I am a couple of months off my defence and started thinking about postdoc possibilities. I seem to have an opportunity at a very prestigious lab in the U.S. (I'm currently located in Europe).
After a brief chat with the PI at a conference, and some e-mails back and forth I was invited to come for a visit, meet the people and present myself and my work so far. Considering that we are still in contact and started discussing more regarding the projects and funding possibilities, I feel like they genuinely do want me to work there.
Putting aside all the parameters regarding the scientific matters, I am a bit concerned about the economic aspects. The lab is located at a city which is among the most expensive in the country, based on what I read/hear. I have been in contact with the postdoc-community (turns out there is one) at this university and asked them about how salaries are decided and how it compares to the cost of living in that city. The answer wasn't very simple, but my understanding is that it's not regulated at uni or faculty level but instead decided on a case-by-case basis. I hear figures varying from $30K to $75K, which is a pretty huge span.
So, coming back to my contact with the PI, at no point during our communication the subject of salary came up, and while initially I was cool with that, I am starting to feel like it would be good to know what I am getting myself into before we start putting serious effort into writing grant applications and designing projects.
I realize money shouldn't be the first concern, while negotiating an academic position; but if I'm going to relocate to the other side of the planet without any security of a future there, or back here, I'd like to know that I'm taking a step up from my current life rather than a step down. The issue is that as a grad student in Sweden, you have a pretty decent life and you get a respectable salary (despite being 20-35% down from a comparable position at industry).
Q1: How can I inquire about the salary offer/negotiation without appearing greedy or money-oriented?
Q2: As a follow up, is it reasonable to expect/ask them to match my current living standard?