On 13 May 2011
Census data : Indian / Chinese population in Bay area,
I'm an Indian engineer living in bay are since 2000.
Here is my perspective on the Indian tech community :
- Most Indians who came around 2000, had no clue in anything in US, be it buying car, or house or investment. Most of those folks were raised in India during the "socialism" period which ended in early 90s. So most did not know many things in capitalistic society in US.
- So they followed what their friends recommended. Like buy only toyota or honda cars, schools are good only at Cupertino or Fremont mission district, and so rent or buy house only there. Or maximize in 401k and then lose 25% in 2008.
- In 2005/2006, many of my Indian friends thought I am either poor or I have a lot of liabilities back home that I preferred to rent. That's because my friends' friends told them why to buy now, right now. I still rent, mainly for the freedom I want, my Indian wife is in sync with me on that. I chose to invest money in Indian real estate where I could make good money. To me, mortgage slavery for an expensive house is not worth, there are better things in life.
- Indian men and women of that generation mostly grew up in a frugal way where savings is the most important thing. So make up or skin care etc were never a huge priority. E.g. most Indians would see a dentist when there is a real problem in his/her teeth. IMO, in everything in life, one needs balance. Too much or too less does not work.
- The most important thing to them is the "feeling of success". And the meaning of that is mostly superficial to most of the Indians who came during that phase. Big house in an expensive area (whether such a big house is environmentally needed for a family of 4 is not an issue to them), expensive bed room for their kids (even though parents are quite frugal), and expensive new cars are the goals. I have seen people forgetting ethics, honesty in the rush of making money.
But the Indians coming now (much less in numbers), who grew up in a middle class family in globalized Indian settings, are quite different. They spend more on themselves as they are the product of consumerism.
Another thing to note, there broadly 3 categories of Indians here, South Indian tech community, North Indian tech community, and the small-business community (Gujaratis, punjabis). The business community is here for a long time, they understand capitalism all too well, are quite successful without showing that off. The South Indian tech community folks spend more on housing and education of their kids, spend very little on themselves, the North Indian tech community spends much more on themselves, North-South cultural difference is quite visible in bay area.
I myself is quite happy renting, saving, and spending on what we (I and my family) like and enjoy.