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Got to see San Francisco HCOL for first time

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  • Got to see San Francisco HCOL for first time

    I have read about the $4k rents of San Francisco but never been to the city until this month on a conference my wife attended. We went with our small kids too and it made me appreciate the afffordable community we live in (not in CA).

    The city is good, well connected with public transit, i would say air is clean compared to other big cities, many things to do. I particularly liked food quality in restaurants. Yes there are clearly psychotic homeless people on most streets.

    But I still cant figure out how majority of people here make ends meet, let alone able to follow WCI advice for retirement planning. Many restaurants dont have a kids menu, eventually I came to conclusion that families tend to not live here (this brings up a point about what kind of future will this city have if its so hard for families to live in it). The city feels to me as another country.

    It was good experience to see first hand HCOL area. Confirms advice written in other posts about such areas.

  • #2
    I love San Francisco. It's one of my favorite big cities.

    But you're right it feels like you are visiting another country to go there. Maybe this is how Nicaraguans visiting the US feel.
    Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011


    • #3
      Basically part of a larger pattern of a few enclaves around the world becoming unaffordable even for very high earning individuals.

      London, Manhattan/Brooklyn are basically the same in my experience.

      I live in a relatively HCOLA myself (north side city of Chicago) and for what we payed for our 3br/3.5 bath condo you get a 700 sq foot apt on the Upper East Side.

      San Fran is kind of unique though in that it still has sort of a bohemian spirit which depending on who you talk to is being crushed by the tech bros.


      • #4


        Steve Sailor was the first sociologic blogger to hypothesize the "affordable family formation"  theory to describe HCLA and voting patterns.

        Short version: People in LCOL forfeit careers to have families,  and others forfeit families in order to maximize careers in HCOL locales. This explains voting patterns.


        • #5
          Last visit to SFO I was dismayed by the utter trashiness of the place. 25 years ago it had its pockets but this time around it felt like they were inundated with drug addicts. It's a physically small city with a large population that attracts 'travelers' from all over. I would never live there, even if it cost 1/4 as much.


          • #6
            I live in the Bay Area-- East Bay to be specific.  Moved here from the Midwest 10 years ago--  SF itself I almost never go to because of the reasons listed here.  The HCOL, particularly housing, is probably the biggest downside to living in the Bay Area.  For a 3BR 1.5Bath house out here, I could get 3 or 4 mansions back in the Midwest.  My rent is $5k.


            • #7
              I live north of the city. The city is pretty but not a place I want to live. 60 degrees and foggy for many days of the year. There is a lot of unfortunate people (mental health, etc.) living in poverty and on the streets. There are parts of it I love, but not the city for my retirement.


              • #8
                Plenty of docs and families in 'the city' (SF) and all around the (SF) Bay Area.   I know we Left coasters say Bay it's understood as SF Bay, but others have pointed out Chesapeake is often referred to this too....

                My sister lives on Alamo square with two kids, so it's very doable, just different strokes for different folks.

                HCOL remains a realty almost anywhere in the Golden State with very few areas costing less than Rest Of US.   2BR/2BA 1200ft Condo here in San Diego is $2500 a month rent alone.

                Even on academic internist salary, we're hitting our savings and retirement planning goals without austerity.   No Tesla X in the driveway or jetsetting in First class though


                • #9
                  Love SF too.  I fell in love with it the first time I went to California (which was also the first trip I went to see real mountains in Yosemite).  It's truly an amazing place.  However, the tech bros are destroying what was once a authentic town and turning it into a playground for the ultra wealthy.  I don't know how anyone can make ends meet there unless they are either 1. Ultra wealthy 2. living WAY above their means or 3. Homeless


                  • #10
                    I totally dig Sausalito. I biked there from the Wharf across the Golden Gate Bridge and chilled there for the evening. Bet it's probably super pricey though


                    • #11
                      Just finished residency there. It's a great place to be young, and cost of living works fine with several roommates. Its strange to have 3 people share a 3 bedroom at $1300-1500 a month each though. I have noticed that very few people stayed after residency though as buying a home, starting a family and having adequate savings are just too difficult. Those who did stay were likely to be partnered up with someone in tech who had some extra equity from a startup etc.