NYC worth it?

Was planning on being in nyc after college, for a myriad of reasons that did not happen. In what the folks here would refer to as a tier 2 city now. Cost of living is lower, not surrounded by concrete and trash 24/7, people are generally more relaxed, hours are great.

Have an internal conflict of whether I ever want to go to nyc now but am concerned that I'm missing something by not going. Flip of the coin is I don't know anyone there that really enjoys it.

Any have thoughts on whether nyc is actually worth it?

Comments (57)

Most Helpful
Jan 1, 2022 - 9:30pm

Wow, I totally could have like written this exact post like more than a decade ago! Similar deal, wanted (badly) to get a job in NYC post-grad school, didn't happen, but got good job in tier 2 city. Fast forward, after doing really well in job/life in "tier 2 ville", got headhunted for an NYC role (legit move up all round). Been here (live suburbs, too old for city bullshit) several years. Do I think I will stay forever... no F'ing way, but not sure when or by what exact means I leave either. 

So, are you missing something?? Maybe, I now feel like I would feel very unfulfilled life/career-wise had I not taken the opportunity to move for the role. Yet, I had more than gotten to the point where I figured it would never happen (I wasn't on job market at all, total out of blue) and was not trying to make it happen at all. Result, career is miles/years ahead, but yeah, I do feel like I left something behind that I miss (like friends/quality of life stuff). I have zero regrets, and think I would have 100% regretted it the other way. 

Anyway, not sure this helps you at all. Just saw the post and really connected with it. I have literally been there. If it is really key to your life/career story to move to NYC or other "tier 1" gateway city, it will probably happen. Being honest, it might be better to go mid-career than early career (this is not easy nor the norm), like NYC much more fun when you are making more and not at the bottom rung of an organization/industry. NYC treats "juniors" like shit, the firms seem to enjoy it and make it like a rite of passage. I got to side step most of that crap (granted, also got to side step some of the big paydays... and big taxes/rents, eh who knows which would have been better financially..). 

Bottom line, let things play out, maybe you will get the opportunity sooner than you think. If you feel like you NEED to go, then do it!  

  • Investment Analyst in PE - Other
Jan 1, 2022 - 10:00pm

Thanks for the thoughtful response. Yeah I mean given lack of analysts these days I could hop over there whenever I want, get hit up by recruiters constantly. Just hard to give up the lifestyle of my current city. Tough call to make, maybe I'll wait around for an opportunity I can't pass up.

Jan 1, 2022 - 9:36pm

I always wanted to live in NYC after school, but didn't get the chance until I was in my 30s. Definitely pros and cons.


I actually make enough money now to live alone in a decent sized 1 bedroom vs. when I first got out of school and would of needed roommates to make it work.

Great food scene.

Have tons of friends in the area that I've had the opportunity to catch back up with.


I'm less willing to put up with all of the shit that you have to do to live in NYC - transportation/commute issues, you can only buy what you can carry or have to constantly pay for delivery, general expense, tiny apts, window HVAC units and it being rare to have laundry in unit.

Hours can be brutal.

I've been in NYC for a couple of years and have really enjoyed my time here, but I'm also ready to decamp to the suburbs/NJ for more space/general ease of life

  • Investment Analyst in PE - Other
Jan 1, 2022 - 9:55pm

Yeah man I described it as tier 2 in the post because that's what the undergrads here would refer to it as, but it's really a major city.

I like that I don't have to deal with a shitty and small apartment that still seems to cost an arm and a leg, I have central air, in unit laundry, live in the nicest neighborhood and walk to work everyday, beers cost $4 instead of $10, there's parks everywhere and swimmable water. The description should narrow down to where I live.

But hard to give up all the positives for, and I emphasize this, MAYBE marginally better career opportunities and better pay, but undoubtedly worse hours and worse personalities.

Jan 2, 2022 - 12:31am

It is a hard decision to make if you aren't sure that it will actually make a difference in your career. Making more money isn't helpful if the higher COL eats up the raise or if you don't actually have the time/ability to enjoy some of it.

There seems to be nothing wrong with your current situation, but I can totally understand wanting to scratch the itch.

Is it possible for you to work remote for 3 or 4 months in NYC to try it out or does your company have a NYC office you can move to?

I'll mention that I'm a bit like @redever (at least from what I've read of his posts) and work in a more niche part of the sector (debt AM at a fund). Like him, I wasn't really looking to move to NYC, but it was a good career move for me and while I'm not sure I'll stay here forever, it was a good choice for a little while

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Jan 1, 2022 - 11:36pm

Ignore the corp fin title not sure why wso is showing that, but I'm in the exact same boat as you. City I landed in has not been a fit and now targeting a move from a major South/Southeastern market back to nyc.

  • Associate 1 in RE - Comm
Jan 2, 2022 - 12:58am

NYC is not worth it anymore. not in its peak like it used to be. try applying for jobs in miami. seems like an exciting time there right now with everything going on and a lot people moving. The Mayor knows what he is doing...

  • Associate 3 in PE - LBOs
Jan 2, 2022 - 3:09am

I made the move to NYC mid-pandemic for a much bigger job after being in a major southern market for 5 years (Atlanta / Dallas / Miami). I've been thrilled with the decision, my career options have taken off (headhunters now reach out to me for jobs with firms this forum salivates over, previously 8/10 didn't even respond to my emails or ghosted after I sent my resume), and my raise was large enough to increase my take home even with excess tax and rent... I also love living in the city, and if you turn off the news and just walk out the door and go to a bar or restaurant it's vibrant, lively, and open and has been for most of 2021. 

Your mileage may vary, but after growing up in the south (and being in college republicans in the SEC... lol), I was pretty apprehensive about the move and took a leap of faith for a job opportunity - now? I couldn't be happier

Jan 2, 2022 - 7:37am

I am in a similar situation. I will be starting an analyst program(RE) in one of the major southern markets you mentioned. How difficult was it to move get interviews outside the south?  Did you network, use HH, ...? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Jan 2, 2022 - 8:18am

You missing 100% of the shots you don't take isn't an excuse to aim a gun at your head. I wouldn't move to NYC today to try and reach for better opportunities especially if OP is in SF/LA or Miami. The only caveat being that some buyside roles are considerably more prevalent in North East but not worth moving unless you have a clear plan of action.

  • Associate 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 2, 2022 - 2:27pm

I am from NY so naturally I began working in New York after undergrad. I was recruited to work in another city I had never been to, and I did not know a single person there (Charlotte / Atlanta / Houston). It was a very difficult experience initially because it can be very lonely when you are starting from scratch but if you tough it out for a few months (~6ish), you'll find it to a rewarding and potentially transformative experience for personal development. I liken it to having to having a blank canvas to rebuild who you are from scratch. You can build off the parts of you that you like and cut out the parts you don't. In terms of professional development, it's all about relationships & network and the sheer size & depth of the talent pool in NY is the best. The junior people you cultivate relationships with at the analyst will eventually become MDs and Partners at firms across the US. This will be your deal flow 10 years from now. Eventually you'll decide to move back but you network will pay dividends longer term

Jan 2, 2022 - 9:59pm

Best time to be there is when you're young. Diminishing returns as you get older. 

"Anything less than the best is a felony"
Jan 3, 2022 - 3:54pm

NY is really fun if you're in your early-mids 20s and social.  You'll have unparalleled access to restaurants, bars, clubs, and social activities; and be at most 45 min away from any place in the city worth visiting.  Additionally, you'll have a naturally solid network in finance, so if you want to have a career (read 20+ years) doing this stuff, it's really helpful.

It tends to wear on you though.  Maybe I'm soft because I grew up in warmer weather, but the winters just suck.  You're forced to be outside for a pretty significant amount of the time while it's cold and the buildings acts as wind tunnels against you.  As you get older, stuff like bars and clubs lose their appeal, and you have to deal with high rents and taxes for minimal space.  Then you have the fun choice of staying in the city while you go through the rat race of your child's education, or move to CT/NJ where you'll enjoy paying high property taxes for the privilege of commuting 3+ hours a day.  

My personal advice would be to try to give NY a year or two while you're young, and then decide what you want to do.  No FOMO, and you aren't handcuffed to a city/industry/company.  

  • Prospect in IB - Cov
Jan 3, 2022 - 4:07pm

Lived here for six months now as analyst 1 and don't know what everyone is talking about it being dead here.

Clubs and bars are packed with 20-30 year olds every Thursday-Sunday. If you're single, you'll have lots of options even if you never buy a table. Also, for those saying to work in Miami out of college you won't be able to afford e11even, LIV etc unless you come from significant money and even then every girl in MIA is looking for a sugar daddy.

Go to NYC, work your butt off, network a ton, get trashed/have fun whenever you can and you'll love this city.

Jan 4, 2022 - 10:42am

If you're single, you'll have lots of options even if you never buy a table.

So the baseline assumption of most college students is that you must buy tables at 1OAK to get women and you're correcting it? 

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  • Summer Associate in PE - Growth
Jan 3, 2022 - 9:14pm

I've heard mix things but one thing is true. If one considers himself a gladiator, then why wouldn't they want to compete in Rome?

Jan 3, 2022 - 10:41pm

I've been here for 3 years after living down south my whole life, and I absolutely love it. But it's definitely not for everyone, some friends visited and hated it. I would say if you're on the fence then don't move here. I think being "all-in" is require to survive and (eventually) thrive in NYC.

Have you visited the city before? It's helpful to come here a few times - try out every season if you can, winter here is something I'm still not used to. If possible maybe stay with some friends or an Airbnb for a week or two.

Jan 4, 2022 - 12:43pm

Personal preference. I personally can't say I'm a fan of the city because I feel it's harder to get out of the city to do more outdoorsy activities

Jan 4, 2022 - 12:49pm

Hi it really depends ! I just moved to nyc and absolutely love it but also not doing IB but still working in finance. I think it depends what your priorities are, if you always wanted to live in nyc I say try it ! Worst case you don't like and can move back I'm moved from LA so also supper different. Let me know if you have any questions happy to answer.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 4, 2022 - 12:49pm

Nyc is awesome if you like bustle, culture, variety, etc.

Always something going on. Plenty of cool people from all backgrounds. if you live in right areas you can walk a lot or take subway.

Not many other cities in US have age and history of nyc. This has created a deep culture and a city of complexity and detail. Something you wont see in a Charlotte, for example. That aging that makes european cities so cool is present in nyc, albeit they are quite a bit older.

I think it takes 1-2 years of the city being a bit overwhelming before you start customizing it to your liking and fall in love.

Jan 4, 2022 - 1:01pm

I never made the move to NYC. Everyone in my office in Chicago is happy they moved here after their stint in NYC. They said if you're going to move there it's best to do so right after college cause you don't notice all the crap going on because it's all you've ever known. I doubly I'll ever go to NYC outside of extended training and I think that'll be enough for me

I think I did this right

Jan 4, 2022 - 1:05pm

Never been to New York City yet however I have extended relatives, cousins and friends whom have lived, worked and holidayed in New York. I have also watched films which have New York and central Park in them. Kate and Leopold and little Nikki, the actors are Meg Ryan, Hugh Jackman and Adam Sandler. I have also looked at different property in New York. I find the apartments to be quite pricey, however the views are very nice and I have always wanted to go live their and or own an apartment overlooking central Park and it's quite nice from that perspective. I think if I am and or offered a nice retainer and an option to buy their fantastic however not sure I would go to New York without a fancy job and lots of cash in the backend. However it's also a very busy place from what I have seen. I think time Square is quite interesting, the words are hustle and bustle. There's also the new York stock exchange, I think it's number one for most currency daily turnover but there's a few stock exchanges. I think there's a very nice library of congress and the skyscrapers are quite cool because they so big and tall and architecturally designed. However New York competes with other cities such as London, Sydney, Vancouver, Ontario. Apparently Sanfransico is quite nice. I don't know how the cities compare to European countries main cities like lyon in France, Frankfurt in Germany, Moscow in Russia, Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, etc the countries and cities list just go on and on however I'm very excited to visit them all. Prague, Ukrain. There's also beigeing and Shanghai in China, tokyo, Taiwan also China. It's kind of hard to choose one office and one city. However as far as I am aware these cities mentioned are first world cities. I know there's the new York giants team although I'm not sure if they basketball, baseball and or football. There's also a central park zoo. I Saw in the Madagascar animation with Alex the lion. I'm more of a fan of hockey and soccer though.

Jan 4, 2022 - 2:52pm

In my opinion living in NYC isnt worth it. It's too expensive, even for someone in banking/Pe to responsibly spend the kind of money you need to spend to have real fun. You will learn very quickly that the kids you in finance that are going out to eat 24/7 wearing nice clothes and hitting the club are also financially backed by a trust fund/their parents money while still living in finance.

I dont have rich parents and have bills and so going out to nice dinners and being part of the young NYC social scene which by design revolves around frivolous spending isn't worth it to me.

I love fly fishing, snowboarding, motorcycles, cars and shooting sports and if I could relocate with my same job and salary to a 2nd tier city where I could blow money on those hobbies I totally would. Instead I live in NYC where it's a pain in the ass to go and do any of those things and so I spend the majority of my free time working out, playing video games, hanging with friends and doing cheap activites around the city with my fiance. It's fun, but my life would be way more interesting if I didnt live in NYC.

That's just me though. If your into art, fashion, dance, music etc. and want to spend time indulging in that scene then NYC is the best place on earth. I'm completely talentless though so none of that appeals to me lol.

Jan 4, 2022 - 5:03pm

Crime is about to shoot up even more as new Manhatthan DA won't basically throw in jail thieves, kidnappers and a bunch of other criminals.

As soon as you hear the words ''justice reform'', you should be terrified. It means the libs won't prosecute criminals and if you want to live, you need guns and ammos.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

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  • VP in PE - LBOs
Jan 4, 2022 - 5:59pm

Starting off a career in NYC is one thing I would do differently if I went back in time. Still ended up fine in a tier II city so no regrets. However, having a strong network in NYC is just something else.

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Jan 4, 2022 - 6:12pm

Started off my career working in NYC but commuted in. If you can afford to live in the city and work that is ideal for at least early on. Commuting in gets old fast. It also sucks when half of the office heads out for happy hour and you have to worry about bus/train times home late.

One side of me dreams though of that 30s single life making good enough money to live and work in the city…

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