Author Topic: How to estimate a cost of living increase/what to consider in a move to CA?  (Read 817 times)

ThreeCarbsNoGrains

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Thank you all so much for your feedback!  This has given me a lot to think about. I have removed my original post as I had posted many identifying details.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2019, 10:17:36 AM by ThreeCarbsNoGrains »

We be free if we try

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Re: How to estimate a cost of living increase/what to consider in a move to CA?
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2019, 08:53:08 PM »
I canít answer your question, as SF is about as different from SD as SD is from Atlanta. So mostly Iím chiming in to say that your question is best answered from folks who live in so very close to San Diego. But the weather is far better, so good luck!

ysette9

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Re: How to estimate a cost of living increase/what to consider in a move to CA?
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2019, 09:39:36 PM »
If you are in a another state then be sure to factor in the benefit of California being a family-friendly state as compared to most of the rest of them out there. Meaning, paid family leave and better job protection while on family leave than FMLA. Also, maternity leave starts four weeks before your due date so you arenít suffering at work up to the moment you go into labor.

ThreeCarbsNoGrains

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Re: How to estimate a cost of living increase/what to consider in a move to CA?
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2019, 10:03:44 PM »
If you are in a another state then be sure to factor in the benefit of California being a family-friendly state as compared to most of the rest of them out there. Meaning, paid family leave and better job protection while on family leave than FMLA. Also, maternity leave starts four weeks before your due date so you arenít suffering at work up to the moment you go into labor.


Wow, this is super helpful!  Thank you.  I have mostly been thinking about the additional costs but I want to consider all the potential benefits as well.

ThreeCarbsNoGrains

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Re: How to estimate a cost of living increase/what to consider in a move to CA?
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2019, 10:05:02 PM »
I canít answer your question, as SF is about as different from SD as SD is from Atlanta. So mostly Iím chiming in to say that your question is best answered from folks who live in so very close to San Diego. But the weather is far better, so good luck!


Thanks!  I have a good friend from here who lives in SD now so I will also get her thoughts.

NorCal

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Re: How to estimate a cost of living increase/what to consider in a move to CA?
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2019, 10:17:16 PM »
The vast majority of the difference is in housing costs.  Browse homes in the neighborhoods that you'd want to live in and see what compares. 

The online calculators are generally useless for this, because they assume a $/sqft calculation.  You'll likely buy a much smaller house in CA, so you need to compare your costs today vs. what you would actually buy.

Taxes are worth doing the calculations on to avoid a surprise, but it's usually manageable.

Take a look at daycare if that's relevant to you.

It's common for commute expenses to go up, just because there's typically very little affordable housing near major business centers, and gas is significantly more expensive in CA.  Of course, this is highly specific to your individual employment/housing options.

WSUCoug1994

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Re: How to estimate a cost of living increase/what to consider in a move to CA?
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2019, 09:57:42 AM »
Bay Area Guy here who used to live in Southern California.  I can't help you with the conversion from GA to CA but I will tell you that most people freak out about the general "inflation" associated with moving to CA - everything from gas, car/home insurance (fire zones), income tax, food, general merchandise etc.  Look beyond just the housing and take a broader look as everything here has a pretty significant increase on basically everything.

The nice thing about San Diego is that you can find "California Affordable" housing 15-20 miles outside of the City.  Now I don't know how that relates to what you are paying now but you have quite a few options in the immediate suburbs of San Diego.

Here4theGB

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Re: How to estimate a cost of living increase/what to consider in a move to CA?
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2019, 02:11:58 PM »
We did a move from DFW (similar COL to ATL) to SD 7ish years ago.  The biggest thing is housing obviously with state taxes coming in 2nd.  Sure gas is more expensive, but for the most part things aren't all that glaringly different outside of the two biggies stated above.  I wouldn't get too hung up in the numbers.  Get enough of an adjustment where you're not going backwards financially, but don't hyper-focus on "not receive a net benefit for moving."  There are many benefits that go far beyond dollars.  I don't have kids, but I'd much prefer to raise them in SD than ATL if I did.  The weather is infinitely better and that is extremely hard to put a price on.  It's PERFECT weather 360 days a year, how do you put a $ amount on that?  The beach?  The abundance of outdoor activities, etc...

If you can swing the housing and taxes with the increase that you're offered, I'd do it and not think twice.  The better career opportunity is just icing on the cake.  My bags would already be packed.  No longer live there, but can't wait to get back.

Laserjet3051

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Re: How to estimate a cost of living increase/what to consider in a move to CA?
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2019, 02:25:32 PM »
if you live close to the coast (as in REAL close) you will have very little heating/cooling energy costs for your home. In all but the rarest of cases, no heat or AC is required.

That said the 2 big factors for change in cost of living will be housing and taxes, both of which are easily investigated via the internet.

Just because you can find a 3/2 home in SD for only $500,000, doesnt necessarily mean you would want to live there. Plus, every inch you move away from the coast, comes with decreasing housing costs, with a few rare exceptions. Inland SD summer heat is murderous, be forewarned.

Then there is the whole traffic debacle to consider with regard to housing choice.

Sure, there are lots of benefits of living in SD, say over Omaha, but that depends what you and your family are really into. I'm at the beach and in or on the water 12 months a year; most of that is totally free, including parking. Epic mountain biking around the whole area as well, also, pretty low/zero cost. Just dont bike over unexploded munitions on the military bases should you slip through the whole in the fence. wink wink nudge nudge

Villanelle

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Re: How to estimate a cost of living increase/what to consider in a move to CA?
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2019, 02:37:19 PM »
Without knowing where your husband is going to find work, I think it's not especially safe to assume you will be able to remain a one car family.  If you manage to find a place that is walkable/bikeable to your work, then it would work out, but part of the problem with San Diego is that it is hugely sprawled.  People live as far South as the Mexican boarder, and even as far north as Temecula (which isn't officially SD at all).  And there are workplaces and living areas that far as well.   And traffic is getting worse and worse, so commutes are getting more and more difficult to manage.

Generally, the further east you go, the cheaper things get, but also the further away you are from most of the places you might want to go.  If you don't mind sharing, what part of SD is the company in?  Downtown, La Jolla, somewhere else?

Lastly, someone mentioned the medical leave stuff, but I recall there being limits on how long you must have been employed to get them, so make sure you look in to that.  I can't recall the particulars, so I could be misremembering. And I have no idea if that clock would start from when you arrive in CA, or if because this is a transfer that might factor in.  Just make sure you aren't expecting something you won't get. 

socalrider

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Re: How to estimate a cost of living increase/what to consider in a move to CA?
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2019, 02:44:52 PM »
We've lived in SD for 18 years (geez!)  I agree that housing costs are probably the biggest difference - you're in ATL so you know about bad traffic.

One mistake people make is assuming they'll need a comparable house when they move here.  In truth, if you're somewhat close to the coast you can use the outdoors like the indoors for most of the year - almost all of the year if you have a propane heater and patio covering.  I grew up in the NE, and we all played in the basement for months at a time because it was so miserable out. 

It pays to be a bit creative too - renting out a granny flat can really help.  We actually bought a multi-unit property with family, and lived for years in a tiny 500sqft bungalow before eventually remodeling when the kids came.  If you can get away from the mentality of needing separate bedrooms for each kid, lots of other rooms, and a large number of square feet you can still find some affordable options, but it's not easy. 

It is really nice out here, but a lot of people end up consumed by their expenses (like everywhere).  Still way way better than the Bay Area though! 

Bernard

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Re: How to estimate a cost of living increase/what to consider in a move to CA?
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2019, 03:07:32 PM »
Everything is more expensive in California. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. But the biggest expense will be housing. If you want to buy a single family home outside the ghetto, you'll need to spend at least $600K. If a condo does it for you, you'll get away with $400K. But here's the thing: if you stay in your home and sell it a decade later, you'll make money on it. Anything in California up to 5 miles off the Pacific Coast will continue to increase in value.
If you want to rent a home, you'll need to budget in $2,500 to $3K per month. There's a price for everything, and being able to surf 12 months out of the year doesn't come cheap.

Khaetra

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Re: How to estimate a cost of living increase/what to consider in a move to CA?
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2019, 03:09:26 PM »
I would check/ask questions here: http://www.city-data.com/forum/san-diego/