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  • Writer's pictureMuriel Vega

Meet this MRI technologist from East Cobb

This 54-year-old lives with his wife and son and roommates

Art clippings of a one hundred dollar bill, a map of Atlanta, the Georgia capitol, and a peach
Illustration by Khoa Tran

At work, this 54-year-old creates high-resolution body imaging using an MRI machine. His family’s combined household income—he lives in East Cobb with his wife and son—is $150,000.

For additional income, the family has rented an in-law suite downstairs to a couple from their church. An unexpected perk? A few new pets, says the technologist: “Before purchasing the goldfish and koi fish I hadn’t owned any fish. The renter from downstairs convinced me to buy a few and maintains the system for me.” Now the family owns five koi and 10 goldfish.

While they’re glad to own a home, the high cost of living has prevented his family from building savings and retirement accounts: “I haven’t been able to save any money. We’ve had a few life crises that wiped out our savings. It’s a good thing we already own a home because otherwise I can’t see being able to buy a good home at these ridiculous prices.”

Job title

MRI technologist




East Cobb

Lives with

Wife, son, five koi fish, 10 goldfish, and a couple who rent his in-law suite

Annual gross income


Household income


Mortgage payment


Original purchase date and price of home

​​$300,000 in 2005

Student loans and credit card debt


Health insurance cost per month + cost of any prescriptions


Phone plan and monthly subscriptions (Netflix, Spotify, food delivery services, apps, etc.)


Utilities per month


Transportation (car payment, car insurance, gas, public transportation, Uber)




Restaurants, fast food, drinks at bars, coffees



$4,000 per year

Fun (concerts, books, movies, recreational drugs, etc.)


Clothes/beauty (new shoes, laundromat services, makeup)


How much money would you need to live comfortably in Atlanta? What hourly rate or annual salary would you be happy with?

$250,000 a year

Nonessential item that he treats himself to


What he’d like to have but lives without

A new 2023 truck

His take on what can be done to improve the cost of living in Atlanta

Expand MARTA. Most people associate MARTA with increased crime. I associate it with increased mobility and sustainability. I don’t mind a short bus ride to the train station or more express buses straight to downtown. We need to reduce our carbon footprint. I think MARTA would seriously help.

Most challenging thing about living in Atlanta

Gentrification of old neighborhoods. I was 17 when I graduated and moved to Atlanta. I lived in some of the areas that are now gentrified, like Kirkwood. The original families have been displaced because they can’t afford the higher taxes. Those families are then forced to try and relocate to an area that they can afford. Those areas tend to be farther from the city with less access to resources. This hasn’t happened to my family, but I know a few families that have been affected.


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