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$100k salary - family of 5 in Boston

$100k salary - family of 5 in Boston

Old Sep 8th 2012, 3:14 am
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Default $100k salary - family of 5 in Boston

Before I officially start the internal application at my company, I thought I'd check on forums like this if $100k for living in Boston is a good salary given that my wife will not be working and we have 3 kids under 6 (5, 2, 4 months) - although she could work given the company processes an L-1 visa (is my understanding).

We currently live fairly comfortably (read modest) in the UK on my £60k+ commission salary alone.

My motivations for wanting to take this post is this: My wife and I (35 and 36) have moved here from South Afirica 10 years ago and have had reasonable success (I know, this is objective given our modest beginnings in SA) and are looking to what the 10 years could look like for our family. We can quite happily continue life in the UK or could undertake an adventure in another country for the next 3-5 years experiencing something different and new, and potentially (hopefully) have some fun (and maybe some success) while doing so.

Your thoughts will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Sep 8th 2012, 3:38 am
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Default Re: $100k salary - family of 5 in Boston

Totally depends on things like medical insurance. You can't just say yeah $100k is enough without things like that. What coverage will you be provided with? What deductible if any etc?
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Old Sep 8th 2012, 3:53 am
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Default Re: $100k salary - family of 5 in Boston

Originally Posted by Haydnmaydn View Post
Before I officially start the internal application at my company, I thought I'd check on forums like this if $100k for living in Boston is a good salary given that my wife will not be working and we have 3 kids under 6 (5, 2, 4 months) - although she could work given the company processes an L-1 visa (is my understanding).

We currently live fairly comfortably (read modest) in the UK on my £60k+ commission salary alone.

My motivations for wanting to take this post is this: My wife and I (35 and 36) have moved here from South Afirica 10 years ago and have had reasonable success (I know, this is objective given our modest beginnings in SA) and are looking to what the 10 years could look like for our family. We can quite happily continue life in the UK or could undertake an adventure in another country for the next 3-5 years experiencing something different and new, and potentially (hopefully) have some fun (and maybe some success) while doing so.

Your thoughts will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
Depends on your lifestyle expectations, but how far would 60k sterling go in say central London? Boston is an expensive city both lifestyle and real estate wise so you need to "do the math" as they day over here.
You must, of course, ensure your potential employer offers full health for you and your family but any employer worth their salt would do that.
Plus please figure out the visa situation of your wife. If she is working or hopes to go back to work soon do not get caught in the H1b fiasco scenario. Check out the USA immigration forum on this site it is invaluable.
Good luck.
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Old Sep 8th 2012, 11:20 am
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Default Re: $100k salary - family of 5 in Boston

You'll be a bit below the median per capita family income for the counties around Boston, so places like Wellesley and Newton will be tough on your budget, but if you move to somewhere like Waltham (still close to Boston) you should be ok......basically $100k will give you an average lifestyle.

You have to be careful when comparing expenses between UK and US. The US has lots of hidden costs like health insurance and state taxes, but petrol and cars are far cheaper than the UK.

Last edited by nun; Sep 8th 2012 at 11:23 am.
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Old Sep 8th 2012, 1:47 pm
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Default Re: $100k salary - family of 5 in Boston

Originally Posted by nun View Post
The US has lots of hidden costs like health insurance and state taxes, but petrol and cars are far cheaper than the UK.
Right but the lower cost of petrol (gas) is offset somewhat by the fact that MPG is usually much lower in US cars.
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Old Sep 8th 2012, 1:56 pm
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Default Re: $100k salary - family of 5 in Boston

Depends. It's doable, it's a good salary...but all depends on what you're looking for and what you're looking for in life.

I know a family who were struggling on $150K a year living in Boston, till they moved out to the burbs, but then one kid was in college, so very different to you.

If you want to buy a house and live down town, you'll be a bit meh....if you live in the burbs, you'll do much better.

Childcare in Boston itself, very hard to get, very expensive....out in Wellesley, you're looking at $1500 a month a kid for 2 half days a week for pre-school....further out, you'll be looking at that money for 2-3 full days a week, move closer to I-495 and around the Acton area, that'll probably get closer to full week.

Acton/Concord seems to be a good compromise for time of commute v housing costs and quality of towns. It's not cheap, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper than Boston itself for a house with a garden and the commute is a lot less horrid than from Wellesley/Sudbury area.

Big deal breaker would be how much you have to pay for medical insurance and if it'll cost you extra to add the family, especially with kids.

But then again, depending on if you want city living or suburban living, you've got to factor in other costs, such as commuting. Further out, the commuter rail parking is cheap though tickets get expensive, but parking is severely limited, get a spot easily enough if you're early at Acton or in Newton/Auburndale at the Riverside stop, but many of the other stops don't have much parking...then again, if you're in Boston, parking can be anything from $10-50 a day depending on location, but the T is pretty cheap, a couple bucks a ride.
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Old Sep 8th 2012, 2:02 pm
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Default Re: $100k salary - family of 5 in Boston

Originally Posted by MarylandNed View Post
Right but the lower cost of petrol (gas) is offset somewhat by the fact that MPG is usually much lower in US cars.
Also second hand cars aren't really that cheap either, especially if you're looking for something that isn't a clunker, plus tax and insurance :/

If you lived down town Boston, you could get away with not having a car and using a Zipcar membership for when you needed one, but it doesn't take very far out of downtown to get into needing a car territory.
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Old Sep 8th 2012, 2:45 pm
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Default Re: $100k salary - family of 5 in Boston

I would say 100% no it is not a good salary. Prime considerations:

the number of children you have, non working spouse.

healthcare, unless full coverage ( you need to really read this very very carefully) then you are going to be crippled just in basic healthcare costs. At its best just looking at my own if I had that many offspring and I have excellent full coverage no nasty deductible's coverage I would be paying about another $500 per month so right there your down to $94,000 before tax, and thats a very conservative figure.

I strongly suggest researching the real estate market in Boston (not cheap) whether you are buying or renting. Look carefully, in areas where you would actually want your kids to go to a public i.e., state school. If your contemplating private then forget it $100,000 is not enough.

I know I'm biased but if I was earning a comfortable 60K + in the UK I think I would stay where I was. But we all have our own choices. I put it like this and I am deadly serious I'd swap you my job right now!

Last edited by vikingsail; Sep 8th 2012 at 2:49 pm.
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Old Sep 8th 2012, 3:06 pm
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Default Re: $100k salary - family of 5 in Boston

Originally Posted by vikingsail View Post

I strongly suggest researching the real estate market in Boston (not cheap) whether you are buying or renting. Look carefully, in areas where you would actually want your kids to go to a public i.e., state school. If your contemplating private then forget it $100,000 is not enough.
Thing is, are we talking down town Boston, or way out in the burbs?

Companies have a habit of saying they're in Boston, even if they are as far out as Worcester. There are a lot of large tech and science research companies based in Framingham, Westborough etc, who still tout themselves as Boston, when they mean the burbs.

That would make a massive difference in cost of housing. Though schools tend to often be a lot more poo in comparison, but other factors then also come into play like the need for at least two cars v perhaps getting away with just using Zipcar or having one car.
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Old Sep 8th 2012, 4:10 pm
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Default Re: $100k salary - family of 5 in Boston

Originally Posted by MarylandNed View Post
Right but the lower cost of petrol (gas) is offset somewhat by the fact that MPG is usually much lower in US cars.
... and by the fact that you annual mileage in the US will almost certainly end up being much higher than it was in the UK ...
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Old Sep 8th 2012, 8:01 pm
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Default Re: $100k salary - family of 5 in Boston

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
... and by the fact that you annual mileage in the US will almost certainly end up being much higher than it was in the UK ...
If it's really in Boston, maybe not. But then again, they'll spend the fuel savings on parking.
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Old Sep 9th 2012, 1:00 am
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Default Re: $100k salary - family of 5 in Boston

Originally Posted by MarylandNed View Post
MPG is usually much lower in US cars.
No, it's not.

Don't forget that the US gallon is 3.8 litres, and the EU gallon is 4.54 litres. When you factor that in, MPG is about the same for the same kind of vehicle.

The thing that's better in the UK is that there are a plethora of turbo diesel cars available. They haven't figured out that's a good idea in the US yet.
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Old Sep 9th 2012, 1:59 pm
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Default Re: $100k salary - family of 5 in Boston

We moved from living near Southampton, me working in Reading & wife working locally, to moving to Phoenix. The company effectively converted my salary to dollars. Wife isn't working for various reasons but could - we're on L1/L2 visas. We have no kids and are renting. Health insurance is pretty good by US standards and costs us an extra $120 a month to cover the wife.

Our standard of living is a little better here - commute is almost zero, stress level way down etc.

But this part of the US has a cost of living that is typically below the mean. Boston area is the other side of the line. My guess is you'd struggle if you want to make good provision for the future - retirement etc...

What is the average salary for your job in the Boston area? This may let you know whether your company is getting you on the cheap so to speak. If you're just going for a few years for the experience, maybe it's less of an issue...
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Old Sep 9th 2012, 2:18 pm
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Default Re: $100k salary - family of 5 in Boston

Originally Posted by HarryTheSpider View Post

What is the average salary for your job in the Boston area? This may let you know whether your company is getting you on the cheap so to speak. If you're just going for a few years for the experience, maybe it's less of an issue...
That's not going to be an easy one to answer, because so many start ups offer a stake in the company or other benefits in lieu. Friends husband got in on a book based online company and found the range for his engineer position was between $120-160, whilst at a career company in the burbs was offering $115 plus $60K in shares and he got a range in between from two other places.

They do seem more happy now they've moved to the burbs, first they went into our town and saved up a fair bit more money but the commute was just a little bit to much, especially in winter, so they just moved a few towns closer onto the commuter rail, which works for them.
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Old Sep 9th 2012, 10:12 pm
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Default Re: $100k salary - family of 5 in Boston

Originally Posted by BritishGuy36 View Post
No, it's not.

Don't forget that the US gallon is 3.8 litres, and the EU gallon is 4.54 litres. When you factor that in, MPG is about the same for the same kind of vehicle.

The thing that's better in the UK is that there are a plethora of turbo diesel cars available. They haven't figured out that's a good idea in the US yet.
Well, as always "it depends". I would argue that the average mpg across vehicles in the US is lower than it is in the UK when you compare like for like because of the plethora of SUVs and Pickup trucks that do between 10-16mpg (US).

However nobody stops you from buying a European-sized car and get comparable mileage to what you got in the UK. That's pretty much what I did, mostly because I prefer sporty to big.

As to the price of cars, I was one of the people who subscribed to "bangernomics" in the UK. I rarely spent more than two grand on a decent runabout (which admittedly left a lot more money for the "toys"). Out here, those cars would be worth 2-3 times what they're worth in the UK. However, new cars are generally cheaper than in Europe. Used cars in general aren't and if they're older they're often in much worse shape.
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