How much damage has banking done to your life?

NuckFuts's picture
NuckFuts - Certified Professional
Rank: Neanderthal | banana points 3,039

We all know banking isn't easy, and I am usually all about encouraging young people to work hard in finance since the long-term benefits to your career can be incredible. But it's good to be realistic about the job - many of us tend to act like heroic titans of finance who love the grind, but this tends to be a coping mechanism driven by insecurity. I'm finally comfortable enough with myself to admit that I cried in the office bathroom a couple of times (we're talking one or two tears here, not full on sobbing, but still).

Here's a short list of things banking did to me (a few details changed to protect my identity):

  • Constant heart palpitations due to caffeine/energy drinks/stress
  • Carpal tunnel / tendinitis
  • Lost a lot of hair
  • Put on 25 lbs or more (fat, not muscle)
  • Stress lowered my immune response to the point that I got a serious infection that landed me in the hospital (it started out small but spread to my veins)
  • Became borderline alcoholic (was having 4-5 drinks every day after work, sometimes before work although not that often)
  • Stopped caring about consequences and personal relationships; lost my girlfriend and several friends
  • Developed blood clots in my legs that required medical intervention
  • Became depressed and chronically anxious

In short, I was not very good at dealing with the stress and intensity of banking. My personal life went into a downward spiral and it took me a couple of years to recover. I'm doing better now, but I've learned that taking care of yourself is paramount in this business. I'm convinced I may have done serious permanent damage to myself if I'd stayed in banking past my 3rd year.

My story has a happy ending, as some of you know. I landed a gig in PE that I very much enjoy, and started putting serious effort into diet, fitness, mental health, and my personal relationships. I am now happily married, no longer abuse alcohol (well, sometimes), and am glad I went through a few years of hell to get to where I am now.

I hope opening up and talking about this does not get interpreted as a dick measuring contest. My intent is to be honest about the cost of going into this business - many people deal with it in better ways than I did, but I know others who went through some serious shit because of the job. To all you future monkeys out there, this post is not meant to discourage you. If I had to do it over again, I would. But I would pay attention to my mental and physical health from day 1 (including my relationships) and I would have been much more careful about not letting myself go. If you go into banking, do so with your eyes wide open and realize that the grind can be extremely rewarding, but also dangerous if you do it wrong.

Remember, kids:

  1. Exercise (even 20 minutes a day will go a long way)
  2. Watch what you eat (that dinner expense policy is a killer, don't order the 20 oz. steak with mac n cheese every night just because you can)
  3. Take care of your mental health through meditation, introspection, and making an effort to keep up your personal relationships

Someone dear to me summed this up like this: "You are constantly doing things that are good for your career, but you also need to do things that are good for your soul. Without that balance, you won't last in your career and in the end you will lose everything."

Mod Note (Andy): top 50 posts of 2017, this one ranks #4 (based on # of silver bananas)

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Comments (158)

Mar 1, 2017

Thanks for the post.

Pls share some advice/insights on how to keep up/maintain personal relationships in this business, I intend to stay in the business for the long term (I am not completely sold on PE) and I will be an incoming first-year analyst starting this July.

Thanks.

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Mar 1, 2017

great post, +1, sorry to hear how much you suffered but great for the younger ones on the site to read this advice

dumb question but just curious, if you lose hair due to stress, does it grow back?

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Mar 1, 2017

Not if you started taking rogaine before it falls out.

That's my plan.

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Mar 2, 2017

Nope. Doctor told me to try Alopecia but he also said it may cause erectile dysfunction so I told him "fuck that". My coworker is on it though and his hair looks amazing.

Rogaine hasn't done shit for me yet but apparently it takes a long time and is only effective on 70% of men or something like that. Also, if you stop using Rogaine, apparently your hair thins out again, so you're hooked on it for life.

Any advice on this would be appreciated - I may just get a hair transplant in a few years (I have a very hairy ass). I'm also married and doing well financially so I don't really give a shit anymore, and for the young bucks out there, remember: a sexy car will get you more poon than a full head of hair. If she's fucking you for your car or your hair, she's not wife material anyway.

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Mar 3, 2017
NuckFuts:

Nope. Doctor told me to try Alopecia but he also said it may cause erectile dysfunction so I told him "fuck that". My coworker is on it though and his hair looks amazing.

Rogaine hasn't done shit for me yet but apparently it takes a long time and is only effective on 70% of men or something like that. Also, if you stop using Rogaine, apparently your hair thins out again, so you're hooked on it for life.

Any advice on this would be appreciated - I may just get a hair transplant in a few years (I have a very hairy ass). I'm also married and doing well financially so I don't really give a shit anymore, and for the young bucks out there, remember: a sexy car will get you more poon than a full head of hair. If she's fucking you for your car or your hair, she's not wife material anyway.


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Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. You're probably genetically predisposed to lose your hair and this is called Androgenic Alopecia. To give a very simple explanation, your hair falls out because your hair follicles are sensitive to a hormone called DHT, which is a biproduct of testosterone.

Doctors know nothing about hair loss. You should get on Finasteride or Dutasteride (a stronger version of Finasteride), which prevents your hair loss from progressing by blocking the conversion from testosterone to DHT and maybe even grow some of it back. Side effects are very rare if you have read some of longer studies - we're talking 1-2% with erectile dysfunction. I recommend you to start off with Finasteride and see how it goes, but talk to your doctor about it.

Quitting minoxidil is not necessarily going to drop you below baseline, studies shows a temporarily worsening but you'll bounce back to baseline as well.

Feel free to hook my up with a PM I know all about this shit.

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Mar 3, 2017

Damn, sounds like you know your shit (definitely more than my doctor). Thanks for the explanation, I may take you up on that PM...

Mar 3, 2017

No, you just got the name wrong. You're likely thinking of Propecia.

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Mar 5, 2017

sorry bro, he's on point on everything but the side effects part. less DHT means less cock power. there's a class action lawsuit in canada involving men who lost their erections (even viagra won't fix it) because of Propecia.
Propecia is the devil itself, it turns you into a female.
Embrace your DHT and baldness if it comes with it, a true sign of manhood.

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Sep 7, 2017

I just got this bald spot that came in the back of my head I am scared as shit. Seeing a dermatologist next week hope they can prescribe something to fix this up too young for this haha

Dec 29, 2017

Was going to say the same thing. "Alopecia" just means hair loss. I doubt your doctor "recommended" you to "try" it.

Mar 3, 2017
NuckFuts:

Also, if you stop using Rogaine, apparently your hair thins out again, so you're hooked on it for life.

Any kind of medication you're going to be using for life.

I'm using finasteride and it stopped my alopecia.

The possible side effects are loss of libido and depression. Tbh I thought it was worth it. I risked it and nothing happened to me. It's different for each person though.

Apr 4, 2017

@anyone reading this: please don't take Alopecia, side-effects of the drug can be so intense (and not just erectile dysfunction). Really not worth it.

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Mar 1, 2017

Working out is must

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Mar 1, 2017

FUCK MATE I DONT WANT TO LOOOOSE MY HAIR nor stop being goodlooking

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Mar 3, 2017

Hahaha this is how I feel at the moment! I want my thick hair, physique and money! Even though I'm only 8months into my first year, I can see more hair falling out while I comb and shower :/

Mar 1, 2017

I feel like this even applies to those trying to break in

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Best Response
Mar 1, 2017

"Became borderline alcoholic (was having 4-5 drinks every day after work, sometimes before work although not that often)"

All the other stuff sounded bad, but if you can stop at 5 drinks, you are nowhere near alcoholism.

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Mar 1, 2017

5 is a lot - I get drunk after 3 beers.

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Mar 4, 2017

Seriously? I mean, I guess 3 beers in fifteen minutes might have breathalyzer issues but actually drunk.

Mar 4, 2017

I am not a guy so I guess that's probably why. And not even in 15 mins, I drink 2-3 beers during the whole night usually.

Mar 31, 2017
hopinggtsgy:

I get drunk after 3 beers........ I drink 2-3 beers during the whole night usually.

Let me know when I can buy you a shot or two.

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Mar 1, 2017

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-...
"NIAAA's Definition of Drinking at Low Risk for Developing Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD):

For women, low-risk drinking is defined as no more than 3 drinks on any single day and no more than 7 drinks per week. For men, it is defined as no more than 4 drinks on any single day and no more than 14 drinks per week. NIAAA research shows that only about 2 in 100 people who drink within these limits have AUD."

Obviously you weren't being serious, but not many people actually know where the line is. This is just a guideline, but it definitely helps to serve as a wake-up call.

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Mar 2, 2017

Actually, I was being serious. I've seen these guidelines before and this is what I was thinking about when I wrote the comment above.

The real definition of alcoholic is not being able to stop drinking once you start, until you pass out or get thrown in jail.

Source: I'm a real alcoholic.

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Mar 2, 2017

Interesting.

Been there, on that front. It is never a pretty sight when your ex has to pick you up and drop you off at home.

Mar 2, 2017

I would consume my 4-5 drinks in a 10 minute sitting at 2am after getting back from work. On days when I got home earlier, I definitely used to black out. I also never claimed to be a full alcoholic, just borderline. American alcoholism guidelines are for pussies by the way - those are "you may suffer liver damage over the long run" guidelines, not "your life is in disarray and this could be your last year on earth" guidelines. In my home country "alcoholism" is barely even a word. That's not really something to be proud of btw, as alcoholism can be very nasty. Hope you're ok, Mr. Fuld.

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Mar 2, 2017

It's all good. I'm a very high functioning alcoholic. No pride beaming from me, by the way.

PS -- Love the username.

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Mar 2, 2017

Fair enough.

Mar 3, 2017

I can confirm anecdotally. I worked in automotive sales at one point, about 1/4 the staff were alcoholics.

A universal habit is to not have more alcohol around than they were comfortable drinking in one sitting. That costco-sized bottle that's half your height might do a lot of harm after you have had a few drinks and can't stop.

Jan 1, 2018

Who has 5 drinks a night every night and works until 3am seriously? I worked at one of the worst teams in a BB before moving to PE and nobody was doing so...! I believe NuckFuts if he says he was desperate but it is certainly not the norm when people are productive.

If you drink before and after work everyday, even 1 or 2 drinks and sleep less than 4 hours yes you have a problem! Btw I noticed that a lot of people in PE do not even drink at all - not the same culture as IBD...

Mar 1, 2017

Do bankers get biddies by flaunting their firm/bonus anymore, and if not why did I pick this profession??

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Apr 4, 2017

No one gives a shit about an after-tax 25k bonus.

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Mar 1, 2017

Dumb question, but what would be a healthy way to "boost" your energy during those late nights? I can definitely see myself overdoing the coffee/red bulls..

Mar 2, 2017

Still in school, but during marathon study nights I sometimes use smelling salts (ammonia ampules) to refocus. You sometimes see professional athletes using them on the sidelines to get in the zone. No negative health effects (they are used medically to wake up people who faint) and not as sketchy as they sound, they sell them on Amazon.

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Mar 2, 2017

Link?

Mar 2, 2017

Not letting me post it -- check your messages

Mar 3, 2017

Could you possibly link me as well?

Sep 7, 2017

Amazon search ammonia caps or Nose Tork

Mar 7, 2017

Jeez. Just get modafinil, stuffs the shiz, just bought my 2nd order with bitcoin, looking forward to it..

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Mar 7, 2017

It's really very mild stuff, definitely not something you need btc for

Mar 7, 2017

20% off for ordering with btc.. its a huge step up from caffeine, never used anything besides 5 hour energies and energy drinks in undergrad. Used modafinil for the first time in 2016 and its amazing for me. Also never used adderal either so idk...

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Apr 1, 2017

Hope you get into a top 10 school, then.

Mar 12, 2018

I use these for lifting every once in a while (mainly to get my head right before a max attempt or a heavy set).

There might be no documented negative health effects but go ahead and use Nose Tork a couple of times and judge for yourself. Personally, it's hard for me to believe that it's not fvcking my brain up a little bit.

Mar 3, 2017

I'd recommend moderate caffeine and practice. It's something you just get used to doing over time. Also eat properly. If you eat shit throughout the day, are carb starved, etc., you will get super tired/lazy later on and your body will want to shut down/sleep. Sadly nutrition should be a core part of 'banking prep' and is ignored entirely.

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Mar 4, 2017

I personally swear by tea. A nice Earl Grey with a couple of packets of sugar generally does the trick for me. Enough caffeine to keep you up, and not too much to put stress on your system. Tea also has many health benefits itself.

Mar 15, 2017

Run up a few flights of stairs.

Mar 15, 2017

Push-ups, cold water to drink/wipe my face.

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Mar 1, 2017

Guys, a healthy coffee is a black coffee with no sugar. So stay away from Red Bulls and get yourself a quality italian coffee instead of that Starbucks shit

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Mar 1, 2017

well where to get them??

Mar 1, 2017

Small shops owned by italian expats

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Mar 1, 2017

Any places you recommend in NYC near midtown?

Mar 2, 2017

Zibetto's

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Mar 3, 2017

Ya....good luck drinking black coffee from Starbucks. It's so burned that I have to add cream. High quality coffee makes all the difference.

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Mar 2, 2017

Caffeine dependancy happens whether you put sugar in your coffee or not.

Mar 2, 2017

i'm pretty dependent on coffee and i never put sugar in it, do you have any evidence of this?

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Mar 3, 2017

I think he's saying that caffeine dependency happens regardless of whether you put sugar in your coffee. We're all bloody addicted to caffeine.

Mar 4, 2017

oh duh thanks

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Mar 2, 2017

Preferably a lavazza crema e gusto

Mar 2, 2017

I drink about 7 cups of Colombian coffee per day - gave up the red bulls because of the heart palpitations and sugar.

Mar 3, 2017

American offices have no idea about this.

Go to any office in continental Western Europe and you'll have a fresh-grind espresso maker that can put out coffee that, although mediocre by European standards, is better than your average American grind.

Mar 1, 2017

Thanks for sharing this! I'm glad that you found a good path after that.

Mar 1, 2017

No permanent damage (I think).

I did two years as an analyst and left for a better opportunity, not because I hated the job.

I probably put on 25 lbs that I wouldn't have put on had I worked a 9-5, in addition to some weight I put on in college. Working it off now though, with the help of a personal trainer that I can afford due to banking. And I will always have banking on my resume.

I have more grey hair than I would otherwise. Big deal, I have a girlfriend. She makes fun of me but she's just as ambitious as I am so she understands.

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Mar 2, 2017

Lucky you - women like grey hair, especially as you get older. I'm glad things worked out for you btw.

Mar 2, 2017

Going through it now. Certainly learning a ton, getting a good experience, etc. But I certainly agree my health is taking a greater hit than I expected.

Immune system took a huge hit. Getting sick all the time.

Tired 24/7. Perpetual cycle of grinding during the week, wanting to catch up on sleep on weekend, but you end up going out because you feel like you need to do something each week. therefore not catching up on sleep,and going back into the week already still exhausted. Repeat.

Chest pains likely due to a lot of stress

Lost a ton of weight, but have only been making it to the gym once every couple weeks, so this is not a pro

Diminished friendships and severe FOMO.

Would likely do this again but man am I ready for it to end.

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Mar 2, 2017

This sounds like exactly like me when I studied engineering in college.

Mar 3, 2017

Really? Fuck man IB is so much harder than an engineering degree (stress wise). I feel like there shouldn't be so much emphasis put on it after seeing some of the mongs in my classes (or was that a mirror?).

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Mar 15, 2017

edit because of massive amount of monkey shits

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Jan 3, 2018

Half agree with this post, half disagree.

As an engineering/economics double major myself, I can certainly agree that IB is easy work, it's just long hours and tedious.

I'm not really sure where the 5-year degree thing is coming from. I'm finishing my double major degree in 4 years, could've did it in 3 years if I didn't pick up the second major.

I've certainly had classes where it felt where I could study forever and still do poorly, but in general I've found my classes very easy.

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Mar 4, 2017

This is a dumb argument. I feel like I'm arguing with my physics buddy about who's major is harder.

Banking your getting paid a shitton of money as an analyst. Engineering school you're paying them a ton of money. I'd rather be the analyst any day.

Mar 4, 2017

Well, in that, you are correct. I meant that purely in terms of nature of the work and overall workload (was not factoring money in there).

Mar 4, 2017

Engineering Student: "How the f--- am I going to pay rent and buy food this month?!?!"

Banker: "I wonder what kind of sports car I should buy..."

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Mar 2, 2017

Hang in there Joey. The end will come sooner than you think, and looking back it will all be a blur.

Mar 2, 2017

Just an incoming Summer Analyst, but gained a nicotine addiction during recruiting. Got an offer and have been trying to ween myself off.

Mar 2, 2017

Def get off of this before you start. I had a mild one coming in (dipped occasionally in college) and now its full blown. Once I'm done with my two years I'm gonna try and quit for good

Mar 2, 2017

Dipper here too, best of luck.

Mar 2, 2017

Thanks. Worst part too is its acceptable behavior in the office, so i can dip all day long if i want to

Mar 3, 2017

As others have said, and in regards to your intention, certainly ditch the habit before you start working. Banking is one of those things where you need to work without vices as much as possible, because they will grow much stronger. At this point I don't even drink caffeine very frequently because I have more energy waking up early and working out (even on 5 hours of sleep) than I do sleeping 7-8 hours and chugging caffeine throughout the day. That and smoking/dipping/excessive drinking will destroy your health during banking.

Mar 2, 2017

Thanks for sharing your experience. Could anyone further elaborate further on damage mitigation strategies for IB juniors?

I guess a lot boils down to genetics, personality type etc., but would still be great hear the daily routine of someone who went through their analyst years fairly undamaged.

Mar 2, 2017

The key is managing your time and stress effectively. Read "The Power of Habit" - available in audiobook format. Develop better habits over time, work out, eat well, and practice self-awareness / meditation / introspection. That last one was huge for me, actually.

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Mar 2, 2017

All the more reason to work at a bank that has a gym. MS is nice.

Mar 2, 2017

Everyone knows of "Freshman 15". But fewer people know about "First-year (Analyst) 15".

Mar 2, 2017

Don't forget the Second-year 15.

Mar 2, 2017
NuckFuts:

Don't forget the Second-year 15.

The real sleeper is the "First Year Associate 35". We had an associate who needed all new suits by Thanksgiving of his first year on the job.

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Mar 2, 2017

I know those feels. Was 15 pounds up after 6 months.

Mar 3, 2017

This was most of our associates early on. That being said many of them ate horribly and only a few worked out ever, and none frequently. Eat healthy(ish) the majority of the time and you'll be fine boys.

Mar 2, 2017

what's funny is a lot of my analyst class lost 15+ lbs due to lack of eating / stress. We are also a pretty bare bones shop in terms of snacks (there are none) and have pretty low limits to what we can spend on dinner

Mar 2, 2017

This is way more common in my office as well. It's either losing or gaining. Nobody is maintaining their ideal weight

Mar 2, 2017

Alcohol, caffeine addiction, hair loss, skin damage (hello wrinkles at 25), not having a peaceful sleep, irritation, heart palpitations. Still, I love my job and waking up everyday to come to the office.

thank God I eat very healthy so weight gain hasn't occurred (sometimes slight weight losses) nor diseases from lack of vitamins.

I don't go to the gym, but I try to walk everyday at least 30 min. Gym/exercise is definitely recommended. I hear sex helps too, but haven't had much of that either...

Mar 2, 2017

Thanks for posting this. It's incredibly important to be self-aware about the negative ways banking impacts your life. My first year was very rough for a variety of reasons, but those that I could control were eating unhealthily (pounding pancakes, cookies, monsters at midnight), not focusing enough on relationships or spirituality, letting my level of patience with any/all things fall to an embarrassing low, and several others.

Second year has been much better as I've been using all dinner money on chicken breasts, egg whites, etc., have been going to the gym frequently (my default is that I AM going unless I absolutely cannot), and focusing more on relationships with family and deity. Happiness, energy, and passion levels have increased substantially, though part of that is a function of the hours being better. Still working on being more patient with everyone though.

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Mar 4, 2017

Mind elaborating on the spirituality point? Cheers!

Mar 8, 2017

For sure. Spirituality will mean different things for different people. For me, I've always been a devout Christian, so it has included weekly church, daily prayer and scripture reading, and serving others. While I have attended church each week, those other things have taken a back seat to the daily grind and I've watched my overall mindset become more "how much money am I making and how much will I make" vs. "how do I improve as a human (by helping others, living righteous principles, etc.)". It's taken a negative toll on my overall well-being and happiness, so I'm trying to increase the level of spirituality to bring my life more balance.

For those that aren't religious/Christian/Buddhist/whatever, it may just be that you need to turn on some Sigur Ros and reflect on the bigger picture of your life, whether or not you are happy where you are, where you're going, how your life is turning out in a more deep sense than what your job is. I believe that sort of self-reflection could probably uncover many insights, and I'm sure most people (including myself) don't do it enough.

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Mar 8, 2017

Im trying to handle studying and working at the same time. The stress is also making me very easily agitated (no patience). Trying to work it out as well :(

Mar 8, 2017

It's not easy to have patience in a job that requires answers within minutes in many cases. Still learning the balance, but I think one good check is to assess how you treat others that are below you and that have very limited power to help you (food delivery people, janitor, etc.). One of my colleagues used to be absolutely atrocious to everyone and made me reaaaally want to try hard to never become like that.

Mar 2, 2017

Honestly its mental more than physical. I've probably lost ~5 pounds (was always super skinny so not a good thing). IBD is obviously full of hard charging type-A people, and while I can play that game, I'm naturally a bit of an introvert. So everyday I just feel fucking drained and have no desire to be around people after work. Weekends are spent either reading/chilling/netflix/sleeping as opposed to going out which hasn't been great for social life and building new relationships.

Mar 6, 2017

Totally understand that, fellow introvert here and fucking drained every god damn day. Weekends just wanna sleep in and binge shows or go out for nice meals by myself

Mar 2, 2017

Banking/Trading has changed me into a greedy, binge drinking asshole. You know what, I kinda like it!

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Mar 2, 2017

A lot of bankers get pretty cynical because so much of your work and effort ends up either not mattering (e.g. if a deal blows up for whatever reason) or not mattering to you (e.g. if a deal closes, it doesn't really benefit the analyst in any meaningful way).

Mentally, I became really pessimistic and negative, which was bad both professionally and personally. Had a short fuse and couldn't get away from this feeling where I always felt very "rushed" (for lack of a better word... maybe also somewhat overwhelmed?) all the time. My self esteem was pretty low too, and on the rare occasions that I did get to meet up with friends, I tried to pack months of fun into one night (which is bad because I would just rip a bunch of shots, black out, and then have no clue what happened that night).

Physically, I tried to work out but that ended a few months in. I'm lucky in that I've never had a big appetite and a lot of days I would eat a late breakfast and then eat a late lunch, no third meal. I didn't gain weight but I lost a lot of muscle and was pretty unhealthy by the time I quit (felt like puking for hours after my first post-IB workout, which would have been a very light one by my previous standards).

One weird quirk I developed was getting antsy from voicemails and phone calls, because nothing good comes from these when you're an analyst.

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Mar 2, 2017

Has anyone maintained any sort of health in banking? I mean the health effects sound much worse than pulling long hours. I can work a long time, but if banking would impact my health this much, I'm not sure if it would be worth it...

Mar 2, 2017

This thread is good because it will give you plenty of things to look out for so that you can start balancing your work/health if any signs pop-up. No one who lasts in the industry has done it by just going 100% hard at work all the time. That, and the fact that the average 21-25 year old human body is actually pretty resilient. As long as you keep an eye on things you (hopefully) won't do permanent damage.

If you are doing the standard two years and out, then I wouldn't solely let the health effects deter you, but definitely take that into consideration.

Mar 2, 2017

This is somewhat reassuring. As a complete health nut, I think I would be fine if I could at least get into the gym three times per week. From what I've read, this sounds somewhat reasonable. Correct me if I'm wrong though.

Mar 2, 2017

Ultimately I think this boils down to your ability and discipline to giving up sleep in order to workout. I thought I too would be going 3 days at a minimum per week, and I did for the first few months. However, when I get a chance to sleep 6 hours now, I am not disciplined enough to take 5 and spend one at the gym. After a few nights with just a few hours of sleep, I take my 8 hours of sleep when available when I should really take 7 and spend one at the gym. It's much easier to say you will then to actually do it. I'd make sure you make the gym a habit, rather than an option from day 1. Once you lose the habit, it will be very hard to get back to taking the gym rather than the sleep. At least that's my experience. Discipline is huge.

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Mar 3, 2017

You're right Joey, but more and more medical research lately has been shedding a lot of light on just how important sleep is to your overall health. Sleep is when your brain cleans itself and also when your muscles regenerate. Giving up sleep to work out takes discipline, but the real challenge is learning how to manage your time and projects effectively enough that you get 6+ hours of sleep each night, work out, AND crush it at your job. This sounds nearly impossible in banking, but I knew more than one guy who managed to do just that and those are also the guys that ended up with the top ranking at the end of the year.

Come to think of it, most of them came from the military into banking, so their focus on habits and efficiency probably gave them an edge.

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Mar 3, 2017

This is very easily achievable on an average week. There will be weeks when you're 0/7 but if you get into the habit of working out AM (before work) or during dinner (if your group is ok with that) you will have a pretty decent average. You just have to prioritize it over other things.

Mar 2, 2017

Actually come come to think of it I lost about 2 stone!, whatever that is in Roman Catholic.

Mar 2, 2017

Why do people make banking sound like joining the Marines? Sure you work a lot, but you guys make it sound like it's super hardcore. I don't mean this to come off the wrong way (but it probably will), but I haven't had a vacation in 3 years and I'm not dead yet. Your life spiraling out of control is your own fault; banking only drives you insane if you let it.

Mar 2, 2017

It's not the Marines but it's not the fucking Girl Scouts either.

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Mar 2, 2017

Surprised no one has said eye floaters, but yeah... when I stare at the screen for too long I see things floating around. Not fun.

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Mar 2, 2017

God you lot are a bunch of self indulgent, pathetic narcissistic arseholes. It's a tough fucking job. Great.
Stop endlessly trying to analyse your position in comparison to others, or feel sorry for yourself because you aren't sure of you decisions. It's pathetic. And if you are one of these people the odds are that you won't make it far in banking or PE.
And to be honest that's no bad thing. Not everyone goes the distance, and that's fine. Just do what makes you happy; don't do what makes you unhappy, miserable and insecure. Because then people wont see a great resume but a burnt out shell who isn't sure of themselves, but has made all their life decisions for the wrong reasons.

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Mar 2, 2017

Quit being a cunt. As I said in my post, the point was to provide a cautionary tale so readers can learn from the mistakes of others and hopefully go into the job with a plan to manage their lives more successfully than I did.

This isn't about bragging or self pity. It's easier to lob insults at others than it is to admit your own shortcomings to others in a helpful way. Besides, what are you now, a first year analyst? Shouldn't you be spreading comps or polishing your MD's balls instead of shitposting on WSO?

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Mar 3, 2017

Isn't polishing reserved for 2nd years only?

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Apr 4, 2017

Right, 1st years get the shaft.

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Mar 2, 2017

Great post

Mar 2, 2017

Echo what others have said...Anxiety, bad skin, fluctuating weight, waking up in the middle of the night to thinking my blackberry went off, poor nutrition from seamless every night

I think Joey's description of the vicious cycle of perpetual fatigue is pretty spot on and hit pretty close to home. The first five months felt like the end of finals week every single day. Your body adjusts to the lifestyle after a bit (not sure if that's a good thing or bad thing) but it still sucks.

Mar 3, 2017

Glad to hear you're doing well and taking better care of yourself. I went through pretty similar downward spiral during my time in banking; I didn't gain the weight (actually lost about 15 pounds, not in a good way) and haven't had any serious medical issues, but I did pick up a terrible chewing tobacco habit (2 cans a day at one point) that I'm still trying to kick, it's not good.

Think the big key is, is to try to keep active and get in some exercise or gym time at least 3x a week. Even if it's for a quick 20 mins here and there, and get a long session during the weekend where you can really elevate your heart rate. Second to that is try to curb your urge to drink heavily to "blow off steam" outside of normal work hours. I was sorely guilty of not doing this, and the juice is never worth the squeeze, believe me folks. That first 3-4 drinks kicking-in may give off a momentary rush of euphoria , but the hangover and mental fatigue you incur from poor sleep will set you back from recovering during the limited downtime that you have. Save the binge drinking for when you take some time off on vacation out of town where you have "limited access to email".

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Mar 3, 2017

Spot on, String. Hope Baltimore is treating you well.

Mar 3, 2017

Good post, +SB.

I started at a boutique and then lateraled to a MM. My year at the boutique was very laid back. My associate came from a top MM and top MBA program, but the guy was the most passive person I have ever met. Even when I completely botched this one model and embarrassed the associate in front of a client, the associate never yelled or anything.

My MM experience was much different. My bankers were absolutely insane. My associate would scream and curse so loudly that we occasionally got complaints from the company on the floor below us (I wish I was joking). This associate called me every name in the book, regularly told me that I was a POS, and trashed me (and every analyst) to the MD on a regular basis. I remember this one time where I used a slightly-off shade of blue for a header bar - by slightly off, I mean something like one number less in the blue section of RGB - and the associate insisted that this was so embarrassing that clients might start fleeing for a competitor. My VP was no better. The guy would sit in his office almost every day until 10 PM for no reason other than that he loved IB. Our MD always left at 4 PM, but the VP was convinced the MD was playing games with him, so the VP would leave his jacket and briefcase in his office when he left at 10 PM to make it look like he just went to the bathroom. Our VP would then come into the office at 8 AM every Saturday for no reason and start complaining that his analysts are not there with him. If we were in the office on Saturday, however, the VP would remind us the facetime doesn't matter....

I was absolutely paranoid of making mistakes because any mistake, regardless of how big or small, would result in some crazy associate verbally berating me, so I always read emails ten times before sending them, always read slides ten times before turning them back, etc. and definitely wasted a lot of time doing that. Other than that, I have to honestly say that I never experienced any of the negativities that you listed.

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Feb 22, 2018

I'm curious as to how you/anyone responds to being treated like that in a "professional" setting. Luckily, I have not experienced anything to that degree. There are a few senior level guys I have been warned about however, and I'm sure our paths will cross at some point.

After working 80+ hours a week, how do people have the patience to not just go off on that Associate and tell him to shut the fck up when he is having an outburst? I imagine the VP didn't do anything about it b/c he was more concerned with his own personal games with the MD?

I am anticipating taking a lot of shit during my banking career, but I am always curious how things don't get super personal when working with some of these characters you hear about.

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Feb 25, 2018

I put up with it because I knew my analyst stint was temporary and that any ding to my bonus was just not worth it. It also wasn't personal (these bankers acted like towards everyone). Still not an excuse for their behavior, though...

Mar 3, 2017

Great post. Current junior in college really excited for an opportunity in IB and there are endless posts on this website from people who look down upon others for being human. Great reminder that even in a fast-paced and cutthroat environment, it's ok to take a step back and analyze your life and figure our wants/needs. Hope the best for you! Thanks!

Mar 3, 2017

Honestly banks are being coerced into (acting) like everyone is human from an HR/public perspective. Certainly not everywhere is humanized but things are drastically different now than even 2 years ago. Pay is also up so... you're hitting the jackpot on timing.

Mar 3, 2017

if I may ask, in what ways do you believe they're changing?

Mar 3, 2017

To let you know just how sleep is important,
Missing out on sleep despite regularly working out and eating healthy is disastrous.

http://www.drshaileshthaker.co.in/blog/what-killed-ranjan-dasyoungest-ceo-and-lessons-for-corporate-india.html

Mar 3, 2017

jeez, sounds so not worth it man, good to hear everything is balancing out better now.

Mar 3, 2017

I haven't had anything near the issues OP had but certainly weight gain in my first year followed by two years desperately trying to judiciously exercise and eat healthier. Most analysts/associates in my office use standing desks (this is bulge bracket btw) so that helps with some of the issues you've encountered. If people are experiencing any of your symptoms or problems I highly recommend using a standing desk, proper posture when sitting (can fix the carpal tunnel and other health issues) and just taking a 5-10 minute break to walk around whenever you have down time come up. You may be 'really busy' but this is banking, in a 14 hour day you assuredly have several 5-30 minute downtime periods where you're braindead reading news or other information online.

Personal relationships certainly suffer. For me it has been more of a fringe situation, friends I would occasionally see in college I rarely talk to now, group has become much more confined based on who I am closest to. Thankfully my marriage has not been strained as my wife is very patient, understanding, and had a year experiencing the 100 hour work week hell that was banking pre-HR millenialization that took place in the past two years.

Other than that certainly chronic sleep deprivation but I am someone who was never used to sleeping more than ~7 hours a day (and occasional binge 12 hour weekend sleeping) throughout my later high school and all of my adult life so for me that is normal, albeit exaggerated by banking. Also in banking it becomes a requirement, not a choice, so it's more stressful.

One thing I can stress HEAVILY to those looking into the industry is your lifestyle/stress levels/etc are largely 1. A symptom of your GROUP (not bank, tier of banking, etc) so pick wisely based on the people you meet and 2. Your own internal ability to handle stress, not stress things that aren't worth stressing about and ultimately manage people and yourself. Banking is certainly not easy, and I am 3 years in so jaded/accustomed at this point, but it is no where near the soul crushing experience on a 24/7 basis that some people heroically make it out to be. There are certainly people in my office with those experiences but they are often self-inflicted.

You do not receive extra credit in banking (i.e. if you go home at 11:30pm or 4 am with the same workload no one cares, you will not be comped for this, no one will even notice) but some people resort to herculean level feats to impress people only to later realize no one cares at all. Take care of yourself and take things in stride. Work hard but don't be an idiot.

An aside from a post above above - the paranoia around everything you do i.e. rechecking emails 10 times before sending, going through model links and assumptions many times before submitting, making tiny formatting updates that are irrelevant, etc., is certainly a quirk everyone will acquire in banking. It's largely a benefit to you as a self-enforced quality control on your work but try to minimize the time you waste doing this as much as possible. Can easily drag into hours a day depending on your workload.

Mar 3, 2017

I didn't work in banking but there was about a year I was working 12-14 hours a day. Still got time to exercise, but I developed severe neck pain (feeling like someone was trying to wreck my neck) and ahem, this, because your body just doesn't like sitting for that long. Not very sexy for a girl huh. And I could imagine worse problems to IBD people working longer hours.

Also, I am foreign and the stress caused from lack of sleep and working under pressure made me anxious and my accent/language fluency got affected. Sometimes when I was too tired, I spoke English and nobody could understand me.

Mar 5, 2017

Thanks for furnishing such well put together content material

Mar 15, 2017

Look up mysofascial release therapy and trigger points to find what is causing pain in your neck. It's also from sitting in the same position for 14 hours a day, and it isn't permanent, unless you don't treat it with painful massage.

Mar 3, 2017

This is the most honest post I've read on this forum and a sobering reminder to take care of ones self. I'm 32 and am just realizing how important it is. Great post man!

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Mar 4, 2017

Jump rope is an amazing way to get in a quick 10-20 minute workout

Mar 4, 2017

Glad to hear you are doing better now - the number of replies in such a short period of time indicates that mental and physical health deterioration is still almost inevitable in IBD. Did M&A at a top law firm for 3+ years, so I would assume this is somewhat comparable. I sincerely liked my job, so my health deterioration was mainly physical, but in hindsight, it is shocking how much many of us (including me) allow a job to impact our health in a negative way.

My symptoms were mainly hair loss (which I partly recovered with the help of many products) and gray hair. Mentally, it was mainly anger / resentment towards particular partners who would make you work on vacation for stuff that was not urgent at all. The first two weeks that I quit my job, I caught myself reaching for my work phone every five minutes checking for new e-mails, only realizing that I do not have my work phone anymore.

Having said that, it has been a valuable experience. I am not sure if I would do it again, but I certainly learned a lot in terms of persistence and motivation. Whenever things get tough in my current job, it's mainly the bankers or lawyers who can easily grind through it.

Mar 4, 2017

Noticeably lost weight according to one VP. However, I came into IB a bit pudgy and have made a big effort to focus on my diet. It's weight I think I should have lost, rather than losing an unhealthy amount of weight due to IB. My mental health took quite a hit during my first six months. High levels of anxiety and stress, constantly questioning can I put up with it and am I really capable of being an IB Analyst.

8 months in now. Love it, anxiety and stress has gone as I've become better at the job. Weight is in line with where I want it to be. Physical health is lacking, I am where I want to be at in terms of looking healthy, but my cardio ability is completely gone. Need to make more time for the gym.

For current analysts / incoming analysts worried about weight, I've found a very simply system which works. If you wear the same belt every day, take note of what notch on your belt you're currently at (assuming you're happy with your weight). If you move up a notch towards the buckle, lower your calorie intake, if you go away from the buckle, increase your calorie intake. You don't need to count calories and you'll be roughly at your preferred build.

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Mar 5, 2017

Definitely curious to hear how you lost weight. Do you squeeze in 20-30 minute workouts during down time at your work? Recently consulted with my physician, dietitian, and psychiatrist to start a new mental and physical health regimen. Only has been a week but I've already lost 6 pounds by working out 3 days and sticking to the DASH diet that helps blood pressure. Goal would be to get to 30 pounds lost in 6-9 months.

Mar 5, 2017

Very few workouts. I just ate fairly healthy. Normal breakfast, salad at lunch, decent dinner, all meals usually providing a nice breakdown of carbs, protein and fat. My diet was poor before starting, so going from eating crap to eating good food lead to a natural weight loss. Working out will help hugely, but can likely be done with just diet. Watch what you eat and don't treat your Seamless limit like a target.

Mar 6, 2017

intermittent fasting. I got pretty yoked in college and played a yr of football (got up to 220). so I still have a decent amount of muscle mass and was in decent shape. but I went from like 190 to 172 in 3 months of intermittent fasting, I also wasn't going to the gym barely at all so probably lost some muscle as well. but now back in the gym at least a couple times a week, sitting at around 182, and get a lot of compliments about how much more trim I look.

intermittent fasting is now a part of my life. I fast most days of the week from 8PM - 2PM the next day, only eating a banana and coffee with a little bit of half/half in the AM.

there are so many health benefits to fasting, there's TED video's on it etc. basically humans eat too much, we need to be in famine mode more often and it's a bunch of bs that breakfast is the most important meal. I feel so much more sharp mentally throughout the day if I don't eat my first meal until 2 PM..

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Mar 6, 2017

I see. Kudos to you on losing that amount of weight. I think I'm going to stick it out on dash for now but fasting does sound interesting.

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Mar 5, 2017

This was a great post and definitely something that I will have to consider, especially as a high school senior. Right now I am not sure if I want to go into IB for the long-term or only do it for a few years and then move onto VC or do VC right out of undergrad. I believe that there were some very interesting points made. I am glad that you found the light at the end of the tunnel after years of pain. Keep it up.

Mar 5, 2017

I spent only a year in IBD, but had my fair share of punishment in terms of workload. While many of my peers got fatter, visibly unhealthier, I actually made it my mission to do the complete opposite. I ended up sacrificing sleep for workouts (i.e. often a potential 5-6hr night was cut down to 4-5hr to get that workout in).

The following helped me a lot on the health side:
1. HIIT 5+ days a week. 30 mins per session is enough. Go to the gym just before it closes (when it is eerily quiet). Book a class, tends to push you more. Boxing classes or the like are rly cool.
2. Drink water.
3. NO breakfast (unless workout before).
4. Load up on protein. Have protein snacks around your desk. Especially when we get stressed/frustrated/unhappy we tend to want to "happy up" with a bag of M&Ms, then some crisps etc. Don't. Eat a protein bar.
5. Superfood/greens drink.
6. Limit the booze cruises that happen on Fri

DYEL

Mar 5, 2017

Completely agree with this except one question, did you feel okay with no breakfast? I usually feel much better when I start the day with a great breakfast, omelette with veggies, steel cut oatmeal, etc.

Mar 6, 2017

Studies show that people who eat breakfast are much less likely to binge eat later on in the day. Having some protein first thing in the morning also boosts your metabolism.

It's better to have a big protein breakfast than to have a big dinner - your metabolism slows down at night and all that food will just get stored as fat.

Mar 6, 2017

Its the complete opposite for me and some other people who have adopted intermittent fasting agree as well. I used to really think breakfast was so important and eating a good breakfast was key.

I have come to realize if i dont eat breakfast I am much less hungry throughout the day and feel sharper mentally. I end up eating a decent meal at 2pm (first meal of day) then a light meal/snack for my second meal later in the day on days I dont workout.

I lost about 15 pounds doing intermittent fasting in 3 months and I barely worked out during that time period..

Now that I started working out more, I put some muscle back on and am still 10 pounds lighter but I'm still getting a lot of compliments about how much more trim I look...

Im 5'10 183, before I started IF I was like 190.

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Mar 7, 2017

Interesting - yeah, my comment was generally about people with normal diets (all else equal, it's better to eat in the morning than at night). But I agree, with IF it's different. I just started following an IF program 2 days ago actually.

Mar 7, 2017

Nice man, hope it helps you make some good progress. First week takes some getting used too, but once you get used to it, its so worth it. Will be interested to hear how much weight you drop etc after the first month

Mar 7, 2017

Thanks - I'm curious, what do you do on days when you do work out? I'm about to leave work and I've only had a bag of mixed nuts to eat all day. Planning on hitting the gym in a bit, but my concerns with IF is that I will run out of steam and/or will slow down my metabolism and start losing muscle...

Mar 7, 2017

My first meal is always a little after 2PM. On days that I workout, I get to the gym between 6-7PM, get home by 9 the latest and have a bigger 2nd meal than non workout days. No carbs, but was eating steak and eggs for a while a little after 9PM. My fasting window on workout days is 10PM to 2PM (still have a coffee and banana on an empty stomach during fasting time, to get all those nutrients in me on an empty stomach).

On non-workout days, still first meal is at 2 PM, then second smaller meal at like 6 or 7 and sleep before 10PM.

But my day really revolves around that 2 PM meal, it's good size and fuels my workouts on training days (I always have to workout around 6-7PM during the week).

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Mar 6, 2017

Common sense basically.

Everyone who knows a little bit about nutrition and bodybuilding is perfectly fine. Just stay away from roids and try to sleep as much as you can whenever you have the chance.

Golden rule: 40% carbs / 40% protein / 20% good fats

Eat 6 times per day.

Body weights 3 times a week and cardio workout 1 hour a week (30 minutes if HIIT).

Mar 7, 2017

How do you manage to eat 6 times a day during banking? I've been struggling to get 3-4 in most days and am losing way too much weight. I really should be eating 6 times a day, but I'm struggling to make that happen.

Mar 7, 2017

I've never been able to do this myself, but co-worker of mine works long hours and does a lot of meal prepping on Sunday night. He cooks a ton of chicken and lentils once a week and portions it out in plastic containers that he takes with him to work.

Mar 7, 2017

Yeah I've considered this. Cooking is a major time sink though and I find it hard to spend those rare few hours I have to relax on the weekend cooking. Have some friends who do this and it works well for them.

Mar 8, 2017

best stuff is niagen and mito q

Mar 15, 2017

6 meals a day is a great way to constantly stoke your appetite without ever being fully satiated. Bad advice.

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Apr 4, 2017

Science has shown that it's unnecessary to eat so many times a day. You can eat 2 times a day and still be fine.

Apr 6, 2017
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Dec 29, 2017
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Feb 22, 2018

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Jun 4, 2018
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