Finance Jobs: 60 Hours a Week (Or Less)

econ's picture
Rank: Neanderthal | 2,663

Which finance jobs have 60 hours (or less) as a typical work week? (Note: I said typical, so I don't mind if the job occasionally has significantly longer hours, such as one week a month with 80+ hours.)

P.S. In case anybody cares why I'm asking, and in case this stops me from being flamed, lately I've been thinking a lot about work-life balance. I totally understand why a lot of WSO participants are willing to work 80+ hours a week, they get interesting/fulfilling jobs that pay extremely well. I definitely want my job to be interesting/fulfilling, but I am willing to accept a lower salary. If I could make $100K-$200K by the time I hit 30-35, I think I could be pretty happy with that, even if the pay tops out in that range (assuming I like my job and work 60 or less hours a week). It's not so much that I hate working extremely long hours (which is actually what I'm doing right now in grad school). It's more that I have a hard time balancing my health and my social life when working long hours. I just find it way easier to work out frequently, eat healthier, hang out with friends often, date, etc. when I'm working 40-60 hours a week.

Financial Analyst Working Less Than 60 Hours a Week

When going into financial careers, especially those on Wall Street, considering the work life balance is important. Like the OP, some people do not want to subject themselves to consistent 80+ hour work weeks. Luckily there are a variety of options for those that want to have a finance job that works less than 60 hours a week. Our users discuss some options below.

Asset Management Jobs

Buyside CFA:

Long only equity asset management - you don't work a lot of hours. Just be prepared to spend a lot of time reading on the weekends - articles, books, trade publications, etc. If you get with a low turnover shop, you are only adding a few stocks a year. You really don't need to churn out work.

proforma - Asset Management Analyst:

I 2nd asset management. Some of these people make crazy money and work 40 hrs a week and lots of vacation time. But at the same time turn over is low so its hard to get in.

Sales and Trading (S&T) Careers

Especially after the first few years, most S&T employees work hours like 6 am - 6 pm. However, sometimes you will be entertaining clients at night if you work on the sales side of the equation. This is a great option if you want to be close to the markets and a more traditional Wall Street role.

User @Frank Slaughtery shared that S&T jobs are typically 12 hours a day Monday through Friday.

Fortune 500 Corporate Finance Work

Corporate finance offers a wide range of options from working in corporate development type roles, budgeting, planning etc. Our users shared their thoughts below.

accountingbyday:

If you're ok with the lower end of the $100 - $200 K range - F500 finance might be the way to go. Some of the positions will be very interesting, some (especially at the lower levels) can be pretty bad. That being said right out of school there are some kick ass rotational programs that can allow you to travel the globe and get great experiences.

Buyside CFA:

F500 corp fi - for a chosen few, upside potential is virtually limitless - read the proxy statements of publicly traded companies (even small caps - not just F500). 7 figures is extremely common for CFOs. Other high level financial people (treasurers, controllers, directors of FP&A) go well above $200K.

Aggravate:

I second F500 corporate finance. Also a lot of business analyst jobs if you are more technically inclined will be in the 50-60 hour a week range. Marketing analytical roles at credit card issuers are also not huge on hours and usually have nice base pay.

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Comments (27)

Jun 8, 2010

No need to defend your thought-process/decision, dude. Everyone here wishes they could be working under 60.

Look for traditional asset management type jobs, doubt those people work anywhere close to 60+ hours a week.

Jun 8, 2010

$100-$200k is a very wide range by the time you're in your early 30s.

If you're ok with the lower end of that range - F500 finance. Some of the positions will be very interesting, some (especially at the lower levels) can be pretty bad. That being said right out of school there are some kick ass rotational programs that can allow you to travel the globe and get great experiences.

You could potentially get closer to the $200k's in your 30s, but you're really need to be a superstar and be great at cutting through corporate red tape.

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy

Jun 8, 2010

Long only equity asset management - you don't work a lot of hours. Just be prepared to spend a lot of time reading on the weekends - articles, books, trade publications, etc. If you get with a low turnover shop, you are only adding a few stocks a year. You really don't need to churn out work.

F500 corp fi - for a chosen few, upside potential is virtually limitless - read the proxy statements of publicly traded companies (even small caps - not just F500). 7 figures is extremely common for CFOs. Other high level financial people (treasurers, controllers, directors of FP&A) go well above $200K.

Valuation - You might tap out at $150K but the work is pretty interesting and the hours don't get too far north of 60

Jun 8, 2010

What kinds of positions in asset management will allow you to work such hours?

Jun 8, 2010

most S&T jobs are 12 hr days 5 days a week

Jun 8, 2010

You should check out economic litigation consulting. It's not really finance in the sense that you aren't structuring deals, but the analysis is the same as what you'd be doing in banking. Lots of valuation work, analysis of stock price movements, etc. Check out Charles River Associates, Cornerstone, Navigant, and Ocean Tomo. There's a lot of good boutiques out there too.

The hours are pretty great relative to the rest of the industry. You'll get an 80+ hour week maybe once every other month, and sometimes a couple in a row. But for every one of those you have 2 x 45 hr weeks, and you'll probably average about 50-55hrs.

Jun 8, 2010

I second F500 corporate finance. Also a lot of business analyst jobs if you are more technically inclined will be in the 50-60 hour a week range. Marketing analytical roles at credit card issuers are also not huge on hours and usually have nice base pay, but bonuses are crap. You can break into the 100-150K range by your mid 30s without too much effort, but you'll have to be able to play the corporate schoolyard politics game.

Jun 8, 2010

If you want an easy lifestyle making $100k+, I defintely recommend a F500 company. For the most part, you can expect $100-$125k all in comp at the associate/manager level, and $130-$160 at the next level up. All that for 40 hrs a week. If lifestyle is what you care about and don't want to rise up any further, F500 is where its at. If you want to work hard, progress your career, and get paid for that, I suggest looking elsewhere.

Jun 8, 2010
cc2210:

All that for 40 hrs a week. If lifestyle is what you care about and don't want to rise up any further, F500 is where its at. If you want to work hard, progress your career, and get paid for that, I suggest looking elsewhere.

I actually want something kind of in the middle. So I want to work hard and try to be successful, and I definitely don't mind working over 40 hours a week, coming in sometimes on weekends, educating myself about the field outside of the office, etc. I just don't want to be working 70-90 hours for most of my career. If I could find a job where the typical work week is about 60 hours, with a hectic week every month, or a few hectic months a year, that'd be ideal for me. Something where if I'm good, I can make good money, I just won't be expected to work 80 hours in a typical week.

By the way, I want to say thanks to everybody who's chimed in so far, it's been really helpful.

It sounds like F500 is a good option. I'd definitely be interested in hearing about more finance options outside of F500. Also, does anybody know if the hours/pay in a marketing department at a F500 are just as good (as F500 finance)? I like finance a lot, but marketing also interests me (especially in a corporate role).

Jun 8, 2010
econ:
cc2210:

All that for 40 hrs a week. If lifestyle is what you care about and don't want to rise up any further, F500 is where its at. If you want to work hard, progress your career, and get paid for that, I suggest looking elsewhere.

I actually want something kind of in the middle. So I want to work hard and try to be successful, and I definitely don't mind working over 40 hours a week, coming in sometimes on weekends, educating myself about the field outside of the office, etc. I just don't want to be working 70-90 hours for most of my career. If I could find a job where the typical work week is about 60 hours, with a hectic week every month, or a few hectic months a year, that'd be ideal for me. Something where if I'm good, I can make good money, I just won't be expected to work 80 hours in a typical week.

By the way, I want to say thanks to everybody who's chimed in so far, it's been really helpful.

It sounds like F500 is a good option. I'd definitely be interested in hearing about more finance options outside of F500. Also, does anybody know if the hours/pay in a marketing department at a F500 are just as good (as F500 finance)? I like finance a lot, but marketing also interests me (especially in a corporate role).

i actually wanted to make this a forum topic... maybe ill do that now

Jun 8, 2010

F500, as everyone else said. Plus you could live in a city with a lower cost of living and still be able to buy some cool stuff.

Jun 8, 2010

Commercial Banking might fit the bill...dece pay, dece hours

if you ain't first, you last

Jun 8, 2010

I 2nd asset management. Some of these people make crazy money and work 40 hrs a week and lots of vacation time. But at the same time turn over is low so its hard to get in.

Also check out sales on both the buy side and the sell side, I hear its nice hours + golf, dinner with clients, etc.

Jun 8, 2010

The issue I have with finance at a F500 is what some companies have their financial analysts do is acutally accounting (which I absoloutely loathe). That's the mistake I made in accepting my current role. When interviewing, you want to ask how much accounting is involved in the position. Anything more than 0%, should be a no-no. Because if they say oh it's 5 -10%, what they really mean is you gotta close the damn books every month with 15-20 journal entries and then have to reconcile all those accounts according to SOX guidlines. It takes up way too much of the job and you're expected to be into it. Let the CPA geeks handle the debits and credits. Stay away from operations finance too. Way too much detail oriented work about issues of zero importance.

If you go to a F500 what you want to do is marketing finance or strategic finance. That's more of what you would learn in your typical corp finance class. NPV, IRR,Payback, Product profitability analysis, is the kind of stuff you would be looking at in those positions.

Of course asset management is probably what you ideally want. Not easy to get into though. If you can't get in after undergrad, consider a MS Finance degree, or working for a few years and getting a top 25 MBA.

Jun 8, 2010

corporate treasury in a f500 is where you want to be. depending on firm and people anywhere from 40-60 hrs/week and semi fun stuff. dealing with bond/stock buybacks (not actually doing them in most cases - usually have banks take care of it, but some larger ones do), hedging, smaller firms will be into only basic derivatives (simple ir swaps and not much more), cash management, random analysis

Jun 9, 2010

so it seems like S&T is the only area where the hours are less and one would not have to take a pay cut.

Jun 9, 2010
TheBenevolent:

so it seems like S&T is the only area where the hours are less and one would not have to take a pay cut.

AM?

Jun 10, 2010

At my asset management firm the max anyone seems to work is 60 hours.

Jun 10, 2010
djs622:

At my asset management firm the max anyone seems to work is 60 hours.

can you tell us more about your firm? long only equity? size?

Jun 15, 2010

Best I can tell, you should look at valuation, whether it be at a Big 4, at a specialty shop such as Charles River or Navigant, or at a boutique (which are vast in number and regional in scope). You gain a very solid financial skill set there, albeit from a valuation perspective, not a deal structuring perspective. You will run model after model, and while many are the same, there are some particularly interesting ones that will throw in, say, Monte Carlo simulations with option-pricing models for 8 tranches of preferred/warrants at a VC-backed firm. However, you will never have the prestige, if you care, of a name brand, with the exception of Big 4, and will likely be unable to transfer into a "deal" type industry. The best summary I can think to give is that you value what already exists, but you don't create anything new.

At a valuation shop, you will likely work ~50 hours a week at a minimum, average ~55, and peak at 90 every few months.

Jun 15, 2010

When you say "deal" type industry, are you referring to IB, PE, VC, etc? If so, that's fine, I don't necessarily want to work in those areas. What I'd really like to do, is get into asset/investment management at some point. How useful is this valuation experience, in preparing for and landing a buy-side job?

Jun 17, 2010
econ:

When you say "deal" type industry, are you referring to IB, PE, VC, etc? If so, that's fine, I don't necessarily want to work in those areas. What I'd really like to do, is get into asset/investment management at some point. How useful is this valuation experience, in preparing for and landing a buy-side job?

Yup, that's what I was referring to. I don't know the asset / investment management industries as well, so I was just trying to speak more to what I do know. The skills learned at a valuation firm or group will be pretty relevant to asset management; however, many of your clients will be private so there is a different research skill set that will be developed. The valuation skill set will be similar, though.

I think the main problem with moving into investment management will be the lack of prestige associated with a valuation role. In my opinion, such a position is just as strong as banking (equity research may be stronger...I'll admit my knowledge is limited), but banking is recognized as being a filter to weed out weaker candidates. You may very well be a stronger candidate coming from a valuation background than a banker, but it is analogous to an average kid from Harvard versus a top performer at Boise State.

Jun 15, 2010

Just do corporate finance - should be decent pay and hours, prob in a decent city and should prepare you for an MBA at some point.

People mention prestige above - while I don't interpret front office gigs as having prestige all over it, there is certainly a lot of exit ops having done a solid banking/consulting gig.

I did banking for a year, left for greener pastures and while it was a pretty brutal group, I don't regret it one bit. thats not to say do it for only a year, but I know having a year of decent M&A experience helps in many ways. sounds silly maybe as you're in college, but banking does give you a lot of credibility over other finance roles that people may frown upon here - nothing wrong with acct/ops/corp fin, but i think banking gives you a good skillset and the credibility at a young age can be helpful if you start to deal with pretty senior people etc

Jun 16, 2010
weeds499:

Just do corporate finance - should be decent pay and hours, prob in a decent city and should prepare you for an MBA at some point.

I gotta be honest, corporate finance doesn't sound that interesting to me, so I don't think I'd like to spend my entire career there. What are the exit opps like? Let's say I did corporate finance for 3 years and then went back for an MBA. What asset/investment management opportunities would be available? What skillset do you pickup?

Jun 17, 2010
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