Author Topic: "I made 6 figures at my Facebook dream job – but couldn't afford the Bay Area"  (Read 11968 times)

SEdude

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http://www.vox.com/2016/9/14/12892994/facebook-silicon-valley-expensive

My favorite quote from the article:
Quote
But for a person with a family of four who has a certain lifestyle that they want to try to maintain (a nice-ish $40,000 car, the ability to go out once a month and leave the kids with a sitter, a house that wasn't last remodeled in ’70s, etc.), it can be difficult.

TheAnonOne

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http://www.vox.com/2016/9/14/12892994/facebook-silicon-valley-expensive

My favorite quote from the article:
Quote
But for a person with a family of four who has a certain lifestyle that they want to try to maintain (a nice-ish $40,000 car, the ability to go out once a month and leave the kids with a sitter, a house that wasn't last remodeled in ’70s, etc.), it can be difficult.

I probably make more than this guy does/did. Drive a decent car worth 7-9k (looks nice, decent MPG), and live in a 1100 sqft townhouse that I own. I don't get why people have a "Lifestyle" that they must keep up with?

Though, I suppose outside of this forum people just want to appear 'rich'

mrbrightside695

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I'll admit I only skimmed the piece, but two things stood out to me.

Quote
My salary was about on par with what I was making at my last job in Phoenix — just barely breaking into the six figures — but housing costs were significantly different.

Moving to an extremely high COL location without a commensurate increase in compensation (excluding the stock mentioned) - what did he expect?

Oh, he's going to make up the difference with stock. Not unreasonable for the bay area, and most recruiters will (right or wrong) lump in this and bonus payments to get a total compensation package.

Except he didn't based his housing on the stock he'd expect to get year in and year out. He did his math based on the stock equivalent of one time sign-on bonus. That's the problem here.

The best realization I've had since moving to the bay area was that the standard of living can be just as high as a low COL location, but what that standard of living looks like may be very different. To borrow an example from one of my friends: a huge house seems much more important in the NE where you spend so much time inside (in the winter) - but with CA weather and all there is to do, you're never home anyway, so a much smaller house doesn't seem so bad.

clarkfan1979

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Some of my favorite quotes are below

"My salary was about on par with what I was making at my last job in Phoenix — just barely breaking into the six figures — but housing costs were significantly different."

That makes perfect sense. Move for a job with the same pay, but cost of living is twice as much.

"We could finally rent a house for just our family, no roommate. It was great, but that also meant even larger housing costs. In order to afford that, selling stock became necessary every quarter it vested. Obviously, this is not the path to financial security, but when the sum of money that lands in front of you isn’t life-changing, you look to the short term and what it can do for you right now"

This also makes a lot of sense. Focus on the short-term and ignore the long-term. If money isn't "life-changing" it must be spent.


mm1970

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Yeah, sounds like he didn't think it through.  The problem with living anywhere expensive, is that you have to throw the "a certain lifestyle to maintain" out the window.

A $40,000 car *and* a SAH spouse?  Oh please.

Making Cookies

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Once had a coworker. Job offer on the west coast. Big bucks he told us all. 6 months later he was back here between the coasts talking about how expensive everything was. Turns out the big salary was rather mediocre by CA standards.

gimp

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Bay area makes it really hard to have a stay at home parent. One income, two adults, one or more kids... very hard.

But if the second parent starts to work, between taxes and child care, it's often not that much better.

Lots of families move out. If they haven't been here long enough to already have a house, or don't earn enough to buy a house, many leave.

My friends are going. I'm sad about it. They're moving to an area considered high COL (new england, and not in the boonies either.) They showed me a house they will probably be buying. Quick mental math: in the bay area, two incomes, rent, taxes, and childcare, leaves less savings than one income, mortgage, less tax, and no childcare, where they're going. Yeah. That's how insane it is. They get more money despite losing half their income, and they get a house, and they get to spend far more time with their kid.

Bay area is really for people who've been here ages, or the young and single-ish, or the wealthy.

marty998

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This isn't surprising...Housing costs are a killer in many parts of the world.

Sometimes you can find cuts in your budget and still afford a house, and sometimes even with cuts to your budget you might still be spending 70% on housing which is undesirably risky.

Now here's a question... what about the cleaners of the Facebook offices? How much do they get paid and how do they afford to live in Silicon Valley?

Cassie

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I don't know anyone that drives a 40k/car.  However, I think it was wise to go back to Phoenix where his $ goes so much further. However, I always researched "little things" like the COL before I ever moved and this was at the library before computers/internet, etc. Now it is super easy to do.

Mr. Green

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Quote
...when the sum of money that lands in front of you isn’t life-changing, you look to the short term and what it can do for you right now.

That's probably one of the worst financial nuggets I've ever heard in my life. The guy might as well have said, "YOLO!"

Jack

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The author of that article is clearly an idiot. However, if it helps convince tech companies to have employees in LCOL areas, then I applaud him for writing it.

gojiberries

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I love you guys. My first reaction on seeing that article was 'I gotta check out the MMM forum' and I haven't been disappointed.

Kyle Schuant

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Now here's a question... what about the cleaners of the Facebook offices? How much do they get paid and how do they afford to live in Silicon Valley?
That's a question you're not allowed to ask, because the answers - we don't pay the cleaners enough and/or we spend too much - are uncomfortable for the people who should be asking them.

Capsu78

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I am actually liking the guys pluck in his decision making- he took a swing at a pitch that he couldn't hit.  His goals were never MMMish in the first place.  He was just trying to pay the bills while working his dream job- better that than regretting not even trying.

Full disclosure: I moved from east coast to CA 2 weeks out of college so I sort of made the same trip and ending up in the same place...the big, big difference is the economics were so much different for me in the 80's although the challenges seemed just as steep.  Our decision, with young kids, was either 2 incomes or no home.

ender

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Quote
And I wish companies like Facebook would reconsider their exclusive focus on places like Silicon Valley. I don’t share the view that top talent will only come to densely populated, expensive cities. Offering office locations in areas with affordable real estate can be a massive benefit to both the company and its employees.

I do too.

Fortunately, I work for one already, so the more than do this just gives me more job security long term :-)


The biggest head scratcher about this is that the guy apparently made the same before Facebook and after, in totally low cost of living areas.  He clearly was underpaid for what his skills were at Facebook if he could make the same in much lower cost of living areas.

MJM

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And this is his sign off: "Matt Kulka works for Local Motors in Phoenix, Arizona. He loves to drive cars around race tracks, his expensive hobby that he just doesn’t want to kick."

Really Matt??

FIFoFum

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I love you guys. My first reaction on seeing that article was 'I gotta check out the MMM forum' and I haven't been disappointed.

That's exactly what I thought when I read it too. :)

BlueHouse

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Quote
...when the sum of money that lands in front of you isn’t life-changing, you look to the short term and what it can do for you right now.

That's probably one of the worst financial nuggets I've ever heard in my life. The guy might as well have said, "YOLO!"
Well said! 

bebegirl

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This guy sold all his shares and spent all that profit to keep up with "lifestyle"! He did not want to "squeeze" his family into the apartment! Amazing.

Instead of forcing his family to live with roommate, he could rent an apartment from the very beginning and keep shares or money from selling them for the future of his family.

Wow!

TheGrimSqueaker

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"I made 6 figures at my Facebook dream job – but couldn't afford the Bay Area"
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2016, 11:23:46 PM »
Now here's a question... what about the cleaners of the Facebook offices? How much do they get paid and how do they afford to live in Silicon Valley?
That's a question you're not allowed to ask, because the answers - we don't pay the cleaners enough and/or we spend too much - are uncomfortable for the people who should be asking them.

I was in the Bay Area a couple of times earlier this year and I have to say the place is filthy and poorly maintained. It doesn't matter if you're in a restaurant, driving down the road, or on a job site. There simply aren't enough humans doing maintenance related tasks.

Restaurant floors don't get swept and there's spilled food and drink everywhere because the employees are stretched too thinly to do their jobs and take care of customers. Store shelves don't get stocked during the day because there aren't enough employees. Weeds don't get pulled and garbage cans don't get emptied until they're overflowing. There are "help wanted" signs everywhere, but the simple fact is that there aren't enough people around who can afford to get by and live on the pay that employers can afford to give. Anyone functional enough to be employable (and this excludes the beggars and homeless people, many of whom suffer from addiction, felony convictions, or untreated mental illness) picks up and moves somewhere they can afford to live.

The Los Angeles area is even worse. Even the multi-million dollar homes up in Beverly Hills aren't being maintained: the big stucco fences are cracking, the concrete sidewalks are heaving, the streets are full of potholes, and although some people do seem to have pride of ownership, for the most part it looks like Moscow in the late 1980's except there's less smoking and more homeless people living in tents. You get big high-end Needless Markup stores, and a few blocks away there's a place with the windows boarded up. Overall, except for the tourist areas, the LA area isn't much better than most of New Mexico. There's plenty to see and do if you don't mind being stuck in traffic for hours a day or else spending, spending, spending, and then not really getting what you pay for. It's an OK place to visit, but I'd hate to be forced to try to live there.

One of the women I spoke to in the LA area cleans toilets at Amazon. She and her husband live in a badly run-down 2-bedroom house with two other people and no air conditioning. All four adults work full-time, but only one has access to a car and it's not insured. They aren't within walking distance of public transit. None of them can afford health insurance, so they get penalized at tax time. If they didn't breed their pet dogs and sell the puppies for cash, they probably wouldn't have enough to eat. As soon as this woman's husband gets an opportunity for a transfer through his employer, they plan to leave for a LCOL region because they are sinking deeper and deeper in debt no matter how hard they work.

patrickza

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It does make facebook sound like an amazing place to work though. 4 months fully paid paternity leave, free food, a "few thousand" facebook shares on joining...

MrsPete

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Eh, you've heard it a hundred times: You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want. 

This guy wanted the expensive location, the stay-at-home spouse, the two kids, the roommate-free house, the expensive car.  On his salary, he probably could've picked any two of these items, but he couldn't manage them all.

Scandium

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It does make facebook sound like an amazing place to work though. 4 months fully paid paternity leave, free food, a "few thousand" facebook shares on joining...

In return for that do they expect 70 or 80 hours of work a week?

joleran

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In return for that do they expect 70 or 80 hours of work a week?

Not as a software developer at any rate.

acepedro45

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couldn't afford the Bay Area"
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2016, 08:07:26 AM »
MJM I thought the same exact thing!


Quote
And this is his sign off: "Matt Kulka works for Local Motors in Phoenix, Arizona. He loves to drive cars around race tracks, his expensive hobby that he just doesn’t want to kick."

Really Matt??

This guy has some set of balls. Complaining you can't support your family on your salary is one thing. Complaining your pitiful 6-figure salary can't support your family, your McMansion, and your car racing habit is another.

Too bad he could no longer pursue his dream. Boo hoo.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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This is why NIMBYs make me angry - especially when they're the same people that complain about inequality. People could afford the Bay Area if they would build some goddamn housing. Grim Squeaker's impression of an unmaintained city makes sense - where could unskilled workers possibly afford to live? They can't afford to commute from Sacramento or whatever it is people are doing now.

This is also why Toyota USA is moving their headquarters to Dallas (well, Plano).

Gondolin

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Quote
This is also why Toyota USA is moving their headquarters to Dallas (well, Plano).

Yep, Texas is now drinking California's milkshake as more and more successful companies (both established and near- startup) open huge offices in Dallas and Austin. Seems like it won't be long before the bay area is a bunch of impressive HQ buildings while all the real work is done elsewhere.

That said, the bizarre parallel economy of So Cal in the past 15 years is endlessly fascinating.

doggyfizzle

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This guy sold all his shares and spent all that profit to keep up with "lifestyle"! He did not want to "squeeze" his family into the apartment! Amazing.

Instead of forcing his family to live with roommate, he could rent an apartment from the very beginning and keep shares or money from selling them for the future of his family.

Wow!

My thoughts exactly...he should have lived a Bit more frugally, kept his stock, and he'd now have a couple hundred thousand dollars in stock that could be rolled into an index fund to support FIRE.

MgoSam

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This guy sold all his shares and spent all that profit to keep up with "lifestyle"! He did not want to "squeeze" his family into the apartment! Amazing.

Instead of forcing his family to live with roommate, he could rent an apartment from the very beginning and keep shares or money from selling them for the future of his family.

Wow!

My thoughts exactly...he should have lived a Bit more frugally, kept his stock, and he'd now have a couple hundred thousand dollars in stock that could be rolled into an index fund to support FIRE.

Rent itself isn't all that cheap in Silicon Valley, but you guys do have a point. 

My issue with this is that ok this guy gets his dream job. He gets to do what he loves for a living. He then expects everything else to just magically work out. For someone that has a child, he needs to grow the fuck up.

Ok, fine you want a house. Then go get one if you can afford it. If you can't afford it and get one anyway, don't bitch about being able to "afford" living in the Bay area.

This reminds me of the lady that wrote an open letter to Yelp about her crummy pay. She know what the pay was going to be going into the situation and knew (or should have known) how high the COL is. Even then, there's a good chance that someone in her position might go ahead and take the job because they understand that it is a stepping stone towards a greater future.

I have a few friends that are doctors going through residency and you know what, residency SUCKS. You get treated like shit, paid like shit, and feel like shit. But they go through it because they know they only need to put up with it for a few years and afterwards they will be treated better. If their situation wasn't going to change there is no way they would have gone to such an effort to become a doctor. The same is true for someone moving to Silicon Valley.

Dancing Fool

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Now here's a question... what about the cleaners of the Facebook offices? How much do they get paid and how do they afford to live in Silicon Valley?
That's a question you're not allowed to ask, because the answers - we don't pay the cleaners enough and/or we spend too much - are uncomfortable for the people who should be asking them.

I was in the Bay Area a couple of times earlier this year and I have to say the place is filthy and poorly maintained. It doesn't matter if you're in a restaurant, driving down the road, or on a job site. There simply aren't enough humans doing maintenance related tasks.

Restaurant floors don't get swept and there's spilled food and drink everywhere because the employees are stretched too thinly to do their jobs and take care of customers. Store shelves don't get stocked during the day because there aren't enough employees. Weeds don't get pulled and garbage cans don't get emptied until they're overflowing. There are "help wanted" signs everywhere, but the simple fact is that there aren't enough people around who can afford to get by and live on the pay that employers can afford to give. Anyone functional enough to be employable (and this excludes the beggars and homeless people, many of whom suffer from addiction, felony convictions, or untreated mental illness) picks up and moves somewhere they can afford to live.

The Los Angeles area is even worse. Even the multi-million dollar homes up in Beverly Hills aren't being maintained: the big stucco fences are cracking, the concrete sidewalks are heaving, the streets are full of potholes, and although some people do seem to have pride of ownership, for the most part it looks like Moscow in the late 1980's except there's less smoking and more homeless people living in tents. You get big high-end Needless Markup stores, and a few blocks away there's a place with the windows boarded up. Overall, except for the tourist areas, the LA area isn't much better than most of New Mexico. There's plenty to see and do if you don't mind being stuck in traffic for hours a day or else spending, spending, spending, and then not really getting what you pay for. It's an OK place to visit, but I'd hate to be forced to try to live there.

One of the women I spoke to in the LA area cleans toilets at Amazon. She and her husband live in a badly run-down 2-bedroom house with two other people and no air conditioning. All four adults work full-time, but only one has access to a car and it's not insured. They aren't within walking distance of public transit. None of them can afford health insurance, so they get penalized at tax time. If they didn't breed their pet dogs and sell the puppies for cash, they probably wouldn't have enough to eat. As soon as this woman's husband gets an opportunity for a transfer through his employer, they plan to leave for a LCOL region because they are sinking deeper and deeper in debt no matter how hard they work.

Love that nickname for Neiman. Gonna have to use it sometime (although not around the friend who does design work for their online catalog).

jinga nation

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I have co-workers who moved to Amazon in Seattle, came back to their old job a year later, burnt out. Microsoft too, if you work at HQ, you get burnt, but work at customer sites and life is good. I have friends who moved to San Diego, bitching about housing costs, but they want the California surf life. These are people who grew up in Tampa Bay, surrounded by beautiful beaches.

A few notable California companies are moving operations to Tampa Bay, especially research institutions.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2016, 12:54:58 PM by jinga nation »

mizzourah2006

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This guy sold all his shares and spent all that profit to keep up with "lifestyle"! He did not want to "squeeze" his family into the apartment! Amazing.

Instead of forcing his family to live with roommate, he could rent an apartment from the very beginning and keep shares or money from selling them for the future of his family.

Wow!

My thoughts exactly...he should have lived a Bit more frugally, kept his stock, and he'd now have a couple hundred thousand dollars in stock that could be rolled into an index fund to support FIRE.

I think this is the first time I have ever seen an MMM site user that endorsed him speculating on his single FB stock rather than selling it. As I'm sure he knew that the stock would go from $26/share to $130/share in 4 years.

For what it's worth I sell my RSU every time they vest immediately as well. My salary is tied up in the company, I don't want any more of my networth tied up in it.

I enjoyed the article. Was pretty surprised they got as roasted as they did on here for deciding they would rather live somewhere cheaper so they could engage in things they enjoy rather than spending most of their income on necessary expenses (housing, food, etc.).

MgoSam

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This guy sold all his shares and spent all that profit to keep up with "lifestyle"! He did not want to "squeeze" his family into the apartment! Amazing.

Instead of forcing his family to live with roommate, he could rent an apartment from the very beginning and keep shares or money from selling them for the future of his family.

Wow!

My thoughts exactly...he should have lived a Bit more frugally, kept his stock, and he'd now have a couple hundred thousand dollars in stock that could be rolled into an index fund to support FIRE.

I think this is the first time I have ever seen an MMM site user that endorsed him speculating on his single FB stock rather than selling it. As I'm sure he knew that the stock would go from $26/share to $130/share in 4 years.

For what it's worth I sell my RSU every time they vest immediately as well. My salary is tied up in the company, I don't want any more of my networth tied up in it.

I enjoyed the article. Was pretty surprised they got as roasted as they did on here for deciding they would rather live somewhere cheaper so they could engage in things they enjoy rather than spending most of their income on necessary expenses (housing, food, etc.).

It wasn't that he moved to a lower cost of area, that is something nearly everyone here can get behind, it's the tone that it would be impossible to live in Silicon Valley. He insisted on buying a home when it may not make financial sense to do so, and was trying to support a family on a single income without giving any indication that he needs to cut back on other expenses (like racing). I agree that Silicon Valley is expensive, but people move there for the opportunity.

Cassie

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GS: WE only live about 4 hours from the Bay Area so go every 3 years or so. We just came back and i was shocked at how filthy it was. We won't be going back. It has never been this bad. GArbage everywhere like you said.  Ugh!

CanuckExpat

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Now here's a question... what about the cleaners of the Facebook offices? How much do they get paid and how do they afford to live in Silicon Valley?
That's a question you're not allowed to ask, because the answers - we don't pay the cleaners enough and/or we spend too much - are uncomfortable for the people who should be asking them.

To answer your question, the cleaners of the Facebook offices probably aren't Facebook employees, but contractors of some third party company. And they likely live further away and commute, or live in a lower cost, less desirable neighborhood in the area that the person writing this article probably thought below him.

MgoSam

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Now here's a question... what about the cleaners of the Facebook offices? How much do they get paid and how do they afford to live in Silicon Valley?
That's a question you're not allowed to ask, because the answers - we don't pay the cleaners enough and/or we spend too much - are uncomfortable for the people who should be asking them.

To answer your question, the cleaners of the Facebook offices probably aren't Facebook employees, but contractors of some third party company. And they likely live further away and commute, or live in a lower cost, less desirable neighborhood in the area that the person writing this article probably thought below him.

This article might be worth reading

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/30/what-we-know-about-the-people-who-clean-the-floors-in-silicon-valley/

Magilla

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Now here's a question... what about the cleaners of the Facebook offices? How much do they get paid and how do they afford to live in Silicon Valley?
That's a question you're not allowed to ask, because the answers - we don't pay the cleaners enough and/or we spend too much - are uncomfortable for the people who should be asking them.

To answer your question, the cleaners of the Facebook offices probably aren't Facebook employees, but contractors of some third party company. And they likely live further away and commute, or live in a lower cost, less desirable neighborhood in the area that the person writing this article probably thought below him.

This article might be worth reading

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/30/what-we-know-about-the-people-who-clean-the-floors-in-silicon-valley/

Not worth reading even a little bit.  The bias is so evident it practically reads like one of the political ads you see this season.

gimp

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I live in the bay area... which parts of it are filthy? Must be the parts I don't go to. East san jose, palo alto, oakland area... okay, admittedly, SF is filthy as fuck, but that's SF, where they're cool with hobos shitting in the street.

Cassie

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WE stayed at a beautiful hotel in the financial district.  I have never seen it this dirty before-ever in the past 20 years.  WE love to walk so walked everywhere like usual and there was so much garbage everywhere that it was stomach churning.

marty998

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Now here's a question... what about the cleaners of the Facebook offices? How much do they get paid and how do they afford to live in Silicon Valley?
That's a question you're not allowed to ask, because the answers - we don't pay the cleaners enough and/or we spend too much - are uncomfortable for the people who should be asking them.

To answer your question, the cleaners of the Facebook offices probably aren't Facebook employees, but contractors of some third party company. And they likely live further away and commute, or live in a lower cost, less desirable neighborhood in the area that the person writing this article probably thought below him.

This article might be worth reading

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/30/what-we-know-about-the-people-who-clean-the-floors-in-silicon-valley/

Not worth reading even a little bit.  The bias is so evident it practically reads like one of the political ads you see this season.

Did you actually read it, or did you just see WaPo and scream bias to yourself?

Maybe opening your mind to a different frame than your own entrenched thinking will broaden your horizons a bit....

gimp

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WE stayed at a beautiful hotel in the financial district.  I have never seen it this dirty before-ever in the past 20 years.  WE love to walk so walked everywhere like usual and there was so much garbage everywhere that it was stomach churning.

Oh, so you stayed in SF. Yeah. It's fucking filthy. Embarrassingly so. We spend hundreds of millions with no effect on the homeless problem. Walking in SF is like playing minesweeper.

Capsu78

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I lived in the Bay Area for a decade and was proud to show the area off to visitors...you could find the seedy areas mostly if you were looking for them, or avoiding them.  My last visit downtown was for a trade show at the convention center 2 years ago and I was appalled at the experience.  I can't imagine how others, from all around the country viewed the "convention experience" from the high costs of everything to the pissing in the streets to the skinny down of "hospitality" at a once high end hospitality convention group just so the organizers could make the math work.

I happened to know the event planners from previous events and I gave her the heads up that folks were mighty unhappy getting "make your own" sandwiches everyday...She said those "DIY" sandwiches cost $70 per person served, and that didn't include the water in the water coolers.  She said "... signed this contract a while ago, we are never coming back..." and that was after having rotated through there 3-4 times earlier.

My point being this is what the "attendee experience" looks like to visiting tourists...SOMA may have been redeveloped, but the original residents decided to stay in their improved Skidrow.

Logic_Lady

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This guy sold all his shares and spent all that profit to keep up with "lifestyle"! He did not want to "squeeze" his family into the apartment! Amazing.

Instead of forcing his family to live with roommate, he could rent an apartment from the very beginning and keep shares or money from selling them for the future of his family.

Wow!

My thoughts exactly...he should have lived a Bit more frugally, kept his stock, and he'd now have a couple hundred thousand dollars in stock that could be rolled into an index fund to support FIRE.

I think this is the first time I have ever seen an MMM site user that endorsed him speculating on his single FB stock rather than selling it. As I'm sure he knew that the stock would go from $26/share to $130/share in 4 years.

For what it's worth I sell my RSU every time they vest immediately as well. My salary is tied up in the company, I don't want any more of my networth tied up in it.

I enjoyed the article. Was pretty surprised they got as roasted as they did on here for deciding they would rather live somewhere cheaper so they could engage in things they enjoy rather than spending most of their income on necessary expenses (housing, food, etc.).

The real problem is he sold the stock and spent the money. Selling the stock and investing the money would have been a sound financial decision.

Goldielocks

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This guy sold all his shares and spent all that profit to keep up with "lifestyle"! He did not want to "squeeze" his family into the apartment! Amazing.

Instead of forcing his family to live with roommate, he could rent an apartment from the very beginning and keep shares or money from selling them for the future of his family.

Wow!

My thoughts exactly...he should have lived a Bit more frugally, kept his stock, and he'd now have a couple hundred thousand dollars in stock that could be rolled into an index fund to support FIRE.

I think this is the first time I have ever seen an MMM site user that endorsed him speculating on his single FB stock rather than selling it. As I'm sure he knew that the stock would go from $26/share to $130/share in 4 years.

For what it's worth I sell my RSU every time they vest immediately as well. My salary is tied up in the company, I don't want any more of my networth tied up in it.

I enjoyed the article. Was pretty surprised they got as roasted as they did on here for deciding they would rather live somewhere cheaper so they could engage in things they enjoy rather than spending most of their income on necessary expenses (housing, food, etc.).

It wasn't that he moved to a lower cost of area, that is something nearly everyone here can get behind, it's the tone that it would be impossible to live in Silicon Valley. He insisted on buying a home when it may not make financial sense to do so, and was trying to support a family on a single income without giving any indication that he needs to cut back on other expenses (like racing). I agree that Silicon Valley is expensive, but people move there for the opportunity.

The article brought back my memories of "making a go" in San Francisco -- as a family of 4... single income.   Low 6 figures...

I was actually not required to be in the silicon valley areas, and still found it extra expensive, and so I don't think that the "extras" like fancy car or hobbies came out of the salary -- they came out of those stock option redemptions.

I can attest that renting a modest 3 bedroom home cost 38% of my take home pay.  We owned one 7 year old grand caravan, and biked  / walked nearly everywhere to keep fuel costs down.  We refused to spend on birthday parties, eating out at work, new clothes unless the old ones did not fit.  We were truly "odd" to our kids friends, and that was ok.

The weather is fantastic, the job opportunity for interesting work a real draw,  and its "California"...  who would not say YOLO to that?  I did and I don't regret that leap to try it out.

The real surprise in costs was the cost of normal "family" things like groceries, health care, and recreational activities -- $6 to park at the "free park", library cards, kids swim lessons, electricity, garbage and water costs.  State and national park entry fees, etc.  Museum fees (if you cared to drive for an hour plus to get there, then discover that the docent guides only work the school tours and not on weekends or summer holidays due to funding)...

The author did not say if his wife did not work out of choice or requirement -- e.g. child care costs are large, maybe she did not have the education to get a $50k/yr job?  Maybe there were health concerns?  Maybe she was a foreign national?

OP also did not say that he was looking to buy in CALIFORNIA...

I think you guys are truly off the mark to select a few phrases from the article to mock.   

I bet that he did not have a $40k vehicle until they moved back to Phoenix, etc.  I actually think that it is difficult to save more than 10-15% as a family living where they did, on that family income, without cutting to the bone or grabbing at stock options. And that is assuming ZERO debt.


cats

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http://www.vox.com/2016/9/14/12892994/facebook-silicon-valley-expensive

My favorite quote from the article:
Quote
But for a person with a family of four who has a certain lifestyle that they want to try to maintain (a nice-ish $40,000 car, the ability to go out once a month and leave the kids with a sitter, a house that wasn't last remodeled in ’70s, etc.), it can be difficult.

I realize this guy is not trying to FIRE, but is it really so easy to do *all* those things on a low six-figure income in Phoenix?  I'm thinking of my parents, who live in an area that I imagine is similar COL to Phoenix and who also raised a family on one income that (accounting for inflation) was probably similar to what the author is making.  We were quite comfortable, but a $40,000 car was definitely not in the cards, ever, and my dad definitely did not pursue expensive hobbies like driving fast cars around racetracks (he did it vicariously with a couple of car magazine subscriptions instead).  I'd be interested to hear a follow-up from the author in a few years as to whether or not he really feels financially secure in Phoenix.  My suspicion is that his lifestyle will just inflate to suit the new conditions and in a couple of years he'll be struggling in Phoenix too and complaining that the middle class are so squeezed these days because it's difficult for him to maintain his desired lifestyle.  Kind of curious if he is putting anything away for his own retirement or his kids college or just a plain old rainy day.

Magilla

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Now here's a question... what about the cleaners of the Facebook offices? How much do they get paid and how do they afford to live in Silicon Valley?
That's a question you're not allowed to ask, because the answers - we don't pay the cleaners enough and/or we spend too much - are uncomfortable for the people who should be asking them.

To answer your question, the cleaners of the Facebook offices probably aren't Facebook employees, but contractors of some third party company. And they likely live further away and commute, or live in a lower cost, less desirable neighborhood in the area that the person writing this article probably thought below him.

This article might be worth reading

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/30/what-we-know-about-the-people-who-clean-the-floors-in-silicon-valley/

Not worth reading even a little bit.  The bias is so evident it practically reads like one of the political ads you see this season.

Did you actually read it, or did you just see WaPo and scream bias to yourself?

Maybe opening your mind to a different frame than your own entrenched thinking will broaden your horizons a bit....

Good job jumping to conclusions.   Perhaps I should jump to some conclusions myself based on your jackass post?  However, I wouldn't want to stoop to your level.  MOD EDIT: Forum rule #1.

I read the article in it's entirety.  It was complete and utter rubbish.  I could have stopped when they compared the salary of a contract cleaning person with the average tech employee salary (only reason to do this is for the extra "wow" bias factor) as that shows the kind of journalistic integrity this particular journalist has, but I read the whole thing anyway.  There was no greater insight in this article, there was nothing addresing the larger trends in society and worforce, etc.  It's basically just a poorly written dumbed down biased article about larger trend in the context of the most profitable companies on the planet for extra "wow" factor.  There have been far better articles on this subject addressing the workforce trends for the last few decades.  Given how our election year is shaping up, with populism at its highest, I'm not surprised "news" organizations are putting out this kind of pseudo-journalistic garbage.

So yes, I stand by my comment that it was not worth reading even a little bit.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2016, 07:24:25 PM by arebelspy »

TheGrimSqueaker

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"I made 6 figures at my Facebook dream job – but couldn't afford the Bay Area"
« Reply #46 on: September 18, 2016, 06:28:21 PM »
I live in the bay area... which parts of it are filthy? Must be the parts I don't go to. East san jose, palo alto, oakland area... okay, admittedly, SF is filthy as fuck, but that's SF, where they're cool with hobos shitting in the street.

I was in Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward, and Pleasanton. The farther east I went, the fewer homeless people there were and the better the private homes were kept, but the more trash was in the street and the fewer public transit options existed. For me, the biggest gross-outs happened to be in Oakland where I made the mistake of going into a restaurant to get food, and of trying to pump gas at a gas station.

PDM

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Now here's a question... what about the cleaners of the Facebook offices? How much do they get paid and how do they afford to live in Silicon Valley?
That's a question you're not allowed to ask, because the answers - we don't pay the cleaners enough and/or we spend too much - are uncomfortable for the people who should be asking them.

Not just uncomfortable but also the answer undermines our middle class lifestyle and capitalistic system.

gimp

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I realize this guy is not trying to FIRE, but is it really so easy to do *all* those things on a low six-figure income in Phoenix?  I'm thinking of my parents, who live in an area that I imagine is similar COL to Phoenix and who also raised a family on one income that (accounting for inflation) was probably similar to what the author is making.  We were quite comfortable, but a $40,000 car was definitely not in the cards, ever, and my dad definitely did not pursue expensive hobbies like driving fast cars around racetracks (he did it vicariously with a couple of car magazine subscriptions instead).  I'd be interested to hear a follow-up from the author in a few years as to whether or not he really feels financially secure in Phoenix.  My suspicion is that his lifestyle will just inflate to suit the new conditions and in a couple of years he'll be struggling in Phoenix too and complaining that the middle class are so squeezed these days because it's difficult for him to maintain his desired lifestyle.  Kind of curious if he is putting anything away for his own retirement or his kids college or just a plain old rainy day.

I haven't lived in phoenix, only visited here and there.

Here's a mix of my experience and some math. Let's assume a six-figure-and-nothing salary of $100k, two parents, two kids. Let's say the goal is to own a decent house, a $40k car and a $10k car, and have cash left over.

Income: $100,000
Expense: Tax: 21529 (let's round: $21,500) - we'll talk about tax advantaged saving later, and various other deductions/credits improve this
Expense: Mortgage, etc: approx $1,250/month or $15,000 per year - I looked up 3 bedroom houses on zillow and clicked on the second result for a $269k house. Mortgage estimated $950/mo by zillow, plus extras.
Expense: Home maintenance: let's say $5k/yr. - Whatever. I don't know.

Well, those are the big ones out of the way. How about payments on and maintenance for two cars?

Expense: Car ownership - $50k total, financed 5 years at 3.11%, google estimates $901/month (round: $11k/yr).
Expense: Car maintenance and repairs - let's say $5k/yr. - assuming no warranties; phoenix is nice to car bodies, not so nice to paint and interior, but suspension won't rust...

Where are we? $100k in, $21500 on taxes ($78.5k left). $58.5k after home. $42.5k after cars.

Okay, now let's talk necessities, food, etc. What the hell do kids cost? I don't know. Let's say your two kids eat, wear, and gently destroy $1000/month each. Ouch, $24k! Plus you have to eat, let's pretend you know how to cook normal food, and you spend a further $5k on yourself. A couple thousand more for clothes and shoes? Let's say $3k there. Necessities. $10.5k left.

And you have to drive... let's say you do 20k miles combined at $3/gal at 20 combined mpg, that's $3k. $7.5k left.

With $7.5k left, you can reasonable shop for stuff that you occasionally need, buy some toys, eat out, go on vacation, buy some birthday gifts, and so on. Oh, and you need to power your air conditioning. You do indeed get everything you want, just barely, except a savings account. Perhaps you can complain online how the middle class is being stomped on and unable to save.

Realistically, a family should be able to reduce child expenses quite a bit when they're in school; kids eat a lot but they don't eat and wear out a thousand bucks each. You can drive a bit less (and gas is cheaper.) You can eat out a bit less. You can use the 401k to save some money tax-deferred. You can buy a slightly cheaper house. And your taxes are actually going to be considerably less than what I quoted above. Plus, if you found a house that was more like $175k instead (still not that hard - just don't click the second result that pops up), you'd be paying several thousand less in mortgage.

But overall, yes, Phoenix is cheap, but it's not quite cheap enough to have everything you want on $100k for three dependents and still save money etc. Totally doable, but you have to set priorities, and not just get everything.

Sources
https://smartasset.com/taxes/arizona-tax-calculator#kE4DiEGMl7
http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/761-N-Comanche-Dr-Chandler-AZ-85224/8185735_zpid/
http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/17438-N-13th-Ave-Phoenix-AZ-85023/7963347_zpid/

dragoncar

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I live in the bay area... which parts of it are filthy? Must be the parts I don't go to. East san jose, palo alto, oakland area... okay, admittedly, SF is filthy as fuck, but that's SF, where they're cool with hobos shitting in the street.

I was in Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward, and Pleasanton. The farther east I went, the fewer homeless people there were and the better the private homes were kept, but the more trash was in the street and the fewer public transit options existed. For me, the biggest gross-outs happened to be in Oakland where I made the mistake of going into a restaurant to get food, and of trying to pump gas at a gas station.

Pleasanton had more trash than Oakland???