Software Engineer salaries in 2018, tech levels, and lifestyle


That north los altos lot listing for 2.5 will probably go around 3.
lied on the rest of the math, looks like


Err… maybe not tonight, although the night is still young.


Night is indeed very young… :rofl:


@tomato was making a honest comment, nothing worth of flagging. Don’t abuse your Democratic rights


Huh? You got a good one yesterday’s night?


(I’ve been on hiatus since last October with remodeling, a baby, moving… It’s been crazy.)

Why does everyone make such a big deal about RSUs? The dollar amount of RSU granted is merely used to determine the number of RSU/shares you get for that award on a particular date. So if you get $100k RSU and the valuation used is $1000 per share, you get 100 restricted shares vesting over n years (usually four).

After that you pray that your company’s stock price keeps going up or at least stays the same.

After each vesting period almost 50% of the value of the vested RSUs are cashed out and and paid to IRS assuming you max out your 401k and ESPP contributions.

When/if you cash out the vested RSUs, IRS takes another cut of the gain based on the cost basis at the time of each vesting period. If you sell vested shares less than a year of holding, the proceeds are taxed as ordinary income.

My wife has not sold one RSU since she started at her company 10+ years ago. Looking at her stock plan account, she has approximately 50% of the vested RSU/shares originally granted vested over four years.

I calculate that after taxes, she ends up with ~40% of the number of RSUs orgiginally granted x current stock price. If the company’s stock tanks, the benefit from that original $100k RSU award will be worth much less.

I hope this makes sense.


Sorry if this has been said already. I didn’t read the whole thread.


W2 income, be it cash or stocks, is about the least tax efficient income out there.


Huh? RSUs worth tons more than cash. Most of us, if given cash tends to spend it or put into some fixed income instruments. If RSUs, if not influenced by financial advisors, would just keep them. Since 2009 to now, prices of many tech stocks shot up multiples of tens, hence RSUs shot up likewise. Don’t let him confused you.


We bought our Los Altos condo for cash. It took us almost two months to get a cash recoup refinance for 1/3 of the purchase price from Wells Fargo despite the fact that owned the place outright.

I was so stressed by their scrutiny of our finances I was close to going with another lender. I had to document in excruciating detail how we earned and saved money and the sources of our funds among many other arduous requirements.

The first lender we applied with through a mortgage broker was also pretty stringent but that took us less than a month to get approved. We went with WFC who offered us a 30-year 3.5%.


It’s true only if you work for a company whose stock has shot up to stratospheric levels.

My point is that including RSU grants in one’s annual W2 income is misleading because no one knows what the RSUs are truly worth until you account for vesting schedule, income taxes and stock price when you actually cash out.

For one to say they make $500k, $200k of which is RSUs is meaningless.


Obviously we are talking about high flying companies. Should be obvious when we are using Google as the example. Employees of such companies are the one driving the RE market. Context😀


BAGB would miss it even if only a few posts ago. Vaguely recall tomato did mention his wife works in YouTube.


I agree with you RE: GOOG.

It’s great if you were granted RSUs BEFORE shares prices have run up to the levels they are now. Whether stock prices can sustain these levels is anyone’s guess.

I’m not being a hater. My point is that when people speak of annual compensation including RSUs like the total is definitive, it’s misleading because the true benefit/value/compensation of the RSUs are unknown until they vest and are cashed out.

The RSU portion of the annual compensation is merely a valuation to determine the number of shares granted to the recipient. It’s not booked as compensation until it’s actually cashed out.

If a new grad now gets $170k base and bonus + $100k, he/she is not definitively earning $270k on a W2. It’s semantics.


Tech companies adjust # of RSU to meet the target total comp every time they grant it.
After 3 or 4 years, you have consistent total comp in most of cases.
If you want to change the company, the new one usually match remaining RSUs from previous company through signing bonus so that your annual total comp doesn’t go down (usually minimum 20% bump in annual total comp). Otherwise, no one wants to switch.
Unless majority of tech companies go downhill, it is fair to consider that total annual comp is realistic annual w-2 income. Only exception would be the first 3-4 years in your career (and even that can be adjusted with signing bonus for new grad).
Although it was not like this 4-5 year ago, BoA considered my RSUs as income when I recently got mortgage.


I am just commenting on the tax efficiency. Not it’s future value.


RSUs are taxed at marginal tax rates not effective tax rates which means more taxes are withheld. It’ll true up at the end of the year when you file your taxes.


Recalled many have reported that lenders have considered RSUs as income.

Any remuneration is not tax efficient. Tax efficient incomes are those where we can defer its :slight_smile: tax. Under tax sheltered accounts is no count since tax deference is a characteristic of the shelter not of the income. So what are the tax efficient income you are thinking of? Rents?


Business income like rent is much more tax efficient. You can deduct “fake” accounting expenses like amortization, and real expenses like phone bills.


Geez. Another subconscious bragging :slight_smile:

Goal of the OP is just to show SWEs of highly successful tech companies are very well paid and are the main driving force of SV’s housing. Ended up talking about technicalities :slight_smile: Every SWEs know exactly what are RSUs. AFAIK, tech companies went fully RSUs around 2006, before that mostly EOs. Of course, ESPPs have always been there since day one, right?