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Hola or Hasta la vista San Francisco!!

Hola or Hasta la vista San Francisco!!

Old Jan 16th 2013, 12:45 pm
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Default Hola or Hasta la vista San Francisco!!

Hi Folks,

Firstly, this is a fantastic forum/community, lots of quality information for the newbies, many thanks all for making invaluable contributions.

The main reason I’m here is to seek some insight and advice from the more experienced out there, particularly folks working/living in San Francisco, to help make an informed decision related to a prospective move to San Francisco.

I am from Scotland, working as a Consulting Manager with a tier 1 global consulting firm, moved to Dubai in 2011 with family (wife and two kids aged 5 & 3 years). All have embraced new surroundings and enjoying a reasonable lifestyle on the Sandpit. My wife was working before we move to Dubai and she has no intention to return to work, I believe due to, a) I must be earning enough to keep her reasonably content and b) we just had a new addition to the family so that’s another year on the bench for her, anyway looking after 3 brats is a full time job as well

I have an opportunity for an inter-firm transfer to work and live in San Francisco. The basic salary on offer is not great for San F –$130K per annum approx £81K, I believe this would be around $7,800 per month after taxes/deductions. I am earning 60% more than that in Dubai on net basis. From a career perspective, a short stint (couple of years) in the US would add some more weight to my 12 years of professional endeavours and may broaden future prospects particularly opportunities to move away from consulting to a more work/family balanced life.

Nows the bit where I would appreciate your insight and advice, do you think:
a) It’s worth a punt?
b) Would I be able to survive on the above without having to compromise too much? considering that I would probably be forking out at least around 45% earnings on a pigeon-hole in a decent locality within SF bay area.
c) Is it fair to disturb a settled family for relocation soon after an earlier move from home? I’ve discussed this piece with wife, and her only response was why you want to move to San F when there is a surge in economic migration to Dubai particularly from the west, it must be tough out there eh! I think she reckons that I won’t seriously consider the option because it pays less.

My perspective is that if we can financially survive for a couple of years then a move to San F is beneficial for what ‘s it worth, from a career perspective. I would also appreciate your advice on a safe/child friendly neighbourhood close proximity to a good public school, as well, close to the centre of town and/or local amenities so wife can manage the household in my absence without too much struggle.

Also, I’ve done a preliminary costing based on the information on this forum and elsewhere, taking into account the “comprises that I am comfortable to make at present” – please see below, but I’m ending up in red! Is this the reality? Or the expenditure estimations are too generous? Any suggestion/recommendations based on your experience would be greatly appreciated, particularly any opportunities for downsizing.

Apologies for the long note, and thanks in advance for your guidance.

Expenditure Estimation (per month):
Rent= $3,000
Monthly Groceries = $800
Health Insurance (Personal Contribution) = $500
School Fees –Son Per Year = $0
Pre School Fees –Daughter = $0
Petrol (x 2 cars) = $300
Household (bread, milk etc - day to day cash, 25x$30) = $750
Property Tax, Gas, Water & Electricity = $300
Telco (landline + broadband) = $50
Cell Phone (x 2) = $100
Car Loan/Lease = $800
Car Insurance = $60
Annual Flights Home = $375 (approx. $4500 per ann for 2 adults, 2 children and 1 infant)
Renters/Home Insurance = $80
Clothing Adult (x2) = $300
Clothing Children (x3) = $300
TV subscription (based on DISH packages) = $165
Family Entertainment/Dinners out = $300
Lunch at Work (25x$20) = $300
Emergency e.g. Medicines etc = $300
Kids Extra Curricula Activities @ School Per = $300
Credit Card Payment = $200

Total Outgoings = $9,280
Estimated Take home after Tax/deductions (based on 130k p.a gross) = $7800
Balance = -$1,480
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Old Jan 16th 2013, 1:48 pm
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Default Re: Hola or Hasta la vista San Francisco!!

One of my wife's colleagues recently looked seriously at moving back to SF on a salary in the range you state. She currently lives in Phoenix and is single. She concluded that it would require a drastic cut in her current lifestyle.
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Old Jan 16th 2013, 2:18 pm
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Default Re: Hola or Hasta la vista San Francisco!!

I can imagine! But Dubai is not Phoenix.

I suspect there's a reason why people are offered great salaries for going to work in Dubai. Perhaps the lifestyle in Dubai is such that people need serious convincing to get them to go there? (Just a WAG, I've never been to Dubai.)

Regards, JEff


Originally Posted by fatbrit View Post
One of my wife's colleagues recently looked seriously at moving back to SF on a salary in the range you state. She currently lives in Phoenix and is single. She concluded that it would require a drastic cut in her current lifestyle.
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Old Jan 16th 2013, 2:22 pm
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Default Re: Hola or Hasta la vista San Francisco!!

Cable/internet/phone is a bit low, ball park $100-150.

Utilities, would depend on the size of the gaff and all that, but if you're renting you'd not have property tax on top, it'd be in the rent.

Mobile phones, depends if you want contract or not and if you're going to use more data or not, so might be about right, might be more.

Car insurance will be more, ball park is $1000 per six months for a new car. You've got no driving history or credit history remember.

Flights home, if you're senior enough you might be able to get that as part of the relocation package, might not but worth asking.

Those are only generic answers as it's not my neck of the woods, though I'm sure someone else will chime in soon enough.

Welcome to BE and good luck!

The ME section is pretty decent too
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Old Jan 16th 2013, 2:24 pm
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Default Re: Hola or Hasta la vista San Francisco!!

It's a seriously not cheap place to live, accommodation often has to be paid annually and is rather expensive if you didn't get a package and school fees are huge.

On the plus side, driving in the US might seem pretty decent in comparison from what I've read
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Old Jan 16th 2013, 2:25 pm
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Default Re: Hola or Hasta la vista San Francisco!!

Others in SF will be able to give more detailed info on some of your line items, but I think your utilities, insurance, and airfares stand out as items that are under estimates, in the case of car insurance and air travel, significantly so. A colleague of mine paid $11,000 for a trip back to the UK from SF last year for him and his family (wife and 2 children, flying economy), though he may have include car rental in that figure.
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Old Jan 16th 2013, 3:01 pm
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Default Re: Hola or Hasta la vista San Francisco!!

Sorry to be my normal blunt self but I would stay in Dubai I have been to both and would take Dubai over San Fran any day!

There are friends on BE that love SF but over all the majority of my buddies dislike the place, even those that live there and want to move across the bridge, other than a night out or a day shopping trip..... I will be there next week for the day on business and dreading it.

FYI thats one heck of a car for $800 loan a month
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Old Jan 16th 2013, 3:10 pm
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Default Re: Hola or Hasta la vista San Francisco!!

My comparisons in red below.

Expenditure Estimation (per month):
Pre School Fees –Daughter = $0 - Depends whether funded - we pay $99/wk for a 5yo (3 full days) and $180/wk for a 1yo (2 full days)
Property Tax, Gas, Water & Electricity = $300 - Depends where but A/C might push the electricity higher than that in summer
Telco (landline + broadband) = $50 - See TV below
Cell Phone (x 2) = $100 - we average $50-60pcm per phone on a family plan with our own phones but sometimes go over that amount
Car Insurance = $60 - we have a 7yo car that costs $80pcm for insurance. Newer cars = more expensive insurance.
Renters/Home Insurance = $80 - Depends on area I guess, but this is 4x what we pay
TV subscription (based on DISH packages) = $165 - This is the figure we pay for Fios cable, 25meg up/down broadband (uncapped), and hundreds of crap TV channels. Landline on top would have been an extra $15 per month but we don't bother.

Last edited by GeoffM; Jan 16th 2013 at 3:10 pm. Reason: Quotes
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Old Jan 16th 2013, 3:18 pm
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Default Re: Hola or Hasta la vista San Francisco!!

Rent is the big variable, especially if you want to live in San Francisco itself. Rents have increased 25% or more in the last year. I own a 2 bed apartment in a fairly nice area of town and it would rent for $4,500 or more. Crazy but true. So $3k will get you something in SF, but maybe not what you want or maybe not an area you particularly want to be in. You'd find something nicer in the Easy Bay for $3k - say Berkeley for example, or you could live further east towards Walnut Creek.
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Old Jan 16th 2013, 3:38 pm
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Default Re: Hola or Hasta la vista San Francisco!!

You are showing a minus balance every month even on your figures - isn't this a problem?

Flights home are underestimated, as is rent I think. Even in the suburban area of LA where I live, you would be hard-pressed to get more than a small apartment for $3,000 pm.
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Old Jan 16th 2013, 3:38 pm
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Default Re: Hola or Hasta la vista San Francisco!!

You say you will probably live in the Bay Area, so the shortest commute is going to be 20 miles each way, so that's 800 miles per month plus the sat in traffic... I would say $300 on petrol is too low. Do the company you will be working for have there own carpark that will be free? If not, add $30 per day parking.

Have you considered living near the rail system? Many companies around here offer free or heavily subsidised rail travel, which could be a big consideration in your case.

Your day to day cash seems really high to me, especially when you have work lunch seperate. Again, the things that stand out as too low are your flights and car insurance, but your car leases seem to high.

Depending on where you want to live, your rent could be a bit low, but if you are thinking Pleasanton area you would be ok, but your commute would double.

As a side note, we recently traded in our 2007 crappy hatchback for a brand new SUV and the insurance was lower. So newer doesn't always mean more expensive.

I love San Francisco and the Bay Area, it really is a beautiful part of the world to live, and if you like getting out and about, there really is an endless amount of things to see and do here.
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Old Jan 16th 2013, 3:57 pm
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Default Re: Hola or Hasta la vista San Francisco!!

Originally Posted by N1cky View Post

Depending on where you want to live, your rent could be a bit low, but if you are thinking Pleasanton area you would be ok, but your commute would double.
If the rent is OK then it should be doable, don't go back to the UK every year and take sandwiches to work, that's two things we do to save.
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Old Jan 16th 2013, 3:59 pm
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Default Re: Hola or Hasta la vista San Francisco!!

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
If the rent is OK then it should be doable, don't go back to the UK every year and take sandwiches to work, that's two things we do to save.
It's not doable on $300 of petrol a month though.
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Old Jan 16th 2013, 4:07 pm
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Default Re: Hola or Hasta la vista San Francisco!!

Originally Posted by N1cky View Post
It's not doable on $300 of petrol a month though.
Yeah that won't get you anywhere.
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Old Jan 16th 2013, 4:09 pm
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Default Re: Hola or Hasta la vista San Francisco!!

Does a work lunch really cost $20 per day in SF? I mean an everyday Subway and Starbucks, not a business lunch at a fancy Italian place.

RE car insurance... yeah, I think they just pick a random number.
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