One man raises a family in San Francisco making $65,000 a year

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ByDion Lim via KGO logo
Saturday, September 21, 2019
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Alex Rosier is able to take care of his growing family in San Francisco with an annual income of $65,000.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco is one of the most expensive places to live in the country where families making $117,000 or less, are considered low-income.

But one man is making a salary of $65,000 a year work for him and his wife and baby and it putting it out for the world to see in a YouTube video and financial spreadsheet.

Alex Rosier is the fifth employee of encrypted email service company ProtonMail. While he does have equity, possibly valued in the millions, his take-home pay is set at around $65,000 and the equity is not guaranteed.

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"Basically, it's like playing the lottery. There's still a lot of risk right now and my family writes it off as zero," Rosier says.

At home, in his $1700 a month, 400 square foot apartment, he shows us where he "shops" for household area near the basement trash and recycling room.

"Everything is free-99!" he jokes!

Toys and furniture for his 20-month-old son were from a Facebook group for parents.

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Rosier doesn't have a car and rides his bike to work. Doing odd jobs like cleaning houses to grow their nest egg and start their son's college fund also helps.

"There is about $5,000 to $10,000 extra every year contracting," he said.

The honesty about his budget, including the $250 he and his wife spend on food each month isn't easy to share with the world.

"Absolutely, it was terrifying!," Rosier said

Last year, ABC7 News featured Paris and Lovell Lee who are veterans and students and choose to live in a van to make ends meet. They make about the same amount of money as Alex, and says by sharing their story it helps inspire others to take a closer look at their finances.

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"There were hundreds of people going on social media telling us how they are planning to do ...and it's always a good feeling," Rosier said.

He says the key to making this lifestyle work? Not only an understanding wife...but a shift in mindset.

"You have to really address what you want out of life and work toward that. It's not about keeping up with the Joneses," Rosier says.

But perhaps not forever. Especially with baby number two on the way.

"We're probably moving to Florida with the lower cost of living and opening a new office there," Rosier said.