Bay Area retirement: ‘I’m going to have to move away — and I’m actually wealthy’

Peter Chang has a comfortable life — a good income from real estate investments in Oakland and San Francisco, and a home for his family in a tony Lafayette neighborhood.

But when it comes to his approaching retirement, 50-year-old Chang views his prospects in the overpriced Bay Area as bleak. He wants to give up the life he built here and retire in Taiwan, where he’s originally from.

“I don’t think in retirement I can afford this,” he said. “I’m going to have to move away – and I’m actually wealthy. It’s hard to keep up with the rising costs here.”

OK, time out. What’s the deal with this guy? If he gets his Lafayette home paid off, can he not live off the rental income from his Oakland and SF properties? He has zero savings other than RE?

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People will say anything to the Mercury News. It’s a sensationalistic trashy rag of a newspaper - they just want to sensationalize every topic, even something as boring as retirement, to get a headline when there is not much else to report.

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Except for high housing costs, living expenses are not out of line with other coastal areas. But this guy has at least three properties. I honestly don’t understand why he can’t afford to retire here.

But no doubt his living standards will be much higher in Taiwan. Money just goes much farther there.

I thought Oakland and SF are both under rent control. Maybe that’s why?


Peter Chang,

Please don’t joke. What is the brand of your t-shirt? Ralph Laurens? Bulberry? Dolce & Gabanna? Balenciaga? Givenchy? Stefano Ricci?

Not unique to BANG newspapers…sadly.

It’s the current practice of all the news media. Sensationalism and exaggerated headlines. Anything to get clicks while feeding the low brow public garbage.

There was a time when this would have been called yellow journalism. Or, worse. Now, it’s The National Enquirer everywhere!

That’s not him in the picture. The man in the t-shirt.

And, wealth is ill defined. Owning $3M worth of RE with outstanding mortgages of $2.4M isn’t the “wealth” that owning $3M worth of RE free and clear is. To many people confuse wealth with controlled, leveraged assets.

Most of the self-made billionaires that everyone loves to hate, aren’t nearly as “wealthy” as people believe. Their “wealth” is corporate stock they hold. It isn’t all that fungible due to regulatory issues. And, it can disappear overnight with their companies. It’s been known to happen.


Interesting, you know so much about Peter Chang?

Dude! Long time, no see. How are you?

How has Vallejo been during the pandemic?

Still fixing up cars?

I don’t. The caption for that picture identified the person shown as other than Peter Chang.

The examples I gave of total controlled assets vs personal net worth were just example figures. No idea what Mr. Chang actually holds, other than what was stated in the article.

Many years ago, I had a client that gave seminars on building wealth through SFH rental investment. He liked to brag that he was a millionaire (this was 40 years ago) because he owned 23 homes in the East Bay at the start of his seminars, and tell everyone he was single in case any of the ladies might be interested.

But, because he was a client, I knew that he was heavily leveraged for those 23 rentals. And, interest rates on mortgages were double digit at the time.

Eventually, due to some missteps on his part, his house of cards collapsed. His RE empire disappeared into bankruptcy. He wasn’t a millionaire at all. And, as far as I know, none of the ladies ever took up with him either.

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Doing very well. Other than the aches and pains that come with getting older. :grinning:

I retired back in 2018. I just couldn’t take it any more. And, retirement has turned out to be the best job I’ve ever had. Stress, other than pandemic induced, has been minimal.

Vallejo has been just like everywhere else during the pandemic. And, suburban residential Vallejo very much so. I’ve spent a lot of time at home. But really, really enjoy it actually.

My car hobby has been on hiatus for a few years. I’ve got them stored and was supposed to be finding new digs for them. That fell apart a couple of years back, when small, industrial or warehouse RE seemed to have dried up everywhere.

And, my desire to get the hell out of California is waning as I get older. I’m very comfortable at home and moving seems like a daunting task now. I’m not 40 anymore. :pensive:

My wife has been more amenable to leaving than ever before, but she vacillates a lot. She hates the crowds everywhere.

But, we have a daughter, SIL and grand daughter living literally three blocks away. Grandma is completely dedicated to grandchild. Partially because the other two grandchildren still live in Texas and we have not been part of their lives due to distance.

I do stop by this forum from time to time, just to see what manch is feeding us now. :grinning:

I don’t often post anything, because I’m not really keeping up.


Post some pictures of the view from your house sometime. I remember it has great water view?

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Speaking of retirement:

The Internal Revenue Service announced today that the amount individuals can contribute to their 401(k) plans in 2022 has increased to $20,500, up from $19,500 for 2021 and 2020.


Saw this on Quora.

What efforts do you do now to become retiring wealthy?

I am a 69-year-old retired Silicon Valley engineer. I retired in November 2021 just before I reached age 68. I am well off, but definitely not wealthy.

Only about 30–40% of my own and wife’s income is coming from social security, the rest is coming from 401K’s, IRA’s, pensions, and stocks. Plus, I no longer have a mortgage or any other significant debts. And, we are now living in a brand new custom-designed 2500 square foot Italian-villa style home on 1.2 acres in the Texas Hill country that we paid cash for from the sale of our California home in the Silicon Valley. The 500 square foot upstairs portion is an independent studio apartment with its own separate entrance, a full bathroom, and a kitchenette. We currently rent it out to local college students but it will be for our in-home care-giver when we are too old to take care of ourselves. Our annual income is only around $100,000 per year, (I made over twice that in the Silicon Valley), but we have no bills except utilities, groceries, property taxes, and supplemental healthcare insurance. Medicare is our primary coverage and it pays about 80% of outpatient care, the low-cost supplemental insurance pays the remainder.

I planned almost 20 years ahead for all this. I suggest you all do the same.

C’est la vie.

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Lesson for Californians :wink: Start planning now. Come early, take 3 years to be immune to Cedar fever :roll_eyes:

How big is your lot?


You don’t know how to search your forum?

1/3 acre. If you want 1+ acres, need to buy in Liberty Hill, Dripping Spring, Katy-Houston (lot of Asians), … I think they bought in Liberty Hill.

Those places are exurbs or at best new suburbs, you need to be psychologically prepared… not very convenient…

I bailed on the BA 9 years ago. You don’t need to move all the way to Texas to live the lifestyle this retiree enjoys. Sacramento MSA offers the same savings. Or Nevada Arizona Utah or Oregon…

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True. This house is on 1 acre lot in El Dorado Hills. Not a new built though. Price looks reasonable to me.


There are plenty of homes near Eldorado Hills at $500k and up. When you are retired couple a 1500sf 3/2 is all you need. A big house and yard just means more work and money to maintain.

Actually I prefer Folsom for value. Great newer city with lots of amenities.
They are building 10,000 new homes.{"pagination"%3A{}%2C"usersSearchTerm"%3A"Folsom%2C%20CA"%2C"mapBounds"%3A{"west"%3A-121.210143%2C"east"%3A-121.082173%2C"south"%3A38.614613%2C"north"%3A38.717118}%2C"regionSelection"%3A[{"regionId"%3A11462%2C"regionType"%3A6}]%2C"filterState"%3A{"sort"%3A{"value"%3A"days"}%2C"ah"%3A{"value"%3Atrue}%2C"price"%3A{"min"%3A300000%2C"max"%3A600000}%2C"mp"%3A{"min"%3A1469%2C"max"%3A2938}%2C"beds"%3A{"min"%3A3}%2C"baths"%3A{"min"%3A2}%2C"tow"%3A{"value"%3Afalse}%2C"mf"%3A{"value"%3Afalse}}}

The farther up the hill the cheaper

My farm is at 1200’ elevation. No snow and no winter fog. .
It is hot in july/august( when the weather is a perfect 80degrees in Tahoe)But I have a pool and AC. Otherwise BA weather… 20 minutes to Folsom. 20 minutes to Placerville. 5 minutes to Cameron Park.

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