Why It’s So Hard To Leave San Francisco: Excitement, Fear, AI

I've been trying to leave San Francisco since 2014. After fake retiring in 2012, I thought it was only logical to move to a lower-cost area of the country, like Honolulu, to save money and be closer to my folks.

Yes, Honolulu isn't cheap, but it's cheaper than San Francisco! However, every time I try to leave, San Francisco pulls me back in.

Here are some reasons why:

  • 2014: Found an ocean-view home in San Francisco for cheap, so I bought it instead of buying a much more expensive ocean-view home in Honolulu.
  • 2017: Had our first child, so we decided to stay for continuity. As first-time parents, we had enough stress.
  • 2019: Had our second child. There's a lot of comfort in knowing your doctors when you have a newborn.
  • 2020: The pandemic forced us to shelter in place for several months. Relocating to a new city with an infant and three-and-a-half year-old during a pandemic creates more uncertainty.
  • 2021: Son got into a Mandarin immersion school. He's enjoyed his experience so far, so it's hard to pull him out and place him in a new school.
  • 4Q 2023: An opportunity to purchase a dream home at a more affordable price, so we did.
  • Fall 2024: The possibility of going back to work full-time once both kids are in school full-time. The job opportunities are more plentiful in San Francisco than in Honolulu.

Having A Family Makes Leaving Any City More Difficult

If we didn't have kids, I'm sure my wife and I would have relocated to Honolulu years ago. We longed to live a simpler life near the ocean in year-round warm weather. We had enough money to live comfortably, but not extravagantly.

I imagined fixing up my grandparents' old farmhouse in Waianae and eating off the land. After breakfast, we'd go to the beach to boogie board or surf. Then we'd come home, eat some poké, and take a nap. Then we might go for a late afternoon hike.

Although we'd lose all status and prestige, we'd be mentally and physically healthier and happier! Not a bad trade over just making money. Alas, we had kids, which are a blessing.

Once you have a family, inertia makes it very hard to relocate. Your house, school, friends, network, and healthcare providers all keep you stationary.

Why I Love San Francisco

Besides America, I've lived between 6 months and 4 years in six other countries. I've also visited over 150 cities worldwide. San Francisco is on my list of the top five best cities in the world.

Here are the reasons why:

  • The weather is mild year-round, which is great for exercising outdoors.
  • The city and the surrounding region are beautiful, especially if you can live in a home with views.
  • Napa/Sonoma Valley are only an hour and 15 minutes away.
  • Lake Tahoe has world-class skiing/snowboarding 3.5 hours away.
  • Closer to Hawaii and Asia than cities on the East Coast.
  • Fantastic universities such as Berkeley, Stanford, UCSF, Santa Clara, etc
  • Always a top three culinary city in America
  • Bountiful job and consulting opportunities that pay well
  • One of the most diverse cities in the world
  • One of the cheapest international cities in the world
  • Tons of entertainment, like tennis tournaments, entertainers, and art shows come here

Why I Dislike San Francisco

Of course, no city is perfect. Here are some reasons why I dislike San Francisco:

  • Some corrupt city officials
  • Government waste
  • Crime and homelessness
  • High cost of living
  • Intense hustle culture in some industries
  • Bureaucracy when it comes to getting things done

But the reality is, every single city has these bullet points to various degrees. The one thing I love about Honolulu over San Francisco is the lack of hustle culture. Once you've left an intense career, you won't want to be constantly surrounded by go-getters.

Excitement Is What Keeps Me In San Francisco

I've gone through the pros and cons of San Francisco many times before. But what I realized most recently is that excitement is one of the main reasons why I remain in San Francisco.

As someone who easily gets bored, I need to be in a vibrant city where there's something exciting always going on. Let me share a couple of examples.

1) APEC Comes To San Francisco

San Francisco recently hosted APEC, the Asia Pacific Economic Council. President Biden, China's President Xi, and a bunch of other world leaders came to hob knob.

As an Asian person who lived in The Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, and Malaysia until high school, it was exciting to see 21 APEC leaders come to town and build relationships. Here are some photos of who came to San Francisco for APEC.

Not only were world political leaders in town but so were top musicians like Sting and Yoshiki serenading Marc Benioff (Founder of Salesforce) and other luminaries at his event. Elon Musk came to town as well.

The world's media was focused on San Francisco for two weeks. The spotlight brings in more interest, more investments, more jobs, and more demand to visit and live in the city.

It's hard to leave San Francisco when you know many people want to live here.

2) OpenAI CEO Firing Debacle

After APEC ended, OpenAI's board voted its CEO, Sam Altman out for an unspecified reason. After Atman's firing, there was a huge outcry of support from the VC and tech community. Greg Brockton, the President quit, along with several senior researchers. As a result, the board is under immense pressure to resign and reinstate Altman as CEO.

If you've watched Succession on HBO, the entire OpenAI debacle feels like the show on hyperspeed. Exciting and fascinating to observe!

Once again, the entire tech world is focused on what the heck is going on in San Francisco with the largest artificial intelligence company in the world.

For a quick overview of what's going on at OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT:

  1. Altman clashed with the board on the direction of the company (e.g. profits vs. non-profit, AI safety, speed of development of technology, Altman wanting to start another company, etc)
  2. Power struggle between Altman and Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI co-founder and chief scientist
  3. In a coup by Sutskever, on a Google Meet, “Ilya told Sam he was being fired and that the news was going out very soon.” Shortly after, Brockman was told he was being removed from his position as chairman of the board but would hold on to his role as president. 
  4. Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella found out about the board's decision just like the rest of us on Twitter, despite having invested over $10 billion in OpenAI. Interestingly, despite the investment amount, Microsoft doesn't have a board seat.
  5. OpenAI employees were on the cusp of being able to sell their shares at a staggering $86 billion valuation. But now that valuation amount is looking suspect. OpenAI's board may have torched tens of billions in shareholder value.
  6. Now OpenAI's board is under pressure to reinstate Altman, who is considering coming back if the board is removed. But he’s not! Emmett Shear from Twitch is now interim CEO.
  7. Altman is joining Microsoft to lead a new AI project. Working for big tech seems like a disappointment for Altman, but a win for Microsoft to control more pieces and get an in-house AI technology. Altman could return to OpenAI, but only if the board is changed.
  8. As of November 22,, Altman and Brockman are returning to OpenAI and Bret Taylor and Larry Summer have joined the board.

If you've lived in San Francisco since 2001, as I have, you inevitably will know people involved in this drama. How could you leave? The awkwardness is going to be amazing during the next board meeting!

Be In The Right Place At The Right Time To Get Rich

Half the battle of getting rich and/or getting ahead is being in the right place at the right time. When you can easily meet decision-makers in person, it's much easier to build relationships. And when you have good relationships, life gets easier.

I'm talking about getting a job or a consulting gig, getting your kids into school, raising money for your company or fund, starting a business, and more. If you're a helpful and relatively nice person, you will get farther ahead than those who aren't.

Hard To Get Back In Once You Leave San Francisco

If you leave San Francisco, like many did during the pandemic, there's a fear you might never be able to get back in.

The job you vacated will have been taken by a hungry colleague. Your network will forget about you once you leave. And the prime property you owned will be scooped up by another family and not be available for the next 30 years!

I've lived in San Francisco since 2001 because I felt the tech/internet boom was here to stay. Yes, the dotcom bubble had burst in March 2000, but the groundwork was laid for Web 2.0.

Given I couldn't get a job in tech, I bought public tech company stocks. Then I bought as much San Francisco real estate as I could afford. Picks and shovels for those who've been shut out!

It seems obvious that artificial intelligence will revolutionize the world again. However, this time, the stakes may be even higher because AI could eliminate my children's jobs as well as yours.

Fear Keeps Me In San Francisco

With Web 1.0 and 2.0 companies, there was a greater possibility of getting rich by joining these companies or investing in them after they went public.

But with artificial intelligence, there seems like less opportunity given fewer people are needed to scale. These private AI companies are staying private for longer, shutting out public investors. In addition, artificial intelligence is a direct attack on eliminating jobs in many industries!

By staying in San Francisco, I feel like I'm acting as a loyal soldier of the Night's Watch in the Game of Thrones. The White Walkers are coming to destroy us, it's only a matter of time when. But when they do, I want to be here to defend my family!

AI is like the white walkers from Game of Thrones

AI is like the Night King

I'm always thinking 10+ years ahead because you have to if you want to effectively plan for your future. With a three and six-year-old, I'm concerned for their futures.

From Non-Profit To Mega Profits In AI

OpenAI went from being a non-profit whose mission was to help humanity to being a for-profit company worth $86 billion and largely owned by Microsoft.


No matter what the OpenAI leaders say, the reason why the company became a for-profit company was to make tons of money for its leaders, owners, and employees.

This is Capitalism 101!

Think about it. No matter how rich you already are, you can't help but want more money, more power, and more fame.

Listen to all the corporate speak you want from AI leaders promoting a “harmless technology” for the greater good of humanity. There will be positive benefits from AI for sure, such as medical research and breakthroughs. However, there will also be negatives as well, including massive disinformation, fraud, and millions of job losses.

ChatGPT and Claude.ai already scrapes the internet for data and makes it their own without given any attribution to creators like me. Yet, AI folks say this isn't stealing. No wonder why Medium is blocking all AI crawlers from its content.

Investing In AI For My Family

So what is a dad of two kids and a stay-at-home spouse going to do? Accept reality and adapt!

There's no way I can beat AI. As a result, I need to either work in AI or invest in AI companies determined to wipe my kind off the map.

Getting a lucrative AI job is going to be difficult. Everyone wants one. But investing in private AI companies is accessible to me, and now it is accessible to all of you through funds like the Fundrise Innovation Fund. `

I've already committed $1,000,000 in various private venture capital and venture debt funds which invest parts of their portfolios in AI companies.

I plan to invest another $500,000 in venture capital funds that invest in AI companies over the next three to five years.

If AI revolutionizes the world, then my investments will likely pay off. If AI turns out to be overhyped, then my children will likely still land good jobs.

A Parent's Fear Is The Greatest Motivator

One of a parent's fears is spending 18 years educating their children, then spending a small fortune sending them to college, then ending up with despondent adult children who can't get jobs in their fields of study.

This fear is one of the reasons why I'm reluctant to encourage anybody to pay full retail for college. Going to a public college or community college is the way to go! Lower price equals less possibility for disappointment.

With AI, sadly, I think more high school and college graduates will find themselves underemployed and disillusioned in the future.

By thinking 20+ years ahead for my 3 and 6-year-olds, I can better hedge against potential career disappointments. If they can't get relevant jobs that provide purpose, I'll pull them aside one day and share a version of this note.

A Conversation To My Adult Kids

“Dear Son/Daughter,

We wish life wasn't so cruel. You studied your hardest in school and did your best over the past five years to find a job in your field. We’re so proud of you because you tried!

Even though things might not have turned out as you planned, your mom and I are here for you. Don't give up! Good things are yet to come.

We have a surprise for you. In 2023, your old man recognized the future and invested accordingly. Here are the proceeds from various AI investments we made.

You're a grown adult now. Feel free to use the funds to pursue what you really want to do. Don't forget to come visit sometime OK?

We love you,

Mom and Dad

So there you have it folks. There's too much excitement, fear, and AI going on to leave San Francisco. Maybe in our 50s will we finally move to Honolulu. But not now. We need to protect our children’s futures.

Reader Questions

Anybody live in San Francisco and find it difficult to leave? Are you worried about artificial intelligence taking away jobs for your children as well? Besides working in AI and investing in AI, what else can we do to protect our financial futures?

Besides politics and not being able to afford to live on San Francisco, why else do some people who don't live in San Francisco hate San Francisco so much?

A Way To Invest In Artificial Intelligence

In addition to investing in public companies like Microsoft, Nvidia, Snowflake, to gain AI exposure, you should also look to invest in private AI companies as well. Check out the Innovation Fund, which invests in the following five sectors:

  • Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
  • Modern Data Infrastructure
  • Development Operations (DevOps)
  • Financial Technology (FinTech)
  • Real Estate & Property Technology (PropTech)

Roughly 35% of the Innovation Fund is invested in artificial intelligence. In 20 years, I don't want my kids wondering why I didn't invest in AI or work in AI!

You can see what the Innovation Fund is holding before deciding to invest and how much. The minimum is $10. Traditional venture capital funds require capital commitment first and then hope the general partners will find great investments.

Subscribe To Financial Samurai

Listen and subscribe to The Financial Samurai podcast on Apple or Spotify. I interview experts in their respective fields and discuss some of the most interesting topics on this site. Please share, rate, and review!

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 60,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter and posts via e-mail. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009. 

About The Author

40 thoughts on “Why It’s So Hard To Leave San Francisco: Excitement, Fear, AI”

  1. The new board let the non profit board members go as per Solari report.. Maybe Not “OpenAI is a non-profit company that owns a for-profit subsidiary”. Greed won.
    Break free Hawaii is excellent enjoying two months in Waikoloa beach scuba on.

  2. Hi Sam

    I work in the software development field and have been increasingly concerned that ai will render my skills useless. 25 years of experience and grinding to make a healthy salary to support my family and in an instant it is wiped away.

    One other item to add to your list is
    -become an expert user of ai and apply that skill to your field

    Or perhaps that strategy is still like walking the plank on a pirate ship.. maybe it just extends the plank a bit.

    Anyway. I like reading your emails. Thanks for working on them and sending them out!

  3. Buddhist Slacker

    Thank you for this article. I live in the Bay Area and I feel completely trapped and I am quite unhappy about it. I feel I have no choice but to stay because the jobs, and in particular my job, is here. I am upwardly mobile in spite of myself and it would be idiotic and completely illogical for me to leave. I actually long to do van life but I’m trapped in the proverbial golden cage.

    I feel less unhappy now that you pointed out all these things. Staying here is definitely a defensive measure, and the best offense is a good defense. Even though I have no children and I should have plenty of money for myself, I’m still motivated by fear and that’s what keeps me here and working. There’s a lot of uncertainty right now and AI is a wild card and definitely no good can come of it. Just like the outcome of tech thus far has been to destabilize society, AI is going to make things even worse much faster, especially when quantum computing becomes more mainstream.

    I did dip a toe into the Fundrise Innovation Fund as a defensive measure.

    1. Sounds like it’s time for a one-month sabbatical! It’s the best way to recharge and re-appreciate everything we’ve got.

      I think it’s smart to invest in AI as a defensive and offensive move. If AI revolutionizes the world, your AI investments will likely pay off. If AI turns out to be overhyped, then you and your loved ones will still have jobs.

      Another way is to just stay long San Francisco Bay Area real estate. The region’s real state prices did well during the Google, Meta, Tesla, Netflix IPO booms.

  4. I’m with you (albeit in the Bay Area, not SF proper). I grew up here. Try to name another global metro with the same package of geography, culture, and economy. They can’t and so they hate. To be clear, I do hate the progressive agenda. A lot of us do. The problems are really in your face. I wish San Francisco would take some lessons from other cities. You just can’t tolerate this behavior and have a world class city. The good news is that I believe the city hit rock bottom and there was a reckoning the last couple years. Now there is real money and real organization pushing better solutions. This isn’t Baltimore or Detroit. This a city on the Pacific, the premier North American port for negotiating the Asian century, the AI century.

  5. If the world truly is becoming a dystopia, then better to live in the capital, Panem, then in one of the slave zones, no?

    1. Financial Samurai

      I think most would say yes. Better to be behind the walls or outside of the walls.

      Try to make your fortune first before we get marginalized.

  6. I think San Francisco will be come a underrated climate change refuge because of its mild weather. As the rest of the country gets even more miserable in the summer, the marine layer will keep us cool. In 2020 I worried that the persistent wildfire smoke would drive people out of the city, but after the summer of 2023 I realized that smokey summers could happen any where in the country.

    If we could solve some sticky political issues, mainly the twin housing and homeless issues, than I think we are one of the best-positioned cities for the rest of the 21st century.

  7. Hey Sam,

    Another great article, I also haven’t left my home city for many of the reasons you mentioned. I have a good situation with medical care, driving etc, and learning a new place is difficult for a few months. Anyway why are you recommending Fundrise Innovation Fund instead of just recommending the magnificent 7 stocks that will make trillions in AI
    Here are the 7

    These companies plus Taiwan Semiconductor, AMD, ARM and ASML will make trillions off AI and there is very little need for a venture capital fund to make a ton of money from the AI Revolution that is coming. The easiest way for investors to play AI is with the QQQ ETF. Am I missing something here? Are there companies out there that haven’t had IPOs yet that can challenge these Mega cap tech stocks?

    1. Sure, you can certainly invest in the NASDAQ and individual public companies for AI exposure. I think many of us have, including myself for 20+ years now. You can also invest in San Francisco and other city real estate where AI jobs are booming.

      I have been consistently diversifying into private growth companies over the past 15+ years to gain more direct exposure because private companies are staying private for longer. Hence, the gains are accruing to private investors more. Related: Why I Invest In Private Funds

      At the same time, I don’t like to angel invest in individual companies because I have no edge. Hence, I’ve been investing in venture capital and venture debt funds, all with $150,000 – $250,000 minimums and are invite only i.e. Kleiner Perkins, Benchmark, etc.

      I’m impressed Fundrise has created an open-ended venture capital fund that has gained access to private companies I want to invest in, like Databricks and Canva. Instead of investing $150,000+ and then hoping the fund invests in promising companies, I can see what the Innovation Fund holds first and then invest. In addition, I don’t have to commit $150,000+ in capital given the investment minimum is only $10. Finding a way for investors to dollar-cost average into venture capital is attractive.

      You can listen to my conversation with Ben Miller (Co-Founder) about the Innovation Fund and AI.

      With investing, everybody should invest based on their own risk tolerance, goals, and preferences. Given the risks involved, don’t let me or anyone change your comfort zone. For me, I wouldn’t have been able to invest in homeruns like Figma and Ripple if I had not invested in venture.

      1. Thank you for the response, it is definitely a different market these days with companies delaying their IPOs for years in some cases. I will take a look at the Innovation fund you mention and see if there is anything that looks interesting in terms of AI. Owning a basket of these promising AI companies would be great as part of my overall strategy.

        I have a large Nasdaq position that I continue to hold that has exceeded my expectations over the last decade. Robots taking over is kind of scary, but also an opportunity to take a piece of the pie these new technologies will generate. If you can’t beat AI may as well invest in AI and take a piece of the action.

  8. Hi Sam,

    Have you opened up these brokerage accounts/mutual funds in your children’s names? Is this possible?

    1. Hi Phil,

      A minor, commonly a person under age 18, may be named on a brokerage account if a parent or guardian opens a custodial account with the child. Under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, parents can only use the money in these accounts for the child.

      Thoughts on San Francisco, AI, and leaving a city though?


      1. Thanks Sam!

        I live in SE Asia (Phuket Thailand) and my dilemma now is do we return to the US for my children’s high school education. If I can expose them to new experiences and learning opportunities it may be worthwhile but I also have concerns about moving back to the US in the current environment.

        In regards to AI I believe there is a long road ahead for AI and I would not make a decision to stay in a particular city based on a potential job or investment. I believe the opportunities in AI can be taken advantage of anywhere if you stay involved.

        My wife and I have done trials in different cities and countries with our children while they were young and I think that is a great way to give a family an indication if a new city/country will work for them. Since your children are young you may want to give this a try.


        1. Cool. What do you and your wife do for a living and where do your kids go to school in Phuket?

          I lived in Malaysia for middle school and went to the International School of Kuala Lumpur. It was a blast.

          1. I work in the pharma industry managing a few markets out of Bangkok. I usually spend 2-3 days a week in Bangkok which is a 75 minute flight from Phuket. Flying in SE Asia is much easier than the US so it works for our family.

            My children attend the British International School Phuket. A good quality IB school with great facilities and teachers.

            Still considering a move back to the US for my children’s high school years but need to find the right community and school (probably private). Its a tough call as the US seems so messed up from my perspective of living outside the US for 20+ years.

            I was in KL earlier in the year, a nice city.

            1. Ah, why come back? Just have the kids stay there.

              What is messed up about the US from your perspective where Thailand is great?

              I went to the International school of Kuala Lumpur for middle school and wished I had completed HS there. So fun.

  9. “Besides politics and not being able to afford to live on San Francisco, why else do some people who don’t live in San Francisco hate San Francisco so much?”

    The politics and politicians of San Francisco have literally influenced every negative thing you pointed out and more.

    Its like saying besides the weather Antarctica would be a beautiful place to live.

    1. Got it. Where do you live and does your city not have the negatives I highlighted? If not, I’d definitely like to research your city more.

      I’m trying to provide as balanced a point of view as possible.


      1. WA state. And yes Seattle like San Francisco is turning into a cesspool. Our politicians like yours are turning a once beautiful city into a haven for drug addicts, homeless, and illegal aliens. The over regulation and bureaucracies are pricing the middle class out. The crime, the DA’s, and the defund the police movement is causing businesses to close and people to move. The westside of the state is a complete dump. The eastside of the state, which is far more conservative has far less of these problems but not as many high paying jobs.

        I’m not saying my city is better than yours, I’m just pointing out that the politicians and politics are the main reasons the larger blue cities are in decline. The question you posed why people hate San Francisco while ignoring the root cause, “politics” misses the mark.

        1. Got it. Have you ever thought about leaving your cesspool?

          For some reason, if I’m not living in another city, I have no reason to hate it.

          But if I hate San Francisco enough, I will definitely vote with my dollars and our livelihoods and leave.

          My curiosity is wondering why people hate the city but they do not live in. I understand if you had to leave San Francisco because you could’ve afford it. It feels better to Hate on a city that did not welcome you comfortably.

          I also understand that if you are a hardcore Republican, you could hate San Francisco. But San Francisco politicians don’t control another city, so I don’t know why it matters.

          1. First, I never said I hate any city. Tpo much energy to hate. Second, I must be a hardcore Republican if I believe criminals should be prosecuted. That people shouldn’t be able to openly smoke fentanyl or shoot up heroin. That we should take care of our citizens before we take care of illegal aliens. That grown men shouldn’t go inside our daughters locker room. That prosecutors should prosecute crime. That regulations shouldn’t cost us more to build than the actual materials cost us. That we should keep more of our income than the government. Pretty middle of the road if you ask me.

            I live closer to Spokane than Seattle and once I fully retire I do plan on leaving WA State. Arizona or Nevada are my top choices.

  10. I’m surprised more people don’t speak out against Open AI going from a nonprofit to a for-profit company. Elon musk cut the first $40 million check, and somehow, Elon doesn’t own anything.

    But when powerful people have invested lots of money into a product, they will turn a blind eye to the show, obvious desire for open AI employees to want to make as much money as possible.

    Scraping the Internet for content and not providing attribution is plagiarism and stealing plain and simple. The amount of corporate speed BS is amazing to help ChatGPT steal content.

    Just wait until AI comes after your job. They will say it’s for the greater good while they take away your pride, dignity, and livelihood.

    Beware. AI by people like Sam Altman is about maximum profits due to maximum greed.

    If they weren’t greedy, they’d stay a non-profit!

    1. Christine Minasian

      What a great explanation Sam and Andy for people that really don’t understand nor are paying attention to what’s going on in the AI world. And yes…once AGAIN GREED wins, doesn’t it?!?!?! Correct me if I’m wrong but I do feel Elon Musk is not as greedy as most.

      1. Yes, this is the scary part. No matter how rich, powerful, or famous you are, you might crave even more money, power, and fame! It concerns me that we can’t be more satisfied with what we have.

        I’m sure many folks in AI strongly believe in promoting harmless AI that helps humanity. But once you switch from non-profit to a for-profit mandate with a company like Microsoft as a large shareholder, the DNA of a company changes.

  11. can you recommend a book or article on AI. i simply don’t know much about it. i could just fear it but would prefer to know something about it first. my IT buddy was talking about it in 2000, but alas hasn’t really threatened my job anyway yet.

  12. All your concerns and reasons for staying in SF understandable. I will add, anecdotally, that my best friend was raised in Honolulu, attended Punahou, and she still went to good schools including law school and has a nice legal career. Her siblings are a doctor and a successful entrepreneur. I don’t think living in Hawaii will necessarily hold your kids back. We moved from a city to a ski town with young kids to pursue our preferred lifestyle and hobbies and our only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner.

    1. I don’t think living in Honolulu will hold them back either. I’m more concerned about being away from wealth creation central SF and the AI book that’s now happening.

  13. Sam – your article conveyed the same thoughts my wife and I have been discussing for years about staying vs leaving SF (swap Honolulu for Orange County in our case). 3 kids later and we’re still here! It always comes down to the excitement and beauty of SF vs the convenience, safety and better public schools in OC. We’ve said living in SF is like Disneyland, and the high cost of living is paying our admission!

    I often think about how AI will impact our kids’ futures. Ultimately I’m not confident any of our jobs are safe from AI. I’ve decided the best I can do now is (i) maximize my earnings now before I am potentially replaced and (ii) encourage my kids to be creative and flexible thinkers. I’ve decided (for now) that raising them in SF, a city that gives them a diverse set of experiences and opportunities, will better prepare them for their future.

  14. I live in Honolulu, I can’t imagine a US city being more expensive than here. I lived in NYC too for a while.

    1. Well now you know! I’ve been going back to Honolulu since 1977, and housing at least, is certainly cheaper.

      The thing is, the job opportunities and pay are much greater in San Francisco. So from that perspective, Honolulu is more expensive than San Francisco adjusted for income.

  15. The Alchemist

    If AI can cure the City’s crime, drug, corruption, and homelessness problems, I’m all in!

    The City was wonderful before Silicon Valley. It’s not quite as bad now as the media likes to portray it… but it ain’t what it used to be. Chuck the soft-on-crime B.S. and it might have a chance.

    As it is right now, it’s bizarrely Third World in the sense that you have the extraordinarily wealthy existing cheek by jowl with crime, grime, and dissolution. With enough $$$, one can live quite comfortably apart from the squalor, completely bubbled off. It’s the middle class that truly suffers. Believe it or not, SF was once a middle class city. But alas, so once was the nation…

    Glad you’re going to stay, though, Sam. Keep fighting the good fight!

    1. I think what people don’t realize is that the same old streets and tough neighborhoods that are featured over and over again. And the vast majority of people don’t live in these downtrodden neighborhoods. So as residence, it’s been pretty interesting to see the negative media cycle in action. But negativities what cells in the media, so I understand.

      I think the 2024 election is going to be another great catalyst for improvement and change. If politicians wanna stay in power, they’ve got to do a good job.

  16. Hi Sam, we live in the SF Bay Area and plan to stay. We have thought about Hawai’i but our family is here and I’m not sure we could live the Island Life (it’s hot. Also, we might go stir crazy?) As we age, I think we want to be in a place with excellent healthcare options (UCSF, Stanford). Yes the Bay Area is expensive but we are grateful for the diversity – it’s hard to be Asian American anywhere else besides Hawai’i. I am not too worried about AI for my kids bc I try to stay off the news – some ignorance is bliss. The future is unpredictable. global warming and all the wars might get us first… but seriously, for my sanity, I try to focus on what I can control and pray about the rest. Reading the news stresses me out, and I’m a journalist! Have a wonderful thanksgiving with your family :)

    1. Hawaii consistently gets ranked as the #1 or #2 best state for healthcare. Not to worry.

      With AI, I think it’s an existential crisis for our children. It’s not worth ignoring the realities of it, because if you are wrong, then our children are screwed, and there’s no rewind button.

      Better to invest and plan for the future I say!

      1. Hey Sam, thank you for your thoughtful response. Good to know that Hawaii has excellent healthcare.

        We were in Maui during the wildfires (2 miles north of Lahaina so trapped in our hotel) it was a bit harrowing to be on an island with one main road and cut off in a wildfire situation. But it sounds like Oahu is probably better for wildfires.

        I’ll definitely keep your thoughts in mind about AI. I hear you it will be a game changer for the kids, trying to think about what I can control.

        Yes, we do invest. I haven’t invested specifically in AI companies but definitely something to think about! Typically I do the total stock market index fund to diversify, since I’m somewhat risk averse.

        Thanks for all of your insights!

  17. Such a great piece today – thank you! Funny how migration patterns, and the ol’ “people in SoCal don’t like people in NorCal, and vice versa” thing works. My husband and I are counting on our first vacation property investment, in Sonoma County, to help us eventually move up there from LA. For all the reasons you state, even being in the vicinity of that activity is still exciting. I see pockets of it thriving down here (South Bay, for example), but the Bay Area still has it on lock. AI continues to interest/concern me, but like with every other advancement, we all seem to find a way.

  18. San Francisco has pros and cons just like any city but I think the pros do outweigh the cons still. The car break-ins and financial district/ downtown areas have gotten worse than 5, 10 years ago though. It’s really bad and such a disappointment the city officials have let it get to this.

    But there have been city improvements like muni train expansion, increased areas for pedestrians and outdoor dining, and park renovations. So it hasn’t all been bad.

    And yes in terms of tech and AI it’s and exciting place to be in. I was shocked at the Openai news. I totally thought of Succession myself too when I first read about the board firing Altman. Crazy!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *