First year rent in CT

So I'm starting full time in Greenwich this summer and currently looking at places to rent, though I'm a bit unsure about how much is a good amount to spend. My comp first year will be 140k base + 45k minimum bonus + 65k signing bonus. I want to keep a short commute (and the low taxes in CT), so living in NYC is out of the question for me. I also want to live by myself.

In Greenwich, I'm finding places close to my office that would be in the 2.2k+ range, and ones a bit further out (I'd need a car) in the 1.7k-1.9k range. Stamford anywhere from 1.3k+. There's one place I found that's a 5 minute walk from my office, but 2.4k. If I take that option and opt out of a monthly train pass/car, does it make sense financially? Or does that seem excessive for first year? I understand that it's definitely possible for me to afford it, but I'm generally a pretty frugal person and am just looking for opinions. If I wait a bit longer, would I be able to find better deals in the downtown area? Is a quick commute worth that much extra money? etc.

Thanks for any help guys!

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Comments (29)

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Apr 10, 2021 - 9:11pm

Wait first year out of UG? Where you getting that kind of comp from??

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  • Investment Analyst in PE - Other
Apr 10, 2021 - 9:19pm

creates topic to brag about comp dude if you're smart enough to find a job with this compensation you're smart enough to figure out what rent you can afford. Get the fuck out of here you absolute tool

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Apr 10, 2021 - 11:20pm

cant be AQR. they dont pay first year this well. i am thinking Citadel

you need to think about living a real life. you should either get a car or pick a place near the train station. you will travel to places other than your office (meals/groceries/going to NYC on some weekends?). Uber is not common in CT depending on the locations. No Uber drivers in NYC will take you to CT on a weekend night unless you give them $500 tip, bro. 

Apr 11, 2021 - 9:22pm

you cant read the original post properly.

1) OP does not live in NYC and does not want to live in NYC

2) i said "Uber is not common depend on locations". I am sure Stamford has plenty of Uber but in some towns, such as Norwalk, you could wait for 20 min+ for a Uber ride on weekdays.

3) how often do you call Uber to get out of Manhattan on a Friday night? Uber drivers hate to go out of town on weekend nights. More often than not, they would reject the rides if they see the out-of-town destinations. They would make at least triple the amount of money in 1/5 of the miles driven on weekend nights by staying in Manhattan than driving you to CT. 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Apr 15, 2021 - 5:45pm

Why? What are some fun things to do there? (In similar position as OP -100k)

Apr 11, 2021 - 2:30pm

My brother works for in CT and got a car + an apartment in Stanford. Have been a few times and it's a massive apartment for around 2k/month (lives alone), seems very worth it. There's a lot to do in/just outside the area so a car seems like a good idea as well. He got a VW Jetta and it's pretty sweet. Makes almost half of what you make and is still saving a lot. Would recommend something similar to what he is doing.

  • Assist. VP in IB - Ind
Apr 11, 2021 - 7:57pm

If you really want to be close to Greenwich and save money, then live in Portchester. You're about 5-15 minutes from Greenwich Ave. There are plenty of spots but you need to see them in person, otherwise you'll be living in a shithole in a shitty neighborhood.

As said above, you should just live in Stamford with this comp. There are tons of ubers, decent sized apartments for cheap. You can also go further up the train line but further from the city and you're getting smaller sized towns like Norwalk and Fairfield

  • Assist. VP in IB - Ind
Apr 12, 2021 - 5:53pm

Lol Should've prefaced my original comment with exactly this. I wouldn't live in portchester, but to optimize for cost then that's the spot close to Greenwich. I worked in Greenwich for too many years and never considered looking at portchester to live

Apr 12, 2021 - 11:36am

Some folks are trashing you in this thread which I don't understand, so I'll offer some real advice as somebody who has lived in 3 cities over the last 4 years, but started out living at home in my first year as a banker earning below street (it was hell). This advice is applicable to anybody living anywhere, and I don't know anything about Stamford or living in CT. This'll be a long rambling post as I tend to write when I'm 4 coffees deep and my workday is slow.

Understand that there is no perfect answer for you, because this is subjective and also depends on your avg. hours worked per week. But you have to also understand what gives you more utility - higher $ savings or higher comfort levels in your home, your commute, and your home office. I personally spend more for a nicer/larger place with better furnishing closer to the office (I can walk in 10 minutes). For context, I earn in the mid-to-upper $300k range all-in, live alone in a 2BR downtown, with the 2nd BR as my WFH office. I don't regret spending the additional c. $800/mo on rent (c. $2,800 total) for this bigger apartment at all. I also financed a vehicle that I don't require for commuting which is costing c. $700 all-in for payment, gas, and insurance per month.

The difference between a 1.3k apartment and 2.4k apartment is c. 13k savings per year. For one/two/three years, taken in the context of your career earnings, this is nothing. Unless you are trying to FIRE by 30 and want to be frugal, or if you attribute a much higher marginal utility to seeing numbers in your accounts go up faster than you do to your living comfort, I think the answer is to spend more for a better living environment.

My $0.01 is to go with whatever option you feel provides the most comfortable living situation. In this industry you will get grinded and beaten down as a junior. If you're living in a shoebox to try and save 1k a month in rent you will be coming home to (or working in) a sub-optimal environment and the impacts to your mental health will far outweigh the benefit of modest incremental savings. My personal approach is to ball out on your living situation to make yourself as comfortable as possible, since your job will be a huge mental drain on you. I try to make my apartments into sanctuaries. Get a nice apartment with good natural light, a separate space for a home office, and furnish it comfortably. Get houseplants. Hang wall art. Get a giant TV and a comfortable couch. A/C is not even a question - you want it. In my experience, the incremental impact of these $ will be far outweighed by the utility you get from being comfortable. Coming home from the grind to a nice and comfortable space is a huge benefit to my mental health.

Do not underestimate the cumulative impact of commutes. I used to commute 1hr one way to and from the office and those 2 hours of 'lost' time per day hurt. While you may be able to be productive on that commute (IE, reading news, e-mails, etc.) the lost time is substantial when you may only have 1-2 hours of 'free' time per day. By the end of my commuting stint I was a zombie on the commute in and a zombie on the commute out. I fell asleep on the train and missed my stops on more than one occasion.

Requiring a car also adds monthly expenses. Depending on what you buy (lease, financed, used, new, etc.), and your insurance, it could be substantial. The apartment in Stamford that requires a car and X minutes of commute may be 1k cheaper, but how much of that 1k goes to car expenses?

TL;DR: Go with whatever you feel gives you the most marginal utility. But don't discount the net utility gained from spending more for a comfortable living environment.

Disclaimer: I will not answer any specific questions about my firm or my city as I seem to be getting more and more DMs about this stuff whenever I post advice and detail my personal experience

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