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Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Old Aug 5th 2011, 12:46 pm
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Default Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

My husband has just been flown to Santa Monica for the final stage interview for a job as a software developer. Just before he left he was asked what his salary expectations were but we have no idea where to start budeting wise.

I know we need to ask for a good relocation allowance (is it the done thing to ask for flights home each year for example?), but in terms of day to day costs can anyone point me in the right direction?

We currently live in South London so are used to an expensive city. He's been offered another job to stay here on £68,000 so if he were offered a simialr dollar amount, is that enough?!

If we move, we'll be taking our 3yr old and newborn with us. Ideally we'd like to rent a 3bed house so family and come and stay - having checked hotpads it seems reasonable to find something in the areas surrounding Santa Monica for $3000 or less a month (!!!). What is the cost of childcare like, state taxes etc? Assuming we would get medical insurance from his company to include all four of us, would we need to get any additional insurance?

Day to day living, how does the cost of food etc compare to UK? With a small family in tow I'm hoping the fact that it's sunny means cost of entertaining them will be minimal but am so used to free museums, cheap theatre tickets etc here for young children...

Any other thoughts welcomed!
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Old Aug 5th 2011, 3:08 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

£68,000 would be about $110,000 in my mind not enough for a software developer in Santa Monica or to live a comfortable life in a rented 3 bed house.
There are web sites that will let you compare COL from one place to another.
Don't forget all the other costs living here.
Medical, Dental.
Long haul flights back to see family
Very Little paid vacation time
Other than that the weather can be lovely and the beach close by.
It all depends what you are looking for, there are some people on here who are living in that general area, I'm sure they will be by to give their 2¢
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Old Aug 5th 2011, 3:23 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by Mummy in the foothills View Post
£68,000 would be about $110,000 in my mind not enough for a software developer in Santa Monica or to live a comfortable life in a rented 3 bed house.
There are web sites that will let you compare COL from one place to another.
Don't forget all the other costs living here.
Medical, Dental.
Long haul flights back to see family
Very Little paid vacation time
Other than that the weather can be lovely and the beach close by.
It all depends what you are looking for, there are some people on here who are living in that general area, I'm sure they will be by to give their 2¢


Wow, really? I know property prices have risen in So Cal since I've been there, but surely a good rental can be obtained and a comfortable life lived for $110k....

Make sure you have medical and dental benefits, and the coverage is good! Also try and negotiate a good holiday entitlement...

Other than that, have a great time and enjoy the adventure! And as Mummy says, someone else will be along to give their two cents...
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Old Aug 5th 2011, 3:44 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

My guess is your probably looking at $9 to $10K per month in total.
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Old Aug 5th 2011, 3:47 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Rentwise, It completely depends on what standard of living you are after, and how much commuting you are prepared to do. In LA you can rent a small house for less than a thousand a month, if you're happy to live next door to a meth lab. On the other hand, you can pay $100,000/month for some mansion in the hills. I think $3000 a month is a reasonable expectation for a cheap place in Santa Monica - probably an apartment rather than a house.

Petrol costs between half and 2/3 what it does in the UK, but food (from the shops) costs significantly more - unless you have all the time in the world to traipse round all the pound shops, expect your food bills to be double what they are in the UK. Eating out, on the other hand, is quite cheap. Utilities cost about the same, except for water. And, if you're fond of a tipple expect to pay a lot more for that, too.
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Old Aug 5th 2011, 3:53 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Santa Monica is a very expensive area. Coming away from the beach area it's not that pleasant to live.

You will most likely have to contribute towards the cost of your medical insurance and have co-pays for doctor visits and prescriptions.

I doubt a company here would pay for flights home for you every year, you could ask I suppose.

We find the money just flows out constantly, you have to pay more for school supplies etc and children's activities.

Sorry to sound negative but I have noticed that people in England think that we live on Easy Street over here.
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Old Aug 5th 2011, 4:09 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post

Sorry to sound negative but I have noticed that people in England think that we live on Easy Street over here.
"Surely moving to California has to be an upgrade?!"

(says my plumber back in SW15... )
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Old Aug 5th 2011, 7:37 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by Elvira View Post
"Surely moving to California has to be an upgrade?!"

(says my plumber back in SW15... )
Yeah right
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Old Aug 5th 2011, 7:48 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
I doubt a company here would pay for flights home for you every year, you could ask I suppose.
We get it included as we are here as expats rather than payroll.
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Old Aug 5th 2011, 7:49 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by Weeze View Post
We get it included as we are here as expats rather than payroll.
Is that a transfer though? it doesn't sound like this is.
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Old Aug 5th 2011, 8:06 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Yeah, exactly. It doesn't seem that common among the people on transfers either. I can't say it makes a huge difference and we wouldn't have made a fuss if it wasn't included. They give us the average cost of an economy flight for each of us per year. They work it all out themselves.
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Old Aug 6th 2011, 6:37 am
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

thanks so much for responses so far, it's great just to start getting ball park figures really. So is $9,000-$10,000month a reasonable expectation for a reasonable quality of life? Sounds like a fortune to me! But all relative isn't it.

I'm not really prepared to move halfway across the world and have to scrimp and save, we've done that for the last 6 years in London and are finally now approaching somewhere comfortable. We don't spend a fortune going out etc due to having two small children but therefore do like to eat well so have heard food does cost substantially more.

Likewise I don't really want to move my family across the world to live in a small flat like we do now, but don't need to be right by the beach. I do want to make sure we get the most out of being in California, not least being able to put up family and friends if they come to stay. LA sounds like a miserable place to be poor in, but I don't exactly want to live in a Hollywood Hills Mansion!

I didn't realise you could negotiate holiday allowance, what have other people managed to negotiate? He finds out on Monday if he got the job!
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Old Aug 6th 2011, 6:53 am
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by mymatemarmite View Post
I didn't realise you could negotiate holiday allowance, what have other people managed to negotiate? He finds out on Monday if he got the job!
You can negotiate pretty much anything, but vacation allowance tends to be one of the more difficult things - still worth trying though ...
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Old Aug 6th 2011, 1:34 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by mymatemarmite View Post
thanks so much for responses so far, it's great just to start getting ball park figures really. So is $9,000-$10,000month a reasonable expectation for a reasonable quality of life? Sounds like a fortune to me! But all relative isn't it.

I'm not really prepared to move halfway across the world and have to scrimp and save, we've done that for the last 6 years in London and are finally now approaching somewhere comfortable. We don't spend a fortune going out etc due to having two small children but therefore do like to eat well so have heard food does cost substantially more.

Likewise I don't really want to move my family across the world to live in a small flat like we do now, but don't need to be right by the beach. I do want to make sure we get the most out of being in California, not least being able to put up family and friends if they come to stay. LA sounds like a miserable place to be poor in, but I don't exactly want to live in a Hollywood Hills Mansion!

I didn't realise you could negotiate holiday allowance, what have other people managed to negotiate? He finds out on Monday if he got the job!
I don't think you'd need any where near $9-10,000 a month to live even in LA.
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Old Aug 6th 2011, 2:44 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by mymatemarmite View Post
thanks so much for responses so far, it's great just to start getting ball park figures really. So is $9,000-$10,000month a reasonable expectation for a reasonable quality of life? Sounds like a fortune to me! But all relative isn't it.

I'm not really prepared to move halfway across the world and have to scrimp and save, we've done that for the last 6 years in London and are finally now approaching somewhere comfortable. We don't spend a fortune going out etc due to having two small children but therefore do like to eat well so have heard food does cost substantially more.

Likewise I don't really want to move my family across the world to live in a small flat like we do now, but don't need to be right by the beach. I do want to make sure we get the most out of being in California, not least being able to put up family and friends if they come to stay. LA sounds like a miserable place to be poor in, but I don't exactly want to live in a Hollywood Hills Mansion!

I didn't realise you could negotiate holiday allowance, what have other people managed to negotiate? He finds out on Monday if he got the job!
There are nice places to live away from Santa Monica. I grew up in Palos Verdes and still have a friend that lives there, she loves it!

http://www.palosverdes.com/rpv/

However, the commute isn't close and the rentals are probably high...

I'd look outside of Santa Monica though. Not sure how far you want to commute to work.
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