Hmm, I was going to have a good laugh at the article but then found a few things that made sense to me. Seattle is a HCOL area, maybe not to the levels of The Bay Area yet, but it's getting there, so I'm seeing lots of similarities. As a tech guy making 6 figures myself, I can echo some of the comments, in particular:
Sam, 40, lives with his wife and three kids in San Jose, earning around $120,000 a year at a multinational software company. “I get paid a very good wage, but I have three kids, childcare is ridiculously expensive so my wife mostly takes care of them,” he said.
He feels pressure being the sole breadwinner.
I can relate to that. My wife would not be able to get a job that would pay high enough to pay for daycare for 3 kids, so she has to stay at home, that's the financially logical choice. It does put some pressure on me, as without my salary, my family would theoretically have no income (except for the part where we saved a lot to become financially independent)
But there's also some optimism in the article, at least from my perspective:
Although he said his salary means he can afford to live a decent life, he finds the cost of living, combined with the terrible commute, unpalatable. He’s had enough, and has accepted a 50% pay cut to relocate to San Diego.
“We will be unequivocally better off than we are now.”
That's exactly how I've decided to handle it. We moved to Seattle where I'm making a huge salary, but we're extremely careful to not fall into the lifestyle inflation traps here. To me, that means no home ownership, and finding a place that's cheap enough. We've made a lot of compromises to save a lot of money while we're here, while at the same time understanding that the situation is not sustainable in the long run (our rent is going up 5% per year, much faster than inflation or than my salary).
Bottom line: make a lot of money for a few years, then move to a Lower COL Area (in our case, somewhere in Japan). I'll have to accept a much lower salary (I'm also expecting a 50% cut), but it won't matter that much as we're getting freaking close to FI.
In other words, use the geographic arbitrage to your advantage here, Make/Save money while you're young in the Bay Area, then move out once you're rich enough that you and your family could live very well in other places.
I feel the article is not too far from reality, it might indeed be impossible for families to start a new life in the bay area. Then again, It's all about compromises: live further from the city, or live in a small place (our family of 4, soon to be 5, rents a 900sq feet condo. Choices, people). You also don't have to buy bagels or coffee, FFS.