How much TC should I aim for to GTFO of Bay Area?

Nov 8, 2019 9 Comments

Currently a backend engineer at Gap in SF and looking to move out to one of these areas:


Have been looking at some COL calculators online, but they all give different results. The others (that I hope are more accurate) are not free. Any ideas?.

Current TC: 200k


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TOP 9 Comments
  • Shell UA83
    I am an engineer in Houston.

    Yoe: 9
    Tc: $189k ($150k salary, 20% bonus, 401k contribution)

    I bought my 2,000 sq ft house in cash for $218k, so not having rent or mortgage payments is nice! My monthly expenses all included is $1,000. It's cheap cost of living here! We live in the city near work, and my husband rides his bike to work.

    Dallas and Austin are prettier, but Houston is cheaper. San Antonio is the cheapest major city in Texas.
    Nov 8, 2019 2
    • OP
      Damn, that's some sweet TC for Houston (even w/o the 401k). Hadn't thought of relocating to Houston because the companies I'm interested in don't have offices there, but might have to re-evaluate.
      Nov 8, 2019
    • Shell UA83
      Energy companies pay well, and Houston is the energy capital. Also, Texas does not have state income tax, only property tax.
      Nov 8, 2019
  • McAfee / Other

    McAfee Other

    20+ YOE as a sales engineer.
    You can live in ATL or DFW in the suburbs quite comfortably on 200K. The further out you live the cheaper the housing. The sweet spot for housing in those is a $300K 3000 sq ft house. Obviously you can pay more but I’d prefer to live as far out in the suburbs as i can and just barely call them “suburbs”.
    Nov 8, 2019 1
    • Travelport / Eng buttnpushr
      You can live like a king in atl on 200k. 3000 sqft can be found for much cheaper than 300k if out in the 'suburbs' although whether if you want to suffer the traffic for that is another question
      Nov 8, 2019
  • MITRE / Eng Pckcjeisp
    Take your current spending and break it down into categories (rent, groceries, utilities, internet, insurance, eating out, entertainment, etc). Calculate your pay after taxes. Subtract your annual spending from this number to get the money leftover after spending.

    Use cost of living sites to get a percentage difference in how much these things cost for the other cities. Adjust each category by that percentage increase/decrease. Add up this new budget. Add this number to the money leftover number from before to get the post tax income you need to have the same money leftover after spending in the new city. Use a site like smartasset’s paycheck calculator to calculate the pre-tax income needed to get that post-tax number.

    In addition, if you want to also maintain your savings rate, you can then take your current leftover money after spending and calculate the amount leftover after saving x%. Find the pre-tax income needed in the new city needed to have the same money leftover after saving x%.
    Nov 8, 2019 0
  • New / Biz Dev

    New Biz Dev

    State of Colorado
    Denver has offices of all the legacy and growing companies(FAANG, Salesforce, Slack, Gusto, Checkr, Strava, Webroot, Optiv, etc.) and you can enjoy all four seasons in the city and mountains. Airport gets you anywhere and there are a ton of great neighborhoods.
    Nov 10, 2019 0
  • HashiCorp Karla2018
    I’ve lived in a few of those. portland is getting very expensive. In Atlanta and Dallas/Austin, the cost of living is cheaper.
    Nov 8, 2019 1
    • OP
      Interesting. You'd think Austin is becoming the most expensive with bay area folks moving there all the time, but I guess the proximity to Seattle and Bay Area is also driving up prices in portland :(
      Nov 8, 2019


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