US cities Ranking (compensation based)

I want to know which are the best and the worst cities to live.
 

Comments (117)

6mo 
SpreadCompsNCheeks, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Would probably add Atlanta to that list too. Houston is pretty energy and power focused. Atlanta and Charlotte have a lot of options in terms of product/coverage at banks.

  • 8
6mo 
Druvi, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Add Tampa, great lifestyle and weather plus low cost of living

  • 2
Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
6mo 
big4escapee, what's your opinion? Comment below:

tampa's rent is insane rn lol

  • 1
6mo 
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I feel like Cleveland (KeyBank) beats every other city in terms of salary/COL

Array

  • 4
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
6mo 

Would also add Richmond to this list

  • 5
6mo 
AnonymousBanker18, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Do you know if they are better than Miami, Boston, DC or even Chicago in terms of pay?

  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
6mo 

All of these shops pay the same as their NYC counterparts besides Key which pays like 5 or 10k less in base for Cleveland than NY. So yes, in Richmond, Atlanta, Houston, Charlotte, or Tampa, you can make 200k+ as an An1. 

  • 3
  • 1
6mo 
AnonymousBanker18, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Do you know if London compensation is better than in these cities?

  • 1
  • Prospect in IB - Gen
6mo 

London is the worst of the worst:

- Lower base salaries and bonuses

- London is as expensive as NYC 

- Higher tax rates 

- Weakening currencies (either the GBP or the Euro are wet paper compared to the Dollar right now) 

- Ugliest chicks in the world (overweight girls with fake tan and a ton of makeup) 

- Full of British and Europeans 

  • 4
  • 1
6mo 
ineedagirlfriend, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You can deduct $50K from IB Houston bc weather decreases the value so much. I've heard it called Asston!

  • 3
  • 1
  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
6mo 

Any M&A groups in CLT?

  • 2
6mo 
ulm, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Houston is the most useless and poorly planned city among the big ones in the country. Nothing to do; terrible weather; traffic; built worse than LA; far from everything except Mexico.

  • 2
  • Anonymous Monkey's picture
  • Anonymous Monkey
  • Rank: Chimp
6mo 
Anonymous Monkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is the right answer. +SB. As soon as someone says, "Houston is a great city" I know that person has never actually spent time in Houston. All of the above is accurate and add a terrible crime/gang problem too. 

  • 1
  • Business School in CorpStrat
6mo 

Richmond, VA. Making 350K+ there, I'd imagine even people who like to splurge would have no problem saving a good chunk of their comp given the COL.

  • 4
6mo 
ChinaShiII, what's your opinion? Comment below:
[Comment removed by mod team]
6mo 
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

how much are we talking about?

  • 2
6mo 
imonlybaiting, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Salaries within the financial industry in Switzerland are a joke compared to the US, especially factoring in COL. Salaries are basically in line with non-financial industries. All employers know thay there is little competition for workforce in this small country, hence no reason to pay big bucks. Add on top that lots of people globally would like to live here, and you get high supply of workforce for very few jobs.

Especially among younger folks it is not uncommon to leave Switzerland at least temporarily in order to make big money in US or even London.

  • 4
  • Intern in IB - Cov
6mo 

Chicago currently probably has one of the best balances between finance opportunities and COL given that most BBs and some EBs have presence, but admittedly, it's on the decline and it's losing out to Dallas/Austin

  • 3
  • 1
  • Intern in IB - Gen
6mo 

What do you mean it's on the decline?

  • 2
  • Associate Consultant in Consulting
6mo 

Long term, Austin/Dallas are on a much worse trajectory for IB, PE, and consulting given the concentration firms there have on oil and gas

  • Assist. VP in PE - Other
6mo 

Lmao Chicago is not declining and net comp slaps compared to NY / SF / LA. 

Source: Chicago resident since 2007 

  • 5
  • 2
  • Investment Analyst in HF - Event
6mo 

Unpopular but my personal view is that people overstate the importance of COL. Taxes are a big one, obviously, but the bottom line should be being in the seat that increases your expected long-term comp, if the goal is money. COL cannot overcome that.

I'm not saying this is the case, but if your NYC seat has a median outcome of $2M comp in 10 years, and your Cleveland seat has a median outcome of $1M comp after the same window, even if you're spending, say, $600K extra on taxes in NYC (on that extra $1M), and an *extra* $15K on housing a month... you'd come out ahead by more than $200K net per year.

So, frankly, quality of the training, deal flow, and exits at your first seat are worth way more than whether you're getting 30% better COL as an An1.

6mo 
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

He's talking about MD level comp

NYC salary = $2MM/year

Extra taxes = ($600,000)

Extra housing costs = ($15,000*12=$180,000)

NYC salary adjusted for Cleveland COL

= $2MM-$600,000-$180,000=$1,220,000

Cleveland salary =$1MM

Net NYC over Cleveland = $1,220,000-$1,000,00 = $220,000

Array

  • 4
6mo 
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The discount in Cleveland isn't 30%, it's at least 50% cheaper if not more. For context this building https://www.terminaltower.com is only a few blocks from Key and you can get a personal, newly renovated  studio in an old luxury building at $1000/month. Amenities include a fully furnished gym. So not only is rent much cheaper, but the quality of what you can get is far better than what an analyst can get. Even on base salary you can pretty much do whatever you want whenever you want in CLE.

I'm not trying to shill for Cleveland or other MCOL cities I just want to point out that there is a drastic difference in "base comforts" (food, housing, gym, etc) that one can afford in CLE compared to NYC at the junior levels and while you're correct that NYC offers higher upside  that assumes one will get all the promotions, not get pushed out and not decide to move to a cushier role such as corp dev or corp strat a few years down the line. Getting to $2MM isn't easy and requires a lot of variables to fall into place including analysts living in a shoebox (relative to places like CLE) with 0 amenities, unable to have their own car and living off of seamless just to have all their meals covered due to HCOL + student loan payments all while working 80+ hours a week. Compare that to CLE where a junior can live in a nice comfortable studio, order all the nutritious food they need to make it through the hours, make a big dent in their student loan payments and have a convenient gym in the same building all within a few minutes drive from work with no financial stress. For people who don't mind a slower pace in life and aren't trying to optimize their future comp to the dollar there's a tangible reason why they would choose to work in a place like CLE for at least the first few years before they can really afford NYC (and have all loans paid off) even if the Key name means coming in at a less prestigious firm in NYC when they do make it in. Some may even choose to stay in CLE as COL factors into homes, kids school, etc. and the arts/culture/nightlife angle is largely irrelevant for families living in suburbs.

Array

  • 6
  • Investment Analyst in HF - Event
6mo 

Good answer, and I don't disagree, this is a fair perspective to have. But I think that answer ends up being about a lot more than merely COL - it's more about lifestyle, on the whole, and what we're optimizing for. QOL =/= COL - and I wasn't saying that NYC had the best QOL.

But, since COL is focused on the "C" I was pointing out that, in general, early career folks would do better to focus on income (or optionality, at least) not merely costs - noting well all of your caveats about having limited control over long-term income path. I wasn't intending to say that this means (better) quality of life along the lines you propose later in life is the wrong answer, nor, perhaps, that starting in such a place with that goal is the wrong answer either.

6mo 
s86ahmed, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Isn't Cleveland's dating pool shit if you're a guy (not sure about girls)

  • 1
6mo 
yuzhizhou, what's your opinion? Comment below:

But the COL has to cap at some point right? Is not like as an MD in Cleveland your COL is 1M and in NYC your COL will move to 2M. You only need a set amount of stuff for yourself and your family.

  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
6mo 

Taxes and housing are the only two things that factor into COL? Guess so if you grow your own food in a hydroponics chamber or something. And send your kids to public school. Bike the 2+ hours of commute you have when you finally upgrade from the 350 sq. ft. studio. Brew your own alcohol and never actually go out (grow your own weed with that hydroponics equipment?). Ration your utilities in a cost-adjusted manner. Go to Canada for free healthcare after a homeless guy tries to kill you in the subway for the 43rd time. Etc.

6mo 
Unknown-, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Dallas

  • 4
6mo 
AnonymousBanker18, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So, trying to summarize all the data that have been posted above and answering my original question I think that the Ranking should be something like that (Based on long term compensation, CoL, taxes and ONLY ON COMMENTS):

1. NY/SF/LA

2. Chi/Boston/DC

3. Houst/Dallas

4. Charlotte/Atlanta

5. Richmond/Tampa

6. Cleveland

7..HK/Shenzhen/Singapore

8. London

9. Switzerland

(Places like Dubai, Frankfurt, Paris, Milano, Amsterdam, Sydney, Philadelphia left. Would appreciate any info about them)

Do you think this is accurate enough?

6mo 
Mr.Robot, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Where would austin, nashville, miami rank?

  • 2
  • Intern in IB - Cov
6mo 

Boston T4 with richmond is such a bad take

  • 2
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
6mo 

DC is tier 6 that place is a dump

  • 1
  • VP in IB-M&A
6mo 

NY/SF/LA definitely don't belong at #1 if you're taking CoL and taxes into consideration, especially when comp is relatively the same regardless of city in our industry. By no means am I saying we should look it this as best bang for your buck because then a shithole like Cleveland would be at the top but looking at it holistically NY/SF/LA are #3 at best.

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
6mo 

DC based banks or MM branches in the DC metro tend to pay the same as NYC. Though the cost of living and taxes are still high it's still better than NYC. You can get a ~500-600 SF studio or one bedroom in a luxury apartment building for like $2,500 versus $3,200 for the equivalent in NY

But at least you still get a big city experience, if you're into that, which I feel that places like Charlotte & Atlanta somewhat lack.  

  • 2
6mo 
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

But DC culture is based around politics 24/7 which can be draining for some.

Array

  • 3
6mo 
AnonymousBanker18, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As regards networking and exit ops, do you think that top-tier cities provide an exponentially better range of possibilities than other places mentioned here? I think this is relevant because of the improvent that your comp would experiment.
 

What about the difficulties of making intern movements from an office located in one place to another? Is it possible to go from Houston to NY for example?

  • 2
  • Associate 1 in IB - Cov
6mo 

The Emirates would likely be at the very top here, depending on a few unique factors to the country (passport, background, package etc). Generally speaking, if you've a "good" passport and let's call it "English speaking first world" banking experience, you'll make NY-comparable money (maybe at a little discount to Street on the bonus though), tax free.

The real money, however is in the expat packages thrown in on top, where the free housing, car and general allowances come into play. These deals are real but are becoming increasingly hard to come by.

6mo 
AlaskaFishing, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am very curious about this. How can I send you a PM?

  • 1
4mo 
thymineisgood, what's your opinion? Comment below:

UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi) hands down. NY pay (slight discount) with 0% tax, dollar peg, reasonable CoL (significantly lower than NY/SF/LON etc.), and thriving IB scene.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
6mo 

Minneapolis has Piper Lazard hw and HL - all pay street or higher

6mo 
crayon323, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Do you work in Chicago? I'm trying to get some insight into the banking scene, could you pm?

  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
6mo 

Little Rock, Arkansas

  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
6mo 

Qui consequatur reprehenderit corrupti adipisci hic quia. Iure sed nam repellendus iure sunt est modi. Vero accusamus voluptatum velit. Repellat repellat similique cum quas.

6mo 
chromium73, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Harum voluptas ea illum praesentium ab nam ipsum. Laudantium sint fuga quam. Officiis odit magni libero. Veniam nobis deserunt porro inventore consequatur maiores fugiat quod.

Dicta sapiente vel qui impedit quo iure ad. Quia ea porro aspernatur. Consequatur maxime sed ex. Quae aut dicta ut ut tenetur.

Start Discussion

Popular Content See all

Career Advancement Opportunities

February 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres (+ +) 99.5%
  • Jefferies & Company (▽01) 99.1%
  • Lincoln International (▽01) 98.6%
  • Financial Technology Partners (▽01) 98.1%
  • William Blair (▲08) 97.7%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

February 2023 Investment Banking

  • Canaccord Genuity (▲04) 99.5%
  • William Blair (▲04) 99.0%
  • Lincoln International (▲09) 98.6%
  • Jefferies & Company (▲06) 98.1%
  • Financial Technology Partners (▲09) 97.6%

Professional Growth Opportunities

February 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres (▲15) 99.5%
  • Financial Technology Partners (▲09) 99.1%
  • Lincoln International (= =) 98.6%
  • Jefferies & Company (▽03) 98.1%
  • William Blair (▲01) 97.7%

Total Avg Compensation

February 2023 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (6) $592
  • Vice President (24) $418
  • Associates (137) $262
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (9) $194
  • 2nd Year Analyst (80) $172
  • 1st Year Analyst (258) $171
  • Intern/Summer Associate (42) $166
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (185) $91