- Adam Singer is a 38-year-old tech marketing manager who worked at Google and is now CMO for a private equity fund.
- He and his wife swapped a $3,000, 800-square-foot apartment for a cheaper, 2,400-square-foot home.
- He doesn’t regret moving from SF to Austin and said his “anxiety levels have gone down exponentially.”
- This is his story, as told to freelance writer Meira Gebel.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
I’m a tech industry marketer, and I’ve worked in the technology industry in one form or another for the past two decades. I’ve worked with everyone from small startups to big Fortune 500 companies like Google and McKesson.
I moved to San Francisco in 2009 because I thought it would be an exciting place to live and saw a lot of career potential for myself.
My wife and I lived in a small, 800-square-foot apartment next to Alamo Square for seven years.
Over time, we started to crave more space and flexibility, and have always wanted to buy a home. We couldn’t see ourselves buying a home in the Bay Area at a reasonable price.
When my wife and I were assaulted outside our home, we began to wonder why we were paying the highest rent in the country if we didn’t feel safe.
San Francisco’s high cost of living, growing inequity, high-strung hustle culture, and struggling infrastructure is what led us to purchase land and build a home in Austin, Texas, in 2019.
I feel like the Bay Area is at odds with itself.
Does it want to grow into a metropolis like New York City or Singapore? Or does it want to stay a sleepy bedroom community? A lot of the older cohorts in San Francisco have been against new development and progress in terms of building more housing.
To own a home in San Francisco, you have to either get very rich at a startup, like an early employee at Uber or whatnot, or you have to inherit the house.
Sure, Austin is still expensive, but the city’s housing costs compared to the Bay Area is what made it extra appealing to me.
After our 2,400-square-foot Austin home was finished, we moved in — right before the pandemic.
My wife and I are almost 40, so we waited a long time to buy our first house.
We found a plot of land in Austin in a newer community 20 minutes away from downtown. And even though Austin is a liberal bastion within the wider conservative Texas, we feel much safer here.
Our bills are about the same in Texas as California.
We’re paying slightly more in utilities since moving from an apartment to a house, but it’s not much greater in the grand scheme of things given it’s just my wife and I with no kids, and we have a new build with efficient appliances and insulation.
The mortgage payment on our home is 10% less than the cost of our Bay Area apartment, which was well over $3,000 a month. That goes to show just how expensive living in the city was.
I’ve gone to Austin on many personal and work trips and enjoyed my time there.
The food is great, and since I write jazz and electronic music, I’ve found the music scene here to be very robust.
I’ve found that Austin is a much more social city than San Francisco, too. I like the fact that the first question people ask you in Austin is, “What are you into? What kind of music do you like? What are your hobbies?” As opposed to in San Francisco, people always ask, “What do you do?”
Everyone here isn’t trying to one-up each other on how much money they make or how important they are. The pace of life in Austin is just a bit more sane.
The one thing I will miss about San Francisco is Muir Woods. My wife and I love to hike, and there was nothing better than walking around the redwoods and wilderness.
This past week we also experienced the severe winter storm along with the rest of Texas.
We got several feet of snow, which my dog Dash loved. We experienced rolling blackouts, where we had power for about 30 minutes and then none for two hours or so.
Luckily, we only lost power and water for about two days, but everything is back now.
People say you need to move to Silicon Valley or New York to network, but I don’t really think that’s true.
I think you can do the same networking online.
When I came to California, I had a lot of good contacts, and I left with more people I met there, but these are people I could have connected with even not being there. I just don’t buy that location really matters for a lot of this work.
A lot of tech companies, like Google, have always offered some form of remote work. I knew that if Google was offering it, every company would eventually.
Many jobs in tech and other sectors like media, marketing, and finance can be done from anywhere. So I wasn’t willing to pay what I considered bubble pricing to live next to a strip mall in Northern California.
I have no regrets moving out of San Francisco to Texas. My anxiety levels have gone down exponentially since leaving.
I have nothing but love for San Francisco. I want the city to survive and thrive, do better on housing issues, address homelessness, and figure out all of the infrastructure and traffic issues because it’s become a crazy place to live in. I also think that’s emblematic of the late stage of the economic cycle.
As more companies move their headquarters and offices to Texas, like Google, Oracle, Apple, and Facebook, all of the leadership and the key product people who historically have always been in California or New York or London will move out here, too. I also think in Texas there isn’t that anti-tech sentiment seen in San Francisco.
For those thinking of leaving the city for suburbia and worried it will be boring, I haven’t found that to be true at all.
For me, it’s nice to be somewhere a little bit slower pace, for now.