. You are making close to 20-22K after taxes EVERY month. Sheesh.

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ray.james
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by ray.james » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:20 pm

mervinj7 wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:50 pm
an_asker wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:26 pm
Childcare + preschool - $24,000 per year (no way paying for babysitting - that will reduce eating out expenses and the obligation to party with Joneses too)
$24,000 is accurate for 1 kid but certainly not 2.
+1
I would read an_asker post which I think coincides with our experience. 2 kids do cost 45K in early daycare/preschool years but even after starting public school, there are activities/classes, summer camp, after school-care which cost around 15K-20K per year(2 kids).

But lets look at other side as well!
2* 401k + 1 match = 45K per year
223K - 144K(an_asker expenses) = 80K
529 - 12K

Total Savings: 45K + 80K+ 12K = 137K. (- 20K if 2 kids in daycare).
Bay area is strange place. An extreme liberal place with extreme income inequality.
When in doubt, http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=79939

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ray.james
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by ray.james » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:33 pm

mervinj7 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:40 pm

[*] An itemized deduction of $36.4k should have been used instead of the standard deduction of $24k.
State will be 22K(real estate) + (mortgage up to 1 mill) 20K in deductions. = 42K in deductions vs 8K standard deduction of California. This will reduce ~3.5K in state taxes alone. However it will come back to 90K, since I think the original calculation from CNBC assumed one earner for social security, which is 6.2% of tax up to 132,500. CA-SDI for couple is another mandatory 2K in 'taxes'.
When in doubt, http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=79939

HawkeyePierce
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by HawkeyePierce » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:50 pm

an_asker wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:36 am
muffins14 wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:16 pm
Really boggles my mind that $4500 a month is what someone considers reasonable for daycare/preschool
From what I've heard - granted it's hearsay - a bunch of tech firms offer lunch on the house. Don't know what proportion do, but yes, I have no idea how anyone in their sane mind would budget $70 a day on an average.
Lunch and breakfast is pretty common. Some offer dinner as an option (I think our HQ in SF offers a takeaway dinner for a nominal fee of something like $8). A few years back we even got caviar lobster tacos on occasion. :D

I grew up in the Bay Area and I'm in SF every few months for work. It's not for me—too crowded.

Starfish
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by Starfish » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:52 pm

brianH wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:36 am
If $350K is barely cutting it, then how is the median household income for San Fransisco $102K? Half of the population of the city is getting by on an amount that is less than 1/3 of the outrageous claim in this article.
There are not many kids in SF proper and and a lot of people don't own a house or bought it long time ago.
If you make 350k you have an education and you want some minimum standards for your kid. Nothing outrageous, just "middle class". Good schools for example.
The issue here is clearly one of defining the term "middle-class lifestyle". The hypothetical family is living an upper-class lifestyle, but trying to 'convince themselves' that they are middle-class. $4200/year for a baby, $6000/y for 'entertainment' ($500/m buys a lot of Netflix), and $8000/y for vacations is not what anyone would consider middle-class.
I think US might be the only country that defines working class as middle class. 350k should be proper "middle class". Middle class should the "under-rich", doctors, lawyers, small business owners, management etc not the 60k$ household with no free healthcare and no free university.
Large part of expenses (and the main failure if this article) is child care. Child care has nothing to do with upper class. Also some basic 2-3 weeks of vacation in a resort somewhere is not upper class. A cheap car is not upper class only because is new. There are not enough used cars if the norm was to buy a used car.

Of course there are 20-30k that can be easily shaved from the budget but comparing to 350k it is a small percentage. When 50k for childcare is added it becomes a respectble 80k saved every year. But of course, there are activities and after school and Russian School of Math :D to pay for later.

This article provides proof that a VHCOL area with high salaries can lead a large amount of saved money but also to 0 saved money. The distance between outcomes is very small.

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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by sawhorse » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:29 pm

Starfish wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:52 pm
I think US might be the only country that defines working class as middle class. 350k should be proper "middle class". Middle class should the "under-rich", doctors, lawyers, small business owners, management etc not the 60k$ household with no free healthcare and no free university.
:confused :confused
Middle class is a math-based concept. Why should someone in the top 5% of income be considered middle class when they are far from the middle on a wealth chart? There are problems with defining it solely in terms of income, but it doesn't change the fact that the term "middle" has a connotation based on population distribution.

And I have no idea what you mean by the United States being the only country to use this sort of definition. Every developed country to my knowledge would not consider someone in the top 5% of income to be middle class.

I think your post touches upon the issue of how easy it is for the middle class financially. I agree that with an income of $60k, particularly if you have kids, there is little financial buffer. One medical emergency, one even brief period of unemployment, one tree crashing through the roof - that puts you in a tight financial situation.

But that's a different issue than how middle class is defined.
Last edited by sawhorse on Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Starfish
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by Starfish » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:41 pm

sawhorse wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:29 pm
Starfish wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:52 pm
I think US might be the only country that defines working class as middle class. 350k should be proper "middle class". Middle class should the "under-rich", doctors, lawyers, small business owners, management etc not the 60k$ household with no free healthcare and no free university.
:confused :confused
Middle class is a math-based concept. Why should someone in the top 5% of income be considered middle class when they are far from the middle on a wealth chart? There are problems with defining it solely in terms of income, but it doesn't change the fact that the term "middle" has a connotation based on population distribution.

And I have no idea what you mean by the United States being the only country to use this sort of definition. Every developed country to my knowledge would not consider someone in the top 5% of income to be middle class.
Mathematically you are right but I am talking about colloquial language where is middle is "not rich nor poor".
Middle class lifestyle is very subjective. To me is mind boggling that in the richest country in the world we have to debate if basic stuff like child care, a new but cheap car - can be every 10 years or more - and couple of weeks of vacation are middle class. If this is not middle class I don't know what is.

SeaToTheBay
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by SeaToTheBay » Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:05 pm

My wife and I live in the Bay Area, and currently make $500k/yr and save nearly half of our gross income with a 6-month old kid. However, two years ago we made $360k and saved 48% pre-tax. We could have saved more, too - we certainly didn't feel like we were skimping and went on an international vacation each year before our kiddo.

I think what the article drives home is the Bay Area has a multiplier effect on both income and expenses. High incomes are plentiful, but it can quickly be eaten away by housing, taxes (state income tax, which applies to capital gains as well, really eats into things), and child care.

The child care estimates are pretty accurate. Our daycare is only $1,600/mo w/employer discount, but this is a steal and more typical fees are ~$2,500/mo for an infant with year-long wait lists commonplace. My wife's employer offers childcare, but it's a lottery system that only about 1/7 succeed in, and then it's $3,250/mo! We are thinking about a nanny just for this first flu season and the rate for a decent quality one is $25-30/hr. Multiplied times 10hrs/day (8am-6pm, no way we can do less than that), 5 days a week and you're employing someone making $70-75k/yr, which is costing you over $100k/yr gross. So yes, a big chunk of $350k gross income can vanish depending on the situation.

Some ways we have saved:

-Bought a townhouse in 2016 that is not in the heart of the city or peninsula, but is a reasonable commute to our jobs. Our housing cost is quite reasonable now with our current income, but if we were to move even 2-3 cities north a similar home today would easily double our mortgage. We also benefit from buying a new construction townhouse, as there is very little maintenance beyond regular HOA dues, and appliances/HVAC are very efficient, keeping bills low.

-The food budget in this article does seem absurdly high ($70/day??). My wife's tech employer has free food, and I bring my own lunch most days. Rarely get $5 coffee or $15 lunch. When we do date nights, we aren't the types to rack up a 3-digit bill.

-Only debt is mortgage. My wife was fortunate to get a full ride to grad school, and I paid off 6-figs in grad school debt in 3 years with bonuses and savings. Saving was a lot harder when I had student loan payments, so I can imagine a couple with two loans would have a much harder time saving. 3 cars paid off - I'm a huge car nut and 1 of my 2 cars is for fun only (a big luxury for sure), but I have a knack for buying cars that don't depreciate (sold my last 2 cars for more than I paid).

-We're not big spenders on material items (clothes, electronics, etc.) and try to cut recurring expenses where we can.


Basically, in the Bay Area, a few key things can really shift the needle on savings - mainly housing and childcare. Someone who bought a house 20 or 10 years ago (heck - even 5 years ago) is in far better shape than someone who's buying or renting now (we were paying $2.5k/mo for a very average 1-bed in the suburbs before buying). And someone with 2 or 3 kids is going to struggle a lot more than DINKs.

visualguy
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by visualguy » Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:12 pm

It's definitely a tough reality in the Bay Area for newcomers who want to start a full life, including having a family. The severe supply/demand problem with housing is at the root of a lot of it. The cost of housing has many secondary effects throughout the economy. Even so, the population is still growing there: the number of births plus arrivals is higher than the number of deaths plus departures. This means that things can't be as bad overall there as one might think (in absolute terms and/or relative to other places in the country).

TheEleven
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by TheEleven » Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:12 pm

I've lived outside the Bay Area and visited other parts of the country. May be a little off topic here, but as much as I hate the VHCOL here I gotta say the weather in my area is better than any other place I've been or even heard of, outside of maybe some pretty exotic locales. Temps are usually pretty mild, humidity not a factor at all, no snow. It's just almost always decent outside. I live in Mountain View, recently rated the second most expensive place in the US as noted on this board, right adjacent to the first most expensive. Climate-wise, kind of the sweet spot of the Bay Area. I try to keep that in mind as I otherwise struggle with budget because I've been in places so much less pleasant to walk out the door. What price weather? Not making a big deal of it - just a little musing on what all goes into higher cost areas.
Last edited by TheEleven on Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Sam1
Posts: 453
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by Sam1 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:13 pm

What stands out to me from these posts is how insanely expensive having children is. How did this happen?

We make well over $400k and a large portion of our take home pay goes towards childcare and college savings.

The college calculator tells us it’s $1,200 per month for private and $600 for public. We are doing more than that now ($5k) to front load. But for two kids you’re at at least $1,200 for public college maybe even 15+ years from now!

Then there is childcare. Even the church basement daycare near us charges $2,200 per infant. A nanny starts at $18 an hour and that’s not a nanny you want to use. Going rate is $22-24 per hour.

Preschool starts at around $15-17k for only the morning. Of course preschool isn’t mandatory, but who wants to not send their kid to preschool??

Currently out of our annual take home we are spending:

15k morning preschool
60k college savings
12k after school care
3k summer camps (when school is out)

So we are spending $90k per year on one kid. Totally insane.

smby
Posts: 31
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by smby » Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:16 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:55 am
Raybo wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:37 am
I am always amazed at how much bashing the SF Bay Area gets on this forum. Yes, housing is expensive. Yes, it is a liberal place. But, if one can swing it, it is a great place to live. Aside from housing, food is not expensive, all kinds of cuisines are available from non-pricey restaurants, world-famous sights are everywhere, and public transit is widespread.

This article is yet another example. How can people who earn so much money have a tight budget? Well, lots of people want to live here and lots of people in the Bay Area make this kind of money. They bid up the cost of certain services. Isn't this just what economics says should happen? Why all the tsking?
The Bay Area, and California in general, is expensive because it's is worth it.

I decided at the age of 8, while on a family holiday across the US, that I would move here.

It's hard to fathom for most people, and the competitive nature for housing, jobs, and even schools makes it hard for many people to survive, let alone thrive.

But if you can cut it, it's a wonderful place to live.

But I get really happy when I see threads like this where everyone is bashing California... it's getting overcrowded and we don't need more people competing for services! Hopefully these threads will dissuade a few more people from moving in. :mrgreen:
Totally agree with your viewpoint! I have been in the Bay for 26+ years..great place to live and much cheaper than Londontown or Hongkong or Paris.

Engineer250
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by Engineer250 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:28 pm

FrugalConservative wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:20 pm
Ron Ronnerson wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:12 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:53 am
sawhorse wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:47 am
brianH wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:36 am
The issue here is clearly one of defining the term "middle-class lifestyle". The hypothetical family is living an upper-class lifestyle, but trying to 'convince themselves' that they are middle-class. $4200/year for a baby, $6000/y for 'entertainment' ($500/m buys a lot of Netflix), and $8000/y for vacations is not what anyone would consider middle-class.
The same issue pops up a lot on this board. People claiming to be earning middle class money and living a middle class lifestyle when in fact they are earning more and living more lavishly. In fact on this board a lot of people living above an middle class lifestyle claim to be living below middle class.

I've seen people claim that driving a 3-5 year old Honda Accord is being frugal. I've even heard the claim that a buying new Subaru Forester is being frugal. Give me a break!

Lifestyle creep is real.
Why does anybody even read these click-bait articles? We're an upper middle-class family of 4 by pretty much any standard and this hypothetical family spends literally 5x what we do on food, vacations, and entertainment. There are members of this board whose families live a great (real middle-class) life in the Bay with 1/3 the income (calling RonRonnerson).
I see that I’ve been paged. I’m a public-school teacher in the Bay Area and make around $115k. My wife is a stay-at-home parent. We bought our home earlier this decade (new construction). It’s a 2150 square foot townhouse (4-bedroom/4-bathroom) in a great neighborhood with amazing schools. Things can be expensive around here but don’t necessarily have to be. Housing is the biggest challenge these days but there are less expensive options available for that too. We have found inexpensive alternatives for just about every spending category. This allows us to live a very comfortable lifestyle, save half our income, and work a reasonable schedule that leaves us with plenty of time and energy to enjoy life.
115K income, live in a VHCOL and you save half your income. Seems VERY suspect.

So you can live in SAn Fran with a family and surive off 4K a month?
The older linked to post states his mortgage is less than $400k on a townhome worth more than $800k. So either bought a while ago, or got family help on the down payment and must live out in an affordable suburb somewhere.

If he’s a teacher and his wife doesn’t work he need only live in a neighborhood with his school to have a reasonable commute. In areas where people are commuting to tech companies the rents and home prices get driven further up. I live in SoCal and the area around my work condos are probably $600k and homes 800 to 1M. And it’s not even the fanciest part of town.
Where the tides of fortune take us, no man can know.

visualguy
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by visualguy » Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:30 pm

Starfish wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:41 pm
Mathematically you are right but I am talking about colloquial language where is middle is "not rich nor poor".
Middle class lifestyle is very subjective. To me is mind boggling that in the richest country in the world we have to debate if basic stuff like child care, a new but cheap car - can be every 10 years or more - and couple of weeks of vacation are middle class. If this is not middle class I don't know what is.
What you can afford as "middle class" has changed (for the worse) with time in the US, unfortunately. That part of the income distribution has been left behind due to escalating costs of education, child care, health care, housing, etc. Official inflation rates don't really capture what happened in terms of middle class wages vs the real cost of living for a family. The Bay Area is a good example of that - you now need to be wealthy to be able to afford the same exact homes that were originally built for the middle class and purchased by them.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by unclescrooge » Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:38 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:43 am
dziuniek wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:37 am

One spouse doesn't go to work... is often the case.

If wife and I had a 3rd child soon... I am not sure going to my state job would make sense.
- Yes it would due to SS credits + pension, but from a cashflow perspective... not so much.
Not sure what that has to do with Unclescrooge's statement that paying for all of college, wedding, and providing a home down payment for your children were just normal "costs of raising children".
So middle class people don't pay for kids college and weddings???? (I'm from a third world country, and even poor people try to help their kids in this respect).

And if middle class people want their kids to be able to stay in California after college, they do help with the down payment.
Last edited by unclescrooge on Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Sam1
Posts: 453
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by Sam1 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:45 pm

Engineer250 wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:28 pm
FrugalConservative wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:20 pm
Ron Ronnerson wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:12 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:53 am
sawhorse wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:47 am


The same issue pops up a lot on this board. People claiming to be earning middle class money and living a middle class lifestyle when in fact they are earning more and living more lavishly. In fact on this board a lot of people living above an middle class lifestyle claim to be living below middle class.

I've seen people claim that driving a 3-5 year old Honda Accord is being frugal. I've even heard the claim that a buying new Subaru Forester is being frugal. Give me a break!

Lifestyle creep is real.
Why does anybody even read these click-bait articles? We're an upper middle-class family of 4 by pretty much any standard and this hypothetical family spends literally 5x what we do on food, vacations, and entertainment. There are members of this board whose families live a great (real middle-class) life in the Bay with 1/3 the income (calling RonRonnerson).
I see that I’ve been paged. I’m a public-school teacher in the Bay Area and make around $115k. My wife is a stay-at-home parent. We bought our home earlier this decade (new construction). It’s a 2150 square foot townhouse (4-bedroom/4-bathroom) in a great neighborhood with amazing schools. Things can be expensive around here but don’t necessarily have to be. Housing is the biggest challenge these days but there are less expensive options available for that too. We have found inexpensive alternatives for just about every spending category. This allows us to live a very comfortable lifestyle, save half our income, and work a reasonable schedule that leaves us with plenty of time and energy to enjoy life.
115K income, live in a VHCOL and you save half your income. Seems VERY suspect.

So you can live in SAn Fran with a family and surive off 4K a month?
The older linked to post states his mortgage is less than $400k on a townhome worth more than $800k. So either bought a while ago, or got family help on the down payment and must live out in an affordable suburb somewhere.

If he’s a teacher and his wife doesn’t work he need only live in a neighborhood with his school to have a reasonable commute. In areas where people are commuting to tech companies the rents and home prices get driven further up. I live in SoCal and the area around my work condos are probably $600k and homes 800 to 1M. And it’s not even the fanciest part of town.
I don’t think many of us find it surprising that you can live in the Bay Area on $115k if you bought your home YEARS or even decades ago and have a stay at home spouse providing free childcare! Childcare and housing are the two largest expenses. Then there is saving for college which you barely have to do if you make $115k.

visualguy
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by visualguy » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:05 pm

unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:38 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:43 am
dziuniek wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:37 am

One spouse doesn't go to work... is often the case.

If wife and I had a 3rd child soon... I am not sure going to my state job would make sense.
- Yes it would due to SS credits + pension, but from a cashflow perspective... not so much.
Not sure what that has to do with Unclescrooge's statement that paying for all of college, wedding, and providing a home down payment for your children were just normal "costs of raising children".
So middle class people don't pay for kids college and weddings???? (I'm from a third world country, and even poor people try to help their kids in this respect).

And if they want their kids to be able to stay in California after college, they do help with the down payment.
Giving kids such financial help is indeed common in other countries. Both families try to contribute as they can toward helping the newly-married kids buy a home. It's a very sensible approach - more money stays in the family rather than going to the banks, and it enables kids to start their families while still young. It also puts them in a better position to help their own kids with housing when the time comes. In the US, you do see the same thing among the rich, but not much outside of that group.

Starfish
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by Starfish » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:10 pm

smby wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:16 pm
unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:55 am
Raybo wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:37 am
I am always amazed at how much bashing the SF Bay Area gets on this forum. Yes, housing is expensive. Yes, it is a liberal place. But, if one can swing it, it is a great place to live. Aside from housing, food is not expensive, all kinds of cuisines are available from non-pricey restaurants, world-famous sights are everywhere, and public transit is widespread.

This article is yet another example. How can people who earn so much money have a tight budget? Well, lots of people want to live here and lots of people in the Bay Area make this kind of money. They bid up the cost of certain services. Isn't this just what economics says should happen? Why all the tsking?
The Bay Area, and California in general, is expensive because it's is worth it.

I decided at the age of 8, while on a family holiday across the US, that I would move here.

It's hard to fathom for most people, and the competitive nature for housing, jobs, and even schools makes it hard for many people to survive, let alone thrive.

But if you can cut it, it's a wonderful place to live.

But I get really happy when I see threads like this where everyone is bashing California... it's getting overcrowded and we don't need more people competing for services! Hopefully these threads will dissuade a few more people from moving in. :mrgreen:
Totally agree with your viewpoint! I have been in the Bay for 26+ years..great place to live and much cheaper than Londontown or Hongkong or Paris.
Comparing an ugly no end suburb with real cities is not correct though.
The justification for BA prices are the jobs. The rest is pretty nasty (except SF itself).
How come so many smart people couldn't make a desirable environment to live in is a mystery to me.

visualguy
Posts: 1602
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by visualguy » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:13 pm

Starfish wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:10 pm
smby wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:16 pm
unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:55 am
Raybo wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:37 am
I am always amazed at how much bashing the SF Bay Area gets on this forum. Yes, housing is expensive. Yes, it is a liberal place. But, if one can swing it, it is a great place to live. Aside from housing, food is not expensive, all kinds of cuisines are available from non-pricey restaurants, world-famous sights are everywhere, and public transit is widespread.

This article is yet another example. How can people who earn so much money have a tight budget? Well, lots of people want to live here and lots of people in the Bay Area make this kind of money. They bid up the cost of certain services. Isn't this just what economics says should happen? Why all the tsking?
The Bay Area, and California in general, is expensive because it's is worth it.

I decided at the age of 8, while on a family holiday across the US, that I would move here.

It's hard to fathom for most people, and the competitive nature for housing, jobs, and even schools makes it hard for many people to survive, let alone thrive.

But if you can cut it, it's a wonderful place to live.

But I get really happy when I see threads like this where everyone is bashing California... it's getting overcrowded and we don't need more people competing for services! Hopefully these threads will dissuade a few more people from moving in. :mrgreen:
Totally agree with your viewpoint! I have been in the Bay for 26+ years..great place to live and much cheaper than Londontown or Hongkong or Paris.
Comparing an ugly no end suburb with real cities is not correct though.
The justification for BA prices are the jobs. The rest is pretty nasty (except SF itself).
How come so many smart people couldn't make a desirable environment to live in is a mystery to me.
I would imagine they like suburban living. I know I prefer it overall to city living.

livesoft
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by livesoft » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:16 pm

This family could be renting. There was no need at this stage of their life to own a home.

But I must step up my game. I'm clearly not spending enough on food for starters.
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Starfish
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by Starfish » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:26 pm

visualguy wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:13 pm
I would imagine they like suburban living. I know I prefer it overall to city living.
Most of these people come from cities though...
It is not even good suburban living. Even for a suburbia BA is particularly ugly, small lots, dry, everything paved, incredible traffic, bad schools, strip malls etc.
SJ is a city but not nice.
I don't know who would compare this with Paris or London.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by unclescrooge » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:33 pm

Starfish wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:10 pm
smby wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:16 pm
unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:55 am
Raybo wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:37 am
I am always amazed at how much bashing the SF Bay Area gets on this forum. Yes, housing is expensive. Yes, it is a liberal place. But, if one can swing it, it is a great place to live. Aside from housing, food is not expensive, all kinds of cuisines are available from non-pricey restaurants, world-famous sights are everywhere, and public transit is widespread.

This article is yet another example. How can people who earn so much money have a tight budget? Well, lots of people want to live here and lots of people in the Bay Area make this kind of money. They bid up the cost of certain services. Isn't this just what economics says should happen? Why all the tsking?
The Bay Area, and California in general, is expensive because it's is worth it.

I decided at the age of 8, while on a family holiday across the US, that I would move here.

It's hard to fathom for most people, and the competitive nature for housing, jobs, and even schools makes it hard for many people to survive, let alone thrive.

But if you can cut it, it's a wonderful place to live.

But I get really happy when I see threads like this where everyone is bashing California... it's getting overcrowded and we don't need more people competing for services! Hopefully these threads will dissuade a few more people from moving in. :mrgreen:
Totally agree with your viewpoint! I have been in the Bay for 26+ years..great place to live and much cheaper than Londontown or Hongkong or Paris.
Comparing an ugly no end suburb with real cities is not correct though.
The justification for BA prices are the jobs. The rest is pretty nasty (except SF itself).
How come so many smart people couldn't make a desirable environment to live in is a mystery to me.
Try visiting Mumbai and immediately every aspect of every American city will look like a beautiful garden :mrgreen:

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goodenyou
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by goodenyou » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:36 pm

A Bay Area Rapid Transit janitor who makes $234,000 plus $36,000 in benefits marries a Bay Area Rapid Transit elevator technician who makes over $250,000 in salary and benefits. Together, they’d make well over $350,000.

Is it me, or is this ridiculous? A janitor and an elevator technician with $520,000/yr. of household income? YOU are in the wrong field! :shock:

There needs to be more posting about prestigious Janitor and Elevator Technician Schools for Boglehead children!
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Starfish
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by Starfish » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:40 pm

goodenyou wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:36 pm
A Bay Area Rapid Transit janitor who makes $234,000 plus $36,000 in benefits marries a Bay Area Rapid Transit elevator technician who makes over $250,000 in salary and benefits. Together, they’d make well over $350,000.

Is it me, or is this ridiculous? A janitor and an elevator technician with $520,000/yr. of household income? YOU are in the wrong field! :shock:
This case was in the press a while ago together with a police officer making 450k or so doing office work.

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goodenyou
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by goodenyou » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:47 pm

Starfish wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:40 pm
goodenyou wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:36 pm
A Bay Area Rapid Transit janitor who makes $234,000 plus $36,000 in benefits marries a Bay Area Rapid Transit elevator technician who makes over $250,000 in salary and benefits. Together, they’d make well over $350,000.

Is it me, or is this ridiculous? A janitor and an elevator technician with $520,000/yr. of household income? YOU are in the wrong field! :shock:
This case was in the press a while ago together with a police officer making 450k or so doing office work.
Great for the pension system in California! :oops:
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Re: Bay Area budget for $350k family income

Post by LadyGeek » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:50 pm

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