COL - London v. NY v. Chicago v. Atlanta

For full time analyst, what would your lifestyle be looking like in each of these cities? Pure lifestyle, obviously NYC will have more buyside opportunities than Atlanta.

My thoughts are that if I'm working for a MM bank, I'd rather be working in Chicago/Atlanta while I'm not making great money as an analyst and still be able to have a fun lifestyle and be comfortable with my finances. If I wanted to pursue NYC/London after my analyst stint, I would think it would be ideal to go to a good b-school and then jump over. At that point you'll be able to afford either city much more.

What are your thoughts? Will you be living a lot larger in Chicago/Atlanta/Texas as an analyst than London/NYC?

United States - Midwest
United States - South
United Kingdom
United States - Northeast

Comments (10)

Nov 18, 2014

@"Dingdong08" has been in both nyc and london I believe

COL in Atlanta vs. nyc and london is going to be dramatically lower, but keep in mind that your salary will be too. your standard of living will therefore be higher in ATL because you can afford to live in a nicer place, rather than living in squalor in NYC.

heard great things about Chi-town, but I think the same thing applies, COL is lower than nyc/london, but you'll adjust to that by upping your standard of living so net net you have the same disposable money for a "fun lifestyle." by that I'm assuming you mean travelling, golf, raging, etc.

I think those are 4 of the sweetest cities in the world so depending on your interests, any of them could be awesome. people will come in and say the south sucks, I say chicago winters would suck, people could say british food sucks (it does), whatever. personally, I highly doubt you'll get a job offer in all 4 cities that's the same for pay, exit opps, overall experience, etc., so I'd take the best job regardless of location. all 4 would be fun.

Nov 18, 2014

Generally NYC would definitely get higher salaries, but in banking don't all US locations get the same base? As in $70k in NYC and $70k in Atlanta (or $85k now I guess). This seems to make lower cost of living areas more appealing to me if the job's there.

I wish I had the resources/time to visit all of these cities. Studying abroad in London next semester, used to live in Chicago, and visited NYC, but never been to Atlanta. I feel like I'm more inclined towards lifestyle importance than most people on here might be.

Nov 18, 2014

I'm familiar with Chicago, Atlanta, and NYC.

Atlanta is obviously the cheapest, but it's not as nearly as fun and exciting as Chicago and NYC, and quite frankly I find it underwhelming. Also there are very few good finance opportunities.

Chicago is amazing. Weather aside, it offers the ideal balance of a large city with affordable rent and cost-of-living. You don't need to make that much to have a great apartment and enjoy Chicago.

NYC. No doubt a global exciting city, and it has by far the most finance opportunities. It also attracts the best and the brightest from all over the world. However, the combination of high state and city tax, outrageous rent, and higher costs for everything, make NYC a difficult proposition unless you're killing it.

Nov 18, 2014

How much are you looking at for a decent one bedroom in Chicago? I'm tired of roommates. They keep using my fucking mouthwash.


Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

Nov 18, 2014

Interested in this as well. Would rent in the loop be significantly more than rent in Lincoln Park (which is more exiciting to live in)? I'd be more curious towards studio rents too.

edit: apparently it's ~30 minutes public transportation from Lincoln Park to the Loop. I feel like this would get old...

Nov 18, 2014

No idea on rent, but the L commute from Lincoln Park is 20-25 min, it's really not that bad unless you're accustomed to being much closer to work. Not crowded either unless there's a Cubs game.

Again without looking it up, anecdotally I think there are some relative deals to be had in the south and west loop, though I'm happy to be corrected on this.

Nov 18, 2014

As someone in your early 20s, I would argue that NYC is just a more exciting city than Chicago and especially Atlanta. There are a lot more opportunities to do cool stuff. You may not have as much disposable income, but honestly, since you are spending ~75% of your awake hours in the office, ~$4,500 net of taxes per month should be plenty to have a decent lifestyle and enjoy the city, unless you are in critical need of a new pair of Ferragamo loafers every month.

In terms of COL, London is basically equivalent to NYC (though there are more opportunities to live farther away from the city and still get to work fairly easily than in NYC if that's your thing).

Nov 18, 2014

I've lived in NYC and London. I like both cities a lot but they're expensive as hell and you won't save much money. But they're fun and exciting. And if you're looking at finance you'll build out a great network and be able to move around companies more and have more options. For example if there are layoffs or anything you won't have to pick up and move your entire life to get a new job. SF can probably be thrown into this as well, especially if you concentrate in tech.

Chicago is one of the US cities that I haven't spent much time in, but when I've been there I've really liked it. And everyone I've ever known who's lived there can not say better things about it. From what I know it's affordable and there's a decent finance scene there so it's a place you can stay for your entire career. And from what I've seen, people tend to.

Personally I'd do the above three before Atlanta. I have spent a ton of time in Atlanta and it's nice, but it's really spread out and you have to drive everywhere. It's a nice affordable city for when you're older and more settled (wife, kids, house, etc) but I don't know if I'd want to live there right after college unless I was from there or went to a school in the Southeast and had a big group of friends. And while there is some finance opportunity, it's pretty limited so you're looking at Robinson Humphrey and a few other smaller IB's. And unlike NYC, London and Chicago, you need to have a car so factor in those costs (car payment, insurance for an under 25 and gas). I personally think it would be hard to be an analyst working 80+ hours per week in a city like Atlanta because there are not too many other people who work that much because there aren't a ton of IB's and big law firms with young employees who work those hours. In NYC there are thousands of you working until 2 am. Your friends will understand when you cancel on drinks at 10 pm on a Friday because you're stuck at the office. In Atlanta your friends will think you're lying.

I'd just live where you get the best job and where you want to live. You'll spend a shit load of money in NYC but you'll make enough as an analyst to cover it. And I wouldn't necessarily wait until you're a post MBA associate thinking that you'll suddenly have tons of money to live like a king. Yes, you make more but you'll most likely have more student loans payments, you'll be older so you won't want to live in a crap can apartment with roommates and there's a chance you'll have other expenses like a family (or there's a good chance you'll have a family soon if that's the path you choose). Personally, I'd do it the other way: live in the expensive cities like NYC or London when you're younger, you don't need as much money, don't have many responsibilities and can get the brand name experience on your resume then move to the less expensive cities when you want to buy the house with a yard and have 2.5 kids.

Nov 18, 2014

The pay differential among different locations for investment banking is minimal. When I was an analyst in a super low cost of living city we actually ended up getting paid more than the NYC bankers once bonuses were taken into consideration (on a gross basis).

Nov 18, 2014