The salaries I see here--they're too low.

I'm a little confused, but I've never actually worked in finance so please don't mock my stupid questions too much. Or go ahead, but just be funny about it.

So I read on another post on WSO about working 80-110 hour work weeks to get paid $120k. Also on a couple of posts here and on other WS related sites I've seen all-in compensation on the low end in the low six figures. This is far from the millions you read about in the mainstream media, such as the recent column in the New York Times by that "wealth addict" asshat, and I can't imagine it's the norm.

Or is it?

Outside of finance we have these huge expectations for financiers at the big hedge funds (Tudor, Tiger cubs, Citadel, etc.) to be raking in $300k starting as a jr. analyst, and financiers at smaller funds (

Can someone explain this? Is it just that bankers make less than people outside the industry think?

Also, why don't people quit to trade their own money--or is this very common? For instance, the guy working 80-110 hours for $120k mentioned above gets about $25 per hour. That's shit pay. Is the point of working in finance to hold out, tolerate a few years of low pay, to break into the ranks of the millionaires? Or did 2008 just decimate compensation to the point where pay-per-hour has gone down the toilet? Or all of the above?

If anyone could educate me on all of this, I'd be really grateful.

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Comments (11)

Best Response
Jan 21, 2014

The hours are a lot better at the VP and greater level. I think @"CompBanker" said that he was working about 50 hr/wk as a PE VP. The hours are a lot better in PE than IB. @"Aaron Burr" retired from IB to work in PE.

    • 2
Jan 21, 2014

remember that's 120k straight out of college at 21/22 years old, increases exponentially from there

Jan 22, 2014

at what age does it start to taper off?

Jan 22, 2014

at what age does it start to taper off?

According to @FutureTrader66, exponential increases - so conservatively speaking, expect to be a billionaire by age 30.

speed boost blaze

Jan 21, 2014

Analysts are not suppose to make millions. They are suppose to move up the ladder and enter better positions, whether it be upper level IB, senior management at a F500, hedge fund, PE, etc.

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Jan 21, 2014

So, you think that being a "financier" is some all encompassing term, and that a single data point on comp and hrs/week is sufficient to conclude that "financiers" are underpaid?

Jan 21, 2014

Sounds like a troll. Quit to trade their own money? You really think someone out of college (with probably an average net worth of zero or less) can make > $120K/yr day trading? Anyway, I think you greatly overestimate the abilities and opportunity cost of the average student going into finance.

Jan 22, 2014

The point is to learn. Your getting out of college with an attitude that's a mixture of cocky, scared, and excited, you don't know shit period. Doesn't matter how many times you've done a re-run on Rosenbaum IB, or how many lbo models you've designed with online courses, your skills are basically next to nothing, even less if your on the investing side. On top of this wonderful realization, you're making six figures right out of college, and you call that low? The reason people in this industry have ever made money is due to the value they add, nobody's paying you shit for your Wharton Undergrad, they'll pay you for the value you add, and as you move up (read up on the new PM post) you hopefully pick up skills that translate to added value over the course of a few years. I think it's been mentioned several times here that real, and I mean real (High six figures/Early Seven) figures are made with at least 10 years of solid experience in this field. It ain't easy, and not everybody can do it, and it's definitely not a "fast" track, but if you can bear through all the hell that will rein down your ass, you'll do pretty damn good.

I think- therefore I fuck

Jan 22, 2014

120k right out of school---while all of the lawyers, doctors, phds are borrowing that much to go to school.

I've come to realize that banking exists with the mindset that things will always get better, brighter, easier, shorter hours, better pay, exit ops, exit ops, and exit ops.

I suppose this mindset becomes more true depending on long you can stick around.

    • 1
Jan 22, 2014

I like this guy. My comp should be higher!

But on a serious note, you do realize that $120k for your first year out of college is almost 2.5x the median household income in the U.S., right?

Jan 22, 2014