Are you really going to live the high life?

Tonixity's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 268

I can't stop asking myself if going into S&T or IB is still as lucrative as it used to be one decade ago. I live in Bordeaux and Nice in France and I have analyzed and compared how people can live with different ranges of salary in the fanciest areas of France related to other areas such as London or NY. I'm going to treat this problem analytically to save you from reading bullshit.

Bordeaux or Nice lifestyle :
Wages for a big4 auditor = 30kEU as junior to 150-200kEU after tax as partner (retirement+healthcare already paid)
House = 200m2 with pool nice area = between 600k and 1.5m
Car = Range Rover HSE + 911 4s = 150k

Even if you earn twice more at Paris you'll never afford that kind of lifestyle. You'll be able to buy a 150m2 flat without parking in a non fancy district. Without considering that people pulling more than 300k after tax are rare even in S&T (and even not considering the 45% taxation on gross salary).

In NYC or London it's even worse although all package are generally much higher than in France. Trying to live in NYC with 500k would not be so easy (i.e http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/08/fashion/08halfmill.html?_r=0 ).

I can see a lot of you guys sharing your apartments with other guys because of the hard standards of living. In NYC you really need to pull 500k to 1m to be good am I wrong?

Why would you prefer to choose NYC to Philadelphie or all the compliant suburbs around main US cities where you could live a less stressful life?

Comments (21)

Jan 16, 2014

Point taken, and not to digress, but a $1.5m house + spending $150k on cars, on $150k/yr?

May 5, 2014

Exactly, that doesn't resonate of a truly prudent analyst trying to amass a fortune in their hungry years...

Jan 16, 2014

pretty much, you cant really expect to work for 2-3 years and own a mansion with pool and a bunch of high end cars. once you are advanced in your career you should be able to afford these things, to a different standard obviously in a big city than on the countryside but nonetheless a high one. There is enough people in this that live the high live, far beyond what you have described above. Through a career you compile bonuses, equity, salaries, investments etc. you will be very well off if you do it right and stick it out for a while even in places like Paris, London or NYC

Jan 16, 2014

People who they'll be balling out as analysts are retarded. These hours and dealing with abrasive personalities is only worth it if you're playing the long game.

Jan 16, 2014

Mortgage your house and lease your cars. Although I wouldn't necessarily consider being in debt living the high life.

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Best Response
Jan 16, 2014

It's mostly about what you value in life, and specifically about intellectual satisfaction.

When I go back to visit my family in Europe, I'm invariably bored to death at the dinner table, at least when my "locally wealthy" uncles driving luxury sedans to their large seaside villa are talking. Their problems are so... trivial. Their desires so short sighted.

Living in cities like London, Paris, New York or Hong Kong, you have access not just to better jobs, art, food and drinks, but more intellectually engaging people which push you to think and constantly improve yourself. Then, the "countryside" becomes much of a rest period, after which you get antsy to return.

Goes two ways of course, one could argue that there is much false intellectualism and superficial sophistication (hipsters...). But on balance cities hold higher quality "things", including people. Taking your example of Nice, there's no 5* hotel - one would have to go all the way to Monaco to find the first, and (speaking from experience) people are so keen to get there quickly that there's a regular helicopter taxi from the airport. Good luck finding an orchestra of the standard of the Vienna Philharmonic in Asia - or indeed, it touring the region more than once a year. My time in New York was the best of my life, even though heating worked only half the day. Every person I met was driven and fairly smart, you always had to be switched on to keep up with conversations.

Sydney epitomizes this. You see a lot of folks from "big city" elites, particularly Brits, moving there and for about 3 months they gush about the extraordinarily large and well built houses, the great produce, the weather, the easily accessible nature, the straight roads, and of course the barbies on the beach, mate, telling you about how they'll throw away their passport and buy a farm or something. A year later the same guy will be quietly telling you over a strong drink that it's bloody quiet over here, really, and he misses London, and might move back, even if the money is good here, you know.

The same is true of jobs. At the end of the day, it's not crushing Excel that's fun about banking, it's the sheer size and stakes of the deals implied, the chance to be up there making history (even if with a small h), the kind of people that move around those circles and that are temporarily your peers even if you're not a Kennedy. Try it! You might change your mind...

Jan 16, 2014
EURCHF parity:

It's mostly about what you value in life, and specifically about intellectual satisfaction.

When I go back to visit my family in Europe, I'm invariably bored to death at the dinner table, at least when my "locally wealthy" uncles driving luxury sedans to their large seaside villa are talking. Their problems are so... trivial. Their desires so short sighted.

Living in cities like London, Paris, New York or Hong Kong, you have access not just to better jobs, art, food and drinks, but more intellectually engaging people which push you to think and constantly improve yourself. Then, the "countryside" becomes much of a rest period, after which you get antsy to return.

Goes two ways of course, one could argue that there is much false intellectualism and superficial sophistication (hipsters...). But on balance cities hold higher quality "things", including people. Taking your example of Nice, there's no 5* hotel - one would have to go all the way to Monaco to find the first, and (speaking from experience) people are so keen to get there quickly that there's a regular helicopter taxi from the airport. Good luck finding an orchestra of the standard of the Vienna Philharmonic in Asia - or indeed, it touring the region more than once a year. My time in New York was the best of my life, even though heating worked only half the day. Every person I met was driven and fairly smart, you always had to be switched on to keep up with conversations.

Sydney epitomizes this. You see a lot of folks from "big city" elites, particularly Brits, moving there and for about 3 months they gush about the extraordinarily large and well built houses, the great produce, the weather, the easily accessible nature, the straight roads, and of course the barbies on the beach, mate, telling you about how they'll throw away their passport and buy a farm or something. A year later the same guy will be quietly telling you over a strong drink that it's bloody quiet over here, really, and he misses London, and might move back, even if the money is good here, you know.

The same is true of jobs. At the end of the day, it's not crushing Excel that's fun about banking, it's the sheer size and stakes of the deals implied, the chance to be up there making history (even if with a small h), the kind of people that move around those circles and that are temporarily your peers even if you're not a Kennedy. Try it! You might change your mind...

Very interesting reply I think you examined the question from all side and I agree with you. However I can't see why thinking about the countryside lifestyle could be narrow-minded. Taking your example of your family, what more could they have if they were living in big cities ? I'm not sure Art and fancy restaurants (there are plenty in the country by the way) could balance the negative aspects of the city life (real estate, costs of living, noise, pollution, public transportation, stressful jobs...). The only way to solve the equation is to have a top position and decent bonus to afford nice flat, nice cars and nice entertainements.

Today I'm stuck between those two worlds, I'm only 22 but I have to make a choice. I'll do some internships in S&T to better refine what would best suits me but I'm afraid to not climb the corporate ladder and to be stuck in a huge city without big money.
On the opposite I know that if I stay in France (Bordeaux/Nice) I will have nice compensations with nice lifestyle but I don't want to regret to not have tried the big thing elsewhere.

If my career is a success I would not hesitate. As you said those banking jobs are fascinating.

PS: there are some 5* hotels in Nice (I partied in one of them barely 2 months ago)

Jan 21, 2014

What about the rest, such as:

- Savings (you really want to create that trust fund for your kid)
- College for your kid (you really don't want to dig into the trust fund for your kid)
- Winter cottage in Chambery, Annecy or whatever place you fancy (too much suntan is bad for the skin)
- Purses for your wife (I know French girls really well. They are way, way more expensive in maintenance than a Range and a 911 together)
- Vacations (why does France still have the DOM/TOMs otherwise?)

Etc.

Jan 21, 2014

"-Purses for your wife"

Unless you want to get married to a vase woman, I don't think this should be a problem. You better think of getting a smart one (independent, well related, own-budgeted) since is going to co-parent your baby (in some day), and that's a dangerous thing. I mean, it's okay if you like the bomb-looking-nut-brained-chick, but those only get into their vocab Gucci, Prada, Dior, Louis Vuitton... The other ones too, but they give back a present on the same conditions.

With the rest of the points I agree.

Jan 16, 2014
nda:

What about the rest, such as:

- Savings (you really want to create that trust fund for your kid)

- College for your kid (you really don't want to dig into the trust fund for your kid)

- Winter cottage in Chambery, Annecy or whatever place you fancy (too much suntan is bad for the skin)

- Purses for your wife (I know French girls really well. They are way, way more expensive in maintenance than a Range and a 911 together)

- Vacations (why does France still have the DOM/TOMs otherwise?)

Etc.

In France scolarship tuitons are free till undergraduate studies (even postgraduate in some areas such as engineering or medicine) .
You can rent a chalet in Alpes or in the Pyrenees for one or two weeks. Expansive but you can easily afford it.

French women are not so different than american ones, and are way less gold-diggers than asian who could be the most expensive chicks in the world... for real. Eastern european women are even worse. This prob should not occur if you marry a nice beautiful women with a decent job/legacy who won't only be with you thanks to what you have in your wallet.

Vacations.. Hum round trip ticket to the Caraibes or any fancy island and you're fine. I'm sure it costs less than a 1 week travel to NYC.

Jan 21, 2014

99.9% of the time, life's decisions are about choosing whether to be the king of shit or the king's shit.

    • 3
Jan 21, 2014

nicely put +1

Jan 21, 2014

You're an idiot if you expect to get blown by VS models while watching the Wolf of Wall St on the backseat tv screen of your Range Rover at 21-25 years old. Do you know what the entry level salaries are for other professions? Working your ass off as an analyst is an investment in a more lucrative (and dare say fulfilling, career). Go be a movie star/ pro athlete to afford the Hermes ties and Ace of Spades champagne at this age...

Jan 21, 2014
broadstbully:

get blown by VS models while watching the Wolf of Wall St on the backseat tv screen of your Range Rover ...

that's a regular Friday for me.

Jan 21, 2014

While we are on the subject I thought that this would be especially appropriate.
http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/

Jan 16, 2014

Interesting thread. Let's discuss it again

Apr 20, 2014

Forget the materialistic niceties. They are just a distraction. @"happypantsmcgee"'s avatar sums up the high life, at least in my book.

Matrick:

[in reply to Tony Snark"]

Why aren't you blogging for WSO and become the date doctor for WSO? There seems to be demand.

BatMasterson:

[in reply to Tony Snark's dating tip]

Sensible advice.

Apr 20, 2014

Some people are really selling themselves dreams.

May 4, 2014

There are a ton of 5-star hotels in Nice and on the way to Monaco.

But EURCHF has a point: aside from purely materialistic considerations what in the world is interesting about being a Big 4 manager in Bordeaux?

May 4, 2014
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May 5, 2014
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