Making $250k a year in your early 20s is wild.

I’m in banking and make around $200-250k a year depending on bonus. That’s…insane. Like, I just graduated. What 22-23 yo has that much value add? How in the world do I justify my existence??

I know the reasons go beyond simple value add, there’s competing firms vying for talent, long hours, and money to go around with big M&A fees, but it’s wild to me that in the modern age we can move slides around and make that kind of money.

Imagine a normal business struggling for cash flow at a board meeting, scrutinizing each financial statement line item to save every dollar. Now imagine them trying to justify their new graduate hire’s salary.

“Okay we spent $1,200 on a piece of equipment that’s dragging EBITDA slightly negative for the quarter. Also you can see we established a new line of credit of $5,600 a month to hold us over while we wait for that customer to pay us…oh yeah and Chadley Brooklyn over here needs his $250,000 to convert the client’s pdf balance sheet to excel.” If I were the CFO of that company I’d do the slides and financials myself, like seriously lol.

I’m being dramatic and I understand that Goldman’s Sack can afford to pay their analysts, but this job is crazy to me. I fully expect to be replaced by AI any day now.

Anyways, happy Monday.


Hey there, it sounds like you're grappling with the reality of high salaries in the banking industry, especially at a young age. It can indeed seem surreal, but remember, the high compensation is not just for the work you do, but also for the long hours, the stress, and the value you bring to the firm.

In the world of finance, the stakes are high and the transactions you're dealing with often involve large sums of money. So, while your tasks might seem simple like converting a client's pdf balance sheet to excel, the implications of that task are far-reaching. It's not just about the task itself, but the knowledge and expertise required to do it correctly and efficiently.

As for the fear of being replaced by AI, it's a common concern in many industries. However, while AI can automate certain tasks, it can't replace the human touch, the strategic thinking, and the relationship-building aspect of your job.

So, take a deep breath, embrace the craziness, and remember, you're earning your stripes (and your salary) every day. Happy Monday to you too!


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I think it comes down to advisory fees. I'm not only talking about banking, but as a whole across all industries e.g. real estate agent getting 6% for looking up the same thing I can on google... There are flat fee real estate agents now and other alternatives that don't hose you. Makes a ton of sense to me. I don't how banking advisory fees are still a thing. Well, I know why, but it's pretty stupid. Management team from company goes, oh, it's only $15mm advisory fee on a $750mm deal, seems reasonable because dollars are small on a % basis and can't not hire the best bank to pinch pennies and do a bad deal. Which is really a a cover-your-ass move because it's not your money you're spending in the first place (head of acquiring company's corp dev's salary and bonus aren't contingent on being frugal, they're more likely paid on capital deployed, revenue targets, etc.). 

If the corp dev and management teams were paid on ROI for deals and capital deployed (let's pretend we can agree on a reasonable definition), we'd see an end to these shenanigans and overpaid middle men bankers. Rant over


Yeah the flat % fee structure is how we do it at my firm. It’s just crazy no big companies have put their foot down and decided they’re not gonna pay the steep fees. Or competing banking firms haven’t driven down the cost to more perfect competition by now. So it leaves all this money for the firm and MDs and what trickles down to us is still a lot. Crazy.


Man I know you’re right but it’s all perspective. Compared to growing up, my quality of life is way down working this much living in a  HCOL city coming from a well off family. But I know I’m making more than the household income of many families I knew growing up. It’s confusing 


I agree with all above but no publicly listed company even if it’s micro cap is realistically scrutinizing over a few hundred dollars worth of equipment at a board meeting… even sizeable private companies are not going to care, even if CFs are going down


250k nowadays are way different than before. Especially if it’s 150k + 100k. Can’t probably even own a place where you live, maybe even flat sharing. No sport cars, terrible working hours so not even time for long vacations, no luxury watches etc…

keep working hard kiddo, we need to bump those numbers


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