How much have you saved? How much do you spend each year?

I was trying to get my personal finances together, so I am trying to get a sense for what is "normal" for folks that have done about 4 years in finance (2 years banking + 2 years buyside). In particular, I am trying to get a sense for whether my spending is too high or too low. How much do you spend on rent and other expenses each year? How much do you save each year? How much have you saved to date? In your answer it would be helpful to get a sense for how many years out of school you are.

Comments (53)

Nov 3, 2019 - 6:28am
KyzX75, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Damn that is a pretty huge amount of Saving.

I'm Just finised my Master Degree in Paris and was wondering what type of job give you the 200K/Y and in which location ?

Sorry to ask but i will go for IB for my first year and in paris the salary are very low

Nov 3, 2019 - 12:24pm
BobbybananamA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ok that can't be true because cost of living varies by a factor of 2 across the USA. It definitely does matter which city we are talking about and what you do for a living. The expenses of someone that works at an asset manager in Ohio from 9 to 6 will be different from someone that works at a mega-fund in NYC simply because the latter is in a higher cost of living region and has a higher opportunity cost of time (so they cannot cook etc.)

  • Investment Manager in AM - Equities
Nov 3, 2019 - 12:33pm

Sure. Think what you want. What I am telling you is they were all spending roughly $40k annually. The folks in chicago, dallas, Houston, atlanta, Charlotte, Cleveland, and seattle all lived higher "standard of living" lifestyles than the friends in san Francisco and NYC. I see what you are saying

Nov 4, 2019 - 12:39pm
ThatOtherGuy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Damn, well I feel poor as fuck LOL

$400k in savings can take you a long way in terms of start-up capital if you feel like jump-starting personal ventures or businesses. I guess the trade-off here is not having time while on the job to work on these projects?

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Nov 5, 2019 - 8:16pm
Grindtime, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This data point is just wrong for like 90% of the 2+2 path - MAYBE, maybe if you were at Moelis/Centerview/Qatalyst to a MF....then sure, you are probably doing pretty well. But for most of us, that number is just ridiculous.

The absolute best saver I know of, very rarely went out to drinks/dinners etc., didn't dress particularly flashy, no superfluous spending, purely focused on work - he told me he was breaching $150k which seems more accurate.

Most Helpful
Nov 4, 2019 - 3:16pm
mrharveyspecter, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This feels about right to me 400k after four years is extremely high in my opinion. Yes, if you live extremely frugally that's fine, but in a Tier 1 city, it's hard to live that way unless you're really living a low quality of life (long commute, poor diet, etc)

I live in a Tier 1 and have probably averaged 60-70k a year. That was lower in earlier years and higher in later ones. I live a good life, but still have roommates, pay for big vacations mostly on points, I eat out a fair amount but no blowing money on clubs or anything crazy like that.

In my opinion if you can max your 401k and put aside a few thousand a month after that, you're in good shape if you're early in your career and living in an expensive city. So many people in the NYs and SFs of the world will work a high paying job and still blow all their money. I think of the bankers I know that are living in 5k+ apartments by themselves, have a bunch of nice watches, lease a BMW, big nights out etc. In theory if you save no money, you can live that type of lifestyle on 300k a year, but its probably not a good idea to get used to that.

Nov 4, 2019 - 3:14pm
Value892, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm at 5 years, but here goes (and this is consistent with a lot of people I know in the industry). Also remember pay (and expenses) scale up in the latter years. Ie. saving a ton more now than when I first started working.

Avg comp: 185k / year Avg taxes: 65k / year Avg rent (NYC): 21.5k / year Avg other expenses (weekends, memberships, utilities etc): 30k / year

Savings = 68.5k / year so ~$342.5k over 5 years.

Nov 5, 2019 - 11:39pm
Davistaz, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is in line with my experience. Had about ~275k saved after 4.5 years out of college. 400k isn't out of the picture if I lived way more frugally (cut the gym membership, cut eating out, cut midnight snacks / drinks exceeding bank allowance, cut more happy hours, cut fancy electronics / furniture that I used like once a month max).

I probably could've saved more if I flexed my NYC apt. and added another roommate (you're never home as a banker anyway, deeply regret this).


  • 1
Dec 25, 2020 - 4:06pm
GravyStain, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I have done just that, finishing my 4th year so I have had only 3 bonuses, and only one on the buy side.

Total comp I guess is around 580k£ so far and I have saved ~ 160k£

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Dec 25, 2020 - 6:41pm

Looking at $235k after finishing up first year as an associate (2.5 years analyst, so 3.5 years total experience) in Tier 2 city. I started work in May immediately after graduating and took no time off between An -> As, so I have a little more time in the workforce (3 full bonuses and one stub). 

Spend $12k a year on rent ($2k/mo with a roommate), probably $30k on food / dining / bars / travel, and probably another $10k on the rest of my life (no car or student loans). Expect to drop $90k to the bottom line this year, so $325k + market returns after wrapping up associate stint 4.5 years in

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Dec 26, 2020 - 5:17pm

I am ~3 years out (graduated in 2017) and have a total of ~$280k saved across all non-HSA accounts (401k, IRA, checking / savings), which includes market returns (so not purely dollars saved from compensation) but excludes equity compensation (small portion of bonus as RSUs). This includes 2 analyst bonuses, 1 pro rated bonus from taking an off cycle role, and 1 full year PE associate bonus. Based on my understanding of the expected cash component for my next PE associate bonus I expect to have >$400k saved by that point (~4 years out of school), assuming no material change in market value of existing investments 

Dec 26, 2020 - 7:19pm
JuulAddict, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Holding cash in this environment is not smart. Bonds aren't a smart choice either due to the real rates being negative (nominal rate - inflation = real rate). This is why loose monetary policy directly leads to inflated equities. It's the only way to make a return, otherwise you're losing money holding cash or betting on dirt quality bonds to not default. So yes, I, and many of the people I know, dump everything into the market after living frugally.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Dec 28, 2020 - 11:23pm

Exactly. Holding cash is like watching your pile of savings slowly melt away. Need to be investing to keep up with the insane money printing 

  • Associate 2 in AM - Other
Dec 26, 2020 - 7:53pm

~2.5 years of banking plus ~2 years of private credit and as of this year end will have roughly $375k saved between a regular brokerage and retirement accounts. I'd estimate maybe $75k of market growth, $30k of employer contributions, and $270k of my contributions. This is out of total comp over 4.5 years of just under $900k or so. I probably spend less on travel and going out than most people but don't consider myself incredibly frugal either (~$3100 for rent, lots of pricier food delivery, some drinks, clothes etc) but if you contribute a lot to your 401k and save almost all of your bonus you should be in good shape.

Dec 27, 2020 - 11:47am
Zyn_God98, what's your opinion? Comment below:

How much did you contribute yearly into 401K your first few years out of school?

Dec 30, 2020 - 4:13pm
BobbybananamA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I never answered my own thread. I have saved $550K as of this year (pro forma for my bonus which comes soon). I have worked for 5 years (2 years IB, 3 years public markets) but I have quit jobs at weird times, so I actually have collected 3 full bonuses (though I have gotten 3 stub bonuses). I have also taken long vacations essentially between jobs (4 months after banking, 4 months before I started my most recent job). It's intuitive how much "operating leverage" you have as a person (it makes you quite unlike a company) -- almost all of these savings have come from working in public markets when I have made $400K+ annually. 

I have saved this amount without being particularly frugal. IMO the biggest lever you can pull if you are on the high finance route is to earn more and not to save more. My main expenses are rent (~$50K a year), eating out (~$15K), and healthcare (~$10-15K a year). I am kind of a crazy person so I spend a lot every year out of pocket on my mental health which adds up very fast ($200 per visit 50 weeks a year for a therapist, $200 per visit 10 weeks a year for a psychiatrist). If I wanted to live cheaply, I probably could but I don't. 

Dec 30, 2020 - 11:40pm
BobbybananamA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Dec 31, 2020 - 1:56am

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  • Investment Analyst in HF - Other
Dec 30, 2020 - 11:03pm

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