Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Cost of living in NY too much to handle?

I know this isn't JoelsReadersOnNYCLiving.com, but alas, the NY forum is long dead...

I've got a $90k/yr job offer to work for one of the large investment banks in midtown.  Right now, I'm thinking about moving into a suburb north of the city (so far Nanuet & that area), and taking the 60-90 min. NJ Transit ride into Penn, and walking the mile to the office.

Anyway, I've got a 4-month-old and stay-at-home wife, who would drive me to/from the train.  We'll only have one car that we're going to keep registered in NC, and we're looking at spending ~$1800 on a nice 2BR/2BA.

Am I being realistic that I'll be able to maintain the lifestyle I currently have, getting $55k/yr in the middle of nowhere, NC, or is the cost of living in NY going to be too much?

Native NYer, trying to get back home
Saturday, May 29, 2004

If you're really willing to commute for 60-90 minutes a day, then sure, 90k in New York is equivillent to 55k in middle of nowhere, NC. In fact, the financial institutions here nearly always give big bonuses (20-70% of your salary depending on how good you are), so when you factor that in, you'll come out ahead. If you're willing to commute, you'll have no problems at all. 
  But with a wife and a kid to support, you'd probably have a slightly tough time living in Manhattan. It's certainly doable, but your apartment would be substantially smaller than the one you have now.

Sexist
Saturday, May 29, 2004

"In fact, the financial institutions here nearly always give big bonuses (20-70% of your salary depending on how good you are), so when you factor that in, you'll come out ahead"

Don't ever, ever, EVER factor bonuses into the equation when the question is "can we live on this?" Notice even the poster above said "nearly" always give...

You MUST be able to pay your mortage, car payment, bills, etc, on your salary. A bonus is just that - a bonus. Now, you can use a bonus to decide between jobs, or even to decide whether or not to jump ship. Just don't use it to decide if you can afford to live in an area.

Philo

Philo
Saturday, May 29, 2004

I wouldn't consider bonuses as anything but that, a bonus.

Native NYer, trying to get back home
Saturday, May 29, 2004

www.bestplaces.net has a good cost of living comparison.

I'm not sure where you are in NC, but checking from my area (Milwaukee) they show NYC as being 150% more expensive. Milwaukee is right at the national average, and NYC is the most expensive in the country. So, assuming that where you are in NC is around the average, you'd need somewhere in the area of $125K per year to be comparable.

They have a pretty detailed breakdown, so you can see how the things that affect you most compare.

Hope that helps,

  --Josh

JWA
Saturday, May 29, 2004

Ignore the people babbling about bonuses... they've obviously never worked at a buldge-bracket ibank.  Bonuses at investment banks are a much more dependable source of income than they are at software companies.  (Even during two of the worst years on wall street, 2001-2003, my bonus was not cut)

blah
Saturday, May 29, 2004

I just ran it against

Total Cost of living
US Average = 100.0
New York City = 193.4
Boone, NC    90.9

So $55k in Boone requires $117 in New York to have the same standard of living -- sounds like they are presenting you with a pretty bad offer. Since you have children, don't forget that the schools in NY are among the worst in the US, and the schools in NC are among the best. Crime, pollution and health of the populace is also substantially worse in NY than where you are.

Dennis Atkins
Saturday, May 29, 2004

I am wanting to be working in New York city two. I did have get my start from a business bank as well ,mine being in Fukuoka.

Would I being having trouble working in New York if I am not  also being a citizen of America ,maybe?

How is the cost of life compared against Tokyo?

Junichiro Kawaguchi
Saturday, May 29, 2004

Check it out:

EDUCATION    Boone    New York    US Avg.
High schl grad.    78.3%    73.4%    79.5%
2yr coll. grad.    4.6%    5.8%    7.6%
4yr coll. grad.    24.0%    16.1%    17.3%
PhD Graduates    20.2%    11.3%    8.5%
School expend.    $4,984%    $7,414%    $5,928
Pupl/tchr ratio    12.0    18.8    17.7
Achievment index
(10 = best)    7.8    1.4    5.1

So the schools in backwater hillbilly land Boone are six times better than those in NY. in addition, there are FAR FAR FAR more high school, 4 yr college, and PhDs %-wise in Boone than there are in NYC. In Hillbilly Backwater Boone, you will find more intelligent people and more cultural opportunities than you would in NYC.

Dennis Atkins
Saturday, May 29, 2004

Junichiro,

NY is WAAAAAAY cheaper than Tokyo, which is the 2nd or 3rd most expensive city in the world.

Dennis Atkins
Saturday, May 29, 2004

I'm willing to commute a max of 45 min a day (that is 45 getting there and 45 getting back). If this is a problem for the company and they still want me they should think about relocating as they are not at a ideal location.

It's time that companies realised that being there physically is not that important. And governments should favor it as it cuts on traffic and pollution if I could work from home. Ok once a week would be ok to be in the office.

Somorn
Saturday, May 29, 2004

Oops after reading the whole thread I noticed that my post was off topic pls excuse.

Somorn
Saturday, May 29, 2004

I appreciate that living inside NYC itself, particularly Manhattan, is not possible, given the offer.  If I were single, or perhaps just w/o the baby, I might have given NYC living some consideration.

But, after growing up in the NYC metro area, and watching my dad leave before I woke up and come home around 6:30, commuting via the train just seems natural to me.

So far, my cost-of-living comparison looks like 95.7% NC vs. 141.0% NY (still taking Nanuet as an example, and 100% as nat'l avg.).  That math puts my current $55k as about $81k to maintain my current situation, which on its surface looks good.

So, I guess I'm more concerned with hidden gotchas - taxes, other-consideration-X that internet statistics might not reflect.  Thanks for the advice thus far.

Native NYer, trying to get back home
Saturday, May 29, 2004

One more thing - I'm in eastern NC, far from Boone, deep in tabacco farm country.  The school ratings are awful, and the culture here is nil.

Native NYer, trying to get back home
Saturday, May 29, 2004

There's a city more expensive than Tokyo?  I remember SF usurped Tokyo's slot briefly while I was living there a few years ago, but I always figured Tokyo set the standard with 75-year mortgages, etc... (=

Sam Livingston-Gray
Saturday, May 29, 2004

Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong are more expensive than Tokyo now, even though Tokyo was #1 for a long time. Tokyo is a much better city to live in than in any of the ones that beat it.

Dennis Atkins
Sunday, May 30, 2004

Well Native, if you are far east, you must live either near Asheville or Atlanta - you don't find any culture in those places?

Dennis Atkins
Sunday, May 30, 2004

Oops sorry was thinking west not east.

Eh, there's always Kitty Hawk, that's good for a day of culture. And uh, there's those lighthouses and some real nice beaches. And what about those islands?

Dennis Atkins
Sunday, May 30, 2004

"It's time that companies realised that being there physically is not that important"

Yes, companies have realized this. Just in time for outsourcing.

Watch what you wish for.

Mr. Analogy
Sunday, May 30, 2004

One thing to consider.. assuming you end up making about the same amount after adjusting for the cost of living, financially it makes the most sense to live the place you get paid the most (absolutely).

Why? Because you'll be able to save more for your retirement! If you work in NYC, when you retire you should be able to live comfortably in NYC or well in NC. If you work in NC, you'll only be able to live comfortably in NC when you retire... NYC won't be an option!

Josh Jones
Sunday, May 30, 2004

Is your wife also a New Yorker? With you commuting 3-4 hours per day, she's going to be pretty much on her own, in a small apartment with at least one baby. Major homesickness without a support system.

Financially you can live either place, but be careful you don't end up with a lot of resentment caused by either moving or not moving.

Tom H
Sunday, May 30, 2004

I don't work on the East Coast but friends who day are constantly talking about 100K, even outside of the NYC area.

I think they are taking advantage of your low salary (by NYC standards) in their offer to you.

You could try saying something like "The only thing that's keeping me from taking this job is the salary, given the cost of living in the NYC area," and see what happens.

anon married man
Sunday, May 30, 2004

Banks usually have good bonus, even in the last three years, only one of my bonus was cut by 10%.  Raises are hard to come by.  Why not try brooklyn area or queens?  For 2/3 BR, u can get one for about 1300-1500.  The commute is about 45 minutes, but it's subway, always there 24/7.
There are alot of hidden costs in NYC, for example, travel expense, costs of living.  I really don't buy those so called standard living calculator, for example, if you want to take your wife out for a nice dinner and a show, that'll cost you about $200 - $300 easily, not including baby sitting.  If you owned a car, gas is more expensive in NYC, yesterday's price was at $2.50!!!!!
There are alot of good side for being in NYC as well.  Alot of people say NYC school is bad, well, it's a big city, there are many good schools.  Also, the street smarts your children will learn is incredibly useful in their adult lifes.
All I can say is this, relocating is a huge decision, talk to your wife and children.  Make sure they understand what the situation will be like.  Your work in NYC will most likely be to demanding and higher pressure than the one you have now.  Make sure you are prepared for that, and your family is prepared for that as well.

Whatever decision you make, I wish you best of luck.

New window pr0pr0mer
Monday, May 31, 2004

Regarding Tokyo: I am a native New Yorker now living in Tokyo. I am maintaining a similar standard of living here, on 1/3 my former salary. I commute an hour to work in Tokyo, but I lived in downtown Manhattan FWIW.

It seems much cheaper in Tokyo, if you are not into a lot of entertainment (bars, restaurants, clubs are expensive)

Still, I would like to get back to NYC one day.

Missing NYC
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

It seems a lot of New Yorkers view $10 martini's and $9 beers an essential part of their lifestyle.

There are thousands (maybe millions) of people living in New York for less than $50K.  Your major expense will be accommodation - get that sorted and you should be OK.  (This from somobody who lived in Silicon Vally for a year in the late 90s, earning $13/hr as an intern)

The thing about big cities is that they cater for the rich and the poor, you can get by on a lot less than you think.

I second the poster who recommends building equity and moving out when your kid grows up/you get tired of the rat race.


FG

Furious George
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

I work for a midtown Investment bank.  Lots of the guys in my office are doing precisely what you describe, communting from Jersey, CT, Queens, Staten Island and westchester. 

Explore the housing options more closely.  Once you have a sense of the neighborhood you will live in, how much you will pay, and what your commute is like, you will be better able to plan a budget and figure out whether your lifestyle will be impacted.

I my experience, the 90K guys in IT should be looking at a 10-20% bonus depending on how your department does.  You are a cost center generally, not a profit center.  70% is for your bosses.

Good luck.

RW
Tuesday, June 01, 2004

"It seems much cheaper in Tokyo, if you are not into a lot of entertainment (bars, restaurants, clubs are expensive)"

Just curious, what's your living situation?  What kind of apartment in what kind of neighborhood, etc.  Did you sell your soul to get into your apartment (I heard lots of horror stories about "key money", etc.)?

In my year as a single guy working for a Japanese company in Tokyo, I stayed in a company dormitory.  Was quite inexpensive, but certainly limited in personal space and privacy (shared toilet, bath, cafeteria, etc.).

Jim Rankin
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

My husband just got offered a job in TV for $95k plus $15k bonus in Manhattan.  We are Canadian & I won't be able to work under the restraits of his visa...Can we live reasonalbly well on this salary?  It's hard to do the comparison between Toronto and NY, with the exchange reate, free health care here etc....advice please!!!

mf
Monday, June 28, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home