Lucas Roitman

@lucasroitman

Barely scraping by with a $250,000 salary in Silicon Valley

I am an artificial intelligence analyst for Google and I make $250,000 US dollars. When I first got hired, I thought that would be a lot of money, but after moving to Mountain View from the East Bay, I discovered that half of my income was going to housing and transportation, and the other half was going to education and entertainment.

When I heard I got hired by Google, I was very excited. I would finally be able to afford a house with a swimming pool and a barbecue grill. I quickly went into Airbnb and looked into houses to rent. There were some openings for “shared rooms” for young college grads. They were about $1500 per month for a bed in a shared room of two. If you wanted a full room for yourself, it was around $2500.

However, I’m a grown up. I’ve been working for 4 years already after college, and thus I should finally have the American dream: a house for myself, so that I can find a girlfriend and eventually have pets or even kids. I quickly realized that I’d have to pay $2500 per room. A small house has two bedrooms, a living room, and two restrooms. That’s a total of 3 rooms (the restrooms come for free!). It’s a total of $7500 so far.

Of course, I haven’t studied for 16 years in my life and worked another 4, just for a small house. I also wanted what everyone expects: a small swimming pool and a barbecue grill (in a backyard). That takes the price to $10,000 per month. It seems reasonable, since I’m making $250,000 per year, and young high schoolers or college dropouts pay $1500 per room, in pairs ($3000 per room total).

I was leasing for a year, which means the price was of $120,000 per year, plus $5000 for pool cleaning and other services for the house.

I am also currently doing an MBA master’s at Stanford. It is a common thing to do if you ever want to get out of a technical position and into a management one at Google. After the MBA, I could get a bump of $50,000 in yearly income.

The MBA tuition is of $22,000 per quarter, and there are three quarters per year. That’s a total of $66,000 that I have to pay. On top of the $125,000 for housing, I am now at $191,000 per year, just to live next to work and to study!

My taxes are of 15%, because I get paid in capital gains, through equity. That’s a tax of $37.500 per year. That leaves me with $212,500 after taxes. After deducting housing and tuition, I’m left with $11,500 ($212,500 - $191,000). Since I moved to the heart of the Silicon Valley, I now have to buy a car. The cheapest electric car I found is the Nissan Leaf ($29,000). Of course, there are old used cars, but if I happened to go to work with one of those, I’d immediately get fired for polluting Google’s parking lot, and being an overall horrible person.

That left me with $-17,500. Yes, I had to borrow money from my parents. Of course, next year I won’t have to buy a new car, but I will have to spend some money for events so I can find a girlfriend, and I don’t even want to think about paying for school and children. I would probably have to hire a nanny and save for their college.

Even $250,000 is not enough in the valley. I’m barely scraping by and I don’t have any kids yet.

Also, check out my latest pieces:

No, you can’t just fucking press your own juice. Buy the $700 machine. You’ll save the environment

$12,000 refugee camp festival was a fantastic party experience, as expected: “we just imitated druglord gangster life”

Edited: Way too many people haven’t noticed this is satire. I’ve seen an article on Facebook claiming $100k isn’t enough to live in the valley, and then another one claiming $130k isn’t enough. Then there’s another Twitter employee complaining with $160,000.

I wanted to make a hyperbolic next step to show the stupidity of those articles. There are service workers living with $10k or less. Working in tech, you should be fine with your salary. Stop complaining.

Many people are "just scraping by" by choice. They decide to spend it all and save nothing. Manage your finances!

Update #1: Detailed, the marketing website, wrote a piece about me, as a viral success story. Pretty exciting!

Update #2:

It seems the Chinese picked up on this important story as well.

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