Last week’s post on ESPN talked about the plight of a family of five living on a six figure salary in El Segundo. The fear of ever increasing rent, the low supply of available homes (even for rent) and the ramifications of getting a 60 day notice to vacate.
This is the struggle of many families all over Southern and Northern California. The cost of living is so high that even making $100k means just getting by. This is why we will continue to see an exodus of people, talent and companies from California. At some point the stress and fear no longer make sense.
The hard truth is that if a family has an income of $100k they have options. They either have a marketable skill, education or are a successful entrepreneur. All of those traits work just as well in affordable cities like Vegas, Phoenix, Dallas…
I have lived in different states and know that there is life outside of Socal. Yes the weather here is great but is it really worth the penalty that’s associated with the geography? Unaffordable housing, horrendous commutes, over population? Yes it’s hard to move away from family and friends. Yes it’s hard to apply for jobs out of state….But it’s also hard making $6k after taxes ($100k salary) and spending $3k on rent. It’s hard needing to allocate 60 minutes to drive 20 miles.
For those of us that can’t and won’t leave SoCal how do you deal with the stress and fear of always being priced out?
Ask for multi-year leases. If you are a family renting in El Segundo there is no reason you shouldn’t be signing multi-year leases. You are locking in a rate, ensuring that you have rights and can sleep better at night knowing they can’t just boot you out in 60 days. It’s a win-win for both parties and many may offer you a discount on the rent.
Re-up your lease. There is no reason you can’t ask to re-up your lease. Being on month to month is convenient for you if you need to leave but if you plan to stay the loss of renter rights is too risky. A lease offers protection. Month-to-month is not for families unless they have plans to buy or move.
Move. Yes El Segundo is great but the reality is that there are dozens of other LA-based cities that offer a good quality of life and good schools. The “but it’s not by the beach” logic is lame. How often do you really go to the beach? Yes it’s 20-30 degrees hotter in Burbank but they have great schools, great community services and the homes are 20-30% cheaper than El Segundo. Many locals lambaste Hawthorne but Hollyglen and Del Aire are right next door, have good schools and are 15-25% cheaper.
Permit your kids back in to ESUSD. If you have to move out of the area there are some provisions that allow you to keep your kids in school here. What are the ramifications of commuting your kids in and out of El Segundo five days a week? But if you are here for the schools you have some options. If you think you can pull the “I’ll use a friend’s address” scam I’d think again. Go through the channels.
I’m with you, the amount I pay to rent in El Segundo makes most people choke. I fear I may never be able to buy a home in El Segundo. But I also know that I will survive in a life outside of El Segundo if I have to move. If the economic stress of being in El Segundo is too much I have options. The options may not be fun and would introduce a new kind of stress into our lives but I have options.