Cost of Living

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JenDarby

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby JenDarby » Tue Jul 19, 2016 11:48 am

mvp99 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Yeah, I was just getting dressed this morning and thought ''that post about a car being 1k a month is just way too high'' lmao. 1k a month is like leasing a Mercedes C63. My friend has a leased 2016 lexus and its like 350 a month.


if I can't drive an AMG GT then I don't know why I went to LS for

:lol: yea there are so many reasonable options for under 1k. I drive too much to lease and only put $500 down on a new v6 accord, so my payments are a bit high. But all in I still don't pay 1k a month.

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby kpterrifico » Tue Jul 19, 2016 11:49 am

nealric wrote:
I don't doubt you CAN spend $1,000 a month for a car, but you absolutely don't have to.

1) Insurance shouldn't be more than $150 a month if you are reasonably competent driver
2) Tags/registration are less than $10 a month in most locales
3) Biglaw associates can afford to pay cash for a car, and why do you HAVE to buy a rapidly depreciating new car when there are lots of good used cars?
4) You don't have to pay for parking everywhere

My TCO for my last car was less than $3k for the year including insurance ($100 month), gas ($50/month), repairs/maintenance ($300/yr), depreciation (essentially none, car was fully depreciated when purchased), parking (less than $100/yr), registration/inspection (~$100/yr).

In any event, I agree those COL calculators are off because they assume you are going to live the same way between locales. You aren't. The NYC associate is going to rent a 500sq ft apartment and not drive. The Dallas associate is going to buy a 3,000sq foot house and drive. Their actual spending probably won't be much different. Plus, loan payments are the same no matter where you live.


this. it's been echoed a few times already, but car costs in secondary markets are consistently overblown in these COL threads. another data point--from my actual 2015 credit card summary--i spent $140/month all-in on my car last year. (monthly averages = $72 on insurance, $10 for tags/inspection, $8 for parking, $40 for gas, and $10 for the occasional oil/maintenance.)

i live only a few miles from work. and i drive an old honda that's been paid off for a bunch of years, so i know it's on the low end of costs. and that's not for everyone. but the point is, a car is not some fixed cost across all secondary markets. and even if it was, it wouldn't be anything like $1k/month. what you spend on a car comes down to a choice, not unlike what you spend on rent. and in my experience, you can spend so little on a car every month that it works out to a wash with NYC (unlimited ride metro card).

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby rpupkin » Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:43 pm

nealric wrote:
anonnymouse wrote:
acr wrote:
kalvano wrote:
WeeBey wrote:Ughh... 120k "take-home" is not the same as 180k. Your after-tax income is probably 25-30k more in NYC That calculation is usually a measure the price things (rent/food/utilities) cost.

In NYC you probably wont drive, and you'd live in a small apartment paying 2.5-3k a month. But in Seattle, or whatever other market your thinking of, you like will have a car (1k a month), and a bigger apartment (2k or so month). Nevertheless, if you want to really pay off those loans you could rent a crappy place for $500 a month and take the bus. Even then, I dont think 120k in Seattle would let you pay off more loans than 180k in NYC.

But truth be told, in Seattle I think market is closer 145 and in NYC bonuses are much bigger (50k for 3rd years last year).


$1,000 a month for a car?


This. In what world does a car cost $1000/month?

In the world called "accounting for the total cost of ownership" which would include down payment, monthly payment, maintenance/repairs, insurance, tags/registration, gas, and parking.


I don't doubt you CAN spend $1,000 a month for a car, but you absolutely don't have to.

1) Insurance shouldn't be more than $150 a month if you are reasonably competent driver
2) Tags/registration are less than $10 a month in most locales
3) Biglaw associates can afford to pay cash for a car, and why do you HAVE to buy a rapidly depreciating new car when there are lots of good used cars?
4) You don't have to pay for parking everywhere

Uh, the $1000K/month estimate might be a bit high, but why is no one mentioning that most people actually buy the car? If you're not leasing, you need to factor in depreciation into your monthly estimates.

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby nealric » Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:47 pm

rpupkin wrote:
nealric wrote:
anonnymouse wrote:
acr wrote:
kalvano wrote:
WeeBey wrote:Ughh... 120k "take-home" is not the same as 180k. Your after-tax income is probably 25-30k more in NYC That calculation is usually a measure the price things (rent/food/utilities) cost.

In NYC you probably wont drive, and you'd live in a small apartment paying 2.5-3k a month. But in Seattle, or whatever other market your thinking of, you like will have a car (1k a month), and a bigger apartment (2k or so month). Nevertheless, if you want to really pay off those loans you could rent a crappy place for $500 a month and take the bus. Even then, I dont think 120k in Seattle would let you pay off more loans than 180k in NYC.

But truth be told, in Seattle I think market is closer 145 and in NYC bonuses are much bigger (50k for 3rd years last year).


$1,000 a month for a car?


This. In what world does a car cost $1000/month?

In the world called "accounting for the total cost of ownership" which would include down payment, monthly payment, maintenance/repairs, insurance, tags/registration, gas, and parking.


I don't doubt you CAN spend $1,000 a month for a car, but you absolutely don't have to.

1) Insurance shouldn't be more than $150 a month if you are reasonably competent driver
2) Tags/registration are less than $10 a month in most locales
3) Biglaw associates can afford to pay cash for a car, and why do you HAVE to buy a rapidly depreciating new car when there are lots of good used cars?
4) You don't have to pay for parking everywhere

Uh, the $1000K/month estimate might be a bit high, but why is no one mentioning that most people actually buy the car? If you're not leasing, you need to factor in depreciation into your monthly estimates.


Go back and reread my post. One a car hits 10 years old or so, it pretty much stops depreciating- it's all about the condition at that point.

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby kpterrifico » Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:49 pm

rpupkin wrote:Uh, the $1000K/month estimate might be a bit high, but why is no one mentioning that you have to actually buy the car? You need to factor in depreciation into your monthly estimates.


because the vast majority of people who go to law school already have cars.
cheap old cars (like mine) have already been purchased and depreciate at a rate of like 10 dollars a month.

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby JenDarby » Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:17 pm

kpterrifico wrote:
rpupkin wrote:Uh, the $1000K/month estimate might be a bit high, but why is no one mentioning that you have to actually buy the car? You need to factor in depreciation into your monthly estimates.


because the vast majority of people who go to law school already have cars.
cheap old cars (like mine) have already been purchased and depreciate at a rate of like 10 dollars a month.

Depreciation of a car in a secondary market is as much of a sunk cost as metro passes and cabs in a major metro. You'll likely spend a couple to a few hundred a month in NYC, and no ones ever going to refund you for that.

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby david787 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:59 pm

You can lease a nicely optioned entry level luxury car (3 series, C300, IS, A4, etc etc) for $400 a month including tax with nothing down (never put money down on a lease you lose that money if the car is totalled). Insurance should be at most $150 a month, lease something that includes maintenance or budget $0 for year 1 and maybe $200-300 for years 2 and 3, parking should be included in your rent but if not then what $100-200? If you don't have a stupid commute your gas should be $100 a month, that gets to 600-700. If you want something simpler you can lease a Honda for like $200 a month and drop that cost down even more. Or you can buy a fully depreciated car but it depends on if you would enjoy that or prefer something nice and new with the latest technology and safety features.

NYC would be $116.50 for unlimited metrocard plus at least $100 in random taxis/uber per month?

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby ballouttacontrol » Tue Jul 19, 2016 2:42 pm

Y'all with your beater with 180k miles are seriously neglecting how expensive car repairs are. And inevitable. Wait till your tranny is slipping, that's a few grand. Or your ac compressor breaks that's probably almost a grand. Etc etc.

Also if you are using your car in a bigger city parking tickets are basically inevitable. Smaller cities/longer commutes, at least personally, speeding tickets are inevitable. In most metro areas I've lived, one stupid speeding ticket seems to average like $4-500 these days.

And if you street park often in a big city, and care about your paint/having a decent looking car, you're gonna need to fix dings once in a while.

And your probability of an accident is non-zero. If the other driver is under insured or you're at fault you can be talking a huuuuuge bill, either in fixing it out of pocket or change in insurance premiums

New tires every 4 years or so, the list goes on...



$1k is def high but cars definitely have those big costs once in a while, which even if u are just gods perfect little goody two shoes, still have a certain probability of happening.

(E.g., say you have one at fault accident every fifteen.... Cost=P(x)*(average $)=(0.067)*($5000)=$334/year). One serious $1k repair every 3 years on a high mileage vehicle=another $300/yr.)

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby JenDarby » Tue Jul 19, 2016 2:47 pm

in the biglaw salary range, we're really splitting hairs since car versus public transit should not make or break your budget or savings

the big difference between NYC and Seattle will be very high city and state income tax versus NO city or state income tax and very high rent versus reasonable rent. transportation, groceries, etc is secondary

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 19, 2016 3:45 pm

WeeBey wrote:The billables aren't even that much lower in secondary markets. They're still gonna make you do at least 1800, whereas NY is like 2000 min. Also, I'm guessing you are also more likely to be at the office without work (thus lower efficiency) at a secondary market. I just cant see secondary markets/midlaw having the same work flow coming in as NY biglaw. So I bet your still putting close to NY big laws hours in total, you just end up billing less.


Some firms will give you options in secondary markets that you don't have in NY. For example, my firm will let associates shift to an 80% billable target for 80% of the pay. Since our billable target is 1850 to begin with, that's 1480 hours for the year. Not too shabby for what still ends up being well into 6 figures of pay.

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby favabeansoup » Tue Jul 19, 2016 3:50 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:
WeeBey wrote:The billables aren't even that much lower in secondary markets. They're still gonna make you do at least 1800, whereas NY is like 2000 min. Also, I'm guessing you are also more likely to be at the office without work (thus lower efficiency) at a secondary market. I just cant see secondary markets/midlaw having the same work flow coming in as NY biglaw. So I bet your still putting close to NY big laws hours in total, you just end up billing less.


Just commenting got say 200 hours is actually a lot. If you work 5 days a week, that's billing 10 hours a day for a whole month. Shit, just typing that made me sad.


Yeah enough about the car people we get it. 200+ more billable hours a year is a LOT. That is billable hours too, not hours actually worked. NYC people earn their bigger bonuses and market payscales because you work more than a month more than me every year, and I feel like I work a freaking lot already.

"More likely to be at the office without work" does not seem right. I know very few non-NYC firms that have facetime requirements where you are staying until 7-8 without any work just because. I know secondary market biglaw offices that get work funneled to them from the NY office because they charge lower rates in secondary market, so those associates are busy as f. NY is the largest market sure, but that doesn't mean it's the most efficient with hours billed vs. hours worked at all.

A big difference, as has already been said, is the fixed cost scenarios. Vacations cost the same, amazon prime costs the same, etc. I don't think there is any "good" COL calculator out there that factors all of this in to really say "X" salary in Seattle or Houston is equivalent to "Y" salary in NY. ]

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:19 pm

favabeansoup wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:
WeeBey wrote:The billables aren't even that much lower in secondary markets. They're still gonna make you do at least 1800, whereas NY is like 2000 min. Also, I'm guessing you are also more likely to be at the office without work (thus lower efficiency) at a secondary market. I just cant see secondary markets/midlaw having the same work flow coming in as NY biglaw. So I bet your still putting close to NY big laws hours in total, you just end up billing less.


Just commenting got say 200 hours is actually a lot. If you work 5 days a week, that's billing 10 hours a day for a whole month. Shit, just typing that made me sad.


Yeah enough about the car people we get it. 200+ more billable hours a year is a LOT. That is billable hours too, not hours actually worked. NYC people earn their bigger bonuses and market payscales because you work more than a month more than me every year, and I feel like I work a freaking lot already.

"More likely to be at the office without work" does not seem right. I know very few non-NYC firms that have facetime requirements where you are staying until 7-8 without any work just because. I know secondary market biglaw offices that get work funneled to them from the NY office because they charge lower rates in secondary market, so those associates are busy as f. NY is the largest market sure, but that doesn't mean it's the most efficient with hours billed vs. hours worked at all.

A big difference, as has already been said, is the fixed cost scenarios. Vacations cost the same, amazon prime costs the same, etc. I don't think there is any "good" COL calculator out there that factors all of this in to really say "X" salary in Seattle or Houston is equivalent to "Y" salary in NY. ]


As far as the bolded, I don't think it's being suggested that you sit around until 8pm waiting for work to come in. In NY, lawyers generally are constantly busy and always have work to be doing, and are therefore billing high hours. I think what the poster above was suggesting, was that a NY guy who goes in from 8-6 one day will probably bill a large chunk (if not all) of that time. In Seattle, you could work a 9-5 one day, and with poor deal flow, which is presumably sometimes the case in Seattle, only bill 4-5 hours. To make 1800 in billables, that time has to be made up somewhere.

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:22 pm

Anon above. Also, it really just is a fact that additional hours worked tend to increase efficiency. So NYers are probably more efficient than a 2ndary market. For example, if I'm in the office from 8am-2am, I may not have been busy from 8am-5pm (inefficient). But you better believe that if I'm staying until 2am it's because something came up, and I'm not waiting around for work, but instead billing 100% of my time, hoping to be able to go home at 2am instead of 4am.

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby zot1 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:26 pm

I bought a decent midsize sedan and my cost per month is less than $400 (payment, insurance, oil, gas, etc.). I also have an older car (10+ years) that has yet to require big time maintenance (if it does, I will likely let it go).

Calculators give you an idea, but they can't give you an accurate picture.

Little things matter: I pay about 3 dollars per gallon less than Californians, my movie ticket is 2.50 dollars less, an expensive dinner might only be $50, etc. etc.

But like someone else mentioned, if I go to Hawaii for a vacation, I likely have less money to spend than someone in biglaw in NY. But arguably, I'll for sure have a vacation but I'm not in biglaw so that's why.

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby XxSpyKEx » Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:45 pm

nealric wrote:
anonnymouse wrote:
acr wrote:
kalvano wrote:
WeeBey wrote:Ughh... 120k "take-home" is not the same as 180k. Your after-tax income is probably 25-30k more in NYC That calculation is usually a measure the price things (rent/food/utilities) cost.

In NYC you probably wont drive, and you'd live in a small apartment paying 2.5-3k a month. But in Seattle, or whatever other market your thinking of, you like will have a car (1k a month), and a bigger apartment (2k or so month). Nevertheless, if you want to really pay off those loans you could rent a crappy place for $500 a month and take the bus. Even then, I dont think 120k in Seattle would let you pay off more loans than 180k in NYC.

But truth be told, in Seattle I think market is closer 145 and in NYC bonuses are much bigger (50k for 3rd years last year).


$1,000 a month for a car?


This. In what world does a car cost $1000/month?

In the world called "accounting for the total cost of ownership" which would include down payment, monthly payment, maintenance/repairs, insurance, tags/registration, gas, and parking.


I don't doubt you CAN spend $1,000 a month for a car, but you absolutely don't have to.

1) Insurance shouldn't be more than $150 a month if you are reasonably competent driver
2) Tags/registration are less than $10 a month in most locales
3) Biglaw associates can afford to pay cash for a car, and why do you HAVE to buy a rapidly depreciating new car when there are lots of good used cars?
4) You don't have to pay for parking everywhere

My TCO for my last car was less than $3k for the year including insurance ($100 month), gas ($50/month), repairs/maintenance ($300/yr), depreciation (essentially none, car was fully depreciated when purchased), parking (less than $100/yr), registration/inspection (~$100/yr).

In any event, I agree those COL calculators are off because they assume you are going to live the same way between locales. You aren't. The NYC associate is going to rent a 500sq ft apartment and not drive. The Dallas associate is going to buy a 3,000sq foot house and drive. Their actual spending probably won't be much different. Plus, loan payments are the same no matter where you live.


The last paragraph of your post is kind of a ridiculous way of looking at things though, especially given what you just said about the difference of what you CAN spend but absolutely don't have to. Obviously, quality of life (at least in terms of living space) is better owning a 3,000 sq ft house and driving than renting a 500sq ft. But the point is you CAN rent a smaller apartment in Dallas, live a little bit closer to how you would in NYC, and save a LOT of money, whereas you can't exactly do the same in NYC.

With the comparison cities (Seattle vs NYC), I don't think it really works out all that much better since the salary in Seattle is so much lower. When you compare a first-year in Dallas versus a first-year in NYC, the Dallas associate obviously comes out ahead (since Dallas firms pay a lot more).

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby nealric » Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:50 am

XxSpyKEx wrote:
nealric wrote:
anonnymouse wrote:
acr wrote:
kalvano wrote:
WeeBey wrote:Ughh... 120k "take-home" is not the same as 180k. Your after-tax income is probably 25-30k more in NYC That calculation is usually a measure the price things (rent/food/utilities) cost.

In NYC you probably wont drive, and you'd live in a small apartment paying 2.5-3k a month. But in Seattle, or whatever other market your thinking of, you like will have a car (1k a month), and a bigger apartment (2k or so month). Nevertheless, if you want to really pay off those loans you could rent a crappy place for $500 a month and take the bus. Even then, I dont think 120k in Seattle would let you pay off more loans than 180k in NYC.

But truth be told, in Seattle I think market is closer 145 and in NYC bonuses are much bigger (50k for 3rd years last year).


$1,000 a month for a car?


This. In what world does a car cost $1000/month?

In the world called "accounting for the total cost of ownership" which would include down payment, monthly payment, maintenance/repairs, insurance, tags/registration, gas, and parking.


I don't doubt you CAN spend $1,000 a month for a car, but you absolutely don't have to.

1) Insurance shouldn't be more than $150 a month if you are reasonably competent driver
2) Tags/registration are less than $10 a month in most locales
3) Biglaw associates can afford to pay cash for a car, and why do you HAVE to buy a rapidly depreciating new car when there are lots of good used cars?
4) You don't have to pay for parking everywhere

My TCO for my last car was less than $3k for the year including insurance ($100 month), gas ($50/month), repairs/maintenance ($300/yr), depreciation (essentially none, car was fully depreciated when purchased), parking (less than $100/yr), registration/inspection (~$100/yr).

In any event, I agree those COL calculators are off because they assume you are going to live the same way between locales. You aren't. The NYC associate is going to rent a 500sq ft apartment and not drive. The Dallas associate is going to buy a 3,000sq foot house and drive. Their actual spending probably won't be much different. Plus, loan payments are the same no matter where you live.


The last paragraph of your post is kind of a ridiculous way of looking at things though, especially given what you just said about the difference of what you CAN spend but absolutely don't have to. Obviously, quality of life (at least in terms of living space) is better owning a 3,000 sq ft house and driving than renting a 500sq ft. But the point is you CAN rent a smaller apartment in Dallas, live a little bit closer to how you would in NYC, and save a LOT of money, whereas you can't exactly do the same in NYC.

With the comparison cities (Seattle vs NYC), I don't think it really works out all that much better since the salary in Seattle is so much lower. When you compare a first-year in Dallas versus a first-year in NYC, the Dallas associate obviously comes out ahead (since Dallas firms pay a lot more).


It's a bit more nuanced than that, though. The 500sq ft apartment in the Village doesn't really have a Dallas equivalent. There are very few apartments that small that are also in hip, safe areas. The middle to upper middle class housing stock in Dallas is going to be all single family homes, which most people will be buying instead of renting. The point is that the average person from Dallas isn't going to replicate their Dallas lifestyle if they were to move to New York the way the COL calculators often assume. Yes, you can probably find a super cheap apartment in Dallas to rent if you are willing to live in a not-so nice or far-away area, but by the same token you could probably live pretty cheap in parts of the Bronx.

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby JenDarby » Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:59 am

^ I find it hard to believe you can't live in a decent, reasonably priced apartment in/around Dallas in a decent neighborhood. The point isn't size. And living in the Bronx doesn't change the issues of very high city and state tax plus the fact that truly everything costs more in NYC.

Having lived in CA, OR, WA, FL, NY and NJ, NYC was the only place where I worked and there weren't any really great ways to live affordable.

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby nealric » Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:03 am

JenDarby wrote:^ I find it hard to believe you can't live in a decent, reasonably priced apartment in/around Dallas in a decent neighborhood. The point isn't size. And living in the Bronx doesn't change the issues of very high city and state tax plus the fact that truly everything costs more in NYC.



You can, but you probably won't. Yes, NYC is more expensive- there is no question. The calculators just take it too far. $180k in Dallas is not really equivalent to almost $400k in NYC for a new law graduate.

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby favabeansoup » Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:05 am

nealric wrote:It's a bit more nuanced than that, though. The 500sq ft apartment in the Village doesn't really have a Dallas equivalent. There are very few apartments that small that are also in hip, safe areas. The middle to upper middle class housing stock in Dallas is going to be all single family homes, which most people will be buying instead of renting. The point is that the average person from Dallas isn't going to replicate their Dallas lifestyle if they were to move to New York the way the COL calculators often assume. Yes, you can probably find a super cheap apartment in Dallas to rent if you are willing to live in a not-so nice or far-away area, but by the same token you could probably live pretty cheap in parts of the Bronx.


Maybe I'm missing the point of this post? Why would someone live in a 500sq ft apartment in Dallas when there are much bigger apartments that are still cheaper than the 500 sq ft one in NYC?

Just to put numbers on some Dallas apartments. You can still find really nice (built in last 1-5 years) apartment buildings in downtown Dallas/uptown/design district/etc. for well, well under $2,000 that have all the amenities (pool/gym/lounge areas/parking garage included). These areas are safe, filled with tons of restaurants, bars, shopping,etc. and all within a ~10-15 minute drive of any law firm down here. I think the arguably the nicest new luxury building in uptown (the Jordan) starts around ~2300-2400/month for 1 bedrooms around 750-850 sq ft. From what I've seen, spending ~2000/month in New York isn't getting you much, but maybe I'm wrong.

I totally get why people live and like NYC. It's more bustling, more culturally active, high quality work, available opportunities, all that. It will just always lose on the quality of housing available to people compared to other cities, Dallas and Houston in particular, especially when those cities pay market salaries, at least for the first year or two.

Maybe that's obvious? I just don't think it's a point that should really be debated about comparing NYC vs other cities.

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby nealric » Thu Jul 21, 2016 5:58 pm

favabeansoup wrote:
nealric wrote:It's a bit more nuanced than that, though. The 500sq ft apartment in the Village doesn't really have a Dallas equivalent. There are very few apartments that small that are also in hip, safe areas. The middle to upper middle class housing stock in Dallas is going to be all single family homes, which most people will be buying instead of renting. The point is that the average person from Dallas isn't going to replicate their Dallas lifestyle if they were to move to New York the way the COL calculators often assume. Yes, you can probably find a super cheap apartment in Dallas to rent if you are willing to live in a not-so nice or far-away area, but by the same token you could probably live pretty cheap in parts of the Bronx.


Maybe I'm missing the point of this post? Why would someone live in a 500sq ft apartment in Dallas when there are much bigger apartments that are still cheaper than the 500 sq ft one in NYC?

Just to put numbers on some Dallas apartments. You can still find really nice (built in last 1-5 years) apartment buildings in downtown Dallas/uptown/design district/etc. for well, well under $2,000 that have all the amenities (pool/gym/lounge areas/parking garage included). These areas are safe, filled with tons of restaurants, bars, shopping,etc. and all within a ~10-15 minute drive of any law firm down here. I think the arguably the nicest new luxury building in uptown (the Jordan) starts around ~2300-2400/month for 1 bedrooms around 750-850 sq ft. From what I've seen, spending ~2000/month in New York isn't getting you much, but maybe I'm wrong.

I totally get why people live and like NYC. It's more bustling, more culturally active, high quality work, available opportunities, all that. It will just always lose on the quality of housing available to people compared to other cities, Dallas and Houston in particular, especially when those cities pay market salaries, at least for the first year or two.

Maybe that's obvious? I just don't think it's a point that should really be debated about comparing NYC vs other cities.


The point is they wouldn't live in a 500sq ft apartment in Dallas. People are going to adjust their living situation to the norms of their environment. But the cost of living calculators assume that if you are living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Dallas you are going to rent a similar-sized 2 bedroom apartment in NYC.

I've lived in both NYC and Texas. My mortgage is about the same as my NYC rent was- I just get a lot more space for my money.

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby XxSpyKEx » Thu Jul 21, 2016 6:29 pm

nealric wrote:
XxSpyKEx wrote:
nealric wrote:
anonnymouse wrote:
acr wrote:
kalvano wrote:
WeeBey wrote:Ughh... 120k "take-home" is not the same as 180k. Your after-tax income is probably 25-30k more in NYC That calculation is usually a measure the price things (rent/food/utilities) cost.

In NYC you probably wont drive, and you'd live in a small apartment paying 2.5-3k a month. But in Seattle, or whatever other market your thinking of, you like will have a car (1k a month), and a bigger apartment (2k or so month). Nevertheless, if you want to really pay off those loans you could rent a crappy place for $500 a month and take the bus. Even then, I dont think 120k in Seattle would let you pay off more loans than 180k in NYC.

But truth be told, in Seattle I think market is closer 145 and in NYC bonuses are much bigger (50k for 3rd years last year).


$1,000 a month for a car?


This. In what world does a car cost $1000/month?

In the world called "accounting for the total cost of ownership" which would include down payment, monthly payment, maintenance/repairs, insurance, tags/registration, gas, and parking.


I don't doubt you CAN spend $1,000 a month for a car, but you absolutely don't have to.

1) Insurance shouldn't be more than $150 a month if you are reasonably competent driver
2) Tags/registration are less than $10 a month in most locales
3) Biglaw associates can afford to pay cash for a car, and why do you HAVE to buy a rapidly depreciating new car when there are lots of good used cars?
4) You don't have to pay for parking everywhere

My TCO for my last car was less than $3k for the year including insurance ($100 month), gas ($50/month), repairs/maintenance ($300/yr), depreciation (essentially none, car was fully depreciated when purchased), parking (less than $100/yr), registration/inspection (~$100/yr).

In any event, I agree those COL calculators are off because they assume you are going to live the same way between locales. You aren't. The NYC associate is going to rent a 500sq ft apartment and not drive. The Dallas associate is going to buy a 3,000sq foot house and drive. Their actual spending probably won't be much different. Plus, loan payments are the same no matter where you live.


The last paragraph of your post is kind of a ridiculous way of looking at things though, especially given what you just said about the difference of what you CAN spend but absolutely don't have to. Obviously, quality of life (at least in terms of living space) is better owning a 3,000 sq ft house and driving than renting a 500sq ft. But the point is you CAN rent a smaller apartment in Dallas, live a little bit closer to how you would in NYC, and save a LOT of money, whereas you can't exactly do the same in NYC.

With the comparison cities (Seattle vs NYC), I don't think it really works out all that much better since the salary in Seattle is so much lower. When you compare a first-year in Dallas versus a first-year in NYC, the Dallas associate obviously comes out ahead (since Dallas firms pay a lot more).


It's a bit more nuanced than that, though. The 500sq ft apartment in the Village doesn't really have a Dallas equivalent. There are very few apartments that small that are also in hip, safe areas. The middle to upper middle class housing stock in Dallas is going to be all single family homes, which most people will be buying instead of renting. The point is that the average person from Dallas isn't going to replicate their Dallas lifestyle if they were to move to New York the way the COL calculators often assume. Yes, you can probably find a super cheap apartment in Dallas to rent if you are willing to live in a not-so nice or far-away area, but by the same token you could probably live pretty cheap in parts of the Bronx.


Yeah, but you probably can rent an apartment probably right outside of the loop in Dallas for around $800 a month, and it'll be an apartment that's larger than 500 sq ft.

nealric wrote:
JenDarby wrote:^ I find it hard to believe you can't live in a decent, reasonably priced apartment in/around Dallas in a decent neighborhood. The point isn't size. And living in the Bronx doesn't change the issues of very high city and state tax plus the fact that truly everything costs more in NYC.



You can, but you probably won't. Yes, NYC is more expensive- there is no question. The calculators just take it too far. $180k in Dallas is not really equivalent to almost $400k in NYC for a new law graduate.


What you can do and what you will do are entirely different questions, and isn't a really accurate way of making a cost of living comparison. If you assume that the cost of living comparison should be make based on what someone might do, then you're basically saying the cost of living is the same no matter where the first-year associate goes. If he goes to NYC, he'll spend $2,500 a month on a shoebox apartment. If he goes to Dallas, he'll spend $2,500 a month on a mortgage for a McMansion. If he lived in NYC, he won't have a car and will generally live like shit. But if he goes to Dallas, he'll buy a BMW M5 and will live like a king, so the cost of living comparison doesn't matter at all. The reasoning just doesn't make any sense to me, because you're not making an apples to apples comparison. The whole point of the cost-of-living comparison is to give you an idea of what it will cost you to move to a different city while maintaining the same lifestyle and quality of life you have now. Most people who are using these COL calculators don't live in NYC and already live in more space, etc., don't necessarily want to downgrade their lifestyles and QOL, and want to see what it will cost to live in a different city. I think that's why the COL calculators don't assume you're going to downgrade to a 500 sq ft studio apartment in NYC.

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Serett

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby Serett » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:12 pm

You guys are getting off-track. I want to hear more about how much cars cost.

ballouttacontrol

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby ballouttacontrol » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:37 pm

Serett wrote:You guys are getting off-track. I want to hear more about how much cars cost.


Me n my homie just pulled a 08 accord from a scrap yard for 1500 that they forgot to mark salvage on the title, replaced the front end for under 800

Shit has a DVD player sun roof shits wild

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nealric

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby nealric » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:40 pm

Serett wrote:You guys are getting off-track. I want to hear more about how much cars cost.


An Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale is worth $10-15 million at auction. You better have one in Dallas to compete with the Ferrari 250 GTO the partner drives.

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Serett

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Re: Cost of Living

Postby Serett » Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:08 pm

nealric wrote:
Serett wrote:You guys are getting off-track. I want to hear more about how much cars cost.


An Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale is worth $10-15 million at auction. You better have one in Dallas to compete with the Ferrari 250 GTO the partner drives.


I'm already getting targted Alfa Romeo ads on Facebook, so clearly my corner office and mid-life crisis car are right around the corner.



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