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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 95 15:37:22 -0700
From: Nikki Griffin <nikkig -at- pub4>
To: ejray -at- galstar -dot- com
Subject: Salaries From State to State U.S.
nikki -dot- griffin -at- symbios -dot- com
Here is my response to LaVonna Funkhouse's questions:
I feel pretty well qualified to answer some of your questions on this issue. I
have lived in: Denver, Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, Boise, Idaho, Madison,
Wisconsin, Cheyenne, Wyoming, Schaumburg, Illinois, East Brunswick, New Jersey,
San Francisco, California, Los Gatos, California, and Santa Clara, California.
(This is what companies did to families when you joined them in the 60's - my
ex was transferred ALL the TIME.)
1) I would say, yes, if you wish to maintain the same life-style on your
current salary in Silicon Valley, you would need what the calculator states is
the equivalent. However, having just come from Silicon Valley, very few (if
any other than contractors) are making $70,000 a year in salary for technical
writing. Companies in the Valley are looking more and more to new college
grads (1-2 years experience) because they come CHEAP.
2) Yes, the cost of living defenitely varies from area to area. San Francisco
is the most expensive city in the U.S. to live. Believe me it is true!! In
1985, when my daughter and I moved there, I had to pay $1500/month for a nice
(not luxurious) two-bedroom, high-rise apartment. For a two-bedroom in the
Valley I was paying $875.00 and that was a steal in 1994. Boston, New York,
and Santa Cruz, Marin, and Napa, California are more expensive than other
cities across the U.S. I have also heard that Portland, Oregon is becoming
more expensive, too.
3) Yes, moving from New Jersey to San Francisco and changing careers increased
my income by over double. Different areas of the country concentrate on
I interpret the calculator to be saying that if you are earning "x" and living
"y" life-style in your current location, you would need $70,000 in income to
live an equivalent life-style in San Francisco, which in San Francisco would be
so so and somewhat nice. You would be able to afford some extras.
But, don't be swayed by the increase in earning power from one area to the
other. I have learned that it is all relative. I made very good money while
in Silicon Valley, but it cost me that much to live there. In areas like
Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco (California as a whole), there is a
lot to do and one can find inexpensive things to keep them busy. In cities
like Denver (my hometown) there just isn't all that much to do and one has to
look hard to find varied entertainment.
I now make considerably less in Colorado and because of the lack of things to do
here I don't feel I am living as well as I did in California, but Colorado's
cost-of-living IS less than California. Other factors that play into all of
this are: there are fewer jobs here, one has to travel further to work when
they do find a job (I commuted 68 miles each way for six months before finally
renting a place closer to where I found a contract position so I would not have
to drive the highways in the winter), heating bills are more expensive because
of the winters, houses and their rooms are smaller and so are the yards, tons
of Californians are moving here raising the cost-of-living, but salaries are
not going up to compensate for the increase in housing costs. Denver/Boulder
area has a high incidence of individual business owners (one of the highest in
the country). The good side is that the pace is slower here, but that will
change with the on-slot of Californians and New Yor!
kers moving here. How long will t
hey stay - who knows, perhaps they will all get bored and move back to
California and New York.
Another consideration is how easy is it to live in the area - It is HARD to live
in New Jersey/New York, the pace is fast fast, people are more direct and
forward, the grind is wearing. California, I found, was an easy place to live
- not as much energy is expended. Colorado is really easy and relaxed!!
I found the STC salary survey to be inaccurate. I had to take a much larger cut
in pay than what they indicated I would. They stated that salaries were about
$3,000 a year less in Colorado than they were in California but I find them to
me closer to +$10,000 - +15,0000 a year less which would make the calculator on
Netscape pretty accurate.
I hope his answers some of your questions.
nikki -dot- griffin -at- symbios -dot- com