IB in Canada: What’s the point?

The moment you get past the $224,000 mark you’re taxed at 54% marginal to what you make above that. You’re working to pay more taxes here. Housing is beyond fucked in Toronto, and Vancouver. You can work in Calgary but you’re pigeonholed into metals and mining and oil and gas. The weather sucks here. You can’t even enjoy your money here. Investment banking used to be a career that gave you a lavish life, now it leads you to a slightly an above average life.

Anyone else feel the same way? I’ve become more motivated to leave the industry altogether in Canada and leave to the states to do something else.

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Controversial

Boo hoo.

Add in property tax difference, property insurance, health insurance etc and your total financial burden isn't massively different than NY or California. 

You can move to the Nevada side of lake Tahoe. Cheaper taxes. They're going to get 10 feet of snow this weekend. Or you can move to Houston, be an O&G banker there, less tax and you get a couple of hundred days of one hundred and melt your face degree weather with infinity humidity.

It's March 1st and sunny and 50f in Toronto stop complaining.

 
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“So what your country has been flooded with indians and no one can afford anything anymore? Quit bitching goy! Be happy we haven’t found a way to take the sun away from you yet!”

 

Everything is expensive here. We get taxed very high. The weather is fucking shit. The only benefit about this country is that the women are hot, much better than down south and the weed is legal. Aside from that why the fuck would anyone want to live here. Why?

 

Sorry but I think the past few years, Indians have been used as a scapegoat and quite unfairly. The hatred Indians are getting as well as the blame is quite literally the worst thing I have ever seen. It was like this when Chinese immigrants came over years ago and bought houses (most being rich) and then the pandemic, and now it's Indians getting the brunt of it. Pretty sure they pay the most taxes out of anyone and they are the highest earning ethnicity in Canada, US, UK, and more. I actually don't understand the hate at all.

I mean I have mainly met and spoken to western born and raised Indians, they have always been incredibly smart and lovely. 

 

Canadians are delusional and can’t comprehend that their country has gone to absolute shit relative to the US within the past decade. 

What pisses me off is the crabs in the bucket mentality and the absolute smug dishonesty by evil liars like Trudeau and those who already secured the bag. 

It’s like your house is on fire and a smug yuppie is sitting in the corner telling everyone “no actually, it’s not that warm on this side of the house. Stop complaining.” 
 

Canadians with functional brains need to get to the US. 

 

Im working on it. Once I go I’m fucking done. Idgaf im gone. Fuck you Trudeau this mother fucker sold the country out to everyone else. We were fucking functional with Harper but this motherfucker destroyed the country. He destroyed it because of the soy boy cucks believing this liberal bs.

 

If you're on this site you're either a smug yuppie or on the way to being one.

I've lived and/or worked in London, NYC, Chicago and Toronto. I know what Canada is, what Toronto is on the world scale. Let me tell you, as someone here who actually does make good money, my money goes a whole lot farther in Toronto than it does in London or New York.

This site have people constantly posting that everything is shit. "Oh you're at Citi? That's shit because it's not GS." "Oh you're in Chicago making bank? You're shit because you couldn't get into NYC."

Tell you what, your life as a MD at some boutique in Calgary pulling in a million Canadian is a whole lot better than as a VP or director at a BB in NYC making $750k USD.

Canada may have issues, same with Toronto but everywhere does. Look at Chicago, a city that might go bankrupt in a state which should go bankrupt. Congratulations on them, yesterday for the seventh time in the last five years there wasn't a shooting that day!

 

I’m not in IB but this isn’t a IB problem in Canada but overall problem with jobs that should be high paying but aren’t in Canada. Even tech, medicine or engineering jobs aren’t the best in Canada, the discount in comp in these fields is crazy as I’ve seen people move to the US from Canada and make double or close to triple their Canadian comp right away in the US. Staying in Canada always had trade offs like low pay and stuff but it was compensated with free healthcare, good social welfare policies, and decent cost of living. Now, those advantages are gone so nothing good is left (with some exceptions). I know some people talk about property taxes and health insurance being a cost in the US, but home ownership at 300k comp is way more attainable in the US (except for tier 1 cities) versus Canada, in Canada you barely qualify for a home with that comp except for maybe Calgary outside of that other cities don’t provide good career options. and what’s the point with free healthcare if healthcare isn’t available, I live in suburb that is considered one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, and you’ll be surprised how bad healthcare here is due to understaffing and not enough hospital beds/ infrastructure. Someone is gonna make a argument about crime and everything being low in Canada compared to the states, but if you live in the major cities crime is no different that what it’s like in major cities in the US, it might not be as bad but robbery, theft, random attack by homeless is getting common in Toronto/vancouver. 

 

Where are you getting 54%? In Ontario it would be 33% federal tax plus 13% provincial, and in Alberta it’s 33% plus 15%. The only provinces where the tax rate is actually that high is in the Maritimes, and that wouldn’t be a concern for investment banking anyways. This isn’t even much worse for plain tax rate than the US. In New York, you’d be paying 37% fed tax and 10% state tax at the highest tax bracket. And sure, you could go to Texas, but then you gotta deal with the heat and being pigeonholed into O&G, the same thing that would’ve happened if you stayed in Calgary with the cooler weather

 

From the title, I thought it was going to be about the rampant nepotism and gatekeeping that prevents any outsider from pursuing IB in Canada.

Or if you do get in, the stalling of promotions with bs reviews.

But yeah, conclusion is Canadian banking sucks anyway.

 

Don't let the idiots below get you down - you have every right to complain about Canada. Americans who think Canadians have "free healthcare" have no idea what they're talking about. Life in Canada is absurdly expensive - everything here just costs more. My advice is try and get out if you can.

 

The hell are you talking about? I make just north of 200 (my girlfriend makes close to 150) - we both live in Toronto, we own a 1500 Sqft townhouse in North York, an investment condo in Calgary, 2 Mercedes’, take at least 4-5 trips every year, I have a nice watch, and we dine outside occasionally. We are both 27.

I understand that Trudeau has fucked the country for the middle class or if your household income is below 100K - but working in IB still gets you the “lavish” life experiences in Toronto.

Yes, a single family house costs over a million in Toronto but why in the world would you want a 3/4 bedroom house all by yourself? If you have an SO, buying a townhouse/semi for your first property in your mid 20s isn’t a struggle if you both have decent jobs and spending habits (you don’t even need to be in IB). If you don’t have an SO, buy a 1/2 bedroom apartment by yourself with 100-140K down payment.

 

Yes but in the long run you’re still miles behind as you would have been working in the u.s. but theres more to life than money. I too like my life in Toronto and its not so bad in ib, however my deals and flow are pretty un motivating. Canada is a weak market in general.

 

I don’t know if this is entirely true though - me and my girlfriend want to start a family soon, and at least Toronto has some low density zoning so we were able to get a house right next the TTC station. We also work exactly 8:30 to 5, with some days stretching to 6 so the work life balance is pretty great. I do appreciate your comment about being more to life than money.

If I relocated to our NYC office, that WLB is pretty much gone, and we would either be delaying our family plans or living outside of Manhattan. Of course, I would be able to afford a nicer watch and go for an SUV right away instead of a sedan for my first car but it’s not like I can’t do that right now as I won’t gain much…let alone having 25 vacation days that I can actually use without feeling stressed about work not getting done.

Disclaimer - I am not even in the highest earning bracket for VPs in my firm since I am a quant dev, I am sure the traders and IB guys get paid even more

I personally think Chicago wins in all those categories, however, it’s not night and day difference between Toronto when it comes to quality of life and affording the stuff we want. Toronto is much safer as well.

 

While that is true, I think the biggest issue we have is with zoning. Look at the Annex for example; there are almost zero high rises although it is sandwiched between 4 TTC stations. There are also a ton of NIMBYs who end up sending projects to the OLT board and they end up getting delayed.

I am hoping action is taken soon, and I read on UrbanToronto that there are currently 1.2 million presale units in the GTA and that was a bit uplifting.

 

I've worked on both sides of the border - the reality is that everywhere suffers in comparison to the US in terms of the finance job market.  London, for instance, has the same kind of issues that people characterize Toronto as having; expensive housing, higher competition for jobs, relatively higher taxes, relatively lower pay etc.  Toronto is however geographically close to NYC so a more stark comparison.  You can live a great life with an IB salary in Toronto, the US is a different kettle of fish though.  There's this very bright line between haves and have nots here, you'll do very well for yourself here if you're on the right side, but i'd sure hate to be part of the disappearing middle class (or worse).  There's no comparing the prospects for a talented guy in finance though, the US is a different planet.

 

It’s not even in finance, I have friends trying to get into med school in Canada and it’s harder than anything. 99 percentile MCAT score and near perfect gpa and they still get rejected by Canadian med school for 3-4 years. When they apply to the US, they get accepted first time and with scholarships. And then you do some digging there’s literal gatekeeping in med schools, like there’s a certain undergrad program at McMaster that has 60-70% students get accepted to Canadian med school because the faculty knows or were former admission committee members themselves. And it’s really hard to know this stuff when you’re in high school as you’re still young and learning unless you have family or close friends tell you. It’s just leading to brain drain in the country because it’s not worth it for smart people to stay here and just keep getting rejected from their goals.  

 

Dude, your comment history is hardo anti-Canada on multiple threads. What happened bud, did you get rejected at the border? Leafs clapping your team a bit hard this season? Or are you okay with a foreign country assassinating a Canadian on our soil?

 

I am a M7 MBA graduate who moved to Toronto a few years due to H1B fiasco in States. First of all, it took me a year to land a job that paid just decently well, but was not my top preference, Secondly, I was making much more money before bschool in US than I am in Toronto after school. Most of my income is just going to paying my loan. I have big disdain for Canadian employers and talent here. Canada suffers from false positive in the sense most people here think highly of themselves , but are a solid B on their best days. 

 

What was your job before bschool. What are some things you wish you knew coming out of undergrad when applying for bschool?
All the best,

 

Note: I've worked in IB and in PE now in Canada for over 6 years, am currently an SA2 (ignore title).

Fair points made on both sides, agreed that Canada is going downhill for us capitalists and less opportunity than the US, but also agree on the flip side that the cost of living issues that Canada is experiencing is directionally the same in other markets, including the NY, SF, LA, London, HK, etc.

One thing not mentioned is that while Canada does have weaker after-tax income than the US, even in finance they do work more in the US than in Canada, on average, which somewhat justifies the higher pay. 

The WLB in Canada is slightly to moderately better than in the US. While I've only worked in Canada, I have colleagues and close friends at other firms (both MFs and MM, and formerly IB) in Canada and the US, and they grind. Which is a bit more fair they are paid more, cause it sucks more.

Put it this way - using random numbers, if I get paid $400k and work 65 hours a week = $118 / hour but my friend is getting $500k but works 80 hours a week =   $120 / hour...the gap really isn't that far off. Yes, as we get more senior, it will widen, but you need to factor in WLB and not just pure comp. 

 

directionally the same but the magnitude and speed of Canada's issues is the highest in the OECD. Canada is speed running permanent slavery for 99% of it's population. 

Things are dramatically worse in Toronto compared to 2020, things are slightly worse in NY compared to 2020. Canada's housing market is approaching the same levels as fucked as HK and Seoul, which makes no sense. HK has an extremely small amount of land, Canada is the second largest country in the world. Canada is fucked because the leaders on the federal, provincial, and city levels wanted it to be. 

 

We have a new mayor (Olivia Chow - Jack Layton's late wife) who just offloaded over 1 billion dollars of budget to the provincial government and secured hundreds of million of dollars from the federal government - mostly to build housing and improve transit. Hopefully if Pierre wins next election, he'll require municipalities to permit 15% more residential zones per year, or else they miss out on funding. He mentioned that he would also link immigration numbers to housing starts and infrastructure such as healthcare and education. High hopes ahead!

 

Canadian accents? Bud, unless you're exclusively speaking to Canadian girls from small towns, you have no idea what you're talking about. Do you think Rachel McAdams and Evangeline Lilly have weird accents? lol

 

As a Canadian whenever I go down to the US it’s harder to find hot girls. Canada is a smaller country but we have more hot girls than the US. Whenever I go down to the US it feels that there’s more uglier girls than hotter ones whereas here the average girl is prettier than the average American girl.

 

I was getting trashed previously in another post but I will repeat it here.

If you are in Canada, it is fucking dumb to go Ivey (or Rotman / Sauder) just with an IB pipe dream.

Most who target this career DO NOT succeed. And even you are in, your salary is like taxed so much that you are slaving for the government while living in a shithole.

Your exit will be non-existent PE roles, corp dev that pays peanuts or if you are lucky you may get into the pensions / just become lifetime bankers.

Best might be going down to the US but only if that is your goal and you are lucky to pull that off.

However, most just cannot survive. Either cannot tank the hours as lifer or the US economy blew up or the Canadian energy hits. If you are unlucky, you are gone.

Meanwhile, those who studied at Guelph (perhaps this is a bit more extreme) or McMaster health science (comparable grades to you guys in Ivey AEO) have a much easier time. Unlike the US, Canada does not require 1000 hours RA or volunteering. Just do a bird course (McMaster health science averages 3.8 GPA) and study the MCAT a bit then you are in. 4 years of MD and 5-6 years of residency sound shit.

But these people make 400-500k CAD a year working 9-6 (or less) without worrying job stability. With the chance working outside the most expensive part of the country and potentially moving south to earn more. Best part? The ability to incorporate and pay like 1/4 tax of yours. For those who don't believe, check out "medical professional corporations" and read about the tax rate for SME in Ontario or BC below CAD500k profit.

Med schools have 2000 spots and IB has fewer than 100, let alone those who survived and moved up. Competition to IB is almost if not as hard as getting into derm. What are you guys signing up for?

Even if you don't want to be a doctor, do Waterloo CS and pursue the path with less resistance. Or if you really dead set on IB, hustle and go US.

 

I seriously think you’re incredibly out of touch. IB, Corp dev and pensions don’t pay peanuts. While it’s less than a lot of American placements, it’s considerably more than majority of people in Canada. Sure taxes are high but maybe people actually find the industry interesting. Not everyone’s career path is cookie cutter, maybe they try this then get into a top MBA and move to the states. They could also lateral to another office or even found a business. As for your med school idea….thats crazy. I don’t think you understand how hard it is to get into med school in Canada. A 3.8 GPA and even an above average MCAT is nowhere close to what you need for a shot at med school. Think more 3.95+ and 515+ MCAT. That’s just to get to interviews and it’s not even a guarantee you make it in. And most doctors do not make $400-$500k, unless they specialize or we’re talking years down the line when they set up a practice, by which you’ll be into your 30s, having worked similar hours to IB for a fraction of the pay early career. Sure the conditions for IB or most front office finance roles in Canada aren’t ideal but relax, it’s far from the worst.

 

If you don't manage to move south, the pay is not that far off from someone who studied engineering but going to US.

It is not bad, just you are competing among thousands of kids from Queen's, Ivey and a few more uni for like a few dozens of hc. Meanwhile, Canadian med schools take 2000 students a year and if you do some research, the admission rate outside of Ontario is 15-20% for those with in-province status.

My fundamental thesis is not Canadian IB kids living below poverty line but rather most IB kids took a path with great resistance, of which many failed given the small headcounts available. And those succeeded they aren't much better (or even slightly worse) vs those who did something else like Waterloo CS or Canadian MD. When you look at someone pulling 300k at a pension, think of how many failed when trying to get into grad IBD analyst role and think about how many analysts managed to get a buyside exit after their 2 year stint.

Going back to the MD point

In general, if you are already in university with IB in mind, it is too late to make the switch. For those who wanted to get in from day 1, they game the system very well. Doing bird courses, gaining status in easier province, etc. Just FYI, McMaster health science has an average GPA of ~3.8 and Queen's launched a health science degree with similar easiness as feeder to med schools. Most Canadian degrees have low averages (2.8-3.0 for most UofT majors) but many aspiring MD kids will just opt for the ahove two or something that is slightly harder but still relatively easy (McGill Anatomy and Cell Biology, Western Health Science, or just something easy from Guelph/UNB). On top of that, the 3.9 GPA you saw is on an adjusted basis. Toronto drops your lowest year, Western looks at your best 2 years and Queen's looks at your last 2 years. MCAT for in-province at places like Manitoba is like 513 which is top 10%. Every year there are Canadians who go M7 for MBA and they scored 730+ which is top 5%. Academically getting into MD sounds difficult but the hustling in IB is a lot more. And for those who do it right by moving to easier in-province and gaming the GPA, it is still hard but not much harder than how someone maintaining 3.5+ at Rotman etc.

 

You do realize specialists in Canada outside of FM even in many medical and non-surgical specialities are pulling in 350-550k and being incorporated means they are paying effective tax rate below 10%?

And there are 2000 are med grads a year of which more than 1000+ are doing non-FM vs what? 80 headcounts across all BB and big 5 IBD positions and fewer than 15 across all pensions and paying close to 50% tax?

Funny how you call other people comments stupid but as an associate 3 doesn't even have the ability to do your own DD before barking.

 

So much hate towards Canada recently (most of it is actually appropriate). But I want to provide at least some positivity to this thread. 

First of all, net pay is worse, and housing is much more expensive in Canada. This sucks. No way around this - just cold facts. 

Lifestyle-wise, I live on the West Coast, and as many other posters from Canada noted, I don't remember the last time I worked past 7pm or on the weekends, and I make ~$400-500k. Half of my income is incorporated, and all my PE investments are through my corp (you should negotiate this with your employer), so I don't pay as much in taxes.

I don't want to live in a city like NY or London where I can't ski, mountain bike, or hike every other weekend. My friends who live in the US and work in finance allegedly work past midnight almost every day, and their hobbies primarily revolve around drinking and nightlife.  

I feel like, overall, it is not that bad to live in Canada, especially if you can make $500k+ household income and have hobbies or side hustles. "Hourly pay" seems to be better than in the US.