Author Topic: 'Better' schools vs. massive savings and commute times  (Read 11422 times)


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: 'Better' schools vs. massive savings and commute times
« Reply #50 on: April 08, 2016, 05:31:21 PM »
This is for mmm1970 and it might sound rude, but I'm just curious: where do other middle class folks live?  DC has some insane housing, but we also have a huge cohort of well educated federal employees or science professionals.  You know, family just barely in six figures or maybe a sahm or a teacher second income/both incomes.  People who have family values and make an effort to spend time with kids and teach them, take them to museums and arts, active in PTA, but not swimming in dough like the finance and lawyer/doctor types.

I think the DC area folks follow a similar path to what my parents did, starting off in the more shaky area (PG County, for us) and then moving up to more expensive areas by the time kids are older.  My parents still fight about the move to better area, which ironically meant a worse school since I was losing the magnet program.  The point is that even the shaky areas had pockets of educated professionals and kids who survived a more mixed schooling environment.  To support bluehouse, my two older siblings got into more trouble in high school, then college.  My sister didnt get into magnet, my brother did with a long commute.  Maybe that's just where they would have landed due to their personalities, but they seem more solid as adults.  Even in 8th grade I was kind of a loner because I wasn't thinking about the dating scene and would make up extra school projects for fun. 

So are you in silicon valley where there is only the wealthy and the servants of the wealthy? Where do your coworkers live?

I can relate a bit to DC, because I lived in the area for 5 years, and still have friends there.  DC is definitely "different" in that it's very Type-A.  As my friend said when I was last visiting, 5 years ago "There are no stay at home moms unless you are military".  It took a bit of adjustment to get used to California.  The other DC advantage is that it's spread out...go a little further out, it gets a little cheaper.  My hubby's company has an office in Sterling, and one of the guys there keeps trying to get him to move out there.

Anyway, not in Silicon Valley, but in Santa Barbara.  Which is both better AND worse.  It's a *much* smaller town, with less traffic.  Kind of a laid-back feel.  The disadvantages:
- Housing is as expensive as places in SV.  SV and SB both fluctuate, so there have been times when we have been worse, and times when they have been worse.  They are a lot worse right now.
- Pay pretty much sucks in SB.  Because people love it here, they are willing to except less money to stay here.  The only way to stay par is to be willing to leave and HOPE you can come back.

Which comes down do people do it?  It depends:
- some people bought before 2002.  That's the "have/have not" description.  A typical family home in 1996 was $250k, 2002 was closer to $500k.
- some people bought in 2010 or thereabouts.  Many homes within a few houses of mine have been bought/ sold in the last 15 years.  For 2BR, 1 or 2 BA homes, around 1000 sf, the price range has been $490k (2011) to $869k (2006)
- some people have inherited money
- some people have inherited a home from their parent
- some people have parents who bought for $100k, and then pulled out equity of their $1M + house to fund a downpayment.
- Many many people rent, as only about 3% of the people who work here can afford to live here.
- Some people buy condos
- Thousands of people live in Ventura, Oxnard, Lompoc, Santa Maria, Santa Ynez, Solvang, and commute.  You can expect 45 min to an hour each way.  The geography means that you are either "in Santa Barbara" (SB/Goleta/Montecito/Carp) or not.  Open road in between.

So, where do the servants live?  In a house with multiple families, or out of town. 
Where do our firemen and policemen live?  Ventura.
One of the teachers at my son's school commutes from Simi Valley.

The rest of the middle class either rents, inherits, or is very frugal.  You *can* buy a house or a condo here, if you diligently save money.  But you'll be well into your 30's.  We were well into our 30's.  And while we make good money now as engineers, my husband was in grad school for 7 years, so our income was solidly middle class.

The whole vacation rental thing has made my town even more of a mess, as rental options for families are disappearing.