What is your lowest pay you would take?

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Just out of curiosity, since bonus are going to be down this year (most likely for a lot of bankers), what is the lowest amount of compensation you would take to do your job?

I know many get into banking for the money, but I am curious is the career in banking still worth if the cash doesn't follow. I am personally happy with what I do on a day to day basis, but want to hear other takes.

Comments (53)

 
Jun 3, 2020 - 12:23pm

I think you need to separate out; a) am I willing to work for just base salary this year (with the expectation that things will likely return to normal next year) or b) fundamentally has the industry changed such that compensation is now permanently lower and what is the lowest I'd accept to keep doing this job.

a) is easy to answer for me; I'm more than fine having a secure job where I can work from home and get paid a very comfortable A3 base during a global pandemic where ~20-30% of the country is unemployed. If that means less bonus, so be it for a year as in the long-run being in the seat is more valuable.

b) is a more difficult question to answer. This was a good thread that I think addresses the main component of trading time for money: https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/what-comp-would-you-require-to-a…

I provided some thoughts there (as did others). I think that is a good framework for making your own personal assessment

 
Controversial
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jun 3, 2020 - 12:26pm

For me, banking isn't about how much money I make during my analyst stint, it's about the earning potential unlocked as a senior banker or via buyside exit opps. I'd be fine working for my 85k base for two years because my goal is to be making millions when I'm 40. Obviously I want a bonus, but people need to think more long term when it comes to comp.

Array
 
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jun 3, 2020 - 3:54pm

If things are so bad I get a $0 bonus I’d be happy to have a job. Following on that, I never did this job solely so I could make a lot of money at age 23. I did it so that I can have a career with a more favorable compensation profile than I likely otherwise could. So even if my bonus is $15K for this year, hopefully that negative delta will be immaterial in the long run.

 
  • Intern in IB - Restr
Jun 3, 2020 - 4:09pm

Tbh idk bro, Idk what else I would do. I only got into IB because everyone at my school wanted to do it and my brother went into it. Now im planning on going into pe, business school, etc, just because hes doing that. Ik i should stop and think about if this isnt what I want to do but i feel like i have to, and I never took the chance to explore my interests so now this is the only route for me. Damn bro

Array
 
Jun 5, 2020 - 7:23am

Intern in IB - Restr:

Tbh idk bro, Idk what else I would do. I only got into IB because everyone at my school wanted to do it and my brother went into it. Now im planning on going into pe, business school, etc, just because hes doing that. Ik i should stop and think about if this isnt what I want to do but i feel like i have to, and I never took the chance to explore my interests so now this is the only route for me. Damn bro

Saying it is one thing, but doing it is another. Stay strong.

 
Jun 4, 2020 - 4:36pm

This completely depends on your profile and the experience at athe specific bank. What are your other options?

In a vacuum (ie no other options), if you are getting actual live deal flow and building skills, I would say you should accept whatever it is you need to eat, have clean shelter and cloth yourself. Why? Because the exit options alone coming from a good IB program are worth millions of dollars in career earnings and option value. No, I'm not exaggerating. If you are in a top group at a great bank or even a MM getting great deal reps over 2 years, you have a ton of career flexiblity and earning potential wrapped into a very horrible/difficult bootcamp...

So, in NYC it would be around $50k with no bonus?...in lower COL even less. This is having gone through it and thinking the $ really mattered and looking at it 16 years later and seeing that the ~90% of the value analysts derive from the job is not the bonus or salary...

 
Jun 5, 2020 - 11:15am

I'd say it depends on how you define top tier... Megafund pe, sure, very few stay in that for the long haul, but I'd argue there are a lot of other "top tier" jobs /tracks when you factor in lifestyle and freedom (a lot of the guests on the WSO podcast are living this and explained to how you they did it)

For example, working in Corp dev for a fast growing start-up or on the internal Corp strategy team at a large f500 firm working directly with the executive team, maybe joining an earlier stage business as CFO or opening a chain of small brick and mortar businesses... The IB skill set allows you to jump to almost anything you want related to business... From starting your own to going and working at a large f500 if that suits you and your lifestyle better... It also makes everything else feel easy which is an advantage by itself.

 
Jun 4, 2020 - 6:39pm

Tough to say unfortunately. Worst case scenario, I would be okay with ~$100k all-in if for one year, but not for an extended period of time given the hours and stress levels that the role demands. If you're asking about this year's bonuses specifically, keep reading.

On one hand, I would love to get my hopes up and expect a $60-70k bonus (my bank is on a 2 bonus cycle, no stub). My group had a stellar year, even when taking COVID into account. Every 2nd year analyst closed 2-4 deals in the past year and fees for the group are near all time highs, even with COVID. We are also just as busy, if not more busy, than pre-COVID, so the per hour comp makes sense if we get large bonuses.

On the other hand, I work at a BB. Similar to most BBs and large corporate institutions in general, a lot of underperforming groups end up benefiting from the high revenue generating groups, and the high revenue groups get brought down by the underperformers. HR also has a ton of say in determining overall bonus pools and those decisions seem largely arbitrary.

 
Jun 4, 2020 - 9:10pm

The skill growth curve plateaus at ~8 months (at least it feels like it did for me), with the exception of some unique SPA items and other things you’ll see here and there on deals after that point. This is assuming you’re working for a bank that’s keeping you on at least one live deal at all times. Prior to feeling that plateau, I would have done it for just enough to pay for my living expenses and student loan payments. It was exciting learning something new every day. Mornings felt fresher then.

Now, though? The job is still good but nowhere near as “fun” as it was starting out. I enjoy my coworkers and the bank / group that I work for but the assignments all feel like a playlist on repeat. I still enjoy seeing new business models / sub sectors and listening in on how buyers think about companies we’re marketing but those times aren’t frequent enough to make up for the work to get there.

I’m really hoping PE can give my day to day work life that glint it had before but also slightly doubting that it will. TBD.

 
Jun 5, 2020 - 9:04am

PeRmAnEnTiNtErN:

Just out of curiosity, since bonus are going to be down this year (most likely for a lot of bankers), what is the lowest amount of compensation you would take to do your job?

I know many get into banking for the money, but I am curious is the career in banking still worth if the cash doesn't follow. I am personally happy with what I do on a day to day basis, but want to hear other takes.

Array
 
Jun 5, 2020 - 9:41am

working in F100 Corp finance I would say that it really depends. I really think the lowest I am willing to take changes with the learning opportunity. if I am growing professionally and working towards my goals I am willing to take less.

 
  • Associate 2 in Consulting
Jun 5, 2020 - 11:23am

If HR asked me this question, I would phrase it as a function of effort and time. Assuming an $80K base with 80h weeks on average and 2 weeks off a year, your hourly income is $20. I would probably ask for about that, as I assume its the industry standard. This means that if you're a chilled firm where my average weeks are 60h, I'll happily take $60K. If you're a sweatshop where 100h weeks are the norm, then you better be prepared to cough up $100K base.

 
Jun 8, 2020 - 11:50am
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