i lived in the UTC area for many a year before moving to taiwan. i made well over 6 digits while in SD and make a bit less than that in taiwan, so my income would count as pretty high here. for someone who made a good income in the states and in taiwan, i can say that my QoL definitely dropped moving here. i’m taiwanese as well so the transition was easy for me relatively speaking (i can speak mandarin reasonably well, which is something you might not have). but there’s just a lot about here that sucks if you come from a decent-income western standard of living.
so first the good - my rent here is cheaper than what i was paying in the UTC area, by a lot, for a somewhat comparable place.
and that’s basically it. no seriously, in most other areas, living in SD was better.
health care? yeah the jianbao isn’t bad, but i had good health care via my employers in the states. so to me this wasn’t an improvement. i actually have both jianbao and bluecross so i tend to see a doctor when i’m back in california.
transportation? yeah the public transportation in taipei is good. but i miss driving my car and driving in taipei is fking awful. i take mrt and even the bus often, and the total time it takes to get anywhere with the added walking is far longer than i spent driving in sd. from utc to downtown was only 15-20 mins, that’s how long it takes me to walk to the mrt station, wait for next mrt, ride mrt, and get off 2 stands away. i certainly don’t save any time.
food? lots of ppl will say food is cheap here, and it is if you buy the bian dang and mian/fan that most ppl here eat. but take that out, and food is not cheaper here and is overall worse than what we had in san diego. ok taiwanese food is obviously a billion times better, esp since SD had only a couple of taiwanese restaurants like on convoy and the tea stations. but american food, mexican food, indian food, even korean food and thai food is much better in sd. aside from taiwanese, chinese, and japanese cusine, food here is generally worse than what SD has. also groceries are expensive here as well aside from certain fruits. so overall my food budget didn’t go down at all (but i spend a lot on food, both in sd and here, so i’m not typical, but just saying that my QOL for food dropped coming here - if i could trade taiwan food and prices for sd food and prices, i would in a heartbeat). i straight up miss eating tacos el gordo, phils bbq, in and out, chick fil a, and the indian buffets on black mountain, because nothing here comes close. if you drink, you will miss the breweries like stone, ballast point, etc, cuz bars in taipei are overpriced and don’t offer anything comparable to SD.
so what about the rest? the air here sucks. i developed a cough living here. the weather is fucking awful compared to san diego. both of these impacted my QoL big time. also it’s nice having a decent beach nearby - taiwan doesn’t have any beaches in the north, and the ones in the south are way worse than shores, blacks, etc. also stuff is just way more expensive here than the states, like electronics and games and other fun things. i paid 2k for a 65 inch LG oled in SD several years ago, and i paid more for a shit 60 inch LCD tv when i moved here. amazon is a billion times better than pchome and all the rest combined.
now there’s a lot to like about taiwan, so it’s not all bad. taiwan is nicely located so i have traveled all over asia with my wife, which is something you can’t easily do from sd. it’s fun to experience “crowded city life” that you might only see in downtown sd, and even then to a pretty low extent. but in terms of QoL, it went down a lot moving here. again though, this is from the perspective of someone who made decent income in both areas, was saving a lot in both areas, and wasn’t holding back on buying or eating whatever, which seems might be your situation. seriously, there’s a lot of good living here, but don’t expect your QoL to go up - just be prepared to take a bit of a hit in a lot of areas.