Would You Do This If You Didn't Have To?

Andy note: "Blast from the past - Best of Eddie" - This one is originally from April 2010 . If there's an old post from Eddie you'd like to see up again shoot me a message.

I think some people are born to be investment bankers. I know some people are born to be traders, because I had the privilege of working with a couple over the years. I certainly had a gift for trading, but I would never describe myself as being "born for it". What I mean by that expression is that a given job is the exact perfect fit for the person doing it, and that person is happy enough doing it that they'd gladly do it for free.

Imagine for a moment that you were holding a winning lottery ticket. Just for the sake of argument, let's say it paid off $10 million after all taxes and let's also make the assumption that you're not a complete dunce (the purchase of said lottery ticket in the first place notwithstanding). In other words, you're not going to blow the dough leasing a G-5 to follow the crew of Girls Gone Wild around the globe until the money runs out.

Do you enjoy your work enough to keep doing it even if you didn't need the money? I have a few assumptions I'll keep to myself for the moment, because I'm hoping to hear from guys who are still in college and those who are just getting started on the Street.

I've done a lot of different things in my life, but two "professions" stick out in my mind as jobs I'd be willing to do even if I weren't paid (assuming I didn't need the money, of course). Believe it or not, trading isn't one of them (even though that's where I made the most money in the shortest period of time). The two "jobs" I enjoyed the most and would do for free were bartender and yacht delivery captain.

So I'm curious. If you won the lottery, would you press on and finish your analyst gig? If you're still in school, would you finish college? Why? If not, what would you do? If so, what is it about the Street that makes you feel like you were "born for it"?

Comments (94)

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 5:28am

I would get my MBA and open my own hedge fund (but with only about 1M USD, the rest would in Bunds just in case), so that I could "pretend" to trade anywhere

absolutearbitrageur.blogspot.com
 
Apr 22, 2010 - 6:13am

I would definitely add it to my existing capital and keep on trading.

"I wanna Thank the Good Lord for Making me a Capitalist"
 
Apr 22, 2010 - 6:48am

If I was financially secure I'd definitely be looking to start my own business. What that would be I don't know.

For me, although I think I will enjoy being a trader ( and so far I have enjoyed what little I've experienced), ultimately it is the risk to reward ratio which is the reason for entering the business at present. The expected value of an average IBer/Trader is probably higher than any other profession, and so it's an effective hedge. Give up 10 years of my life, get £5mm liquid capital, and then see where the world takes me.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 7:14am

Great post,

I'm just starting in IBD. Certainly not born to do IBD; don't think any human being is born to do what analyst do in IBD. The top end looks very interesting, and I like the sound of business strategy. But so far, my favourite job was working in a high end bar, I've started trading in my spare time and I really enjoy that too, but I much prefered the bar.

It was real, you talked to people, it was expensive, so you didn't get any trouble. The guy who ran it is my age, and we're best friends since I worked there. Really liked it. If I ever grow out of this materialism, I'd like to open up my own little bar.

I think I was born to be an entrepeneur, and I think it's the only place I'll find contentment.

But I'm young, single, and broke. So right now I have to build up the cash base and 'earn' my happiness!

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 7:38am

bcbunker1:
Not to hijack the thread, but when would you stop working in finance? How much money would it take? I think if I can pull 2 million in the next 5-10 years I will simply stop. Or at least thats what I think now.

A lot will depend on how much you hate it. If you end up really enjoying what you do, the number will be pretty high. If you utterly detest what you're doing, the number will be lower. When I first got started, my number was way up there. By the time I punched out (around age 30), I walked with a lot less than I planned to have back when I was 23. It was more than enough and I was no longer miserable.

You just have to see how your career progresses.

If there's any advice I can give on this particular aspect of career planning, it's this: if you hate the job, do everything you have to do to make the money and then get out. Don't just bail unless you're ready to kill yourself. You have to consider the investment you made to get here. It's much better to bear down and take it. If your job is making you miserable, do twice as much of it twice as hard so you can get out sooner.

EDIT: Or start buying lottery tickets pronto.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 4:58pm

I think that I would probably get my MBA and then also teach but I would do it for free. Teaching others something that you already know how to do well and for free is a great reward if you don't need the money.

casino online
The amount of slot machines this casino online can seem a little overwhelming at first but you just have to want to gamble and pick one.
 
Jul 5, 2012 - 9:17am

anonymousman:
Great post,

I'm just starting in IBD. Certainly not born to do IBD; don't think any human being is born to do what analyst do in IBD. The top end looks very interesting, and I like the sound of business strategy. But so far, my favourite job was working in a high end bar, I've started trading in my spare time and I really enjoy that too, but I much prefered the bar.

It was real, you talked to people, it was expensive, so you didn't get any trouble. The guy who ran it is my age, and we're best friends since I worked there. Really liked it. If I ever grow out of this materialism, I'd like to open up my own little bar.

I think I was born to be an entrepeneur, and I think it's the only place I'll find contentment.

But I'm young, single, and broke. So right now I have to build up the cash base and 'earn' my happiness!

How the fuck are you just starting in IBD when all of your other bitch posts say you quit in October 2011?

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.
 
Apr 22, 2010 - 8:22am

I've actually thought about this. I would not continue working.

I'd put about half away -- enough so that I could live comfortably off the interest alone -- and use the other half to invest in small businesses or other projects that interest me, like film or music ventures.

Meanwhile, some of you are utterly ridiculous for sounding like it's a given you'll have 2-10 million in liquid assets after 5-10 years of work.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 8:33am

I'd take $2 Mil and buy a sick house
Take 350K and buy a sick lambo
$1M would be given to the folks
$1M in cash
Rest in the bank earning interest

I'd probably keep working to be honest, I feel like I would get incredibly bored.

-------------------------------------------------------- "I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcom
 
Apr 22, 2010 - 8:36am

I like to think I'd open a small asset management firm, probably a small bond fund. Is this like the question off office space? Where you should pursue whatever it is you'd be happy doing if you won the lotto?

The tough thing about these questions, is you don't know what you'd be happy doing, unless you've done it. For example, a few years ago, I would have said I want to be an econ professor. Now I'm in grad school, and have a much better understanding of what it's like to be a professor, and I realize it's not for me (even if I was a millionaire).

 
Best Response
Apr 22, 2010 - 9:47am

Old but always seems to be appropriate on WSO

The investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman
docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna.
The investment banker complimented the fisherman on the quality of his
fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The fisherman replied, only a little while.
The investment banker then asked why didn't he stay out longer
and catch more fish?
The fisherman said he had enough to support his family's
immediate needs.
The investment banker then asked, but what do you do with the
rest of your time?
The fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with
my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village
each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a
full and busy life, senor."
The investment banker scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could
help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger
boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats,
eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your
catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually
opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing
and distribution. You can leave this small coastal fishing
village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding
enterprise."
The fisherman asked, "But senor, how long will this all
take?"
To which the American replied, "15-20 years."
But what then, senor?
The American laughed and said that's the best part. When
the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the
public and become very rich, you would make millions.
Millions, senor? Then what?
The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small
coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play
with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the
evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your
amigos."

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 9:50am

Wouldn't it be cool to just open a sandwich shop or something? You wouldn't have to worry about being profitable. You could just have it be open whenever you want. You could control how busy you want to be with a big digital sign outside and variable pricing.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 11:14am

Ah TheKing speaks the truth. No matter how much I loved trading or banking there is no way I'd keep working if I was that liquid. I wouldn't do it for the sole fact that I still would not have free will over my life.

Money = Freedom

Why would you continue to be tied down to someone else's company.

My dream would be to open a cool mexican restaurants in the beach town that I grew up in, they type where all the locals come and hang out and everyone knows one another. I'd cruise in when I wanted, hangout and shoot the shit with the customers while I had the employees doing the work. With that kinda cash I wouldn't even need to be profitably just break even.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 11:18am

Real talk. I like to think I'd start a business or something, but first and foremost I'd do the following:

-Hire a badass accountant to manage my money
-Buy a sweet NYC apartment, nothing too insane, but I mean, I could drop a million bucks without much issue
-Put my least favorite colleagues through a table

Anyone saying that they'd do another day in IBD is such a tool. You'd sit down your first day after getting the money and as soon as you had to run some comps or turn edits or deal with any of the other bullshit, you'd be done.

Not to mention, imagine getting staffed on a pitch on a Friday at 4pm after you had this kind of dough? You'd literally take a shit on your staffer's desk and get out without issue.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 11:31am

Medward I enjoyed that story. Its so true.

"I wanna Thank the Good Lord for Making me a Capitalist"
 
Apr 22, 2010 - 11:52am

Ok, so there seems to be a consensus among our IBD counterparts that they would not stand a single day in the office after winning some million dollars jackpot. Now my question is, do traders think the same way about their job? As Edmundo pointed out, there are some guys out there who said they were"born to" trade - I am wondering how many of you on WSO feel that way. Starting myself, as soon as I hit the certain figure in my mind, I will start thinking about quitting the job.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 12:22pm

bluecoat:
Ok, so there seems to be a consensus among our IBD counterparts that they would not stand a single day in the office after winning some million dollars jackpot. Now my question is, do traders think the same way about their job? As Edmundo pointed out, there are some guys out there who said they were"born to" trade - I am wondering how many of you on WSO feel that way. Starting myself, as soon as I hit the certain figure in my mind, I will start thinking about quitting the job.

If you like trading that much and have $10MM, you can just do it on your own terms. Why take shit working sell-side at a bank? So even if you're born to trade, I think most traders would quit the job, buy a crazy fast internet connection and do it from home.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 12:11pm

before i make my point, i have a few observations to make:

  • i'm certain that i am not born to be a banker.
  • I'm certain that there are people out there who are born to be bankers (although, usually they are also born to be pe mds, if they wanted to invest that sort of time)

here is a guy i know if. i don't know him personally, but i am friends with a close relative of his. this is what i heard a few years back
- early 20s, so fairly young
- started out at db. made associate in two years (i think)
- asked to relocate to asia. salary ~doubled

and...
- at that point, already had a wife and kid

that person, imo, was born to be a banker

  • i would believe that someone would still wanna be a banker if they won the lottery. there's plenty of us who like the job enough, despite the downsides

now...

my point is this:

some of you have talked about running their own business/hf (hypothetically). i'm assuming you already have your bus plan/thesis in your head, right?

if so, how were you able to research and think about it with your sort of hours? i'm not saying that it can't be done...

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 12:15pm

I think a lot of us would say, "I would stop working" but to tell you the truth it would get boring very quickly. Nevertheless, if I was in this situation, I would take a solid vacation, 4 months and go all over Europe, and the World to the best music festivals over the summer and just "chill out".

After that open up a business where you can act as a adviser or consultant. I would still want to stay in the loop of things and have a purpose for waking up in the morning. I mean as stereotypical as it sounds of "finance guys", I thoroughly enjoy the topic of Finance, Economics and how Politics are all heavily intertwined with one another.

To consider my self "born for a job" is not a good way to describe it but, it is a passion of yours(mine) that you want to pursue and granted that you have just won 10m, you can pursue it. Its a like all those mops who work in a cubical that want to be chefs, florists, mechanics etc. but cant since its not financially secure or to risky to take they don't do it.

I don't know, those are my $0.02, in the end its to each is own.

- Only time will tell....
 
Apr 22, 2010 - 12:47pm

I think the vast majority of us set the bar beyond our grasp on purpose.

Since the age of 4, I've told people I want to be a high flyer (wanted to be a barrister at 4 - because I liked arguing and toys, that got me both), so I worked hard in my A levels, got straight A grades, and went to a top university. I'm now finishing at the top university, about to go and be a high flyer at a BB (did work experience at a law firm when I was 15, hated it, changed my game plan).

I've interned at a top BB and I know that the job sucks, and I didn't really have any responsibility as an intern - I just did comps and book alterations, if I fucked up, it was on the analysts head. I didn't want the job, so I didn't care too much. I ended up getting an offer (lord knows how). Now I've said to myself I'll take the job (as I have, and I'm fairly happy about it) so I can get enough money to start my own business.

How much money would that be? I've got a friend my age who owns 2 businesses, both doing well, which he did from £500. I've got another friend making 6 figures from an ebay business, started from £3500. I just keep setting the bar high.

What's amazing is I don't particularly care about material things - I could take or leave the sports car, I love my little car to bits - it's got a name, and it's nice. I could take or leave the big house - I plan on living abroad where my house will probably cost less than what I'm looking at paying per year in London rent (around $20,000 to you yanks thinking about coming over). I wonder why I'm doing what I'm doing. I really feel like I have no choice.

I've taken all the steps to be a high flyer, this is 'the best I can be' (by that I mean the richest I can be). To do anything else would be to waste all I've worked for. My whole life would have been one big wasted investment. So I'm trapped. This will never change, every situation is going to be relatively poorer.

I think I'll get to a point where I feel I have a realistic alternative and go for it. I'd like to write for GQ, I'd like to write a book, I'd like to own a bar, I'd like to be a street performer. What the fuck am I doing?

I'm not happy. I'm just hoping that money will make me feel less lonely and confused about my life.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 1:17pm

I was not interested in finance when I was younger. I really wanted to be an astronomer ever since I can remember. People back then said I was wasting my future in proportion to my talent...I never thought that for a second. Then I visited the country (think BRIC) I was born in and got to see first hand how much corruption and inequity exists in this place. I decided I wanted to enter politics and then one of the workers at our business asked me "what makes you so sure that given that same power as those politicians, you would not end up being corrupt? At that time, the only answer that made sense to me was MONEY. I sincerely believed that once I had earned enough money, I would not be attracted to stealing and being corrupt myself. But, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I'm actually interested in finance/economics. Now, in self reflection, I find myself not good at anything, not talented at anything, not excelling at anything and not being able to enter banking. In essence, I find myself thinking at most times "I need to be better, before I can make people around me better". I am 20, never had banking experience but I want to get into it and would like to go into politics in a third world country...let see where life takes me. Would I do banking for free? Probably because I don't know what else I can do. Would I get into politics for free? Gladly.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 1:44pm

I think I would still like to be a banker. But I wouldn't last as long because I wouldn't be as hungry and therefore less likely to truly apply myself. I've thought about the lottery question a lot, though. I think I would just blow it all by buying the banks that hold my enemies' mortgages, accelerating the payments and laughing as I evict them and their small children. I may also work on inventing a vaporizing ray that I could use to vaporize my enemies' pets as they are forced onto the street. That, and I would do two chicks at the same time.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 2:16pm

you're not going to blow the dough leasing a G-5 to follow the crew of Girls Gone Wild around the globe

Dont you dare telling me what to do with my $10MM

I'd still finish school (2 months left) and go through my master's as well.

I'd buy shitload of real-estate around the US and rent it out. I'd still try to get a 2-year gig @ a top bank. Retiring @ age 22 is retarded. You don't have enough experience to be on a board of directors, and don't have enough connections to make retirement fun. You'll be bored after 2-3 years of partying and traveling

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 2:21pm

Jimbo,

HA! You made me break out my "book".

When I was 27 years old, I actually sat down and wrote out a "Life Plan", and I've kept it with me ever since (but haven't thought much about it since leaving the Street). Incredibly, I still keep it with me.

I wrote out a 1-year plan, a 3-year plan, a 5-year plan, a 10-year plan, a 20-year plan, and a Lifetime Plan in this notebook. I haven't picked it up in a couple years, but I was surprised to find that, by the time I quit, I had actually surpassed the number I had in mind when I wrote it 3 years earlier. Unfortunately, my 3-year plan was the least specific and only required a net worth in excess of $1 million.

The plan I got the biggest chuckle out of tonight was my 10-year plan, which I was supposed to achieve by 37. I'm batting about .500 on that one, and I'm 41 now. I haven't qualified for the U.S. Open (I fucking hate golf, and did even then), I don't own a Thomas Kincaid original (long story, but we took his company public back in the day and trust me, his stuff was the shit in 1993), and I don't drive a cherry, pre-owned (even then I was sensible about depreciation) Bentley Continental T. I have, however, adopted a son (two of them, in fact), owned more than 5 properties besides my personal residence, and I've had a majority interest in 3 diversified, profitable companies.

Looking at my 20-year plan (age 47), I'd better get cracking.

The other thing I found very amusing was #3 on my Lifetime Plan: Die of Natural Causes. I think it speaks to how big a dick I was when I was 27 that I felt the need to make it a life goal to not get stabbed in the heart.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 2:28pm

By the time I cash out at age 28/29 I will potentially have between $3-$5 million after-tax dollars, which I dont think is "enough" for me to retire on but enough for me to take some time to really evaluate what I want to do with my life. I may hide out for a year or 2 in b-school but who knows.

I think people highly underestimate the camaraderie and fulfillment that many people get from their jobs. Needless to say, it would be nice to have some fck you money so you could walk at anytime.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 3:08pm

"By the time I cash out at age 28/29 I will potentially have between $3-$5 million after-tax dollars,"

that's a pretty wide range...is that subject to a deal hitting?

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 3:09pm

"I wrote out a 1-year plan, a 3-year plan, a 5-year plan, a 10-year plan, a 20-year plan, and a Lifetime Plan in this notebook. I haven't picked it up in a couple years, but I was surprised to find that, by the time I quit, I had actually surpassed the number I had in mind when I wrote it 3 years earlier. Unfortunately, my 3-year plan was the least specific and only required a net worth in excess of $1 million."

Ok. How much was your decision to quit based on reaching your number, and your having a clear sense of what your actual cost of living was going to be, vs other factors? And how accurate do think you were in predicting your post work cost of living?

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 3:27pm

Well I recently got started in PE interning as an associate at a boutique firm. I get paid nothing there is never a day I hate my job. I enjoy talking to people chasing the deal and cant wait for the deal to go through. Maybe its the competitiveness I miss from being in sports. On the other hand I have a paying job that I hate and if not for the fact I need the money Id work for free untill I could get paid at the PE firm. I actually value this lesson. So I think its more so your personality. Also A few people said they would start business, while its not finance its the same thing your chasing the success high. You look at a guy like Buffet who clearly doesnt need the money but he loves it I think the issue is too many wall streeters go in only to make money and dont actually respect the craft. These types are usually those who went to good schools, and stubled their way in, yet individuals like my self wjo would do anything possible for the opportunity window shop the wall st careers we dream of or are forced to take the long traveled road. Not complaining just a thought.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 3:32pm

Those are really great questions, actually.

I hated my work with the white-hot intensity of a thousand dying suns. So in the end my number might not have been as scientific as it could have been (based on projected cost of living, etc...). What it came down to for me was knowing that I didn't want to do this anymore, and that it was better to burn out than to fade away.

With that in mind, I made a goal to make more than anyone ever had in one year in the history of my firm. By double. And then walk the fuck out when the last paycheck cleared. Which is what I did.

In the end, it was enough. Because even more important than the money was the accomplishment. Later on down the line, when you're raising money for a start-up or something along those lines, it's nice to be able to point to a time when you made an amount of money that is inconceivable to the average person - even if it was only for a short period of time. You'll be amazed at the doors it opens for you.

As far as retiring at 29 and putting yourself out to pasture: forget about it. You have to go on to something else, or the boredom will drive you insane. The purpose of making the kind of money on the Street that allows you to walk away is to enable you to do the things you truly want to do in life without worrying about the money. Someone mentioned a sandwich shop, and someone else a Mexican restaurant in a beach town, that's the kind of stuff I'm talking about. Doing the shit that makes you happy without having to turn a buck (although it's nice when it happens).

Not sure, did I answer your question?

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 3:49pm

Maybe I'm just different, but 10MM is not enough for me. My goal in life is to get to 100MM, so whatever I have to do to get it I will (run my own fund, open my own business, invest). This whole finance thing is just so I can make enough money and get enough experience and enough contacts to run my own business. 10MM these days really isn't that much. 100MM would be perfect. Donate 50 to charity, and the rest to the kids. 100 is enough to have 5 houses, amazing cars, and a great family without having the affect of disbursement from $.

Thats my 2 cents.

-- "Those who say don't know, and those who know don't say."
 
Apr 28, 2010 - 3:54pm

nutsaboutWS:
Maybe I'm just different, but 10MM is not enough for me. My goal in life is to get to 100MM, so whatever I have to do to get it I will (run my own fund, open my own business, invest). This whole finance thing is just so I can make enough money and get enough experience and enough contacts to run my own business. 10MM these days really isn't that much. 100MM would be perfect. Donate 50 to charity, and the rest to the kids. 100 is enough to have 5 houses, amazing cars, and a great family without having the affect of disbursement from $.

Thats my 2 cents.

Not that there's anything wrong with it, but you're the kind of guy who doesn't exit until the game is almost over. You can make the number as big as you want, but the time is obviously finite. You might reach you goal, but find out you have way, way too little time to enjoy it.

Of course, if you really enjoy what you do then I suppose the time hasn't been wasted.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 4:24pm

For $6.8 million you can take you $250k per year with yearly 3.5% raises for inflation and still have a little cash in about 60 years. This requires an average 6.5% return, but I'm surprised one can do this with so little. It wouldn't be a glam life, but it would be more than enough to live somewhat comfortably. These are rough numbers and assume average inflation and returns (too lazy to do Monte Carlo right now), but I'm surprised at how "doable" this is in the industry. Of course I would have to give up the vaporizer beam or whatever the hell I was talking about earlier.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 4:33pm

"For $6.8 million you can take you $250k per year with yearly 3.5% raises for inflation and still have a little cash in about 60 years"

and keep in mind the 250k is going to taxed less than income, b/c part is return of principal. so you're better off vs making 250k at a regular job.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 4:41pm

Edmundo Braverman:

So I'm curious. If you won the lottery, would you press on and finish your analyst gig? If you're still in school, would you finish college? Why? If not, what would you do? If so, what is it about the Street that makes you feel like you were "born for it"?

fuck no.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 4:46pm

Guys don't laugh at me when I say this, I worked at a marketing firm in high school and the thrill of closing the sale was unlike any other feeling. Is this feeling similar in banking when closing a deal?( I have never interned/work at a bank). I think that marketing experience when I was younger really made me interested in banking.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 5:01pm

PerennialAmbition:
Guys don't laugh at me when I say this, I worked at a marketing firm in high school and the thrill of closing the sale was unlike any other feeling. Is this feeling similar in banking when closing a deal?( I have never interned/work at a bank). I think that marketing experience when I was younger really made me interested in banking.

Sorry - I'm laughing.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 4:59pm

Somewhat of an aside, but I'm curious to know if any of your friends received early payouts from a trust (In their 20's) and if so what they did with it? I have a friend in this situation due to the passing of his mother and he would still like to work, but is obviously in a great financial position and doesn't have to rely solely on his FT banking job (Split the $3.5M estate tax exemption with his brother). Real Estate, Hedge Funds, etc?

PM with any ideas or experience

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 6:00pm

I would totally buy my own island in the pacific and start my own private pot plantation. In fact, I've been looking for islands already...

http://www.privateislandsonline.com/

------------------------------------------------------------------ "I just want to be a monkey of average intelligence who wears a suit. I'll go to business school!"
 
Apr 22, 2010 - 6:47pm

I'm sure other people struggle with this, but it's pretty difficult to know whether to pursue your dreams right out of college or after amassing some money (assuming you could do this). On the one hand, it doesn't make sense to put off doing what you want, but on the other hand, there's the reality of money.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 6:49pm

The only finance-related project I would take on would be in the VC space (genomics, biotech), only because I find it genuinely interesting, and would like to be apart of the growth there.

Other than that, I would probably start a shop customizing high-performance sport and luxury autos. Maybe even open up a track too, depending on the location.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 6:50pm

If I could do one thing it would be to become an angel investor. I would love to be able to finance some startups and get involved in helping them build their business. I could pick and choose when I wanted to work and I'd also have the chance to make even more money if one of the companies got big.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 8:22pm

Have been thinking about this recently...

Well, if I do win the lottery, I'll probably do the followings:

  1. Finish my graduate studies and apply for the best archaeology or paleontology programs.

  2. Daily life won't change much. Renting is OK for me so there's no need to buy a house, might need a car though. Will continue trading with a small percentage of the money. Monthly bill will triple/double.

  3. Stock some good alcohol and share with friends. Buy fancy things (cars, wines, beach house or whatever) for my parents.

  4. Learn scuba diving.

  5. Invest the rest conservatively.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 8:28pm

Perhaps a lame but true analogy for some of you materialistic and confused people on here. (goes perfectly with the joke posted above about the Mexican fisherman)

Happiness = a car
your goals in life = a destination

If your goal is making enough money to reach your goal of being happy, then you are failing life. You should first find a path that you enjoy, and then set your goals. Naturally, this does not apply if you've taken on large amounts of debt, have a family, or have other short term requirements that you must meet first. Anything else is a superficial concern that will likely never live up to your expectations.

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 9:58pm

Hell if I had 10M I would Probably leverage it all in a middle market LBO (when credit markets improve)... no investor money just me and build up from there... 10m is not that much but it should give you enough equity to get a decent platform to build up... At least that's my opinion.... 10M does not cut it, well at least not anymore. I'm young if I fail so what.... I still have the rest of my life to catch up

 
Apr 22, 2010 - 11:47pm

I just thought that I wanted to be in IBD because it's just what you're supposed to do. Growing up, most of the successful parents I knew (who didn't happen to somehow have family money) had done IB or consulting and either stayed in the industry or moved to other PE/VC/other finance-related roles, so I just figured that's what people do. I think it would be a pretty great life working in an interesting coverage group somewhere outside of NYC (SF/LA/Chicago), hanging out at the country club with friends, playing golf, raising a family, and enjoying life.

That being said, I think it would be awesome to own a baseball team (again, outside of NYC - fuck the Yankees).

And I agree with levelworm - if I had more money than I knew what to do with, I would go get a degree in archaeology. That was always what I wanted to do as a kid, and still would love to do after I've worked for a while.

Hi, Eric Stratton, rush chairman, damn glad to meet you.
 
Apr 23, 2010 - 12:21am

First off - great post. Interesting to read the responses. Basically everyone wants to quit banking and follow their true passion if they have $10 mil. No surprise. So where the hell do MDs come from? They don't just spawn from the underworld.

Let's assume you don't win the lottery but are a good banker and rise through the ranks at a typical pace. By a certain age, maybe 40-45?, you probably have $10 mil in the bank. What prevents these people from following their dreams like you all talk about. Are they addicted to the lifestyle, power, having analysts as their right hand bitch or what? Obviously some kind of switch goes off in their head where they decide they are going to be a banker until the day they die (or retire).

*I don't have a good idea of when a banker reaches the $10 million mark, so before someone jumps on how my estimates are whack, lets just ignore numbers and say you reach a point where you are comfortable with your lifestyle. Ya, this is different for everyone, but I'm really just curious on speculation as to what turns an analyst/associate that plans to grind out 3-5 years into the guy with the office yelling on the phone. No one here has a window seat yet, but stories of what you seen, heard, or are guessing are what I want.

 
Apr 23, 2010 - 3:22am

^^^ I think you're too old by the time you hit 40 to pull up stakes and try something else. Yes, you might have $10+ mil liquid, but you've also got a demanding wife, kids in prep school who feel entitled to everything under the sun because their douchebag friends have it, etc...

By the time you're 40, I'd say you're pretty much committed to the path you've chosen. It cuts both ways, too. I'm 41 now and, having left the Street and any "conventional" employment before I was 30 to pursue a more independent lifestyle, I doubt I'm even employable anymore in any 9-5 sense of the word.

 
Apr 23, 2010 - 3:47am

I've already paved a mental road for myself depending on the liquidity level I might find myself at, and per the OP's $10 million I would:

  1. Exit my leverage
  2. Finish business school
  3. Buy a decent car
  4. Give family their one-time handout
  5. Split the remaining $7 million 90/10 for income/investing.
  6. Continue with IB hopes

As an aside, it's interesting the responses from people hoping to get in, those inside, and the ex's. The fisherman story was golden, and EB's book was insightful.

-N.

"It's about the game." - Gordon Gekko "No matter how much money you make, you'll never be rich." - Jacob "Jake" Moore "'Oh Africa Brave Africa'. It was... a laugh riot." - Patrick Bateman
 
Apr 23, 2010 - 12:48pm

"What prevents these people from following their dreams like you all talk about. Are they addicted to the lifestyle, power, having analysts as their right hand bitch or what? Obviously some kind of switch goes off in their head where they decide they are going to be a banker until the day they die (or retire).
"

people enjoy feeling like they are good at their job, and respected. some don't want to give that up, even if they no longer need the money.

there was a movie called "nowhere in africa" that won an academy award a few years back. basically it's a story of a jewish family that moves to africa on the eve of ww2 from germany. after the war, the husband wants to move back...b/c he finds it so difficult to go from being someone of some importance, with a big job, to being someone anonymous in africa. similar sort of psychology.

 
Apr 23, 2010 - 1:12pm

quit work as soon as i cash out.

invest in real estate, hedge funds

load up the yacht with bottles full of bub, with family/friends i love.. then set off to pacific.

come back-use the monthly rent as monthly allowance and open up a bar perhaps?

 
Apr 23, 2010 - 10:15pm

If I won the $10 million, I'd leave immediately. I could not see myself doing high finance or trading purely for the fun of the job, no matter what the salary.

I had an on-site interview with a prop trading firm recently. It seemed very informal, with very little overhead. They gave me a logic test to start, and I did well on one part and terrible on the next. Despite that, they kept going with the interview.

The recurring theme was whether I could stand working 12 or 13 hours per week as an entry-level trader. I told the interviewer I would have trouble working that much. The daylight hours would be spent at the firm sitting in front of a computer, and I really couldn't see myself doing that, no matter what the salary was. (The night before, I was wrestling with the idea of spending (12 x 5 x 48) x 2 = 5760 hours in front of a flickering monitor, and it didn't seem all that appealing.) I told the interviewer I was lukewarm about the job, and he said that unless I was "on fire" for the job, it would be a bad fit.

We went on, though, because I wanted to do a probability question with him. He gave me a question that should have been easy, but I spent about 20 minutes trying to convince him that my answer--which was wrong--was right! Ouch...I felt really stupid at the end. He still said I was "smart enough to do this" at the end, which felt strange, but he reiterated that I would really have to enjoy the work to avoid burning out. We both felt it wouldn't work, and I took my things and rode the bus home. The next day, I got a message from the recruiter saying they "would be passing at this time." Not much of a surprise, there.

There was a chance that I could have gone to the final round had I been more enthusiastic. The money would have easily been enough to get me off of public assistance...I'm currently on welfare. To me, though, working slavishly at something is worse. Right now, I'm trying to get a job as a K-9 handler for security at the airport. I love animals, and even though the salary is barely the US median, it would be something I could see myself doing for at least several years.

 
Apr 24, 2010 - 12:44am

a_real_heffer:
If I won the $10 million, I'd leave immediately. I could not see myself doing high finance or trading purely for the fun of the job, no matter what the salary.

I had an on-site interview with a prop trading firm recently. It seemed very informal, with very little overhead. They gave me a logic test to start, and I did well on one part and terrible on the next. Despite that, they kept going with the interview.

The recurring theme was whether I could stand working 12 or 13 hours per week as an entry-level trader. I told the interviewer I would have trouble working that much. The daylight hours would be spent at the firm sitting in front of a computer, and I really couldn't see myself doing that, no matter what the salary was. (The night before, I was wrestling with the idea of spending (12 x 5 x 48) x 2 = 5760 hours in front of a flickering monitor, and it didn't seem all that appealing.) I told the interviewer I was lukewarm about the job, and he said that unless I was "on fire" for the job, it would be a bad fit.

We went on, though, because I wanted to do a probability question with him. He gave me a question that should have been easy, but I spent about 20 minutes trying to convince him that my answer--which was wrong--was right! Ouch...I felt really stupid at the end. He still said I was "smart enough to do this" at the end, which felt strange, but he reiterated that I would really have to enjoy the work to avoid burning out. We both felt it wouldn't work, and I took my things and rode the bus home. The next day, I got a message from the recruiter saying they "would be passing at this time." Not much of a surprise, there.

There was a chance that I could have gone to the final round had I been more enthusiastic. The money would have easily been enough to get me off of public assistance...I'm currently on welfare. To me, though, working slavishly at something is worse. Right now, I'm trying to get a job as a K-9 handler for security at the airport. I love animals, and even though the salary is barely the US median, it would be something I could see myself doing for at least several years.

You're either a troll above and beyond the others on this site, or just simply interesting. What drove you to this site if you would rather be a k-p handler than a prop trader? Surely you're lying to yourself if your story is true. I can guarantee less than 50% of the bankers out there have even heard of this site, let alone traders. Having enough interest to seek out a site like this says something.

 
Apr 24, 2010 - 3:52pm

After considering the hours, lifestyle, and nature of the work, I decided trading was not the right avenue. Don't forget: I spent 20 minutes trying to convince the interviewer the wrong answer was right, and I ended up with egg on my face at the end.

I really do love animals, having had goldfish, mice, and cats as pets, and the idea of going to work with a pet K-9 each day couldn't be more rewarding to me. The competition is expected to be keen, though, and so now the job is convincing the TSA I'm the most deserving.

 
Jul 5, 2012 - 9:10am

somedude:
Money isn't what makes a person happy...

Spending quality time with loved ones is what gives life meaning. In the end, our relationships with others is the only thing that really matters.


You think so? 50% of divorce revolves around money problems. Let me translate: one out of every four marriages collapses because of the strain put on it by not having enough money. The women in the relationship get sick to death of working and missing out on their family and friends, and become unbearably bitchy. The guys' ego collapses under the constant message of "you're not good enough, you don't deserve happiness or faithfulness" and they get crushed when they need support the most. It doesn't matter what the fuck you think things should be, that's how it is.

There are exceptions, but I wouldn't advise that you plan your life on the possibility of being an outlier, go down the most efficient paths while young and get it out of the way now. If you haven't started a successful business by now and are on this site and in this career, then at least be smart enough to do this right....you'll thank yourself later.

I came here to get some resume credibility after bartending for a decade, and even though I frankly suck at this and don't even work in an intense role/group, I'm getting positive feedback in the talks with employers/jobs/schools that would never have given me the time of day a few years ago. This was a personal growth move. Personally, I've encountered few people that were "born" to do this, much more often people that valued the money and power this field gives them if they're lucky+smart enough to do really well. The vast majority of people here, myself included, will never see multimillion dollar paydays: this is like being a drug dealer...a few guys at the top make a killing, the rest are fighting to survive, and only a handful of very lucky and ruthless will ever make it to the top. The rest will go on to other things and most, like me, never really wanted to do this as a career but saw it as a short term cash and/or resume boost. If you feel the need to be stupidly stubborn and disagree, I challenge anyone here to show us a paystub of over $900K. If we see even a dozen, it will clearly make my case.

To answer the question, I have no idea what I'd do if I didn't have constant financial/family pressure on me. After working like a slave for not very much for most of my life, all I know is that I want to be in charge of my own life and have resources, and whatever affords the best option is what I'll ultimately do. I could care less about anything else at this point.

TLDR version: because fuck you, that's why

Get busy living
 
Jul 5, 2012 - 9:16am

Why do people devote themselves to careers that they wouldn't do for free?

By doing that, you're resigning a good portion of your life that you'll NEVER get back.

You get money. So what? All that stress you put on yourself from the hours and not intrinsically loving what you do adds up.

Then...you pay health bills with all the money you earned.

Life's too short to waste it on living an unfulfilled life. That's why we see so many threads on money and escapism. Because you should wake up for every day, not paycheck day. Is this a naive thought? Yes. But guess what? I'm living it. And I love it. And I make a pretty good amount of money (with an even better lifestyle, consulting). But that doesn't even matter.

What matters is that I am excited for every day. And if your only joys in life are joys that need to be fueled by money, then perhaps you haven't found your right professional joy yet.

And yes, I have ibanker friends. And yes, some of them actually would do ibanking for the same salary as an advertising account executive. And yes, I never see them even on Sundays but that's fine with all of us because we all understand each other's passions.

 
Jul 5, 2012 - 9:18am

I want enough money to live somewhere where there's palm trees and restaurants that are open on the sides so the air from the coast can flow in. I'll own a villa on the beach and wear shorts everyday. That would be the life for me. I'd probably also start up a video game studio, but mainly I just want the Caribbean life.

 
Jul 5, 2012 - 9:32am

I'm only a college student, but I think that I would really enjoy doing something in business.
I've recently become more interested in trading and I think I would like to do that for a long time, even if it were unpaid (although earnings enough to pay for living expenses would be nice.) I love reading the news paper and analysis of current events.
If I get bored with that, I'd do something else that's business related, for ex become an entrepreneur.

I always thought becoming a cargo ship's captain would be cool too.

 
Jul 5, 2012 - 10:42am

Fortunately, I am employed doing something that I would do no matter how much money I have. I would just travel and gain more experiences. But, to be honest, I don't know if what I do is 'work' per se, considering how much I enjoy it.

Bene qui latuit, bene vixit- Ovid
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