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Relocating to San Francisco

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

After expressing displeasure with my lack of career progress, my employer has suggested that a promotion would be in order if I am willing to relocate from our office in suburban Lexington, MA to another office in downtown San Francisco. They have given me a week to draft a proposal of what it would take to get me to relocate.


Do people have experience negotiating relocation packages? What should I ask for and expect to get?


Does anyone here regularly make the trek from the Bay Area to Lake Tahoe every weekend? Please tell me about the experience. Is it just a few hours drive? Where should I be looking for a season pass? When does the season start / end?


I am currently a member of a ski club in northern New Hampshire. Are there ski clubs in the Tahoe area? Is anyone a member who can point me in the right direction? Are there other affordable lodging options for someone on a budget?


My family is all in the Boston area and my wife is originally from Chicago. It would be a big change to be out on our own. I'd like to think that skiing Tahoe instead of New England would be a big incentive to me.

post #2 of 18

@Finndog is experienced in relocation packages/services.  Perhaps he can chime in with some info on that front.

post #3 of 18

You should be aware that cost of living in SF is really high.   Don't worry about "affordable tahoe" worry about the other 9months of the year.


So  you need to take that into account and looking for 30% or higher more just off the bat in pure salary to even maintain your same lifestyle or you're going for a downgrade.


And haha about worrying about the season passes.  Even if you get 2 or 3 full season passes and get access to every resort in tahoe, that's like 2weeks of rent.


If you really have more questions about tahoe skiing after deciding, I can give my 2cents, but the tahoe skiing really should be a lower priority, especially in the numerical cost of living calculations.

Edited by raytseng - 3/15/15 at 7:13pm
post #4 of 18

Believe it takes about four hours from SF to the Tahoe ski areas, so you would be looking at weekending, not day tripping, probably similar to what you've been doing with your New England ski club, however I'm not sure Tahoe has that nice club infrastructure.  Here is a recap of the most popular season pass products:  http://tahoeskibum.com/2014/04/16/tahoe-ski-bums-201415-season-pass-guide/


All I can say in my own life shaking up the status quo usually led to good results.

post #5 of 18

The skiing will be a massive improvement, but you'll likely want a ski lease of some sort because day trips are a long haul.  Also, do realize that rent in SF is possibly even worse than Manhattan at this point - and that's not an exaggeration as crazy as it sounds.  Of course, you don't have to live in SF to work there.  If you delve further into specifics I'd be happy to provide some insight.


Season pass options: Squaw / Alpine - awesome.  Epic Tahoe Local: Northstar, Kirkwood, Heavenly - also awesome.  I have both.  So you're good there.  Sugar Bowl and Sierra at Tahoe too, although I get 4 days at both with my Squaw pass.

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

The office is on Market Street next to the Embarcadero BART station. Wherever I live would need to be a reasonable commute to there. I'm not familiar enough with the area to understand:

a) what my commuting options are (ferry, BART, bus, others?)

b) where I could affordably live. I'm guessing across the bay somewhere. I'd like to keep access to Tahoe in mind.

c) what I should expect to pay for rent. Assume I'm looking for a two-bedroom, parking for two cars, access to commuting options.


Of the Tahoe areas I have only skied Heavenly, and that was a few years ago in December where there was no snow. I remember thinking that I would have done better in New Hampshire. Right now I am looking at blindly buying a pass with blackout dates, then using those blackout dates as a chance to explore the other local areas.


Are there any insider tips on securing cheap passes or tickets in the region? In New England the secret is to join one of the local ski clubs. That way you can easily score lots and lots of cheap tickets with prices $20-50.


The ski clubs in New Hampshire also provide very affordable year-round lodging. I'm noticed that motels in Tahoe are very cheap right now. Is this something that I should expect, or is it an artifact on a less than stellar winter? Are seasonal leases a common thing, and if so what should I expect to pay for a small crash pad for two?

post #7 of 18

If you are interested I can put you in touch with relo experts who can assist with all the matters that you need to consider from COLA's to housing to moving and so forth. If handled correctly, your employer can use the expenses as deductions and can also help reduce any added taxes to you if paid as bonus' (imputed income) 

post #8 of 18
Go to padmapper.com to get an idea of rent prices. Google cola adjustments if you were put in charge to set your own proposal. Call up a contact in the sf office to see if you can discuss.

Put 95% of your research effort focusing on your choices there have 10x more impact on your bank account than ski expenditures even if you are going lavishly.

The main skibum access to tahoe slopes is be via season passes. The prior link is good. Notice how relatively cheap a pass is to a day tix. Many enthusiasts buy 2passes or more with some form of epic + some form of squawalpine (or mtn collective). You do not need to rush to buy a 2016 pass until nov.

Season leases mostly posted on snowpals website. There are also clubs as well but they may be more singles/social oriented rather than crashpad.

Hotel prices and depends on supply and if you want to drive or stay slopeside. This should be like a low item on your list, you can look up some of the trip to tahoe help threads, but mainly if you stay in south lake or in reno there is a large supply of hotel rooms. Staying northshore is a bit more expenaive. But after paying sfbayarea rent all rooms will seem affordable.
post #9 of 18

Put Alameda on your list to investigate. Particularly Bay Farm Island/Harbor Bay Isle. ferry terminal, near BART. East Bay so a bit closer to the mtns than the peninsula and Marin Cnty. Great little city.

post #10 of 18

I guess if you don't mind sharing, I suppose it would be useful to understand your current ballpark salary and lifestyle.

Are you currently living month-to-month, and looking at your checking account and hoping it doesn't get overdrawn every month?  

Or are you getting enough income right now where you can spend as much on skiing as you want, and it doesn't affect you, but it's the principle of not wasting too much money why cheap lift tickets is brought up.


If you are living month-to-month, I'd advise you ask for enough of a raise that gets you out of that situation, cause spending an extra $1000, $2000 or even $5000 on skiing a season shouldn't be a make or break difference for your finances.  If really you're that close on the line to disaster, you shouldn't be skiing while you make a move to SF as something else is going to eat up that money really quickly.


OK, other situation. Say you're doing well salarywise, and all cost of living are covered and you have plenty of take home.

If you move to SF, you're going to be asking for like a huge 30% (example) for cost of living.  

So if you need a 30% increase in salary to just cover increased rent/taxes and keeping take home the same, you can just fudge in and ask for 31%.  That extra 1% covers all increased costs of skiing.

Edited by raytseng - 3/16/15 at 10:50am
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

I am doing fine at the moment but would prefer not to waste the money. I am in a ski club both for the social reason and because it is by far the most cost-effective approach in the area. It is not clear that I could afford to make weekend trips every weekend if I was paying for a hotel each time. Actually, that's not true. I could do it by selling the house and downsizing into a small apartment. My wife may disagree, but a man has to have priorities!


I don't know exactly how I would balance the pass vs tickets question. I like to ski every weekend, but I don't know the area very well. Using discounted lift tickets for the first year would allow me to explore the various ski areas. I'm thinking about blinding picking up a pass with blackout dates, and using those blackout dates to explore other areas. I don't think I could afford to pay window rates every single day. That gets crazy expensive. I am used to paying about $1,000 / year for my pass, another $300 on tickets, and $600 for my ski club fees to cover lodging. I'm assuming gear prices and transportation will be almost a wash as I drive almost 3 hours each way already.


I work and live in suburban Boston. Here I can afford my SUV, modest ranch style home, and to go skiing every weekend from Halloween until early May. I am living comfortably with a cushion in my checking out. I'm currently working as a scientist / software developer for an insurance services company. I'd be transferring to a different business unit in San Francisco and working as a Data Scientist. 


I am aware that I will be asking for a large salary increase. I'm currently thinking about proposing a 50% salary increase plus a complete relocation package. About 30% of that would be cost of living, and the other 20% a sweetener / promotion to convince me to move since it will not be required. That should also give me a bit of cushion to cut a deal as this proposal as meant to be the start of a negotiation. I'm trying to account for more expensive housing, a more expensive / frustrating commute, and higher tax rates. I also have been given the option of waiting a year and revisiting the issue, but with the understanding that the window of opportunity may have passed.

post #12 of 18
Do not forget to take into account your tax situation
We pay higher taxes in California and a salary increase may push you into a higher bracket

If your office is on the Bart line living somewhere in the east bay may be the best

Getting out of the city on Friday is hell unless you leave late

You may want to lease a winter house for your family and share it with another like minded family

But get the financials on the move together first

The bay area is an expensive place offering unlimited recreation opportunities, that's the trade off for mild winters balmy summers beach and mountain access
post #13 of 18

You'll likely want to join a ski lease; snowpals.org is the place to look starting in the fall. The drive is 3-3.5 hours from the city to most resorts, even though they're spread out. Friday night traffic is pretty awful unless you wait until 8 or 9 to leave. $1000-$1500 per person/per winter is the range that most shared ski leases fall into. Passes are cheaper here than most other places in the country because of competition and the sheer amount of passholders the Bay Area affords. Skiing costs will be minor probably compared to your living costs, I agree. Things are insanely expensive here.


In the fall I work out of an office near the Larkspur Ferry and do the reverse commute. It's a lovely and pleasant ride, so I'd add the Larkspur area of Marin County to Alameda as an area to look into. Alameda and Marin County are both quiet, somewhat suburban areas that would be pleasant places to raise a family I think. Larkspur also puts you a little closer to Tahoe than the city or downtown Oakland the way the roads work, since you're also near the Richmond-San Rafael bridge. At this point, a decent amount of Marin County is more affordable than the city, which was not really the case until recently.

post #14 of 18


sounds like you got a good plan.  Definitely see if anything around 50% is even in the game or if they're going to laugh you out of the office before counting your 2016 tahoe ski days before they hatch.


Back to skiing:

The big players in tahoe is just between the KSL (Squaw/Alpine+whatever partner may join in) and Vail Epic (heav, northstar, kirkwood).  So if you see yourself going to ski even a few days, you need to get a pass to at least one of these.  Especially epicpass as once pass sales end you cannot get it.

The other resorts are all small players and fighting for scraps/to survice.  So vouchers and cheaper tickets and discounts are more readily available to check those out on a day basis.  

No rush until next fall though.


The hotels are not that expensive with the only exception being the blackout holiday weeks.

Staying in SouthLake has lots of motel/hotel options, you can get it down to $60/weekend night and not be in squalor to access heavenly, kirkwood, sierra at tahoe.  Staying in Reno is equally cheap as there are casino options there that will try to separate you from your money in other ways.  Drive from Reno to north shore slopes will be 40min-1hour.


The drive is 3.5-4hours on the road (suppose depends where you start) +however much stoppage time you take.  Get some podcasts or books on tape and it goes fast. The more you go, the more efficient you will get at it.


I typically go up friday night, trying to miss rush hour and come down sunday for weekend trips.  To amortize driving time, I tack on a 3rd day here and there.  


If you really set yourself to go every weekend, then yes you should consider a ski lease or club, but you can see on snowpals they are in the range of $1500 or so/person.  Given last 3 years, I think you won't have problems finding a spot though and prices may drop next year.

That being said, Flights to SLC are only 90min, so even if Tahoe gets another bum year, you can still get on a plane to snow (faster than you can drive).


Tahoe season "tries" to be open for Thanksgiving skiing, but really it doesn't get opened up until first week of december or so (or even later, or not at all).  Season ends 2nd or 3rd week of April.  Peak is really in jan-march. 

post #15 of 18

The other aspect is that SF has a really good tech economy boom right now.


So, as a data scientist, if you don't like your job, being in SF also affords you many other opportunities to make another career move for another upgrade.  However, usually this may come with aspects of work that then makes Time a limiting constraint instead of money.

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

You're right that my employer and I may be on different planes with regard to what it'll take to get me to relocate. Selling my house and moving is not something that I will do on a whim.


Thanks for the info on the length of the ski season. I should keep in mind that Tahoe is warmer has a shorter season than New England. In general should I expect the earliest opening to be around Thanksgiving with everyone closing in mid-April? Does anywhere open earlier or close later? I am used to "trying" for late October to early May.

post #17 of 18
Originally Posted by bliz1978 View Post

You're right that my employer and I may be on different planes with regard to what it'll take to get me to relocate. Selling my house and moving is not something that I will do on a whim.


Thanks for the info on the length of the ski season. I should keep in mind that Tahoe is warmer has a shorter season than New England. In general should I expect the earliest opening to be around Thanksgiving with everyone closing in mid-April? Does anywhere open earlier or close later? I am used to "trying" for late October to early May.


Usually, just not recently, Tahoe has a longer ski season than New England.  But yeah, in general, figure around Nov 20 - May 1.  Not this year of course.

post #18 of 18

Daily trip to Tahoe are brutal but possible. I do them for the last 3-4 seasons with ski bus companies. As a customer, you are paying about $40-$80 for the round-trip bus which get you to resort around 8:30 - 9:30 am (depends on the traffic and conditions) and bus leaves the resort at 4:30 pm (lifts stop at 4pm) and you are getting home around 8 - 10pm (oh, forgot to mention, the bus leaves from your city around 4-5am).

Of course, this is NOT an option for a powder day :hopmad:



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