Investing jobs with the best comp to lifestyle ratio

For example:

  • Seed / Series A investing, 40-50h per week, pretty shitty comp unless you strike gold (might as well be collecting food stamps)
  • Large cap LBO PE, 80h+ per week, more money than anybody could possibly know what to do with, but you basically don't get to live a life outside work

Money goals: I want occasional luxury travel (tour guide, nice hotel, nice food, nothing crazy), restoration hardware furniture, and second home in Tahoe that has a guest room, and to send my kids to private school. I don't need Wheels up, I don't need sports cars, I don't need a mansion. I don't know what annual compensation translates to this lifestyle.

Lifestyle goals: I want to be able to be an active participant in my kids' lives. My current MDs don't even know their kids names (facetiously). I want to have weekends back (don't mind working on the weekend but don't like the unpredictability). 

Question: What fits this criteria / what's the middle ground where you optimize a comp to lifestyle ratio? Series A / B? Real estate? Hedge fund roles? I got flak for asking this same thing 5+ years ago when I was an undergrad, but I'm getting too old to be working these hours. I am ready for kids.

Comments (41)

Jan 13, 2021 - 11:34am

highly underrated option.

very stable jobs regardless of level, 100-200k at the jr levels for 50hrs a week max, potential to get into the millions at the CIO level

my dream job would be the PE allocating team of a big endowment

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 12, 2021 - 9:54pm

Your comment on VC comp seems incorrect. Partners at VC are making ~500-1000k cash comp not including carry. Principals at ~400k and Associates at 200-250k. It's lower than large cap PE but high comp nonetheless especially considering the better hours. 

  • Principal in VC
Jan 12, 2021 - 10:10pm

This is true at the top funds but there's a big drop off after that (much steeper than in PE). You see a ton of smallish VC funds with $50-100MM AUM and no way they're paying anywhere near PE (in cash at least). 

To answer the original question, anything on the LP/FoF/endowment/secondaries side seems to pay very well relative to hours worked (plus a lot of cushy fringe benefits) but people rarely rotate out of those seats so it's hard to find a spot. 

  • Associate 3 in PE - LBOs
Jan 12, 2021 - 10:39pm

Where would you draw the cutoff? I think VC would be more intellectually stimulating

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 13, 2021 - 11:07am

+1 on the 50-100M AUM VCs. They're usually just a group of rag tag investor and don't have the capacity to pay as much cash. Would be interested in knowing the "cutoff" AUM where VCs pay more in line

Jan 12, 2021 - 11:05pm

LP at a for profit firm of pretty much any variety (family office, secondaries, etc.)

Vanilla asset management (e.g. mutual funds) can be real good too. Back in my IB days, associate and I were interviewing a candidate from Dodge & Cox who said he was working not more than 50ish hours a week and looking for a more "intense" work environment. My associate and I looked up comp on Glassdoor after the interview and were both immediately like "we've clearly made some mistakes in our career choices". Sample size of 1 but whatever

Jan 15, 2021 - 12:06pm

It's off the charts for higher ups at T Rowe, Capital Group, or Dodge and Cox.  AUM is $250b-$1T w/ fees 50-100bps, pretty high margin business, and you can make a rough estimate on how the profits get split.  Easily mid-single $ millions if you're partner.

Have been seeing a few senior analysts and PMs leave some big HFs for these long only funds bc  altho pay somewhat lower, way lower stress and only 50-60 hour work weeks.

  • Analyst 3+ in HF - RelVal
Jan 13, 2021 - 11:26am

Macro HFs. My PM works ~50-55 hours/week and makes mid 7 - low 8 figures annually. The flip side is that it can be stressful, the compensation is volatile, and the path to PM is by no means guaranteed. But in my opinion, if you're a very good macro trader, there's no better position in finance.

  • Analyst 3+ in HF - RelVal
Jan 13, 2021 - 2:51pm

Depends on background. My firm has hired a couple of exceptional undergrads in the past and they are paid similar to banking, ~180k all in first year. Someone coming from 2-3 years of S&T would likely be making 250-300k, and analysts that have been with the firm for 4-5 years make 400-600k depending on firm and individual performance. Senior traders (i.e. most senior non-PM members of a large desk) can make into high 6/low 7 figures, but this is where the comp tends to become quite volatile. There are definitely exceptions to these numbers both above and below, but I would say 80% of cases fall in the above ranges.


S&T is the most common path but it isn't the only path. Research and academia are also common paths, and many macro firms specifically place a higher value on intelligence/adaptability than background at the junior levels. That being said, S&T is the easiest path into a macro fund (doesn't mean that it's easy, per se), but by no means is the only path.

  • Associate 3 in PE - LBOs
Jan 13, 2021 - 11:40am

Can one move from LBO PE to Macro? I thought you needed a history PhD or trading background.

Jan 14, 2021 - 1:53pm

Private Banking at a few of the bulge brackets seems to grant you the ability to make great comp while still maintaining a life. I think it's realistic to make a total of 100k as a first-tear analyst with bonuses and such.


Most Helpful
  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Jan 14, 2021 - 3:16pm

Pretty straight forward answer is that if you want a job with high comp and low hours you need to be assuming high risk and bring high skill / background to the table. Case in point, the handful of undergrads that land jobs at top quant hedge funds or prop shops out of college. They can easily clear 300-400k all in first year including signing bonus but there is high turnover and demand for performance; if you're not a good trader, you're going to get fired. Want low risk, low hours, high comp? Be senior in an industry with specialized knowledge or leadership / sourcing ability. Want high comp but don't want a risky job and can't offer a ton of job experience? Better be ready to work long hours -- hello IB or corp law, etc. There's no magical garden of eden job out there that will pay you a ton to do What you're looking for is a lottery ticket not a career.   

  • Analyst 1 in PE - Other
Jan 14, 2021 - 3:26pm

Can confirm what others have said about working as an LP at a FoF/family office/endowment/pension fund. Especially one that has significant co-invest and/or secondary deal flow, which might be more interesting and generally means greater earnings potential through carry if your firm does well.

Usually 50-60ish hours per week at mid-high level, from what I know. Comp can be highly variable between firms, depending on AUM, returns, and co-invest/secondary programs. As has also been mentioned, people don't tend to leave these roles too often at the higher levels and the teams can be smaller relative to most GP's team size.

  • Intern in PE - Growth
Jan 15, 2021 - 12:31am

Any idea how much an MD / partner-level person at a medium/large sized endowment makes? Assuming your returns are average / above average, not Swenson-level

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jan 15, 2021 - 2:24am

Can't believe no one has said secondaries yet. The mega secondary firms pay very well compared to the effort put in.

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