I have moved this over to Orchestra Auditions, because I think not only is this an eye opener, but I wanted to point something out about cost of living and locations we all select to live in. Last week ChrisF pointed out that in Louisville people have to pay the same amount for a new car as they do NY, or CA. While this might not be completely true (some areas require extra smog or other work to become licensed), it is for the most part and I would agree. However, the real kicker is the cost of real estate. I live in Silicon Valley, and I just got a flyer in the mail with recent home sales in my area, these are actual prices that homes have sold for, and not only are they all listed as to what was being asked, but the actual sale price as well. The cheapest homes in my area are $700k, and that's for a 1320 sq. ft. 3 bedroom home. Any homes over 2000 sq.ft. are priced over $1,000,000. This is why I was saying, it would be difficult to buy a home in this area if you were making less than $90k/year, and that would be pushing it IMO. The averages for my area (south bay, around Cupertino) are: 3 bedrooms, 1563 sq.ft., stayed on market 12 days, Listed at $785k, sold at $815k, and on average sale prices goes up $30k. For fun, let's say you bought one of these average homes with 20% down, so we'll say you put $200k down. Your mortgage is based on $585k, which means you'll have a mortgage of about $6k/mo for the average home. You'll pay about $8k/year in taxes. You're still living in a 1563 sq.ft. home, which is not big by any means... Now, it would be possible if you owned your home already and had bought it when the market was not as high as it is, and might be able to squeeze it on $98k/year that they were offering for the principal bassist in SF (filled recentely).