Author Topic: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase? (Move to DMV)  (Read 2125 times)

briesas

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Would go from Madison, WI state agency at 61k to a DC federal agency at 97k, with guaranteed steps up over the next three years to 106k.

Barring details about the jobs themselves, which each have benefits and drawbacks - Iím concerned that my rent would probably be 2k a month in dc (including parking and pet rent. Itís 855 Iím Madison) and that COL in general would eat up a lot of that bump.

On the positive side, lots more going into retirement - the feds will match me 5% in TSP. I have a pension here but no match outside of that in my 457.

What do yíall think? And how do I figure out what my take home looks like,so I can sketch a budget?
« Last Edit: March 29, 2018, 05:11:12 PM by briesas »

terran

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2018, 09:36:04 AM »
Here are a couple of calculators I've found helpful.

http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/

I particularly like this one because it turns out we spend pretty close to the "minimum standard of living" as they define it, so I think it works well for a mustachian budget: MIT Living wage calculator - Madison ($20k for a single person) vs MIT Living wage calculator - DC ($29.5k for a single person).

Remember, it doesn't matter how much you make, it matters how much you keep. What this means to me is that higher cost of living can favor a mustachian as long as it comes with a higher salary (not the case for all professions), since our cost of living increases by less in total dollar terms than someone spending nearly everything they make.

To find out what your take home will be figure out how much you'll owe in taxes, and how much various insurance plans will cost and subtract that from gross. Say insurance is $100/month (no idea if that's accurate) and you max your TSP. So you'll have $97k -18.5k -1200 = $77.3k AGI. $77.3k - 12k standard deduction = $65.3k taxable income. Taking a look at 2018 tax brackets you'll owe $10.3k. So take home would be $97k gross - 10.3k fed tax - $1200 insurance - 18.5k TSP - some DC tax = $67k - DC tax. So you'll still need to figure out what DC tax will be, and what insurance and other benefits will cost. To make what you figure your actual take home you'll need to dial in your withholding, but at least after figuring in any tax payments/refunds you make/get at tax time to account for variation in withholding that's what your take home will be.

JoJo

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2018, 02:15:40 PM »
Besides the jobs & $, are there other factors?  Like do you have family you love in WI and you'll spend lots of $ every year going to visit them?

briesas

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase (move to DMV)?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2018, 05:09:53 PM »
Besides the jobs & $, are there other factors?  Like do you have family you love in WI and you'll spend lots of $ every year going to visit them?

Good question. Nope. Iím from the east coast: this would put me much closer to long time good friends and much (not all) of My family who are east coast/ west coast.

And thanks for the first responder with the calculation formulas!

JLee

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase? (Move to DMV)
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2018, 10:17:29 PM »
I moved from Phoenix AZ (where my house cost me ~$800/mo, offset by roommate income) to northern NJ (where my share of my little 2br / 1ba apartment costs me $1025/mo).

I'm amused - my salary was exactly the same as yours. I was making $61k when I accepted an offer for $97k here. With an adjustment to my lifestyle (i.e. not living in an 1800sq ft house with a 2 car garage and a pool), I'm able to save a ton of money.

rothwem

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase? (Move to DMV)
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2018, 08:00:21 AM »
Do people call the DC metro area DMV now?  I'm from north of DC, and when I was growing up the DMV was the Del-Mar-Va peninsula, aka, the Eastern Shore, on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay.  It is mostly flat farmland out there, and I imagine that it would be dirt cheap to live there. 

But that wasn't your question.  My sister works at a federal agency that's just north of the Beltway.  She lives in a nice suburb that's walking distance to the metro and she pays about $1600/month in rent.  As long as you're okay with a smaller place, and okay with not being in the middle of town, you're probably not going to have to pay $2000/month. I was actually surprised at how affordable it was. 

hoping2retire35

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase? (Move to DMV)
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2018, 08:05:19 AM »
Lots to consider. But all things being equal other than the check, I'd move.

rockeTree

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase? (Move to DMV)
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2018, 09:47:08 AM »
A ton of folks commute from the preposterously cheap Baltimore on MARC, which the feds will pay for, to make DC money. If your agency is handy to union station and you can tolerate some dysfunction in municipal institutions you can save a ton. Brand new studios less than a block from the penn line are $1400 (Wendell Pierce who grew to like the place filming The Wire is the landlord) and you could certainly do a lot cheaper if you’re willing to bus or ride to penn station on the north end. If you know you’ll stay mortgages cheaper than rent by a good bit.

mozar

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase? (Move to DMV)
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2018, 10:14:57 AM »
I live in pg county and pay 1200 a month for a 3 bedroom house with a yard, and have a tenant. With a ten minute bus ride to the metro. There are deals to be had.

briesas

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase? (Move to DMV)
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2018, 10:30:33 AM »
Yes, totally willing to commute. I'd prefer somewhere less urban than downtown D.C.

Preferred commute is a bus or the silver/blue/orange line as I'll be heading towards Capitol Hill south.

Any tips for communities that suit?

blinx7

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase? (Move to DMV)
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2018, 10:43:40 AM »
Yes, totally willing to commute. I'd prefer somewhere less urban than downtown D.C.

Preferred commute is a bus or the silver/blue/orange line as I'll be heading towards Capitol Hill south.

Any tips for communities that suit?

Single?

I'd do a basement apartment in Capitol Hill East, as far south and east as you can, and then walk to work. 
« Last Edit: March 30, 2018, 12:23:25 PM by blinx7 »

rockeTree

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase? (Move to DMV)
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2018, 10:44:46 AM »
Md side of the orange cheaper and less crowded than VA. I know a lady who loves Cheverly but get the impression it’s super family oriented, which may or may not be your thing.

Davids

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase? (Move to DMV)
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2018, 10:57:11 AM »
Sounds like you are single. Unless someone is holding you back then do it.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase? (Move to DMV)
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2018, 12:38:38 PM »
I did a similar thing when moving from Ohio to SF.  COL doubled, but so did my salary.  But that means your savings doubles.  I maintained my 50% savings rate, and since I don't plan on retiring here, it's shorted my time to FIRE.  So if it's a temporary move, don't look at what your expenses will be so much as what your savings will be.

coffeefueled

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase? (Move to DMV)
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2018, 01:34:44 PM »
Rent prices here are hugely dependent on neighborhood (like anywhere else) with access to metro being a big factor. You can find deals, but if you want to live on your own and be metro walkable on the northern Virginia side I'd plan to spend more than $1000. Popular areas like Ballston/Clarendon will cost more. If you're ever planning to buy a house here be prepared for some real sticker shock compared to WI.

I'm from northern VA, but went to school in the mid-west. I'm generalizing, but but be prepared for bad traffic and a city that can be very transient (as in many people come for jobs and leave with a handful of years). Many of my friends from other places say this is a hard place to put down roots and a few have moved on within 3-5 years.

Have you visited yet? I definitely suggest visiting for a long weekend before you decide. DC isn't for everyone. Tour some neighborhoods. If you do decide to move I'd consider renting for the short term (3-6 months) at first to get a feel for whether you want to live in DC vs VA vs MD. Commute times, neighborhood vibe, and prices will be quite different depending on where you decide to call home.

briesas

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase?
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2018, 03:13:41 PM »



To find out what your take home will be figure out how much you'll owe in taxes, and how much various insurance plans will cost and subtract that from gross. Say insurance is $100/month (no idea if that's accurate) and you max your TSP. So you'll have $97k -18.5k -1200 = $77.3k AGI. $77.3k - 12k standard deduction = $65.3k taxable income. Taking a look at 2018 tax brackets you'll owe $10.3k. So take home would be $97k gross - 10.3k fed tax - $1200 insurance - 18.5k TSP - some DC tax = $67k - DC tax. So you'll still need to figure out what DC tax will be, and what insurance and other benefits will cost. To make what you figure your actual take home you'll need to dial in your withholding, but at least after figuring in any tax payments/refunds you make/get at tax time to account for variation in withholding that's what your take home will be.

So here is what I've come up with

Gross = 96970 for year 1
Biweekly gross = 3729.61
No TSP eligibility for 12 months  :(
IRA instead = 211 biweekly
Pension = 370 biweekly (I think they take 1%)
Insurance = ballpark , high estimate for health, dental, vision (I have some health issues, so will look for good coverage and will be using it) = 178 biweekly
FICA = 285 biweekly (7.65%)
Taxes = Fed = 22% of gross less everything except FICA-standard deduction of 12K = 14348 for the year (22% of 65220) or 551 biweekly
State (MD) = 3200 or $121 biweekly
There will be some commuter benefits that save on taxes a few hundred dollars, but I'm not calculating that
Union dues? I think these are automatic at $25 per pay period (could be per year, I can't tell, so conservative estimate = 25 per pay period)

Total take home = 1988 every two weeks. (my take home now is about 1500 biweekly). Seems low.

That would put a 1600 apartment at 35% of my take home, which seems like an awfully big chunk!

Did I do those calculations right, in a ballpark sort of way?

And yes, in response to the questions. I'm a SITC. Single income two cats. No SO.  No other real tax deductions of note, either btw. I'm down to 3K in student loans and will pay that off soon.
 
Edited: forgot state income taxes, which if I live in Maryland would be about 3200 or $123 a check. updating above.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2018, 03:47:40 PM by briesas »

blinx7

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase?
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2018, 04:53:05 PM »



To find out what your take home will be figure out how much you'll owe in taxes, and how much various insurance plans will cost and subtract that from gross. Say insurance is $100/month (no idea if that's accurate) and you max your TSP. So you'll have $97k -18.5k -1200 = $77.3k AGI. $77.3k - 12k standard deduction = $65.3k taxable income. Taking a look at 2018 tax brackets you'll owe $10.3k. So take home would be $97k gross - 10.3k fed tax - $1200 insurance - 18.5k TSP - some DC tax = $67k - DC tax. So you'll still need to figure out what DC tax will be, and what insurance and other benefits will cost. To make what you figure your actual take home you'll need to dial in your withholding, but at least after figuring in any tax payments/refunds you make/get at tax time to account for variation in withholding that's what your take home will be.

So here is what I've come up with

Gross = 96970 for year 1
Biweekly gross = 3729.61
No TSP eligibility for 12 months  :(
IRA instead = 211 biweekly
Pension = 370 biweekly (I think they take 1%)
Insurance = ballpark , high estimate for health, dental, vision (I have some health issues, so will look for good coverage and will be using it) = 178 biweekly
FICA = 285 biweekly (7.65%)
Taxes = Fed = 22% of gross less everything except FICA-standard deduction of 12K = 14348 for the year (22% of 65220) or 551 biweekly
State (MD) = 3200 or $121 biweekly
There will be some commuter benefits that save on taxes a few hundred dollars, but I'm not calculating that
Union dues? I think these are automatic at $25 per pay period (could be per year, I can't tell, so conservative estimate = 25 per pay period)

Total take home = 1988 every two weeks. (my take home now is about 1500 biweekly). Seems low.

That would put a 1600 apartment at 35% of my take home, which seems like an awfully big chunk!

Did I do those calculations right, in a ballpark sort of way?

And yes, in response to the questions. I'm a SITC. Single income two cats. No SO.  No other real tax deductions of note, either btw. I'm down to 3K in student loans and will pay that off soon.
 
Edited: forgot state income taxes, which if I live in Maryland would be about 3200 or $123 a check. updating above.

DC is a bit of an odd-duck city because it was built to be much smaller than it is and sprawled out like crazy but there are very restrictive zoning rules.  So it is hella expensive even though not very dense. 

What the cool kids do is rent a shared house in DC proper for $5,000 and then everyone chips in $1,000.  I live in the suburbs and make a lot of money and pay a lot of that money towards a mortgage.  But I can be outcompeted for prime real estate by five 27 year olds who each make $50k because they each have an independent source of income and no dependents and I am spreading my salary among 4 people (and two cats).  This is how real estate prices are so crazy. 

People who don't want that but need things to be somewhat affordable will then look along metro lines farther out, where there are actually fewer zoning restrictions so it is actually denser (right close to the metro stop, then it drops off a lot thereafter).  A lot of metro stops now are like basically newly constructed, somewhat corporate-ish mini town centers.  You can rent a two bedroom with a roommate for $2400 and each pay $1,200. 

If you want your own 1BR expect it to hoover up most of your take home pay unless you are $$$.  Welcome to DC! 

briesas

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase?
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2018, 06:13:40 PM »





DC is a bit of an odd-duck city because it was built to be much smaller than it is and sprawled out like crazy but there are very restrictive zoning rules.  So it is hella expensive even though not very dense. 

What the cool kids do is rent a shared house in DC proper for $5,000 and then everyone chips in $1,000.  I live in the suburbs and make a lot of money and pay a lot of that money towards a mortgage.  But I can be outcompeted for prime real estate by five 27 year olds who each make $50k because they each have an independent source of income and no dependents and I am spreading my salary among 4 people (and two cats).  This is how real estate prices are so crazy. 

People who don't want that but need things to be somewhat affordable will then look along metro lines farther out, where there are actually fewer zoning restrictions so it is actually denser (right close to the metro stop, then it drops off a lot thereafter).  A lot of metro stops now are like basically newly constructed, somewhat corporate-ish mini town centers.  You can rent a two bedroom with a roommate for $2400 and each pay $1,200. 

If you want your own 1BR expect it to hoover up most of your take home pay unless you are $$$.  Welcome to DC!

Lol thanks!

Yeah,  I did exactly that for almost the last four years in Madison. Rented a two bedroom then rented out the second bedroom (with my landlords permission). Legally, I was the landlord and I had a lot of control over who moved in and what the rules wereand I like that. I do like the idea of a group house also ó but Iím looking at a quick turnaround and am very stressed about the potential job change and move, and I donít want to throw living with strangers in the mix right off the bat. Iíd prefer a year to get my bearings even at a cost. Totally willing down the road tho.

HawkeyeNFO

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase? (Move to DMV)
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2018, 06:54:13 PM »
I grew up in the Midwest and have lived in the DMV off and on since 2003.  I'd say for the numbers you are looking at, go ahead and move. 

Depending on your job situation, you might not need a car.  And since most government employees receive subsidies to use mass transit, you should be able to save a lot of money if you can find a location that works out for you with buses and/or metro. 

briesas

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase? (Move to DMV)
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2018, 08:22:32 PM »
Thank you all. And I did take a look at shares that take cats and there are plenty of them, so I think that is the way to go! Cuts rent by almost 30-50%

eliza

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Re: Take job with big pay bump and huge COL increase? (Move to DMV)
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2018, 08:55:47 PM »
I relocated to DMV from Chicago and haven't regretted it.  I miss Chi, but the salary and career opportunities in DC are much better here for me.  Especially since it would bring you closer to friends/family, I say go for it.

I also agree that a shared house is the way to go.   One other thing to keep in mind is how state/local taxes vary between MD, VA, and DC.  I was in temp housing in DC for the first ~4 months and was shocked at how much my take home went up when I moved to VA.  (If you own a car, which I don't, this calculus changes due to VA property taxes.)

I'm in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood which is sort of nestled between Pentagon City and Crystal City.   I love the neighborhood - especially the parks, abundance of stores, bars, library, etc easily walkable, and easy access to the Blue and Yellow lines.  I share a house with three roommates and pay ~$550 a month --- it's an old house and isn't in the best condition, but the price/location cannot be beat.  Sadly, we aren't allowed to have pets, but there are plenty of shared housing options that do allow pets.