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What are your thoughts about making less than $70k/yr and living in expensive NYC, post college graduation? I am NOT talking about landing an investment banking job here - I'm talking about all other corporate jobs.

I know, NYC is the place to be - nightlife is amazing, women are amazing, the opportunities are endless - but let's be real here: How much do we really have to give up to be in a city where we can only enjoy 10% of what it has to offer? Especially when we can have a much better life in a less expensive city?

The reason I bring this up is because I have older friends who graduated from a target and who make about the same salary, but are experiencing completely different qualities of life. Friend A works as a business analyst for a marketing firm and makes $55k in NYC, lives with a roommate in midtown to share the rent, in a converted 1-BR appt into 2 BRs. He barely has enough money to splurge on friday nights, go see movies, and at the end of the year, has almost no savings at all. Friend B also makes ~$55k, but in metro DC also as a business analyst. He lives in Virginia in an awesome 19th floor apt - no roommate to share the bill. He drives his college car to work - 1 hour drive - still has money for gas, food, nightlife, dates, etc... None of them come from rich families. Friend A is pretty much being frugal every way possible. Friend B lives in an awesome rented condo.

So is NYC really worth it if you make under $70k?

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Comments (45)

  • CompBanker's picture

    As someone who did his banking years outside a major city, it is definitely worth it to go where you'll get the most bang for your buck. Personally, I'd put the threshold a lot higher than $70k. I think you want $100k in NYC --- that way you can improve your living situation and not start counting your pennies every time you want to hop a cab to save time.

    CompBanker

  • drexelalum11's picture

    At the same time, if you're not working in IBD, living in midtown is pretty stupid; your friend could be living in Brooklyn or New Jersey, and have a pretty similar quality of life for much less.

  • Commuter's picture

    Get roomates. I know Associates with roomates still.

    +1 on what CompBanker said

  • PossumBelly's picture

    I wouldn't want to live in a state with income tax, much less Manhattan, for under 100k...and that's low. In Manhattan I'd put my floor around $250k single, double that married.

    God bless Texas.

  • International Pymp's picture

    completely unlivable at under 70... i think 130+ is the threshold

  • MarginCalling's picture

    70k is like illegal immigrant status in NYC. it can be done ... anyway your friend in DC is probably living above his means bc it aint cheap there either

  • bbanked's picture

    From a convenience standpoint, if you work in battery park or even uptown, living on the Lower East Side or Financial District can be done in a great spot for around 1200/month. You're going to want to go out in the city anyway, and most people at work will be living somewhere in the city, so starting at 70k and living in Manhattan is not unreasonable. Probably will save a lot of time getting to work everyday, and will end up paying a decent amount for commuting regardless if you choose a Brooklyn / Jersey City (woof) / Hoboken option, so it really evens out. Taxes will burn you bad in the city, but its a personal decision between convenience / lifestyle / opportunity cost.

  • sick_willy's picture

    70k is enough to live on in nyc, what are you guys smoking? you're not saving that much but you're comfortable (unless you like to go out to dinner every single night and go to bars every chance you get).

    ---------------------------
    BossMode

  • weeds499's picture

    I don't know how people are saying 70k is unlivable - you're not rolling around like hotshots at 22, so unless you require some absurd lifestyle then 70k is more than plenty. Def not saving a ton - but you're 22 - you knew moving to NYC is going to be expensive - might as well enjoy it, as long as you know you have some promising opportunities ahead of you.

    I lived on 70k my first year out, doing an analyst program and left right before my bonus to a startup - i was living with roommate in a nice doorman/lux building in Tribeca - going out 2-3 times a week to meatpacking/nice bars. I never ever felt that money was an issue, or thought twice about taking a cab - ended the year with some nice savings (did not get a bonus, but my class was paid 65k) and still live well.

    Killers among analysts in my class - going to the finest restaurants (one girl had to eat at Wolfgangs every other week), requiring the nicest wardrobe (trust me, your ferragamo loafers at 22 will not get you laid), and dating girls that are high maintenance - don't be an idiot and 70k is fine and you will still have plenty of fun

  • SAC's picture

    I went to Jersey City to visit some friends this weekend, felt like I was in a different country..don't think I can ever live outside the city

  • trailmix8's picture

    70k is a good threshold I think (especially if you are expecting more as a bonus) under 25 anyway.
    I did it my first couple of years. It helped a lot that I worked a lot and did not have time to spend the money, and not to mention the company paid dinners at least 4 nights a week.

    Also if you are a smoker, please make sure you quit before NYC. $10 a pack nowadays. That depletes your accounts rather quickly.

    Also Ferragamo Loafers are great.

  • International Pymp's picture

    This may sound extremely asshole, but I don't really care... The reason I say NYC is unlivable at 70k is because I personally would not enjoy life there at that income level. I guess it depends what kind of lifestyle you were accustomed to growing up / in college, but I know that I would not be happy with what 70k before tax can buy you in the city. Saying that it's "illegal immigrant status" is over the top, perhaps, but to say that making 100+k entails being a "hot shot" is also dead wrong. Hotshots have cars, nice apartments, fancy clothes and eat out at nice places all the time. In NYC, that costs 300k+ / year. Analysts at BB in NYC (making well over 100k) are not even CLOSE to "hot shots"... they're getting by, with a little extra cheddar for the finer things in life (models and bottles, etc).

  • TNA's picture

    I know plenty of people living in NYC on 70K or slightly less. Most people working in IBD can expect a bonus. For your day to day you can get some roommates or live in an efficiency. 70K is not a fortune, but as mentioned above, unless you ball out all the time you can live just fine. 70K a year is street salary and many 22 year olds manage to survive on it just fine. If you are rolling out in a range during UG than fine, have your mom and dad pay for a penthouse.

    This whole topic is stupid. You know what, 60K is livable in NYC. You want to know why? If Morgan Stanley tells you your salary is 60K to work as an analyst you sure as fuck better find a way to do it or someone else will. What is the point of this topic? Are you going to turn down a job in NYC because you cannot live on 70K? Show some restraint, don't piss your money away and realize that the goal isn't to be rich day one, it is to get that experience and either move up or move out. How many college kids just out of UG does everyone know that got 100K or more to start BASE SALARY. Get real.

    I am giving bananas to all the people who have their heads out of their ass and money shit to the ones living up there.

  • In reply to TNA
    lookatmycock's picture

    Anthony .:
    International Pimp, thank you for identifying yourself as 1) a freshman and 2) an idiot.

    I know plenty of people living in NYC on 70K or slightly less. Most people working in IBD can expect a bonus. For your day to day you can get some roommates or live in an efficiency. 70K is not a fortune, but as mentioned above, unless you ball out all the time you can live just fine. 70K a year is street salary and many 22 year olds manage to survive on it just fine. If you are rolling out in a range during UG than fine, have your mom and dad pay for a penthouse.

    This whole topic is stupid. You know what, 60K is livable in NYC. You want to know why? If Morgan Stanley tells you your salary is 60K to work as an analyst you sure as fuck better find a way to do it or someone else will. What is the point of this topic? Are you going to turn down a job in NYC because you cannot live on 70K? Show some restraint, don't piss your money away and realize that the goal isn't to be rich day one, it is to get that experience and either move up or move out. How many college kids just out of UG does everyone know that got 100K or more to start BASE SALARY. Get real.

    I am giving bananas to all the people who have their heads out of their ass and money shit to the ones living up there.

    haha well, the reason I created this topic is exactly that: 60k might be livable in NYC, or even 70k. But if we landed a 70k job straight out of undergrad in such a competitive place as NYC, you can bet we also have offers at the same salary range in other much cheaper areas like DC, Philly, or even Miami. I wanted to open this up to debate - whether it was worth it to be in NYC on such a salary if you can be in other places on the same salary, work your ass off, then apply for a $200k+ job in NYC...THEN move to NYC and actually enjoy all that it has to offer. Also, in my initial post, I said it didn't cover IBD jobs...but all other "corporate jobs" in NYC. Calm down man.

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  • TNA's picture

    I am in Philly now. Street here is like 60K. Nice loft apts are around 1200/1300 for center city, maybe a little more. We have a city living and working tax, still cheaper than NYC. You might make out a little better, but you are sacrificing a lot of networking and experience. NYC is still the place to be.

  • International Pymp's picture

    @anthony

    I think you're looking at my post in the wrong way, my friend. My point is not that one CANNOT live in NYC on that money, obviously people live on a lot less... to think that anyone, anywhere, is really having trouble getting by as a young guy on 70k per year would clearly be naive. What I'm saying is that it's not nec comfortable. In the spirit of the originally forum topic, I'm swaying the writer towards living somewhere else if he's not going to make more money, because that's what I'd do. Maybe it's not right for everyone, but, I think, would be the decision that I would make in that situation. The other thing I'm saying is that if you are making what an analyst at a BB would make, you cannot be classified as a "hot shot".

    Also, your point about expecting the bonus means nothing because he's talking about non banking/finance jobs.

    Look at the original post - he's talking about NYC or the DC metro area at income levels below 70k in corporate jobs. He's also saying his friend at a non-banking corporate job barely gets by in NYC, which is totally believable to me.

  • mdk0102's picture

    You could always live in cheaper parts of the city like some neighborhoods in Astoria and Brooklyn. If you work downtown, brooklyn is usually a 20 min train ride. If you happen to work in midtown, then queens is a 20 min train ride as well. How do you think tens of thousands of college students live in the city? They sure as hell aren't making shit lol.

  • rebelcross's picture

    Here's a question: of the million entry level jobs offered every year all over NYC, how many of them offer pay even in the same world as a BB? Plenty are doing just fine, though.

  • TNA's picture

    If you are working a 9-5 job making 70K base with no expected bonus just live in Jersey City or LI. No need to live in NYC at that level. That being said you can live there, just not in an amazing apartment with the dream lifestyle.

    I redact my comment on you being a freshman.

  • International Pymp's picture

    I also know people in NYC that make 60ish-k and feel they can't take cabs when they want because they don't have that kind of money to through away... which is exactly what compbanker said. I wouldn't want to live in a situation like that....

  • International Pymp's picture

    LOL, well taking the freshman comment back is something - thank you - though the fact that the "idiot" still stands is somewhat unsettling, but I'll get over it.

    Some background on this is that I live in Beijing and can't really imagine returning to the states before I make a lot of money so as to maintain something close to my lifestyle here / when I lived with my parents before college. For $1,500/month here one gets a 2,000 sq ft 2 bedroom fully furnished (flat screens and all) apartment with city views and daily maid service...

    Agree to disagree.

  • LIBOR's picture

    lookatmycock:
    I know, NYC is the place to be - nightlife is amazing, women are amazing, the opportunities are endless - but let's be real here: How much do we really have to give up to be in a city where we can only enjoy 10% of what it has to offer? Especially when we can have a much better life in a less expensive city?

    I know this is a finance forum so there tends to be a bias towards money/wealth... but trust me, having money doesn't mean that you can only enjoy 10% of what the city has to offer. In fact, most people in NYC aren't making that kind of money. To think that the only thing this city has to offer is a chance for wealthy people to eat at expensive restaurants and go modeling and bottling on weekends is beyond insulting. Trust me, the lifestyle that you aspire to is how .01% (no idea on an the exact %) of New Yorkers actually live.

    Broaden your horizons, my friend. I've been to great restaurants and bars all over the city (I'm including outer boroughs in this) and have had just as good a meal/drink at the most expensive as I have at the least expensive.

    Most stuck up people that think NYC is just modelling and bottling miss out on other great stuff the city has to offer because they are too busy sticking their nose up their bosses asses. Take a look around, enjoy a free street performance, or a free parade, or a free walk through the park, or a free walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. Take the subway to Rockaway, or to Wakefield, or to Totenville. So much more to explore than a 400 sq. block radius in Manhattan. This city is quite alive, and most manage to enjoy it without the pretentious lifestyle.

    As an earlier post of mine today indicated, I'm a jersey guy at heart, but I've adopted NY as my hometown for the time being, and I won't stand to let you claim that making less than 70K a year lets you enjoy less than 10% of what the city has to offer. In fact, most IBD analysts making more than 70K a year will not even enjoy 1% of what the city has to offer, since this city is about much more than making pitchbooks at 1 AM and dropping cash at 1Oak.

  • International Pymp's picture

    @anthony

    thank you sir, I feel redeemed

  • In reply to TNA
    swagon's picture

    Anthony .:
    I am in Philly now. Street here is like 60K. Nice loft apts are around 1200/1300 for center city, maybe a little more. We have a city living and working tax, still cheaper than NYC. You might make out a little better, but you are sacrificing a lot of networking and experience. NYC is still the place to be.

    that may be, but it's always sunny in philadelphia. you can't put a price on great weather.

  • In reply to swagon
    San Franciscan's picture

    swagon:
    Anthony .:
    I am in Philly now. Street here is like 60K. Nice loft apts are around 1200/1300 for center city, maybe a little more. We have a city living and working tax, still cheaper than NYC. You might make out a little better, but you are sacrificing a lot of networking and experience. NYC is still the place to be.

    that may be, but it's always sunny in philadelphia. you can't put a price on great weather.

    This gets an SB!

    "If you can count your money, you don't have a billion dollars." - J. Paul Getty

  • TNA's picture

    Haha, yeah, that show almost counteracts the effect of Parking Wars on A&E.

    Side note, I have received 3 tickets from the PPA since I moved here. I went to court for two of them the other day. Got one thrown out and in the process of getting rid of the 2nd one. PPA was surprisingly nice about things.

  • Guest1655's picture

    I live in Brooklyn and currently make a bit more than 70 (non-finance position)

    honestly, its way more than enough money for me, and i think MANY people are living way beyond their means. My idea of luxury involves not worrying about having enough for next months check. I do go out for lunch and dinner several days a week. drive a car that I enjoy (E46),have a home office, and live in a peaceful neighborhood away from the ghetto, and it's also a 40 minute train ride away from the city.

    In order for me to maintain the same lifestyle in NYC, I would be paying about 2500 extra for rent and a garage. Not to mention all the daily expenditures would be at least 50% higher.

    Honestly speaking, 50k a year would be a comfortable way to live in a nice area of brooklyn. If you are an analyst making 60k base and 30-40k bonus, you can easily afford to live in the city. Cut down on the bottles and wannabee models, and start pre-gaming at home. East village has amazing bargains. Dirt cheap bars/lounges, falafel, sushi , bbq, etc...

    In closing.. My friends do call me a cheap bastard, but I just like to spend frugally.

  • bulge4lyf's picture

    70K base = $3,800 a month after taxes

    3800
    - 1250 rent
    - 125 utilities
    - 90 subway
    - 15 x 30 for food
    - 500 student loans
    - 350 on dumb shit
    = $1,035 saved

    + 45K bonus = 30K after taxes + 12,420 savings = 42K savings?

    I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player. Or nothing.

  • phillyboy's picture

    why the fuck is your friend living in midtown if he is not in IB?

  • In reply to bulge4lyf
    phillyboy's picture

    bulge4lyf:

    70K base = $3,800 a month after taxes

    3800

    - 1250 rent

    - 125 utilities

    - 90 subway

    - 15 x 30 for food

    - 500 student loans

    - 350 on dumb shit

    = $1,035 saved

    + 45K bonus = 30K after taxes + 12,420 savings = 42K savings?

    Do let me know where I can find a place for 1250 in midtown

    also too low on the food and dumb shit portions

  • opsdude1's picture

    I lived on $60k my first year out of undergrad, and was at $75k all-in until about 3 years out school.

    $75k is fine to live in. I lived in stuyvesant town with 2 roommates (decent sized place). I traveled 2-3 times a year, ate out all the time, took cabs when I needed to, and spent $400 a month or so on loan payments.

    $60k was rough and I really needed to watch every penny. I still traveled, but to cheaper places. Definitely bought cheaper drinks and food when I went out.

    $75k, I watched my money less, but wasn't really saving anything. Enabled me to eat more expensive food, more expensive vacations, and more expensive drinks.

    When I got to $100k a year, I had more than enough money. $10k traveling per year, seamless every meal, took girls out on $150 dates each week, and saved some money.

    The people saying you need to make $130k+ to live in NYC are ridiculous. $100k is fine, $75k is fine if you have roommates.

    If you want $5000 a month apartment, and to buy tables at a club every weekend...ya you need more, but they aren't really necessities.

  • In reply to opsdude1
    mbavsmfin's picture

    If you want a nice studio apartment in a good building in Manhattan WITHOUT roommates, $100K/year will be very tough. First, buildings have a minimum 40x rule whereby your annual income has to be at least 40 times greater than the monthly rent. So at $100K/year, the most expensive apartment you can rent (i'm assuming no parental help here for the sake of the argument), is at $2500/month, but that's pushing it since after federal, NY State and NYC tax, you are probably left with around $55-$60K cash for the year. That means half of your post-tax income is going to rent alone. Factor in student loans (if you have any), food and drinks (which are a lot more expensive in NYC), other forms of entertainment, vacation, etc., and you are sort of struggling. I personally cannot imagine living permanently in NYC for anything under $150K/year, and even that's pushing it.

    NYC is great if you're balling out of control. Otherwise, it's a shitty experience, and you're better off taking your hard earned money elsewhere. Why do you want to live in a dirty city where the liberals take your hard earned money and where everyone charges you so much more for mediocre goods and services?

  • In reply to mbavsmfin
    opsdude1's picture

    mbavsmfin:

    If you want a nice studio apartment in a good building in Manhattan WITHOUT roommates, $100K/year will be very tough. First, buildings have a minimum 40x rule whereby your annual income has to be at least 40 times greater than the monthly rent. So at $100K/year, the most expensive apartment you can rent (i'm assuming no parental help here for the sake of the argument), is at $2500/month, but that's pushing it since after federal, NY State and NYC tax, you are probably left with around $55-$60K cash for the year. That means half of your post-tax income is going to rent alone. Factor in student loans (if you have any), food and drinks (which are a lot more expensive in NYC), other forms of entertainment, vacation, etc., and you are sort of struggling. I personally cannot imagine living permanently in NYC for anything under $150K/year, and even that's pushing it.

    NYC is great if you're balling out of control. Otherwise, it's a shitty experience, and you're better off taking your hard earned money elsewhere. Why do you want to live in a dirty city where the liberals take your hard earned money and where everyone charges you so much more for mediocre goods and services?

    My friend got a $1800 a month studio on 16th and 8th avenue. Not the best location, but certainly not a bad location. Tiny, but big enough to have people over. No roommates. She had a car, and flew back to California 12 months a year (job let her work remotely often, and she had family back there), on top of vacations. .

    She did that on $100k.

    NYC is very expensive, and $100k goes wayyyy less far than in other places, but it's crazy to pretend that you can't live there on $100k. I wouldn't go back to NYC because I'll be graduating at 29 and want to have a family...but NYC in your early-mid 20's is awesome on $100k, not difficult.

  • In reply to mbavsmfin
    MiserlyGrandpa's picture

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