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Comments (82)

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Nov 23, 2020 - 1:38am

Personally, only city I would rather live in than NYC is LA. This is all individual preference though, so we can't really tell you if you made the right choice. Most on this forum would likely pick NYC, but obviously there's a bias. What exactly are your reasons for going to SF besides "a nice change"? 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Nov 23, 2020 - 10:21am

Mostly because I wanted to try something new. I grew up in the east coast, went to school there, and thought that SF would be nice given its walkabiliity. 

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  • Summer Associate in IB - Gen
Nov 23, 2020 - 10:09am

SF is great if you like the outdoors. Great beaches, hiking, camping, skiing/snowboarding, etc. all within driving distance (Tahoes pretty far but still within a day trip). There is a decent food scene, but you really have to sift through the hipster ones trying to make something out nothing. The "meal" usually costs around $15 to just make you feel like you ate something but you'll probably get something from McDonalds to really fill you up. There's a pretty good night life, nothing like New York or LA but it's enough for the occasional night out because lets face it, you're probably not going to have much time off. Weather is perfect year round, although the fires have become a yearly thing which makes the air quality absolutely horrible. There was one day where it looked like it was 5 am all day, just dark and red. It was eerie. Despite that, I love it here. For the most part I don't worry about the politics of the city but it's becoming increasingly difficult due to the increase in homelessness. Only really bums me out when I look at the amount of taxes I pay on a daily basis. But the parks and beaches are generally clean and you can probably find a uncrowded beach to surf or relax if you drive on Highway 1 for an hour North or South. The way I sell it is that it's the only place where you can surf in the AM and go skiing in the PM all in one day. 

  • Summer Associate in IB - Gen
Nov 23, 2020 - 10:35pm

No one really cares tbh. There are more SWE than bankers and from what I've personally seen, finance guys are typically seen as the fratty types but it's usually because they are the ones who boast about it. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Nov 24, 2020 - 6:04pm

As a junior investment banker in SF, your social status is likely to be very low if you have one at all. Even if you worked at a mega buyout fund, you won't get any recognition from anyone. There are literally tens of thousands of software engineers in this city making 200-250K+ comfortably working 40-45 hours. You will most likely be referred to as "the finance guy/chick" who's always working late, terribly out of shape, has bad skin, and never shows up on happy hours. People will laugh at your hours and constantly question your career/life choices. (This gets really annoying after a while. You'll see.) But you still have to put a big smile, listen to their endless stupid startup ideas and act impressed, and try to befriend them because they, after all, are your future client/deal sources. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Nov 23, 2020 - 3:59pm

In my opinion, NYC is better in your early 20's and SF is better in your late 20's when the novelty of going until 4 am every weekend wears off

Nov 23, 2020 - 11:25pm

I loved my time in the Bay Area. Decent weather year round, lots of outdoors activities, lot of entrepreneurship in software, internet, biotechnology. Didn't like the commute, having to go East Bay to The valley. If you're in SF in ibanking tho this won't be an issue. Every available weekend I would take a ride out of the city to get to Santa Cruz, Napa, snowboarding, or a beach somewhere. The city itself is pretty amazing too if you know where to go. I think in life you find what you look to see. For many it is the most pleasant and exciting city in the world. Go in with a positive and enthusiastic attitude and that is what you will find. Go in with a negative attitude and that is also what you will find. Attitude will make all the difference.

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Nov 24, 2020 - 12:41am


Much has been written about SF but I think it all comes down to your perspective. I live here and am conscious of all its shortcomings...but I love it here and will be here for years. Also think I'd be genuinely happier here than in NYC which can become a bit much

Nov 24, 2020 - 2:23pm

nothing can beat nyc but i consider SF second best. Chicago is terrible, boston too small and LA us just .. yuck. watch out for the homeless while you're there

  • Prospect in AM - Other
Nov 24, 2020 - 4:56pm

I am an international student and I'm curious why Chicago is terrible? Whether it is because it's the target city of engineers rather than finance? Or just because of weather?

Nov 24, 2020 - 4:59pm

It's total subjective, I have a good friend who prefers Chicago over NY. It's called the windy city for a reason - The weather isn't great and it's a much smaller city with more of a sprawl, unlike NY and SF. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 24, 2020 - 10:32pm

I'd take Chicago over SF or NYC any day of the week. Better COL, relatively laid back Midwest feel, hot white blonde girls. I'm from the Midwest though so it fits great with my personality

Nov 24, 2020 - 2:44pm

I live in the Bay Area and my issue w/ SF is it's all three of 1) crowded AF, 2) expensive AF, 3) dirty AF. I wouldn't mind paying a premium if it was a super clean city for example or if it was crowded and dirty but not this expensive. 

That said, green space / access to outdoors is great (relative to NY), but having grown up around Seattle even the coveted "access to Tahoe" to me is like pretty meh from being ~45 min away from the mountains in the PNW at a minimum. I would rather live in the Bay Area over NY for this reason personally, but I recognize that not everyone values that in the same way. 

Personally have to go out to East Bay a bunch even though I work in SF, and moving out to the East Bay has been much more enjoyable for me (and cheaper).

Nov 24, 2020 - 8:48pm

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

Nov 25, 2020 - 12:07am

This answer is probably going to be unpopular on this site, especially for those people thinking in terms of where to be coming straight out of college, but it's not even close to me. I know there's this negative stigma of the Midwest as flyover country, but that's really such a coastal elite point of view (coming as somebody who grew up on a coast). I personally can't justify the COL here in the Bay at all for what you get and I'd take Minneapolis or Chicago over SF for where I'd rather settle down easy. Sure, weather sucks, but if you can get over that those are great places to be. Or a place like Denver, which doesn't actually count as the Midwest but that's a no brainer to me for where I'd rather live.

To really put things in perspective, I bought a ~800 sq foot 1BR condo in Oakland and for what I paid, in Minneapolis I could've gotten a really nice 4 bed / 2 bath 2k+ sq foot house with a full on yard in a great area in the city. And that's in Oakland, albeit a nice part of Oakland, but it's not even in SF itself. And not only do you get more for your $ but because your rent and other expenses are going to be so much lower, it'll take significantly less time to save up to afford that place in Minneapolis. Like it's fucking stupid how expensive it is to live in the Bay Area. Working in banking in Minneapolis I lived like a king relatively speaking and even though I make considerably more $ wise now in PE, I definitely feel "poorer" (which I know is kind of a weird thing to say while making $250k+, but still).

I'll be very disappointed if in 10-15 years I'm still in the Bay unless somehow my income is something ridiculous like $1M+ per year for me to be like, whatever I make so much money anyways it doesn't matter that it's so expensive.

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Nov 24, 2020 - 4:54pm

Just signed an offer in SF as well, following. Grew up in Texas and DC and went to school in CA. Heard great things about the bay area from classmates.

Nov 24, 2020 - 5:49pm

For young people, the serious issues facing Bay Area around quality of life, cost of living, taxation, etc. aren't a big deal. 

SF has some serious places and areas you must avoid, and I'm not bullish on this city long term, but if you live in the right area it's really fun. Not to mention the amazing natural beauty of the place and the availability of stunning outdoor recreation 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Nov 27, 2020 - 5:50pm

Curious, what is your idea of serious places that you must avoid? I'm going to assume you're a transplant as well so just curious...

Nov 27, 2020 - 6:07pm

Yeah, I didn't grow up there. Thought went to school in the Bay Area so I'm reasonably familiar with it. 

The Tenderloin has to be avoided. It's a shame what's happened to the neighborhood - it's primarily younger, low income families, but it's been taken over by violent criminals and drug dealers. The city has abdicated its responsibility to clean it up, and I just feel awful for the residents there. Not a place you'd really want to go for any reason. 

I'd recommend staying out of SOMA as well. It's not unsafe by SF standards but it's definitely not pleasant and is just soul crushingly miserable. There's some offices there, but I wouldn't live there (and if you're in finance, your office definitely won't be there)

So I guess: avoid the Tenderloin and generally speaking there's nothing redeeming about SOMA

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Nov 24, 2020 - 5:55pm

SF will be great only if you've never lived in a big city before, and have that fantasy for the "Bay Area".  Here are my $0.02 after living here for the past 3 yrs. 

- Expensive AF. (#1 Cost of Living in US) Dirty AF. 

- Everyone's in tech, has huge egos w/o any real substance, and think they'll become the next unicorns.

- Nobody is grinding 80+ hours in the city but you. (Whereas in NYC, everybody grinds)

- Girls are shit. (49ers) Guys are gay. Armpits are unshaved.

If I could to go back in time, I'll choose LA, NYC or even Houston over SF every single time....

  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Nov 24, 2020 - 6:59pm

When people complain about the girls here, they are usually just terrible with girls to begin with (my normal friends here do fine, my weird friends struggle). 

And when people compare SF to NY, they compare all of SF (including its ugly parts which unfortunately are more visible than cities like Chicago, DC, etc.) to Manhattan south of 110th (which is amazing and world class), and thereby ignore Manhattan north of 110th and all the surrounding boroughs / area. Those surrounding areas are a mixed bag - can be nice, but can be rough and ugly. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Nov 24, 2020 - 7:11pm

Anna, is that you? Pls stop f*ing around WSO. If you've got so much time on your hands, why don't u fix the ppt instead of fwding me everything. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 24, 2020 - 10:34pm

Trust me, the statements about girls are true. I've done great anywhere else but in SF the odds are stacked against you

Nov 27, 2020 - 8:25pm

Hilarious read

"Trying to break into a group of people in San Francisco is like robbing a radioactive nuclear power plant. It is incredible that you broke into the plant with such skill. But. Now you have cancer."

Nov 24, 2020 - 6:40pm

On a scale from 1 to 10, the average girl you see walking down the street is a 3.5

To see a 7 or 8, it will take you a couple of weeks. 

9 to 10 girls are all probably in LA

Surfing is quite good though and Santa Cruz is a lovely city.

  • Manager in AM - Other
Nov 24, 2020 - 6:57pm

"In short, your dating options are exactly the same as Stephen Curry. You're gonna be hitting a lot of threes."

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Nov 25, 2020 - 10:18pm

I grew up in D.C. and came here couple years ago. One thing I noticed in SF is that people are surprisingly unfit/obese yet a lot of them claim to be vegans and enjoy outdoor activities 🤔 Also, people dress really terribly.

Nov 26, 2020 - 5:38am

Depends what you're okay with living in. As someone who lives in nyc that grew up in sf, I would just caution you in a non-covid environment, that you will have very limited access to good nightlife (other than SDR bro bars in the marina), will have to deal with a very aggressive homeless population, and have a very very liberal agenda pushed in your face with every non-finance person you meet. I may get flak for making these broad generalizations but I feel like people who live there / have lived there may agree.

On the other hand, there are nice spots for golfing/hiking/skiing/snowboarding relatively nearby so if that kind of thing appeals to you, definitely consider it a plus

  • Intern in IB - DCM
Nov 26, 2020 - 5:21pm

Not from SF proper, but grew up in one of the North/East/South Bay. Agree with everything you're saying, SF's political environment is just suffocating and it's actually pretty hard to live a comfortable life even if you're being paid street standard. Keep in mind you're competing with SWEs pulling down ~200k+ all-in, so that's the cost of living you're dealing with while being paid a lot less per year as an analyst.

Nov 26, 2020 - 8:48pm

No, you didn't make the right choice. 

SF could've been one of the best cities to live in, ever. In some parallel universe, it is. But in the one we inhabit, it's... fuck, just read some of the other comments.

Seems like everyone is either an overpaid plumber-with-a-keyboard and undiagnosed Aspergers (developers); a fugly social justice warrior with awful skin and 30% body fat; a rabid bum who'll test positive for every possible disease known to humanity; a self-important VC dweeb who misuses high-falutin' words and butchers metaphors when describing how "to scale"; and old money Republicans who've never worked a day in their lives and speak with an affected faux mid-Atlantic accent (wtf, they're on the Pacific).  AND THE WEATHER SOMEHOW SUCKS. 

I'd need a 5x raise and 100x stock options to even consider moving there. 

Sorry pal. 

The truth is you're the weak. And I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin', Ringo. I'm tryin' real hard to be the shepherd.
Nov 27, 2020 - 6:03pm

Really depends on the group and how many deals you're staffed on. You might get lucky once or twice during the weekdays with being able to go home at a "reasonable" time. You might even get lucky with one night during the weekend. Also curious as to why you asked that on this thread?


  • Analyst 3+ in RE - Comm
Nov 29, 2020 - 6:57pm

I'm from SF, and I'd say its okay. If you're an outdoorsy person, I'd say its a good call on your part to take. The weather most of the year is pretty good not too hot, not too cold. Seasons do come late though, warm weather arrives later in the summer, cooler weather comes more at the end of fall, and winter rain some times sticks it out till the end of April, but no brutal east coast winters here. With how good the weather is most of the year, plenty of outdoor activities, biking, kayaking, running, booze cruise, the beach. Skiing is about 4 hours away by car in Tahoe. Food is good, plenty of options to choose from old established eateries.

The reason why I say its okay, is rent control has gotten out of control to the point where rents are just rising way too much, but if you're from NYC high rents shouldn't phase you. Rents may have fallen quite a bit though so you likely have good timing with signing a lease. Taxes on dining out or food from outside might bother you, but i think NYC might have something similar. There are surcharges on things like hot food. It's a way for the city to help raise more revenue to providing socialized benefits for the minimum wage workforce. Transit is not the greatest, it's going to be ideal to live a walkable distance from work if you can afford it. BART would be the intercity subway system, if you wanted to live outside of SF, you might take this into work. It's gotten expensive in the last couple years, but still remains very crowded. Muni is the intercity bus/subway system, constant delays with this one and very crowded, not very reliable. Having a car is not a must in my opinion but the walkability and close proximity to work may reflect a higher rental rate.

For a young person, someone fresh out of college, it can be pretty fun and easy since you'll need very little starting out. Over time I think it'll wear off on you and you'll probably be ready for a change. So for 2 to 3 years you'll be fine. I've been in SF for about 5 years, and I'm looking for that change.

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Nov 30, 2020 - 3:23pm

As someone who grew up in the midwest, went to school in the SF / Bay Area, did their IB stint in NY, and moved back to SF for PE, I'll bite.

First of all, having seen and lived in both NY and SF, the dating scene and overall nightlife experience is completely dependant on you as an individual. Let's not forget these are two major cities in our country and I assure you that there is a lifetime worth of things to experience in both cities. Obviously, NY is NY, and being able to live there in your 20s is special but in my opinion, the difference between NY and SF is not as drastic as people make it seem on this forum. Trust me coming from NY as an IB analyst, I thought moving back to SF would be like spending the weekend at my grandma's house, but to my surprise, even in my mid/late 20s, I still constantly find new and exciting places to grab happy hour, club, and meet people. I'd say overall, the people in SF are more likely to seek experiences tied to the outdoors than the people of NY. For example, pretty much every Saturday there is a day party in one of many SF city parks where all the young folks hang for the day, which has been some of the most fun I have had since college. Also, if you're well-compensated, taking trips to Tahoe, Sanoma, or Monterrey for the weekend with friends is automatic, whereas in NY, most of the people I knew preferred to just hang in the city and do the same sort of activities in their free time.

Secondly, I think it's hilarious that people come on here and say that no one in SF will respect you if you work in finance. SF is the second-largest financial hub in the country with more and more people fleeing from NY as tech continues to offer tremendous opportunities for investors (it was a no-brainer for me). So for all of you that think SF is just a bunch of SWEs, trust me there are more people clocking 80 hour weeks than just about every other city than NY, and the SWEs I have met all respect the grind me and my finance peers live. Nothing is better than pulling up to North Beach on a Friday night to meet your friends at 11pm after getting slammed at work and having your hammered SWE friends buy you the first few rounds. 

And as dating goes, again both SF and NY are major cities, so as long as you're outgoing and interesting finding attractive people will not be difficult. If you are naive enough to believe that SF is just a bunch of ugly hipsters you have bigger problems than finding a girlfriend. One thing I have learned in my time is that there are attractive people everywhere in this country (just think of all the beautiful people in random remote towns across the world) and so if you are not having success it is more likely you than the city you are in. Again, my friends and I didn't experience much of a difference in terms of the dating scene in both NY and SF, both have a lot to do and both have beautiful people. For all of you that have bashed SF's girls, I encourage you to visit Marina's Safeway on a Sunday–your opinion will change immediately. 

Bottom line, both NY and SF offer a great experience for someone in their 20s. This is merely my 2 cents, so take it for what its worth just don't make your decision to live in either city because the girls are more attractive, the nightlife is better, or the people are harder working because in my experience these factors will be pretty much the same for both cities. 

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