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Old 10.03.2015, 10:29
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Cost of Living: Zürich (suburbs) vs. Bay Area, CA

What would be the "equivalent" of CHF120K/year in Zürich (suburbs) if we (family of 5) were to move to the Bay Area?

Its only initial contact at this time so details not yet needed, but something like:

A (and above) - Yes, go for it!
Between B and C - Maybe, think about it...
D (and below) - No, forget it.

Thanks!
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Old 10.03.2015, 12:55
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Re: Cost of Living: Zürich (suburbs) vs. Bay Area, CA

Congratulations and here you go - http://www.englishforum.ch/search2.p...cost+of+living
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Old 10.03.2015, 15:31
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Re: Cost of Living: Zürich (suburbs) vs. Bay Area, CA

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Thanks!

But these search results are for cost of living "in" Zürich... I actually need the other way around. I have a pretty good idea of the living standard in Zürich... What I need is a translation of this standard to the Bay Area...
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Old 10.03.2015, 15:45
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Re: Cost of Living: Zürich (suburbs) vs. Bay Area, CA

www.englishforum.USofA says 120k USD per year
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Old 10.03.2015, 16:10
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Re: Cost of Living: Zürich (suburbs) vs. Bay Area, CA

Family of 5?

C
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Old 10.03.2015, 17:40
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www.englishforum.USofA says 120k USD per year
ken, the link doesn't open for me?

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Family of 5?

C
karl, yes correct.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 12.03.2015 at 19:12. Reason: merging successive posts
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Old 10.03.2015, 20:53
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Re: Cost of Living: Zürich (suburbs) vs. Bay Area, CA

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karl, yes correct.
You will barely scrape by at 120K in Zurich with a family of 5. Forget having a car. If any one of the kids need private school (20K / yr) then it is not doable, IMHO. You must remember Zurich is currently the most expensive place to live in the world. The price of rent, health insurance and groceries are incredible. If you live further out in the countryside and the kids go to public school, then OK. But they need language proficiency to pull that off.
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Old 10.03.2015, 21:02
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Re: Cost of Living: Zürich (suburbs) vs. Bay Area, CA

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You will barely scrape by at 120K in Zurich with a family of 5. Forget having a car. If any one of the kids need private school (20K / yr) then it is not doable, IMHO. You must remember Zurich is currently the most expensive place to live in the world. The price of rent, health insurance and groceries are incredible. If you live further out in the countryside and the kids go to public school, then OK. But they need language proficiency to pull that off.
Now go back and re-read the OP
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Old 10.03.2015, 21:09
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Re: Cost of Living: Zürich (suburbs) vs. Bay Area, CA

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You will barely scrape by at 120K in Zurich with a family of 5. Forget having a car. If any one of the kids need private school (20K / yr) then it is not doable, IMHO. You must remember Zurich is currently the most expensive place to live in the world. The price of rent, health insurance and groceries are incredible. If you live further out in the countryside and the kids go to public school, then OK. But they need language proficiency to pull that off.
Obviously you cant read!
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Old 10.03.2015, 21:17
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Re: Cost of Living: Zürich (suburbs) vs. Bay Area, CA

Sorry about that, I am not used to people asking questions about how much it costs to move away from Switzerland.
Having lived 20 years in the Bay Area myself, I can only say that it depends where. The cost of living there is very different depending on where, for example in San Francisco, Marin County or Tiburon, it will be more expensive than Zurich (based mainly on real estate costs). Oakland, East San Jose, or even East Palo Alto are much cheaper, but there's a reason for that. So, you have to be more specific, exactly where is the job located, and that determines from where you could commute from. The traffic in the Bay Area is horrendous, so you don't want to be sitting in a jam for 2 hours each way. Add to this the fact that federal income tax there is about double what it is here. Prices there have also climbed significantly since I lived there, and you absolutely need 2 cars as the public transport is pretty bad.

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Old 10.03.2015, 21:37
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Re: Cost of Living: Zürich (suburbs) vs. Bay Area, CA

I have not run any calculations, but gut instinct tells me the answer is D - forget it. The US may be less expensive in a very general sense, but the Bay Area is not by definition an affordable area. With a family of 5, I would suspect most or many of your neighbours may have income nearly twice the 120ksfr figure (in dollars). Property is abysimally expensive and rental rates will reflect that too.

Good luck with the decision....
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Old 10.03.2015, 21:40
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Hi nice thread,
I might be in a similar situation soon so would like to see what other people have to say.

I cant provide you direct comparison but you should watch out for expenses below for making the decision.

1) Rent is 20-30% higher than Zurich City. A good locality, renovated san jose 2 bed room apartment comes around 2.6K, while I can find something similar in seebach etc in 2.2K. San francisco city seemed to be more expensive.
2) Consumables, groceries , clothings etc is cheaper in bay area. for a family of 5, this should make a substantial difference. check http://www.numbeo.com
3) Tax is higher in bay area. ~30-35% compared to ~~22% I pay in Zurich
4) Health insurance is expensive in Zurich but, I'm not sure how much saving would that be for something equivalent. Mostly employers chip into this in bay area. depends on your offer.
5) Although being car-less in zurich is cheap ~63chf per month, for a family of 5 having a car wont be that much expensive for you in comparison, unless you need to keep many cars.

Don't have any idea about schooling etc.

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I have not run any calculations, but gut instinct tells me the answer is D - forget it. The US may be less expensive in a very general sense, but the Bay Area is not by definition an affordable area. With a family of 5, I would suspect most or many of your neighbours may have income nearly twice the 120ksfr figure (in dollars). Property is abysimally expensive and rental rates will reflect that too.

Good luck with the decision....
I think OP is not quoting his exact salary, hes using 120K to judge the relative difference. If the gross salary is 120K then you are right, its certainly a no go for a family of 5.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 12.03.2015 at 19:12. Reason: merging successive posts
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Old 10.03.2015, 21:51
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Re: Cost of Living: Zürich (suburbs) vs. Bay Area, CA

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I think OP is not quoting his exact salary, hes using 120K to judge the relative difference. If the gross salary is 120K then you are right, its certainly a no go for a family of 5.

Please, Chf 8k is enough for a family of 5 to live on, albeit it modestly. You jsut need to know what you are doing, be willing to do things for yourself rather than calling the handyman out and knowing local language in order to build up a network.

For a foreigner with no language skills and rose tinted specs, maybe not enough.

How many farmers do i know who live on far less then half of this ....plenty, if not nearly all of them.
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Old 10.03.2015, 21:51
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I think my OP is not quite so clear...

If someone in Zürich is earning CHF 120K and would like to relocate to the Bay Area, what equivalent salary (in USD) will allow him/her to keep a similar standard of living?

Example in USD:
180K = Yes, go!
140K-160K = Maybe...
120K = No, forget it.

I hope it's clearer now.

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Sorry about that, I am not used to people asking questions about how much it costs to move away from Switzerland.
Having lived 20 years in the Bay Area myself, I can only say that it depends where. The cost of living there is very different depending on where, for example in San Francisco, Marin County or Tiburon, it will be more expensive than Zurich (based mainly on real estate costs). Oakland, East San Jose, or even East Palo Alto are much cheaper, but there's a reason for that. So, you have to be more specific, exactly where is the job located, and that determines from where you could commute from. The traffic in the Bay Area is horrendous, so you don't want to be sitting in a jam for 2 hours each way. Add to this the fact that federal income tax there is about double what it is here. Prices there have also climbed significantly since I lived there, and you absolutely need 2 cars as the public transport is pretty bad.
Job will be in Cupertino. I'm willing to commute but I hope under 1 hour each way.

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Hi nice thread,
I might be in a similar situation soon so would like to see what other people have to say.

I cant provide you direct comparison but you should watch out for expenses below for making the decision.

1) Rent is 20-30% higher than Zurich City. A good locality, renovated san jose 2 bed room apartment comes around 2.6K, while I can find something similar in seebach etc in 2.2K. San francisco city seemed to be more expensive.
2) Consumables, groceries , clothings etc is cheaper in bay area. for a family of 5, this should make a substantial difference. check http://www.numbeo.com
3) Tax is higher in bay area. ~30-35% compared to ~~22% I pay in Zurich
4) Health insurance is expensive in Zurich but, I'm not sure how much saving would that be for something equivalent. Mostly employers chip into this in bay area. depends on your offer.
5) Although being car-less in zurich is cheap ~63chf per month, for a family of 5 having a car wont be that much expensive for you in comparison, unless you need to keep many cars.

Don't have any idea about schooling etc.
Hi Farhanee, to be honest, your ahead of me in terms of the cost breakdown. I'm reading thru the SV forums to get local information. At this point, my impression is that USD150K=CHF120K in the Bay Area. Housing is one of the critical points.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 12.03.2015 at 19:13. Reason: merging successive posts
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Old 11.03.2015, 08:49
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Re: Cost of Living: Zürich (suburbs) vs. Bay Area, CA

Did I read here that Palo Alto is "much cheaper" than SF? Perhaps 20 years ago... Live close by the best public schools and the rent will make Zurich a cheap city....
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Old 11.03.2015, 08:50
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Re: Cost of Living: Zürich (suburbs) vs. Bay Area, CA

Damn - no chance for you to live in a little box on a hillside, a little box made of ticky tacky


(A gold star for 2 references: the location referred to and the TV series)
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Old 11.03.2015, 09:06
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Re: Cost of Living: Zürich (suburbs) vs. Bay Area, CA

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Damn - no chance for you to live in a little box on a hillside, a little box made of ticky tacky


(A gold star for 2 references: the location referred to and the TV series)
weeds and daly!

also, 120K with public schools in the bay area for a family of 5 is doable. you can eat much cheaper, your employer will likely cover your healthcare costs. like people mentioned, rent is what will hurt the most. but working in cupertino means you can look for things as far as gilroy even, but really you'd want to rent a house south of sunnyvale for example, it gets a lot more manageable then.

i don't know what you're making here, but if you are making 120k chf here for a family of 5 then i don't know how you would fail in the bay area... just give yourself some time to find a good house to rent.
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Old 11.03.2015, 09:09
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Re: Cost of Living: Zürich (suburbs) vs. Bay Area, CA

It totally depends on which part of the bay area. It can change drastically from one neighborhood to the next. Sounds like you have children, so schooling will be an issue to factor in. College is a LOT more expensive. I would consult your peers in area, and HR. Salaries in the US is much more dynamic than it is here.

It also depends on the employer. If you are working for Apple, they are more likely to take care of you. If you are working for a startup, I would insist on a parachute.
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Old 11.03.2015, 10:21
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weeds and daly!

also, 120K with public schools in the bay area for a family of 5 is doable. you can eat much cheaper, your employer will likely cover your healthcare costs. like people mentioned, rent is what will hurt the most. but working in cupertino means you can look for things as far as gilroy even, but really you'd want to rent a house south of sunnyvale for example, it gets a lot more manageable then.

i don't know what you're making here, but if you are making 120k chf here for a family of 5 then i don't know how you would fail in the bay area... just give yourself some time to find a good house to rent.
yeah, in general i know what chf 120k brings you in zurich and i'm trying to grasp what would be its equivalent in the bay area.

with children, school is definitely important. i'm willing to commute. thanks for the sunnyvale tip, i've read it also in another forum. i think its time for me to hit the real-estate market and get updated on the rent cost.

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It totally depends on which part of the bay area. It can change drastically from one neighborhood to the next. Sounds like you have children, so schooling will be an issue to factor in. College is a LOT more expensive. I would consult your peers in area, and HR. Salaries in the US is much more dynamic than it is here.

It also depends on the employer. If you are working for Apple, they are more likely to take care of you. If you are working for a startup, I would insist on a parachute.
i've also read that the quality of school districts vary a lot and this is worrying for me... my children go to the local school here and at least where i live, we've never had this issue. so, i really need to dig into this and how it will affect my commute.

btw, thanks for the parachute tip.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 12.03.2015 at 19:13. Reason: merging successive posts
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Old 11.03.2015, 10:30
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Re: Cost of Living: Zürich (suburbs) vs. Bay Area, CA

Here is a useful link someone once posted on one of the threads.

http://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living
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