Sam Dogen, a former Goldman Sachs analyst and now a financial blogger, has sparked discussion with his recent admission about the financial challenges of living in high-cost locations. Despite a significant net worth, Dogen highlights the harsh reality of maintaining a comfortable lifestyle in expensive cities.
In 2012, Dogen retired at age 34 with a net worth of $3 million and authored the bestselling book “Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom.” He has been living off passive income from stocks, bonds and real estate since then. However, a recent decision to cash out some investments to buy a property in San Francisco for his family has significantly impacted his financial situation.
Dogen’s website, Financial Samurai, details his family’s projected annual expenses, which exceed their income. He estimates that a family of four needs to earn over $230,000 annually to live comfortably in areas like San Francisco or New York City. His budget includes substantial costs for private school tuition, healthcare, food, housing and other expenses. For example, private school tuition for two kids is $80,400 and three weeks of vacation costs $16,800.
The blogger says his choices have taken a toll on his finances. In a blog post, he writes, “Desire is the cause of all suffering. Due to my desire to own a nicer home, I sold stocks and bonds. By doing so, I lost about $150,000 a year in passive income for the foreseeable future.”
He acknowledges that in 2023, his passive income was on track to generate about $380,000. However, after purchasing a new house, he anticipates a decrease to roughly $230,000 in 2024, insufficient to cover his family’s living expenses.
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Reflecting on the broader implications of his situation, Dogen adds, “This post is especially interesting for future or current parents thinking about how to juggle growing a career, raising a family and retiring comfortably in the future. As a father, it also highlights the pressure of being a provider and the sacrifices one must make for his family.”
Dogen’s situation reflects the broader economic reality many American families face, especially in high-cost areas like San Francisco. The cost of living varies significantly across the United States, and for families living in expensive cities, the financial demands can be substantial.
According to data from Expatistan, the cost of living in major U.S. cities like New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles is significantly higher than the national average. For instance, New York City has a price index of 215, which is reportedly 61% more expensive than in Omaha, Nebraska.
Similarly, the cost of living index in California, where San Francisco is located, stands at 142.2, with housing costs being twice the national average.
The average cost of living for a family of four in the U.S. is estimated to be around $7,095 monthly or $85,139 per year, which includes expenses for housing, food, healthcare, transportation and other necessities. In comparison, Dogen estimates that his family needs over $230,000 annually to live comfortably in San Francisco, which aligns with the high cost of living in the area.
While it’s challenging to assess whether Dogen’s decision to cash out investments for a San Francisco property purchase was the best choice, it demonstrates a strategic response to the city’s high real estate costs and a commitment to providing a comfortable living environment for his family. This move, however, resulted in a decrease in his passive income, posing difficulties in meeting his family’s living expenses.
In situations like this, where financial decisions have significant and complex implications, consulting with a financial adviser can be invaluable. A financial adviser can help weigh the various options, taking into account both short-term needs and long-term goals. They can offer insights into how such decisions might impact overall financial stability and provide guidance on balancing investment strategies with lifestyle choices.
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This article Financial Blogger Says $230,000 A Year Isn’t Enough Money For His Family Of Four — ‘Desire Is The Cause Of All Suffering.’ originally appeared on Benzinga.com
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