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Old 09-02-2015, 01:31 PM   #41
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FWIW I'm pretty sure it was a nonlinear scale, with pensions increasing by 4-5% of salary annually once one had 25 years of service at age 55+, but growing more slowly in the early years of their career. I only know a couple of examples and then not in all details, but know one of these folks retired recently with 25 years in at about 60% salary at age 62 (which works out to 2.4%/yr overall), and several older folks got 90-100% pensions with 35 years in (but they may have been grandfathered into an earlier more generous plan).

By way of comparison, with 28 years in industry I will retire at age 56 with a non-COLA'd pension of 22% of my final salary - and that's 22% more than anybody hired after 2003 will get. I'm not complaining, but as far as I can see the grass is about equally green on both sides of the industry/government fence.
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Old 09-02-2015, 01:52 PM   #42
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Is $200k what it takes now to say you've made it?
I'm not sure there's any salary where I'd say I've "made it". There is a net worth/invested assets, however. As long as you're making a salary, you're working for someone else, which seems to be the opposite of "made it".

As others have said, $200K for some may go as far as $75K for others...
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:00 PM   #43
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FWIW I'm pretty sure it was a nonlinear scale, with pensions increasing by 4-5% of salary once one had 25 years in at age 55+, but growing more slowly in the early years of their career. I only know a couple of examples and then not in all details, but know one of these folks retired recently with 24 years in at 60% salary at age 62 (which works out to 2.5%/yr), and several older folks got 90-100% pensions with 35 years in (but they may have been grandfathered into an earlier more generous plan).

By way of comparison, with 28 years in industry I will retire at age 56 with a non-COLA'd pension of 22% of my final salary - and that's 22% more than anybody hired after 2003 will get.
Sounds like it could be an early retirement reduction factor then. Typically, the retirement multiplier is fixed (usually at 1.5-3% per year of service). However, if you retire earlier than normal retirement age, there's an age-based reduction factor so instead of getting 2%, you could be getting less than 1% per year of service if you retire before a certain age.

For example, in my case I get 53% of final salary if I ER at 53. However, if I wait until 55, I get 65%. That's a 22% pension increase just by waiting 2 more years to reach normal retirement age. I can also defer service retirement (quit at 53, don't collect pension until 55) which gives me 61%. Just need to bridge living expenses from 53 to 55 using other savings.
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:03 PM   #44
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Yes, in the same sense that $2 million in a retirement account is probably now the new $1 million.
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:06 PM   #45
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A python programmer here would make around $136K a year:

Python Developer Salary in San Francisco Bay Area, CA | Indeed.com
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:08 PM   #46
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Yes, in the same sense that $2 million in a retirement account is probably now the new $1 million.
Too true. Would be quite difficult to live on just $40K a year (4% SWR) before taxes in Los Angeles unless you have a paid off house.
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:18 PM   #47
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I would say 100k salary won't go as far as it did in 2000.

Location makes a difference. I have a buddy earning 160k/yr working in San Jose as Sr SE. I earn 130k (34yo) living in Midwest as a Sr. Guy but they sure do make you earn it after 100k... I don't put in too many extra hrs but I am definitely on the big projects.
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:41 PM   #48
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100k is small money for Software Engineer in Silicon Valley or Route 128.
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Old 09-02-2015, 03:09 PM   #49
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As noted, where one lives in the country has a lot to do with what's considered fair salary levels. Cost of living in Silicon Valley and Manhattan is entirely different from somewhere in the Mid-West.
Exactly. Not too far from here you can buy a SF house for five figures. It'll be a starter-type home, but nice, and not in a slum or in anything near tear-down condition.

I get the sense that Silicon Valley hasn't seen five figure home prices for 20+ years.
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Old 09-02-2015, 04:17 PM   #50
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Exactly. Not too far from here you can buy a SF house for five figures. It'll be a starter-type home, but nice, and not in a slum or in anything near tear-down condition.

I get the sense that Silicon Valley hasn't seen five figure home prices for 20+ years.
This is true, but in 20 years the WV home will still be five figures, while the person who bought the 6 figure CA home will be selling it for well into 7 figures.
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Old 09-02-2015, 04:40 PM   #51
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This is true, but in 20 years the WV home will still be five figures, while the person who bought the 6 figure CA home will be selling it for well into 7 figures.
This is True, but by then they payed well into 6 figures in property taxes.
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Old 09-02-2015, 04:50 PM   #52
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This is True, but by then they payed well into 6 figures in property taxes.
Property taxes in CA are pretty low. I think around 1.0-1.2% and Prop 13 keeps property taxes manageable even as property values rise.
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Old 09-02-2015, 04:53 PM   #53
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Property taxes in CA are pretty low. I think around 1.0-1.2% and Prop 13 keeps property taxes manageable even as property values rise.
Ya if you own it since 1910 but not if you buy it today. CA when it comes to taxes is hell on earth
Even personal income tops at 10+%.

I mean CA is gorgeous but be prepared to pay huge income tax, property tax and pay mucho for Health Insurance. I don't call this real estate money maker
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:03 PM   #54
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This is true, but in 20 years the WV home will still be five figures, while the person who bought the 6 figure CA home will be selling it for well into 7 figures.
Well, maybe, and probably. The thing about RE is that "They ain't makin' any more" so that does tend to drive up the price where quantities are limited. However, I think 2008 taught a lot of people about what RE prices can do.

But then you have the freedom to invest or spend the difference on other things, and as others noted I'll wager WV taxes are well below CA.
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:08 PM   #55
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Ya if you own it since 1910 but not if you buy it today. CA when it comes to taxes is hell on earth
Even personal income tops at 10+%.

I mean CA is gorgeous but be prepared to pay huge income tax, property tax and pay mucho for Health Insurance. I don't call this real estate money maker
Even around early 2000 wasn't so bad in terms of house pricing. Back then, you can still buy single family homes for $100-250K (at least in LA, no idea about Silicon Valley and SF area). Still, I have to agree, current house prices in metro areas of CA are outrageously high.

By the way, you forgot to mention the high sales tax.
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:16 PM   #56
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Even around early 2000 wasn't so bad in terms of house pricing. Back then, you can still buy single family homes for $100-250K (at least in LA, no idea about Silicon Valley and SF area). Still, I have to agree, current house prices in metro areas of CA are outrageously high.

By the way, you forgot to mention the high sales tax.
I often look at Mill Valley CA. Certainly one gorgeous place to retire to if one has at least 5 million. It is heaven on earth for people who can afford it.
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:22 PM   #57
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Neither DW nor I ever reached $100k, so $100k is still the old $100k for us. I worked with plenty of folks that made $100k, $150k, and a few over $200k (in engineering consulting and in state government oddly enough). Just never got there myself probably because I quit working after 10 years.
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:26 PM   #58
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In 1984, I was offered a job in Santa Monica with a 22% raise. I flew out there for the interview, and also looked at the housing market. Bleak! My 1st home in Phoenix cost $65K in 1980, but in Santa Monica I would not be able to afford anything close to work. The only way was to go out to Thousand Oaks, where I could get something for $150-180K. The commute would be near 1 hour each way. I turned down the offer.
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:28 PM   #59
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Most of the difference in the cost of living in the Bay Area compared to other major metro areas in the U.S. is in housing, and housing is not a factor for most long term home owners:

Cost of Living Comparison: compare Chicago, Illinois to San Francisco, California
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Old 09-02-2015, 06:53 PM   #60
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In 1984, I was offered a job in Santa Monica with a 22% raise. I flew out there for the interview, and also looked at the housing market. Bleak! My 1st home in Phoenix cost $65K in 1980, but in Santa Monica I would not be able to afford anything close to work. The only way was to go out to Thousand Oaks, where I could get something for $150-180K. The commute would be near 1 hour each way. I turned down the offer.
Both of us (software engineers) had opportunity to move to Silicon Valley last year. 2 200k plus jobs.

After running through numbers we had reject those offers and stay in Boston area.
In addition I find it low quality of life area.... munchkin lots, longer work hours, long commutes and lot very stupid coding interviews suggesting aggressive work environment.

It is another thing to be retired and live out of Valley in San Luis Obispo or Mill Valley.
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