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Is this salary decent


I have been offerred a programming job in a small city outside Los Angeles for a salary of 70000 bucks.

Is this salary ok for a bachelor. I heard living there is frightfully expensive. So i was just checking out.

Hope someone can help me.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Sorry if i sounded a bit arrogant. there may be some guys here searching for a job.

Actually, i rejected an offer of 50-53 from a company in indiana to go there. so i was just thinking about the living costs. whether i did the right thing. right now, the kind of job does not matter

Friday, July 18, 2003

This assumes you are renting.  You may want to enter in the exact towns you would be living in to get a more accurate comparison:

If you want to buy a home the difference is more dramatic:

Oren Miller
Friday, July 18, 2003

55K to 65K is pretty OK (not great) for my area (cincinnati, OH) -- high end you'll get 80K to 100K, but those jobs are hard to come by.

I'd say, with the cost of living in LA, you'd be better off with the 55K in my area than the 70K in LA.

Sgt. Sausage
Friday, July 18, 2003

I'd say the pay is roughly equivilant.

My real questions:

(1) How's the culture?  Do the programmers that work thier like it?

(2) What's the -range-?  Can I expect to have my salary increase without a 'promotion and re-title'?  Is there a concept of pay grades and titles, and, if so, can I be promoted at least one level before I -have- to become management?

(3) What are the prospects for the company moving forward?  Is it profitable?  Is it growing?

---> It's going to be hard to impossible to be promoted into a level of substitive increased responsibility if the company isn't growing.

--> If the company is a start-up and doesn't have revenue ot meet it's expenses, you are taking a risk.  Best to know that up-front and decide for yourself.

--> If the company is established but in decay, you are taking a very different kind of risk, with much less possibility of reward.  Again, best to factor that in.

IMHO, it's the employees that count.  If they all hate thier jobs ... it would take a great deal of money to get me, and even that would only work for a short time.


Matt H.
Friday, July 18, 2003

I read recently in New York Times that the average (or median?) income for commuters on PATH system (this is the subway between New Jersey and New York City) is 100k. I had a shock but sounds about right considering the house prices, property taxes and car insurance in the area :)

19th floor
Friday, July 18, 2003

Take the 50K in the rural area.  Your money goes a *lot* further when you're not spending half your take-home on living quarters....

Phillip J. Eby
Friday, July 18, 2003

You'd definitely have a better quality of life Indiana at 53 than in Hell-A at 70.

The pollution in LA is extremely bad for one thing and the stress due to traffic is unbelievable.

How far outside of LA are we talking? Outside the basin or not? I assume inside the basin.

Look, I am biased. I would not work in LA again if you paid me a million dollars. Though I would consider a 3 month contract for $250k :) - as long as I wasn't *stuck* there and could get by renting a hotel room. But anything longer is not worth the grief. The whole place is really a shithole and doesn't have enough redeeming qualities to make it worthwhile. It's a stinky industrial city and it's a one horse town that grew out of bounds - meaning there is no city planning befyond graft, corruption, and police with helmets and nightsticks beating the crap out of poor folks.

There are those that like it. If you like beaches though, there are towns with cleaner better beaches, less traffic and higher quality of living.

The weather is good though on the days when the smog is low enough that there is not a health alert advising you to stay indoors. So if weather's worth a lot to you, factor it in. And if you like the pretentious club scene, LA has one of the best, so you can factor the value of that in.

Taxes and fees are much much much higher in California than Indiana too, so take that into consideration. There's also more drugs, poverty and violent crime.

Friday, July 18, 2003

70k is fine. You can easily live inexpensively but decently in LA.

Friday, July 18, 2003

hey i'm a 28 year old bachelor from IOWA. I've lived in minneapolis at $60K,  brooklyn at $55K,boston at $120K and bay area at $78K.  now I live in LA and just do consulting, so i make however much money i feel i need to. $70K in LA is fine. just drive a used camry. the people who are telling you to live in indianapolis are insane.

on the flip side, it has been harder for me to meet people in LA than anywhere else i've lived. everything is real spread out. i'd say it depends on what you like to do in your spare time. i like to go snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing, motorcycling. LA is one of the best (only?) places in the US where you can do all of that. if you really like going to NASCAR races and watching TV, indianapolis might be ok.

Friday, July 18, 2003

It depends on where the place is.  If you're talking in the LA basin, I'd say no way (just cause LA is a pit).  If you mean farther up the coast towards Ventura or Santa Barbara, that's pretty good.  Housing and gas prices in the area are high, but other goods seem pretty much on par with other areas.  So you have to figure if the extra pay is enough to cover equivalent housing, etc. 

I'd say it depends on what you want from this job.  Are you looking for a more permanant position, buy a house, raise a family?  Or more of a stepping stone in your career?  The thing that is really bad about the housing market in that area is the cost of purchasing your first home.  You can buy a very nice house in some areas of the country for the cost of a down payment on a condo in this part of CA.  If you're just looking to rent for a while and then move on, this is fine (your salary probably covers the difference).  If you are planning to settle down you might want to investigate things more thoroughly

Mike McNertney
Friday, July 18, 2003

This is why I'm a renter:

Friday, July 18, 2003

Sargeant Sausage - I noticed that you're from Porkopolis too... pls email me if you want to commisserate..

Friday, July 18, 2003


Thanks. That's an eye-opener.

Friday, July 18, 2003

That is a fun tool.

Here we see a comparison of owning in Indianaoplis against Irvine. Those plugging in "Los Angeles" should know that Los Angeles city proper is a pretty bad neighborhood and prices are depressed. Irvine is probably more representative of where a programmer might like to live...

Friday, July 18, 2003

And I certainly agree with the poster that Santa Barbara is a real nice place, one of the best places to live in the US I'd say, and tho only place outside Hawaii where bananas are commercially grown.

Friday, July 18, 2003

70k is plenty. It's completely normal in LA to dump a huge portion of your income into a mortgage. This is not bad, this money does not go away. You get it back when you move to another state and buy a mansion.

Think of it as being forced to save very aggressively for retirement.

There are nice places to live in LA, you just have to look hard.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Matt: you get your money back if and only if the real estate market remains hot. Also buying and selling a home incurs hidden costs of about 10-20% of the house value. Using more than 30% of your income to buy a home is not advisable either.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

House prices are very cyclical. Typically what happens is that you have to sell that house you paid for when you unexpectedly get laid off during a recession. That's also conveniently when housing prices are depressed. You say you need to sell the 2 bedroom fixed upper bungalow in San Jose that you bought for $900k in the boom? Heh heh...

It's all a crap shoot. In LA, it's common for riots to erase most of the value of living in entire regions.

If you do chose to live in LA, make sure you are well armed! I am not kidding about this.

Dennis Atkins
Saturday, July 19, 2003

Well, to be fair -- even if you lose money owning a house (you sell it for less than you bought it for, counting the hidden costs and interest etc), its still quite possibly better than renting (which is just throwing your money down a pit).

Of course, you need to be able to afford your mortgage first -- which I, for one, can't at the moment. But if you can, its quite likely you'll end up better off providing your house stays somewhat worthwhile (say, no more than a 20% drop in value? you'd have to work the numbers).

Steven C.
Monday, July 21, 2003

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