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Old 06-28-2014, 09:15 PM   #81
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The way these tech company campuses are built, with the perks they offer, there isn't as much benefit for local businesses. For instance, cafeterias usually offer nicer, healthier food at subsidized prices or free to employees. Various concierge services discourage people from leaving campus at all.
I hope you aren't comparing a tech campus in the SF area to the Exxon complex, even if the Exxon complex will be outfitted with those glamorous cafeterias. And I am sure it will, being a world class facility.

If you are inferring the Exxon complex won't offer much benefit to local businesses, I think you have not accounted for the families of those 10,000 employees that will be new to the area and be spending the employees money in the community. If each new employee has a wife and 1.5 children, a dog, cat and two cars, you can expect quite an increase in human traffic at local malls, restaurants, car dealers, etc.

Our community (The Woodlands) is already benefiting from the pending arrival of the Exxon immigrants as the construction of the facility and the infrastructure build out of new roads, sewer, communications lines, etc has created a ton of jobs in the last three years the project has been under construction.
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the "living in California surtax"
Old 06-28-2014, 09:21 PM   #82
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the "living in California surtax"

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There used to be more homeless people in SF than there are now? Wow.


Yes, it's hard to imagine. Until recently homeless people have not been a bother. But I was threatened with a piece of lead pipe the other day for walking too close to a coveted trash can. And earlier this year my wife was punched in the arm while walking home from work. SF is generally a pretty safe, but like in all big cities one has to stay vigilant.
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Old 06-28-2014, 10:28 PM   #83
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They're back - in droves.

I know all large cities have a seedy side but for some reason, I found that aspect of SF particularly unappealing - and unexpected. Perhaps that's because I thought it was going to be all cable cars and clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls
yes, the homeless are back (did they ever really leave?) in the Civic Center area. Going to the ballet at the Opera House, coming from the CC BART station, one must hold one's nose. The urine stench is overpowering in some places around there.

I have yet to see any signs of real cleanup along Market Street. It's too bad...
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Old 06-28-2014, 10:53 PM   #84
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California is where my roots are...family farm acreage dating back to 1850. Great grandparents moved from Russia to SF before 1906. Most of my family still is there. My parents' burial plot has a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge. I am freaking proud to be a native and still landowning Californian. But escaping CA allowed FIRE this year.

Having been in medical practice in Silicon Valley through the booming 90s, I can also say with pride that one of the wisest choices I made in my life was to leave CA.

My son who had a learning disability was better served in Pennsylvania, with smaller class sizes and better resources.

We can ski in the winter--a ski resort is visible from our house. A 3 hour train ride puts us in Manhattan.

DH has made many more professional connections here.

We have homeless here too, but no aggressive panhandling. Housing costs in the Bay Area--forever my home--are insane. But no AC and little heat needed which helps do much!!!!

Kudos to the Californians who can FIRE. You are indeed a special breed.




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Old 06-28-2014, 10:55 PM   #85
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Some Californians are now coming forth with some problems they have, such as traffic congestion, homeless trouble, etc...

That's why I thought that even if I were rich to pay the surtax in terms of dollars, I might still not be happy to pay in terms of other inconveniences and nuisances. And that's true about any large cities, not just SF but NYC, Chicago, Paris, London, etc... I like to visit these places, but not to live there.
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Old 06-29-2014, 12:26 AM   #86
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My opinion is that folks smart with their money can find FI anywhere. Folks that aren't almost never will. I've figured out that DW and I could live in the bay area for about 50k year after taxes. We do it on about half in Dallas without feeling deprived. Someone else might do it for 120k / 100k. Is that a 100% increase or just 20%. These "cost of living" calculators are set up around some average person. Same thing as those "happiness is maximized at 75k / year" garbage. Mine was maximized at about 25k. You have to do your own calculations to make smart choices as with most things.

I was asked several times to relocate to CA by my manager (and the one before him too actually). Finally, I sat down with him and showed him an excel sheet outlining what it would take to keep the same absolute savings rate. Even assuming we continued to rent (buying was absurd), I was showing him a 50% increase in pay. He was thinking "maybe 10%". He never asked again after that and working remotely has been just fine for both of us.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:10 AM   #87
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.......... I was threatened with a piece of lead pipe the other day .........
Probably wasn't lead, given the scrap value. I'm betting galvanized steel.
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Old 06-29-2014, 06:49 PM   #88
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Yes, it's hard to imagine. Until recently homeless people have not been a bother. But I was threatened with a piece of lead pipe the other day for walking too close to a coveted trash can. And earlier this year my wife was punched in the arm while walking home from work. SF is generally a pretty safe, but like in all big cities one has to stay vigilant.

My GF and I live in small towns with no homeless people and little crime. Any time we go to a major metro city it is always a major pain to walk from point A to point B. Not because we do not know where we are going but because of my GF's incessant paranoia of the homeless and other sorts. We are constantly zig zagging across streets to get to a straight point. Kinda humorous to me, but isn't worth fighting her over. And this is always in the afternoon well before sundown.



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Old 06-29-2014, 08:07 PM   #89
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Another thing that used to grab me was even though property tax can't rise under Prop 13, the communities float bonds to pay for town improvements, etc, then you get to pay those back on your tax statement as separate line items. I remember on our tax bill we had a list of those bond paybacks that totaled about 1/2 the property tax. So they get you anyway.
Those are all voter-approved. Nothing goes on your CA property tax bill without being approved on a ballot first. So the voters decided that it was worth the investment to improve those roads, schools, etc using municipal bonds.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:59 PM   #90
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Those are all voter-approved. Nothing goes on your CA property tax bill without being approved on a ballot first. So the voters decided that it was worth the investment to improve those roads, schools, etc using municipal bonds.
I didn't say they weren't included by vote. I was just saying the Prop 13 tax initiative is only part of the story.
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:49 AM   #91
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Sorry if I misunderstood. I was responding to your statement that "so they get you anyway." Just saying that it isn't "they" that get us. We get ourselves. But you're right that there are often significant other line items on property tax bills in CA.
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Old 07-01-2014, 10:43 AM   #92
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Those are all voter-approved. Nothing goes on your CA property tax bill without being approved on a ballot first. So the voters decided that it was worth the investment to improve those roads, schools, etc using municipal bonds.
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I didn't say they weren't included by vote. I was just saying the Prop 13 tax initiative is only part of the story.
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Sorry if I misunderstood. I was responding to your statement that "so they get you anyway." Just saying that it isn't "they" that get us. We get ourselves. But you're right that there are often significant other line items on property tax bills in CA.
When I lived in CA there was never a bond issue or tax increase that failed. They always passed. That is one of the main reasons I am glad to be out - when you are on the losing end of 95% of what you vote on, you know it is not the place for you. My wallet is much happier being out of CA.
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:12 PM   #93
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When I lived in CA there was never a bond issue or tax increase that failed. They always passed. That is one of the main reasons I am glad to be out - when you are on the losing end of 95% of what you vote on, you know it is not the place for you. My wallet is much happier being out of CA.
Exactly the reason why I'm planning for my exit!
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:31 PM   #94
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The traffic here is definitely an issue. And was a big factor in my decision to retire a few years earlier than originally planned. Now, for the most part I don't have to deal with the traffic because I can pick my non-traffic windows for appt's and errands. That said, my kids go to a magnet school about 10 miles from here - traffic's not bad getting there in the morning, but awful for the return. With retirement I'll just change my pattern - instead of heading north back home, I'll head west and walk the dog on the beach while the traffic dies down.

Having a paid for house in CA, a few miles from the ocean... it's a good retirement.
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Old 07-01-2014, 10:17 PM   #95
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Traffic, panhandlers, stressed out rude people, polluted environment, crime and high cost of living. We each have our own personal threshold when these or other negatives cause us to ask if it is time to move on. Always been that way and always will.
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:16 PM   #96
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I bought my house in California 11 years ago, and it's paid-off now. I pay almost $8k in property tax per year, but it can't go up more than 2% per year due to Prop-13. I spend almost nothing on heating/cooling. I think it makes financial sense to retire here.
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Old 07-02-2014, 04:06 AM   #97
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I lived in the Berkeley/SF area for six years back in the 1960's, and in the southern part of San Diego for six years in the late 70's early 80's.

I have lived in seven states, but I consider California to be essentially two states, since northern and southern California are so different. If the cost of living is not considered at all, here is how I would rank them, from most favorite to least favorite:

1. Hawaii
2. Missouri (tied for second place)
2. Louisiana (tied for second place)
4. Texas
5. Virginia
6. Mississippi
7. Northern California
8. Southern California
I've only lived in Hawaii, Nor Cal, So Cal, and Indiana, but I've spent more than year of my life 1-3 weeks at time in Oregon to give a qualified opinion.

To me Northern California is really nice to place to live, and great place to work, since there are so many interesting companies with progressive management. Southern California I really can't stand anymore and I personally wouldn't pay a $ extra to live there. Admittedly there are still nice place in Southern California in San Diego county, but they are place like La Jolla which are crazy expensive.

But I compare my old house in Silicon Valley to my current house in the hills overlooking Honolulu and there really is no comparison between the two places even though the house in CA is worth 100K more according to Zillow.
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Old 07-03-2014, 12:28 PM   #98
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I have friends that left socal for Colorado 6 years ago and now want to come back, but the differential in housing prices is problematic. The husband is already retired and the wife will be retiring next year earlier than planned due to health reasons. They can't make the move and stay retired, so if you plan to leave think long and hard as coming back may be challenging.

I personally love it here and it's more than the weather. The diversity of people and activities are hard to beat. Having said that after fire I am considering returning to the east coast to be closer to family.
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Old 07-03-2014, 01:04 PM   #99
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I have friends that left socal for Colorado 6 years ago and now want to come back, but the differential in housing prices is problematic. The husband is already retired and the wife will be retiring next year earlier than planned due to health reasons. They can't make the move and stay retired, so if you plan to leave think long and hard as coming back may be challenging.

I personally love it here and it's more than the weather. The diversity of people and activities are hard to beat. Having said that after fire I am considering returning to the east coast to be closer to family.
If they owned a house 6 years ago and sold before the move, they are already ahead.
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Old 07-03-2014, 03:37 PM   #100
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Been in NorCal for 24 years now. You are hard pressed to beat the weather IMO (HI would be too hot for me I think) but for me it's kind of crowded (small town kid) but my wife is fine (big city girl). When I ER we will very likely buy a house in Nor Wash so we can be closer to her folks who live in Vancouver. But we will keep and rent our house here so we can move back if we want later. A friend of mine moved to Dallas and sold her house here, now she has a big house in Dallas that she doesn't need and can't move back because of the housing prices. In the Bay Area aside from the demand and the available wealth, there is a limited amount of space (ocean/bay/mountains) so housing will always be a lot here unless there is a really big earthquake then all bets are off.

Washington might be ok for me (cool enough) but might be too rainy. So coming back here may still be in the plans and in the meantime there will be income in retirement that I currently don't factor into my savings. Maybe enough to move to Tuscany instead of Washington
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