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?