The California Dream
California. Sandy beaches, temperate weather year-round, tech giants, and Hollywood. Many dream of a life in California, and the aspirations of an acting career or the next great tech startup. For some, it is lazy days laying out on the beach. Many say Californians are living the dream, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
For most Californians that dream has become a nightmare. With the soaring cost of housing, rising gas prices, and state taxes that would make anyone cry, most Californians struggle to live paycheck to paycheck.
With an average salary of $51,910 per year, most Californians are struggling to make ends meet. If you are looking to move to the Silicon Valley area, San Francisco Bay area, or the Los Angeles area, your salary won’t go far.
Let’s put this into perspective. The average cost of living in the San Francisco Bay area is $12,370 per month for a family of four. Yes, you read that right! Plan on spending over $3,000 a month for housing, and almost $1,000 a month for food. San Francisco is the third most expensive city to live in the US. To live in beautiful San Francisco, you will need to earn almost $150,000 to survive.
The Los Angeles area isn’t much better. Plan on spending $7,691 each month to live here. Monthly housing costs will leave you paying an average of $2,000 a month. For food, you will also be paying over $800 a month for groceries. Plan to get a job that will pay you almost $93,000 per year.
Now hold on to your hats. For those of you dreaming about moving to the Silicon Valley to live your tech dream, plan on spending $10,758 a month for living costs. For housing, you will be paying more than $2,500 a month and almost $900 a month for food. You will need to make $130,000 just to live without poverty.
Now, remember me saying that the average income in California was $51,910. Now granted there are places that are less expensive to live that I have listed, but not by much. My husband and I live in the Los Angeles area and his salary is about $50,000 a year. Yes, it is lower than the state average as are many others. So, making ends meet is a game of robbing Peter to pay Paul much of the time.
The reason we are staying here is because of family. I can’t stand the thought of being far away from my babies and grandbabies, but we are certainly paying the price for it. Although they live in Northern California, it is still only a short flight to get to them.
My intent is not to crush anyone’s dreams with this article. I just think it is important to chase your dreams with your eyes wide open. It would be a nightmare to achieve your dream and not be able to enjoy it.