Associate Moving to Bali

Just started my first year as an associate (A2A), and I've completely broken down. Not a sweaty group and pay in line with the street, but one morning I just woke up and realized I want to disappear. The money isn't enough. I have nice clothes, beautiful watch, niceish apartment (NY), and I can tell you none of these things derive happiness for me. My parents both died, and I don't love my friends. 


Every inch of me wants to sell it all, buy a hut in Bali, and just disappear. Idk what people do for work over there, but if it puts some chicken and rice on the table, I would do it. I guess I've figured out that as much as I'd love to live in the upper west side and have a Bentley parked downstairs, that isn't any different to the level of luxury I have now given my age. Further, I've realized I just want peace and quiet. If I never spoke to anyone ever again, I think I'd be fine with it. Just the sounds of birds. I don't know what brought this on, but I'm just ready to hang it up and live a simple life. I'm actively jealous of people who drive around the country in vans and live in ECO tiny houses. The absence of noise is a luxury I just don't have. 

 

yeah you're definitely done unless it's under a year. For me, I never loved finance enough to be a hard stayer. I just liked the check and being able to inflate some ego. But now that I just have 0 happiness, I don't see a point in staying. Realistically, I'll stay because I know nothing about buying a van, moving to Bali, or moving to the middle of Utah to live in a 50k house and work as a used car secretary. Something will break along the way though. That I'm sure of. 

 

I have zero knowledge here, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. Why don’t you either stick it out another year and save up as much as you can before making the jump, or learn coding or some skill you can do remote and make money from. That way you can either live your van life or move to Bali and have some sustainability and something to fall back on. I would read the 4-Hour Work Week - sounds like that book may be right up your alley.

Sorry to hear about your parents, friends and current situation. Best of luck man! Would love to hear what you decide on if you’re willing to share.

 

100% understand this. I’m in banking, albeit not IB, and I recently took a trip to South America. Man, it was life-altering. I had been to places like Mexico, Italy, and Spain before but South America was just so peaceful and vibrant. Everyone was friendly. Food was amazing. Everything was also so cheap since I had USD. I always thought money would make me happier but as I got more money, I just kept wanting more. When does it stop? The people I met in South America weren’t rich. They were probably low-income to middle-class but they had pride, joy, and compassion in their soul.
 

One day when I was on the beach, I really did some mental math on how much it would cost to live here and I could definitely afford it multiple times over. I even thought about making the request to senior management to work remote for a month. Didn’t go through with it because I’m not really on good standing with my MD at the moment. Anyways, I plan on leaving my firm pretty soon anyways and plan to have a little gap between my last day here and start date at new firm so I can take another trip. 
 

I know I can’t just pack up and leave because I have long-term aspirations that require me to stay in my industry/city. So, I’m stuck here for better or worse. But I will always take a trip whenever I have the time to. 

 

I’ve felt this before and it was to move out West (Wyoming / Montana) and just disappear - like Into the Wild (Alexander Supertramp).

I then realized this was the depression I was masking, that it wasn’t “I actually wanted to move out there”, rather me wanting to die.

It took me awhile to realize this (only after a good friend committed suicide) and I got the help I needed. Stress in this industry fuels the thoughts I’ve had before and sometimes the ones I still have.

Before doing anything maybe look into a medical leave of absence. Can give yourself that mental break to figure out what you want in your life, and if it’s still Bali then so be it. Know this may not apply to you at the levels it did to me but wanted to throw it out there. Best of luck to you.

 

Big difference between having beers and doing yoga class on the beach at a resort in Bali and trying to survive on your own in the Alaskan wilderness.

 

To answer your question in more specifics people usually work as English tutors/teachers. If you are close to the water you can also get work in diving / swimming areas although you’d need certifications for those. There are also less specialized hospitality jobs that would be happy to have native English speakers but the pay isn’t good and COL has gotten much worse in these areas after the increase in WFH.

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My situation wasn’t the exact same but it was similar enough that I feel like I should comment. I was living in Houston working in energy trading and hating life. I was making tons of money and realized that none of it mattered to me at all. I was miserable but wasn’t actually doing anything to change my situation. Then, out of nowhere, the company I was working for got bought out and I was laid off (I was incredibly lucky in retrospect). I packed my bags and went to SE Asia for a couple months before finding another job in a city close to the mountains back in the US. Made a lot less money than before but it was worth it for me. I stayed in the trading industry but moved to ag products which is a lot more laid back. Maybe a similar change would be good for you.
 

It was absolutely the best thing to ever happen to me. SE Asia was incredible and the city I moved to was filled with people that didn’t start conversations with “so what do you do for work?” Eventually I spent enough time in that city to think living in a van was a good idea and once my job went remote during covid I spent 2 months building out a van and have been living in it for 2 years now with a girl I convinced to join me. My career is absolutely nowhere close to where it would have been if I stayed in Houston but I would rather ski 50 days a year and surf all summer long up and the down the pacific coast of the Americas than have a nice apartment somewhere.

Instead of totally packing it all up and moving to Bali try to find a chill job in a city somewhere that you think you would like. It take a leap of faith but could it possibly be worse than what you’re feeling right now? If it doesn’t work out you move back after a year. 

 

Bro, I know your feel. I think living freely is tough though. One day your savings will deplete and you are out of luck if you are out of work for long.

I thought about this and I just want to go somewhere like Chiang Mai to chill for life (I am based in Asia but life is tough regardless).

But we need some way to continue getting decent income after leaving banking. Probably need to find some side gig through remote working to make good money if we want some sort of freedom in such young age.

Depending on your (or our) profile, the options would include: zoom tutorial teacher (if you are good at presenting with decent education and don't mind low but more than enough pay), MBA / undergrad admission coach or IB interview coach (difficult to gain traction, need some sort of pedigree, decent money once you get stable customer pipeline), SWE (if you studied CS in ug. pay is low though for these remote jobs and current environment just sucks for CS), healthcare (counselling, clin psy, telemedicine, etc. - heavy investment but you can probably FIRE for life once you are licensed)

I hope one day I can do some remote jobs with decent pay and travel around the world but that's just so difficult. IB is attractive money with no sight to the end while being soul crushing everyday.

 

English Teacher (in person) is a lot more common than you think. People have been going this route well before the pandemic started. Additionally, for the water based locations any type of water-based instructors (swimming/diving/etc) are always in demand but you need some certs for some of these. Apart from that, he can work in hospitality itself. Pay isn’t the best for the grunt jobs but if he’s decent looking he could be a bartender or depending on his business experience try to go for a higher role (such as manager). 

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I don't regret it per se, but I did dive right back in once I realized that this was a case of the grass definitely being greener.  I have a lovely 3-year gap on my resume that I still daydream about to this day, though - so no complaints.  For the record it didn't hinder me professionally too much aside from some lost earnings - interviewers got a kick out of my stories from that period. I could write a book. 

The first thing you'll notice is that many expats have jobs.  Maybe 20% were wealthy enough to completely leave work behind (most of those were landlords or sustained themselves via rental properties/airbnb).  The rest were still employed in stuff like IT or consulting, web design, etc. and many were on weird hours because their clients were based in the U.S.  When I was in Portugal many folks slept all day and worked in the evenings so they could never really hang out or do anything spontaneous.  

The 2nd thing that hit me was that people still did what they did back home.   That meant pair up, get married, have kids, start businesses, etc...  So folks were still settling into a variation of domestic and work life, just without the office.  The pressure to earn and produce was still there, so there was an element of stress though acknowledged as something different. They would just call it "growing up" and such.  Not saying they weren't happier but they were still being led around by their responsibilities.

Then there were the folks passing through.  Lots of folks are on to the next adventure pretty quickly or get back to the grind after a hiatus.  I quickly got tired of cycling through temporary friend groups and watching them get younger while I got older.

So you're in paradise where no one has time to hang, people come and go, and the rest all disappear on you once they start pairing up.  I could get that at home w/ a nice bank deposit every 1st and 15th.  I just go on vacation a lot.  I'm particular to long weekends, which is a doozy w/ hybrid work.

One good thing I will argue came from the pandemic, is that folks realized they didn't need to spend quite as much as they thought or work as much as they had to feel content.  They didn't need to grind themselves into dust to make a living.  Much of it was just simple materialism masquerading as ambition.  

You guys have got to stop thinking that it's IB or nothing for your career (I know, wrong message board).  Just be a little bit more imaginative about your (exit?) options -  Look at all the non-banking folks on here who actually enjoy - or at least tolerate - their gigs.  You don't have to go full on bohemian to enjoy this life. 

 

You only have one life to live

Spending that time moving around numbers on a spreadsheet and creating powerpoint documents seems like a real waste to me

No one sits on their death bed and says "you know what? I wish I spent the prime years of my life chained to an office desk, living in some shit apartment in New York and occasionally banging Tinder 4-6's". Do what makes you happy and gives you fulfillment.

Because before you know it, that time will be up

Banker out

 

They're not going to kill off a huge source of revenue from holidaygoers/tourists/surfers/professionals on holiday. Check out the updated statements from the ministry of tourism (ie no active prosecution of people sustaining the local economy in tourist hotspots). I'm from UK parents but was born in Asia and lived there for a while and have spent 4+ years across 1 month stints on holiday everywhere worthwhile visiting, some of them strict, some of them not. Chill out buddy

 

Totally do it! You're a smart guy, I'm sure you'll figure out a way to make money. Remember, most millionaires / billionaires don't work in finance. Maybe this trip will help you reset and figure out your true passion. At the very minimum, it'll give you clarity and peace. I backpacked through Southeast Asia a few years ago and it was truly a life-changing trip. 

 

Get a remote job where you don't have to work many hours. There are plenty of BD type roles that are very easy, remote, and still pay pretty well. Then you can move to Bali or wherever the fuck you want and soak up the sun while still having the security of an upper-middle class US salary.

I had the same thought at one point and almost retired to Montana. But, I took some time and came to the conclusion that I don't mind working if I'm at least somewhat fulfilled by the work (which I am in VC(for the most part)). This was my conclusion, you may have a different one.

I often wonder what life would be like if I had retired. I also wonder if I had pursued banking, I might be more successful now, but likely I would've quit immediately because I'm an entrepreneur and I fucking hate working for other people.

Point is: you need to find yourself and understand your limits.

 

My parents both died, and I don't love my friends

probably this with a focus on trying to find a solution to the last part

 

It's not uncommon to feel lost or disillusioned with your career, and it sounds like you've hit a breaking point. After spending years in finance, I took the leap to leave it all behind and pursue a simpler life in Bali. I wasn't depressed, but I was tired of working at the bank where I was at, and wanted to do something completely different with my life. Or so I thought. However, the reality of that decision hit me quite hard, and I quickly realized that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. I was spending a lot of my time in between Ukrainian/Russian OnlyFans girls, Australian and Scandinavian chicks that were on yoga retreats, or guys coming there to work as a personal trainers or gurus. I also met some locals, which I became good friends with, but ultimately you're an outsider, and they know that you will most likely leave "their" world behind a few months in. I've been to Bali several times before, but everything is not as picturesque as it seems like. Despite being free from the corporate world, nothing had really changed, and the money will run out more quickly than you think. I didn't run out of money, but I realized that my way of living wasn't sustainable, and returned to the corporate world about 6 months after I left. 

It's understandable that you feel overwhelmed and long for a life of peace and quiet. You've come to the realization that material possessions don't bring you happiness, and that what you truly crave is a simple and fulfilling life. 

While it's important to listen to your instincts and do what makes you happy, it's also important to consider the practicalities of your decision. If you're feeling lost and uncertain about your next steps, it might be helpful to speak with a therapist to get to the bottom of what you are going through. You may also want to explore different job opportunities that align with your values, without draining your soul.

Ultimately, it's up to you to determine what brings you happiness and fulfillment in life. If you decide that a simple life is what you truly want, then it's important to make a plan that will enable you to achieve that goal in a sustainable way. Remember, it's never too late to make a change and pursue your dreams, but it's important to do so with intention and purpose.

 

I did 8 months in banking, and fucking hated it. It's important to understand that you can have a life in the west and have a certain comfort without working 80+ hours week. It's not IBD or surf hippie.

I have a friend of mine that snapped whilst working in MF PE and became a park ranger in the middle of fucking nowhere. He killed himself a year later, because clearly he wasn't in a good mindspace to actually know what he needed to do.

Please OP, get some help. There is a lot of space between hating your job every day and the instagram view you have of Bali.

There's diminishing returns on everything (pleasure seeking and working included), and the right balance for you is almost certainly not on either extreme.

It's OK to quit your job, get therapy and figure shit out without flipping the dial to the other side. 

 

I want to second a lot of the comments other have said here - it sounds like you are going through some depression. I went through it as well, carve out an hour a week and go talk to a therapist about what you are feeling.

I went through a very similar experience. Started in IB out of school, I was working all the time and extremely stressed. I lost touch with a lot of my close friends, missed weddings and didn't go on guys trips. It got to a point where I ended up resenting a lot of my friends because they couldn't relate to what I was going through at work and rather than fix what was going on in my life I found reasons to hate them.

Thankfully, my gf now wife pushed me to go talk to someone and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I ended up taking some PTO and made a career change, now couldn't be happier.  

 

Given the context of the thread want to stay anonymous and not give too much away but I am not in a traditional PE investing role. Still get to do interesting / stimulating work but lighter deadlines and less stress.

There a lot of interesting careers out there outside of traditional IB / PE. Don't be afraid to explore something outside the box.

 

Go for it man 100%. I know someone who lives in Bali and they love it, very affordable over there.

You only have 1 life and no reason for you to be miserable. At least try it out for a year and see how you like it

 

Man these decisions are way harder when you have kids. I can tolerate my job but it's such a grind and still don't know if I want this as a career. But I have a wife and kids and a mortgage to think about. If you are in a position to try something different without that "baggage" (I use that word but wouldn't trade my family for anything) then now is the time. Maybe not Bali but the world is open to you.

 

All joking aside, I have time off and have been in Bali for over a month. It has been pretty crazy to hear how many people work for a few years, invest their money, and move to Southeast Asia to retire young—some with rental properties, others with small businesses. The COL here is extremely low. You can get a half-decent Airbnb for $10/night and pay $10/day for three meals. There are ways to live lavishly over here, but having a solid life does not take a lot. So many people I have surrounded myself with are live-to-work kinds of people. This is great, and how I would characterize myself - but without taking a step back, it is easy to overlook how many people work-to-live exciting lives. The experience hasn't made me reconsider finance, but how I spend/save my money to ensure I can always take a step back.

 

Do it, you will be surprised at the doors it could open and unforgettable experiences you'll make.

2 very close friends of mine moved to Bali for 6 months, one met a co-founder and they are currently running a successful e-com brand, the other is now in Lisbon with a group they met out there and they're having the best time. Your 20s are undoubtedly the best time to take a leap of faith, don't wait until you're 45 to live your life.  

Big caveat with this is the wider economy is currently very uncertain and no-one knows what the next 6 months will look like, let alone the next 12, 24, etc. If you're happy with this risk and not being guaranteed a job when/if you come back, then go for it.

 

Before you make a decision, a few questions to help us understand your position better:

- How did this train of thought arise? Was it something you'd been thinking about in the back of your head, and one day it finally came to the forefront? If so, what was the trigger? If not, it's also worth asking what the trigger was in that instance.

- You said both your parents have passed, and my sincere condolences on that. Was their passing recent, and if so, is it possible that this has had an effect on you in terms of what you want? I only ask because I've sometimes wondered how I my motivations might be different if my parents were no longer around. 

- You said you wanted peace and quiet, and I (along with many others I think) can relate to wanting an absence of noise. But are you feeling overwhelmed by the noise around you, or by this sense that there's a lot of excess noise in your mind i.e. competing thoughts and priorities that are straining your bandwidth? If the latter, I'm sure being in a physically quiet environment will help still your mind, but it might not be for long. 

 

I think I just snapped. I realized that wearing my Rolex, wearing cool shoes, going to asian fusion restaurants, and buying stuff doesn't make me happy. It just fills a very dark hole. What I really like is to have peace (be at home by myself with nothing to do but watch the sky change). I'd like to move to Bali or someplace far away where I can live dirt cheap and just disappear. I've lived this life as far as it will take me. Being an MD will not change my life. I know driving a G wagon or owning slightly more stuff will not make a difference other than bragging rights. 

 

If it's a sudden revelation, and you can't ID any triggers, I'd suggest what's been mentioned by a few others already:

- Try living/working in Bali for a while, and see if the lifestyle suits you. A friend of mine has a colleague who works for an MNC (i.e. not finance), and that colleague was permitted to work remotely from Bali

- If you're not from Asia, try looking for a place that's about as tranquil as Bali without being too removed from the States, and see if you can find a job that allows you to work remotely. 

- Consider talking to a professional: no fucken shame in doing this, and I have thought about it multiple times. No one knows the battles you've fought or are fighting, and talking about them to someone might help clarify/refine your thinking.

I'm proposing the piecemeal approach here because going from a high-intensity job to feeling like you wanna withdraw from the world suggests that there's more at play here than may be consciously observable at the moment, and it might take some time for you to work through that. 

 

People do the exact same things there they do here. I lived in Bali for a bit. If you really want to try it, start researching jobs there, figure out a plan to make money either there or online. I backpacked for two years before slowly transitioning into IB. There’s an infinite ways of making it work, just a matter of being what you really want.

 

Hey OP, I understand you and what you’re going through.

There’s a book called Peaks and Valleys by Spencer Johnson, I think it would really help your perspective.

The whole book will take just about 1h:30m/2hrs to read through and it would absolutely change your perspective.

Don’t name what you are going through depression as many here call it, understand that life gets tough sometimes and this is one of those times.

I believe you would make it out of this situation.

The world is yours.

 

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