What is the downside (if any) of Chicago IB?

Recently i have started to get urge of wanting to buy a home.

I dont see myself being able to afford that in NYC where i am based rn. Same story in SF

I have worked in Houston IB before and asides from being pigeonholed into O&G, the city's charms wear off after a year. There isnt a whole lot happening or places to go to on a weekly basis asides from great food and bar scene which tbf any major city would offer. Some people love the city and while its not a place i would hate to live i dont see myself willingly moving back. Kinda sucks because it fits the bill of being a top tier IB city (energy) and one where i can buy a property.

Having looked at this it seems that Chicago is the only city which might fit the bill of i) a place where i could potentially afford a house and ii) is a happening city while also offering a IB experience. But is the IB experience top tier? Houston is as far as energy is concerned and SF is for example in tech. Is Chicago not leading in any aspect?

What are the downsides?

Comments (44)

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Nov 3, 2021 - 7:32pm

If OP were to buy a condo in the city, he'd save money compared to New York as Illinois has lower income tax, and luxury condos have significantly lower HOA fees in Chicago than in Manhattan. 

  • Analyst 3+ in IB-M&A
Nov 4, 2021 - 12:16pm

I was a banker in NYC and Chicago and know many who did the same.

New York bankers move to Chicago all the time, but it literally never goes the other way. My life is about 100% better with the same salary and bonus but cheaper, larger (space-wise) and much cleaner everything else.

Nov 4, 2021 - 1:20pm

Chicago winters are 50 below zero with high winds and multiple feet of snow

Chicago finances are horrible, and so they will be raising taxes to the moon

High likelihood you might get shot driving thru certain neighborhoods

but otherwise....why would you leave NYC to goto chicago?

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Nov 4, 2021 - 1:28pm

People don't understand how much cheaper Chi is vs other big cities (NY/SF but also places like Boston). At NY office of a Chi bank (you can probably guess which one…) but analysts make street in Chicago and live like kings. I know analysts that live in the nicest buildings in 1 bedrooms for

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Nov 4, 2021 - 5:28pm

MM PE sounds pretty good when I hear all the negative things about MFs. Plus, even if you're in NYC, how many analysts actually land at MFs?  

Most Helpful
Nov 5, 2021 - 1:21am

Obviously biased but I love Chicago. Random thoughts below, good and bad

  • I was able to buy a place (small condo) as an analyst, which has allowed me to build meaningful equity
  • You can have a yard/rooftop in the city in a good neighborhood for (significantly) less than $1mm. or you can live in Oak Park and basically still be in the city without actually
  • Hard to move to NY PE if you're in Chicago IB
  • Finance scene kind of honestly sucks for a city this size, if you ignore trading. Far fewer buyside opps relatively speaking compared to like SF/Boston/LA/Houston
  • Nice beaches/lakefront in the summer
  • Winter sucks tho
  • Not as many cool cities nearby compared to some of those other ones mentioned either
  • Not as much of a social melting pot either, like there are a lot of people who grew up in the burbs and then moved to Wrigley/LP/River North/West Loop as yuppies. Can make it a bit harder to make friends
  • Best nightlife closing time structure: west coast / TX bars all close at 2 am; NYC ones open all night. Chicago is best because most bars close at 2 am but there's a handful of late night bars if you wanna get sloppy drunk with a bunch of other sloppy drunks
  • 14
  • Analyst 1 in CorpFin
Nov 5, 2021 - 10:57am

Can get to any nice lake/beach town in Michigan/Indiana in less than 2 hours. Vacationed there a few times and it's pretty nice. 

If you're an outdoors-type, Wisconsin is also popular and nice with easy access from Chicago.

Nov 5, 2021 - 7:01pm

Can get to any nice lake/beach town in Michigan/Indiana in less than 2 hours. Vacationed there a few times and it's pretty nice. 

If you're an outdoors-type, Wisconsin is also popular and nice with easy access from Chicago.

Bingo. Tons of lake/beach towns to keep you busy all summer, plus Wisconsin and Michigan are two of the best states in the country for high end affordable public golf courses.  

"I don't know how to explain to you that you should care about other people."

  • 2
  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Nov 5, 2021 - 10:49am

Chicago has a pretty solid industrials IB scene - it's not like Houston where they run it exclusively, but many banks have industrials teams out there. Automotives in particular are mostly covered out of Chicago.

If you otherwise like NYC, have you ruled out living towards NJ/CT? There are more affordable areas which are commutable if you're only in office 3 days a week. 

  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A
Nov 5, 2021 - 6:06pm

Lol definitely agree not Fairfield County, thinking like NW Jersey, the Jersey Shore area that's commutable by ferry, Westchester, Stamford. Those aren't city living but you could stay in NYC and own a small house if that's your perogative 

Nov 5, 2021 - 6:19pm

Chicago is just about the last city I would want to be in long term, particularly as a place to buy a house/condo. The tax/pension situation is FUCKED, and in all likelihood they will have to declare bankruptcy at some point, which isn't a great situation to be in for someone who's planted a lot of money into an immovable/illiquid asset there. You can already see this situation begin to manifest in the pseudo-taxation schemes they've begun to implement like tons of traffic cams who's sole purpose is to generate revenue for the city. This of course, is not nearly enough for their problems, and they'll likely have to dig deeper in the impending future. As a young person with lots of disposable income working in an already disliked industry, you are the one who's gonna be dug deeper.

Edit: This comment from reddit sums up the city's fuckedness fairly well:

Among the toplines: Total unfunded pension liability for the state's five retirement systems was up again in fiscal 2020, hitting an almost unfathomable $144.2 billion, an increase of roughly $7 billion from the previous year. That record deep hole occurred even though taxpayers contributed a record high amount, with the tab in 2021 scheduled to rise another $500 million to $9.76 billion.

There's more: The total funded ratio of the five funds – the percentage of future liabilities that are covered by available assets – dropped to 39 percent from 40.3 percent. That effectively puts us back where we were way back in 2009 at 38.5 percent, despite a decade of tax hikes, increased taxpayer contributions and an overall booming investment market.

Dec 22, 2021 - 8:18pm

Yeah this is all true. My old director used to rant about this all the time. We would joke and tell him to run for office and he adamantly said No because it was such a mess and pretty much unfixable.

I think I did this right

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Dec 23, 2021 - 12:14am

The state might implode-however, there is a decent bet to be made that there is federal intervention or some sort of bailout rather than continuous tax raises and the whole state getting screwed up then a bailout. The problem is too great to be resolved through tax payers, so the question more is will reform happen after people leave and how long will it get worse before it gets better? Also, I would argue as wealthy people leave it's going to tank property values and begin to give really affordable housing in good areas.

There's a bet to be made I feel like, might be that the state sucks for the next 5-10 years but 10-20 it isn't bad. 

Dec 24, 2021 - 5:36pm

Oh wow. Here's a guy whos giving actual on the ground specific response to the themes in the Original post

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Nov 5, 2021 - 7:46pm

Move to Northern Queens (North Flushing, Bayside, College Point, Whitestone) or Southwest Brooklyn (Dyker Heights) if you want to stay in NYC and really want to buy a home. I know plenty of people who live in these areas and commute in (including my parents who both work in Midtown). You can live in NJ/CT but really is not the same as living in the Boroughs. The properties will be more expensive but they also appreciate significantly more e.g my parents bought a 4 bed home in Whitestone for 1.25 mil 10 years ago and could sell it today for 2.2. Great schools particularly in the Northern Queens area. 

Dec 22, 2021 - 8:27pm

I work for a BB and really enjoy it here. I don't get the whole IB experience. Our team is incredibly lean and it's just one coverage team and no product teams. We cover industrials, automotive, etc. We don't have the resources like NYC and generally have to jump through some more hoops. I work NYC hours which is good and bad. I'd say it's more laidback in Chicago too. Not as intense as NYC. One of the biggest perks is definitely cost of living. I live in 2,000 square foot apartment with 2 roommates in a great neighborhood close to downtown. We have 2 parking spots, free street parking, a front yard, and back yard and only pay $950 each. My pledge brothers live in closets in Manhattan for much more. Taxes are high, but so are NYC's. Bars are cheaper generally. Lake Michigan is cool for the summer and there's a ton of cool places in like Wisconsin. A quick 2 hour flight to the Rockies for less than $100 to go skiing. Tons of cheap and affordable golf courses. As for the city itself, there's a BUNCH of kids who grew up here. They make up most of the population imo. Crime isn't that bad. Just don't go too far south or go too far on the trains or pass out on one. It's definitely cleaner than NYC. You don't get the big city vibes as much as NYC.

Overall, I like and have been here two years. I don't really have any plans to move for a quite some time. Happy to answer any questions.

I think I did this right

  • 5
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Dec 22, 2021 - 10:06pm

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Dec 23, 2021 - 10:44am

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I think I did this right

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