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Massachusetts salary?

Massachusetts salary?

Old Jan 23rd 2023, 2:22 pm
  #31  
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Default Re: Massachusetts salary?

Originally Posted by Hiro11
I think $130k for an entire family is going to be tight, especially in Boston. For comparison, I earn about $290K/year and my wife makes about $100K/year. We have two kids in college and live in a fairly upscale suburb of Chicago. While we live comfortably, I wouldn't say we're "wealthy" by any stretch. I drive an eight year old base-model economy car, we live in a typical colonial-style house built in the early 80s. We very rarely go on vacation, all of our furniture was purchased when we got married in the 90s etc. Again, comfortable but we're not buying a Porsche 911 any time soon...

The Chicago area is generally significantly less expensive than the Boston area. My brother and his wife are both engineers living in a suburb of Boston, their combined income is almost certainly more than ours. They live a very similar lifestyle in Boston: they are comfortable but hardly rich. Living in the 'burbs in any American city is really expensive, Boston more so than most others.
Interesting insights there. I assume the kids college and property tax are a significant drain, or investments?

We have a lower total income than than you but managed to clear all debts and get two nice cars before moving up the ladder.

Do you have significant debt burdens? A game changer for us was clearing the mortgage, although we wouldn't have moved without a significant stock windfall.

Hope this isn't too personal, but I am curious, our situations are somewhat aligned (our total income before tax is now about 258k/year. Daycare also now 2k/month, gulp).
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Old Jan 28th 2023, 4:02 pm
  #32  
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Default Re: Massachusetts salary?

Originally Posted by PetrifiedExPat
Interesting insights there. I assume the kids college and property tax are a significant drain, or investments?

We have a lower total income than than you but managed to clear all debts and get two nice cars before moving up the ladder.

Do you have significant debt burdens? A game changer for us was clearing the mortgage, although we wouldn't have moved without a significant stock windfall.

Hope this isn't too personal, but I am curious, our situations are somewhat aligned (our total income before tax is now about 258k/year. Daycare also now 2k/month, gulp).
I'll provide details. Please keep in mind that while the rest of this may seem more than a little "first world problems" -ish... I AM NOT COMPLAINING about any of this. I feel very fortunate and appreciative to have lived the life I have lived so far. We are also relatively well set-up for the future at this point

Our income hit this level one only about three years ago. I have been earning about this amount (give or take) for about seven years, my wife was stay-at-home (a huge luxury these days) and did not work until about four years ago. My wife hit six figures last year and will earn more this year. So, we have not had this income for a long time at all.

We have no student loans, car loans, credit card debt or other debt. We currently have a relatively small mortgage (we have about ~85% equity in the house) and have paid off a $50K home equity loan we took on to do some necessary home repair years ago. We had some credit card and student debt when we were younger but that's all been paid off for 10-15 years.

Property tax is outrageous in my area, we pay some of the highest rates in the country. We currently pay about $15k+/year which is absurdly high given our property value.

We have four cars (!) as all four of us have our own cars. My wife's car is new and fairly fancy but leased and partially subsidized through her employer (she's in the automotive industry and leases a new car every year). My car is a 2014 hatchback commuter, my youngest has a 2017 sedan and my oldest the old family 2010 SUV that refuses to die. We own all three of those cars outright.

All of my kids are on our medical coverage, we are insured to the hilt. My (Fortune 500) employer is famously generous with benefits, but I pay hefty additional premiums for a top-of-the-line PPO, dental, vision care, LTD, life etc. We are all fortunate to be healthy, but due to some bad childhood memories my wife likes the security of the most comprehensive insurance possible. Any doctor's office will roll out the red carpet when we show up, but that costs us.

I have tried to save matched 401k, IRAs, 529s etc but have only been able to max these out in the past ~5-7 years. At this point I have substantial retirement savings and barring disaster we should be able to retire in comfort without issue by 65.

We have not been able to fully save for both of or children's college costs, we saved about 60% of the total cost of the two. The rest we are paying out of income. We recently paid the last tuition bill for my older child. Both of my children go out-of-state to the same Big 10 school, they are both in sororities (a substantial additional cost). Both won various merit scholarships, but we don't qualify for a penny of financial aid. Both of my children will graduate debt-free and we will not take on any residual debt, a huge luxury these days. I have told my children that I can't subsidize graduate school.

So, the major factors here:
1. We didn't have this high income until relatively recently. We were living on my salary alone for most of the last two decades. We are a married couple and both salaried employees, unarguably the worst arrangement for income taxes.
2. Living in a nice suburbs of a high-property-tax area ain't cheap, even if you have a ton of equity.
3. If you have a high current income, you don't qualify for any college financial assistance regardless of your wealth. This makes it a challenge for those of us who did not have a high income in years past.
4. We are at a disposable income low point right now as this has been the one year when we have two kids in college simultaneously (one of whom is fully paid finally). Also we have been scrimping and saving every penny for the past seven years by living well below our means. There will be more disposable income from here on out, barring disaster.

So that's how you can have ~$400k in household income and not be "wealthy" despite being fairly careful with money. I think this is all a fairly common story in the US.

Last edited by Hiro11; Jan 28th 2023 at 4:17 pm.
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Old Jan 28th 2023, 5:16 pm
  #33  
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Default Re: Massachusetts salary?

I would get a good map of the state and draw a 30mile radius from your workplace. Start talking with realtors in areas of interest and internet apartment searches within this circle. Being on a commuter line of course a big plus. With a few towns/areas in mind you can find a lot of info online and finding a realtor for advice on desirable areas would be a big help and most would be glad to talk with you as a possible future client. You will be doubling your UK salary and your wife won’t be working for a couple years in either place due to caring for young children.
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Old Jan 28th 2023, 9:37 pm
  #34  
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Default Re: Massachusetts salary?

$130k is survivable.

Do you want to do the odd weekend away in the summer? Go skiing in the winter? Eat out a few nights a week? See the odd show? Have kids in day care, or after school programs? Do a bit of sport? All the luxuries you might be doing now, you won't be able to afford and would be scaling back quite a bit.

Definitely be able to function, afford a bog standard car payment or two, reasonable lease on a condo, decent groceries, but not much in savings.

If you want cheap housing, you aren't finding anything in the inside of I-495. Outside of it, it starts to get less silly, but getting into Boston becomes that much more of a pain in the arse, or expensive if using the commuter rail. Then again, how much time do you fancy spending on a commute? When we lived in Natick, we were 13 miles away and it was an hours morning drive if leaving at 7am, 20 mins at 6am.
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Old Jan 28th 2023, 10:32 pm
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Default Re: Massachusetts salary?

Originally Posted by Hiro11
I'll provide details. Please keep in mind that while the rest of this may seem more than a little "first world problems" -ish... I AM NOT COMPLAINING about any of this. I feel very fortunate and appreciative to have lived the life I have lived so far. We are also relatively well set-up for the future at this point

Our income hit this level one only about three years ago. I have been earning about this amount (give or take) for about seven years, my wife was stay-at-home (a huge luxury these days) and did not work until about four years ago. My wife hit six figures last year and will earn more this year. So, we have not had this income for a long time at all.

We have no student loans, car loans, credit card debt or other debt. We currently have a relatively small mortgage (we have about ~85% equity in the house) and have paid off a $50K home equity loan we took on to do some necessary home repair years ago. We had some credit card and student debt when we were younger but that's all been paid off for 10-15 years.

Property tax is outrageous in my area, we pay some of the highest rates in the country. We currently pay about $15k+/year which is absurdly high given our property value.

We have four cars (!) as all four of us have our own cars. My wife's car is new and fairly fancy but leased and partially subsidized through her employer (she's in the automotive industry and leases a new car every year). My car is a 2014 hatchback commuter, my youngest has a 2017 sedan and my oldest the old family 2010 SUV that refuses to die. We own all three of those cars outright.

All of my kids are on our medical coverage, we are insured to the hilt. My (Fortune 500) employer is famously generous with benefits, but I pay hefty additional premiums for a top-of-the-line PPO, dental, vision care, LTD, life etc. We are all fortunate to be healthy, but due to some bad childhood memories my wife likes the security of the most comprehensive insurance possible. Any doctor's office will roll out the red carpet when we show up, but that costs us.

I have tried to save matched 401k, IRAs, 529s etc but have only been able to max these out in the past ~5-7 years. At this point I have substantial retirement savings and barring disaster we should be able to retire in comfort without issue by 65.

We have not been able to fully save for both of or children's college costs, we saved about 60% of the total cost of the two. The rest we are paying out of income. We recently paid the last tuition bill for my older child. Both of my children go out-of-state to the same Big 10 school, they are both in sororities (a substantial additional cost). Both won various merit scholarships, but we don't qualify for a penny of financial aid. Both of my children will graduate debt-free and we will not take on any residual debt, a huge luxury these days. I have told my children that I can't subsidize graduate school.

So, the major factors here:
1. We didn't have this high income until relatively recently. We were living on my salary alone for most of the last two decades. We are a married couple and both salaried employees, unarguably the worst arrangement for income taxes.
2. Living in a nice suburbs of a high-property-tax area ain't cheap, even if you have a ton of equity.
3. If you have a high current income, you don't qualify for any college financial assistance regardless of your wealth. This makes it a challenge for those of us who did not have a high income in years past.
4. We are at a disposable income low point right now as this has been the one year when we have two kids in college simultaneously (one of whom is fully paid finally). Also we have been scrimping and saving every penny for the past seven years by living well below our means. There will be more disposable income from here on out, barring disaster.

So that's how you can have ~$400k in household income and not be "wealthy" despite being fairly careful with money. I think this is all a fairly common story in the US.
You will be in great financial shape when you retire and move to Tennessee.
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Old Jan 31st 2023, 5:30 pm
  #36  
 
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Default Re: Massachusetts salary?

Drawing on recent posts above from MorsePacific, Bob, Hiro, and PetrifiedExpat, firstly one man's "comfortable" is another's "barely getting by", but overall, based on the posts above, consistent with my experience, there is no clear transition as your income increases in America from "miserable" to "comfortable". And even "comfortable", depending on how you define it, might require two or three times the $130k mentioned here, given that America seems to be full of people with annual income of several hundred thousand dollars, a home worth $500k-$1million, but "are hardly rich".
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Old Jan 31st 2023, 5:38 pm
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Default Re: Massachusetts salary?

Originally Posted by Pulaski
Drawing on recent posts above from MorsePacific, Bob, Hiro, and PetrifiedExpat, firstly one man's "comfortable" is another's "barely getting by", but overall, based on the posts above, consistent with my experience, there is no clear transition as your income increases in America from "miserable" to "comfortable". And even "comfortable", depending on how you define it, might require two or three times the $130k mentioned here, given that America seems to be full of people with annual income of several hundred thousand dollars, a home worth $500k-$1million, but "are hardly rich".
OP bailed some time ago I fear. However, as has been mentioned, if the job is tenure track, not tenured, then the move does appear to come with some significant draw backs.
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