No. of Recommendations: 4

You wrote, if you live in CA, and make $200,000 as a software engineer, but living in your van since you can't afford a $4000/month apartment, between the feds bite and the state bite ...

You're just used to what you've been paying... If you are single in CA and making $200K/yr, you are taking home $11K/month. So rent is still just about 36% of your take-home.

And yes I've looked. You're right in the ballpark for rent and incomes in Cupertino, CA ... where my nephew just took a job with Apple.

BTW, I think I paid about that (as a percentage of take-home) when I first moved into an apartment back in Dallas Texas in '83. I think I was making less than $20K/year and my rent was almost $400/m. But the thing about Cupertino is that you don't rely on central heat and air nearly as much (so a lower power bill) and entertainment opportunities are more plentiful than in Dallas - especially outdoors.

Also I've found that there can be a nice side-benefit to working in one of these high-cost areas. If you can save essentially the same percentage of your income working here as in a lower cost area, you get to save more in absolute dollars! So if you intend to retire some place cheaper you might be able to achieve that goal more quickly. The only better option would be to work for these higher wages; but do it remotely from some place that's cheaper. :-)

- Joel
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