Which city has the best work life balance for a banker?

FinDroid's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 566

Monkeys, there is usually so much of noise about Wall Street and New York due to both history and the number of opportunities present. I was thinking about what it is to be a finance guy in other cities. Though people working in the financial services are not supposed to crib about work-life balance, I am trying to find the best out of the worst here. Deals and activity aside, which city in the US provides a decent trade-off between career opportunities and work-life balance?

Comments (116)

Jan 17, 2017

Tough to beat Charlotte. You can live in a top of the line 2 BR 2 min from the office for like $1500-$1700 each if you have a roommate.

Hours slightly better than NYC too. WF, Jefferies, BAML, Deloitte CF, and a bunch of other smaller MMs and boutiques.

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Jan 18, 2017

Agree that the COL is hard to beat in Charlotte, especially if you are looking to rent something in uptown. New apartment buildings are going up everyday so if you want a 800-900 sq. ft. newly built box you are in luck but everything is very cookie cutter with little to no atmosphere or history. It becomes more challenging once you start looking to buy a place unless you are VP or higher and want to move out to the suburbs. Charlotte is a great starter city but it gets small quick and after 2 years you will have ate at just about every restaurant and tried every brewery. However, one of the pros of it being a small city is that you will always be a short walk/Uber ride from your apartment or the bar/brewery.

Additionally, the hours are definitely better (excluding a few groups known for their hours) and the overall atmosphere seems a little more relaxed than other majors cities. The location relative to other attractions (e.g. mountains and the beach) is better than some some cities but pales in comparison to the northeast. Charlotte is relatively clean and weather is hard to beat (just look at the 5 day forecast for this week) but, in my opinion, you will quickly learn that you either love it or can't wait to move along.

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Jan 22, 2017

I'm in charlotte, and maybe it's just my group, but we are an effing sweat shop. I'm an associate and pretty much never leave before midnight and routinely pull 2-3am nights. Work pretty much every weekend as well. So would definitely be curious what is considered to be "good" and where that is so I can make the jump..

Jan 17, 2017

Chi-town

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Jan 17, 2017

Atlanta/Charlotte/Dallas/Houston

Jan 17, 2017

You need to define what "best out of the worst" means. Too vague.

Jan 17, 2017

This is fairly firm dependent...

Jan 17, 2017

Atlanta or Charlotte if you like warm weather and not living in an urban environment. I personally hate the suburbs and city without history or culture.

If you are living and working in NYC, but the costs are too high, then the answer is Chicago. Tons of finance jobs, urban living at a fraction of NYC costs, great restaurants, schools, museums, theaters, etc. Two major airports. Amazing summers. Boating. Winter is tough, but whatever.

Philly is solid, but the finance scene is too small. You can live in the middle of the city for a lot cheaper than NYC, but the Philly wage tax nails you. Great art and food culture. Amtrak to the whole east coast. You just need to luck out and get an optimal gig.

Jan 17, 2017
TNA:

If you are living and working in NYC, but the costs are too high, then the answer is Chicago. Tons of finance jobs, urban living at a fraction of NYC costs, great restaurants, schools, museums, theaters, etc. Two major airports. Amazing summers. Boating. Winter is tough, but whatever.

This.

Jan 17, 2017

Thought you would've said fuck living in the inner cities

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Jan 18, 2017

I personally hate the suburbs. Museums, cultural events, great schools, no commute, amazing food scenes, etc. I'd prefer to never live the city.

Only downside is self important people who think they are smart, but really don't know shit.

Jan 19, 2017
TNA:

Atlanta or Charlotte if you like warm weather and not living in an urban environment.

I'll give you Charlotte, but Atlanta isn't an urban environment? Midtown and Buckhead beg to differ

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Jan 20, 2017

Hey, me and TNA agree on something!! I'm in NYC right now and hate every single trip here. One giant trash pit, starting with LGA. Unless you have strong ties to the Northeast or want to be the next Jamie Dimon, go Midwest young man.

Best Response
Jan 17, 2017

I'm going to mention Salt Lake--wait, wait, hear me out. No, the bar scene is absolutely not NYC/Chicago/London...but you don't move to SLC for that. You come for the outdoors.

SLC has some of the best nature in the country, all within an hour's drive. Int he winter, you have not just Park City (largest ski resort int he country, 7000+ skiable acres), but also Deer Valley, Snowbird, Alta, Brighton, Solitude, Powder Mountain, Sundance, plus cross-country courses. We're talking something like 50-60k skiable acres. In the summer, you have hiking, mountain biking, camping, all within 45 minutes in the Uinta/Wasatch mnts. Further afield (2-3hrs) If you go south, you have Moab, Zion, Bryce, Arches, and Great Basin NPs, while you have Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and even Glacier within a reasonable drive to the north.

Best part? You'll have time. Working at a BB (there are 2-3 downtown, some larger than others) means you'll likely be BO/MO...but you'll still work c. 7:30 to 5:30, Mon-Fri. (or better). Want to make some money? Move on over to one of the regionals (Zions is based here), or work at one of the large funds. An experienced analyst/new associate can easily get 150k.

Now, speaking of pay. While you may make 75-80% of NYC salary, cost of living is under half of NYC. Want a house? 250-300k gets you at least two bedrooms, while that buys a walk-in closet on the Upper West Side. Ultimately, you can save 25% of your pay, live in more space, have fun (read--expensive) hobbies, and work shorter hours. What you give up is prestige and nominal pay...but how many days skiing is that worth to you?

(P.S. Salt Lake is also a pretty liberal place with what seems like more tattoos and craft breweries than Brooklyn...despite the religious stereotype).

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Jan 18, 2017

Same with ABQ, NM. 300k can get you a premier 2BR condo with a balcony (a penthouse downtown if you play your cards right), a nice 4 or 5 bedroom home (custom if you're ok with a home from the 80's or 90's) or several acres up in the mountains (the city backs up to the mountains and it's literally 5 minutes away from Uptown (our financial district).

Pellinor's points still apply. If you're not an outdoorsman, craft brew fan, hunter or skier, you'll be bored to tears quickly. Also career opportunities within finance are understandably limited compared to the coasts and tech hubs.

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Jan 18, 2017

I would love to move to SLC in the next couple years. I have few friends out there and they ski at Snowbird multiple times a week. Seems a lot more fun than standard city activities.

Jan 19, 2017

I had a family friend that was there for ~5 years and they said they always felt like outsiders because they weren't Morman. This was probably 15 years ago so I'm curious if this has changed.

Jan 19, 2017

To a certain extent, it has changed. SLC proper is only c. 30% LDS, though the broader area is far more. At work, you just acknowledge that some (c. 35%) people aren't going to drink...but the analysts generally go out with you and instead have a coke. Plus, as I said, the nightlife isn't really a focus...us non-LDS folks have house parties in place of a big bar scene, and we're generally interested in the outdoors (which is non-denominational lol).

Maybe in more senior mgmt roles faith matters...at that point, you do a fair amount of networking in your community/with local leaders, and that scene (esp. the political one!) is very LDS...so being Mormon likely helps. But to get to that point, you would have to stick out at least 15yrs in Salt Lake, which few outsiders do.

Jan 20, 2017
Pellinoor:

I'm going to mention Salt Lake--wait, wait, hear me out. No, the bar scene is absolutely not NYC/Chicago/London...but you don't move to SLC for that. You come for the outdoors.

Or, you move to Denver for the same reasons, minus the LDS culture. Denver has a better food scene as well. I will admit that SLC beats Denver for MO and BO types of roles.

Jan 21, 2017

Denver is massively underrated.

Jan 22, 2017

Totally. Though skiing in Denver is further away...but you also don't have the nasty inversion (think smog that sticks around and worsens for a week, like Beijing).

Jan 18, 2017

I'm surprised not more people go down the route of "I like my bank roll, bro. Keep your fucking work-life balance"

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Jan 18, 2017

OP just wants a city with clubs that accept Starwood points as payment for bottles

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Jan 18, 2017

OP just wants to be going for bronze at the tanning salon.

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Jan 19, 2017

Furthermore, OP went to Walt Whitman... that's a public school!

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Jan 19, 2017

OP is free on nights and weekends with no discernible skill, @FinDroid: Not sure if you're a consultant or my cell phone bill

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Jan 20, 2017

Walt Whitman like... in Huntington, Long Island?!

"I did it for me...I liked it...I was good at it. And I was really... I was alive."

Jan 18, 2017

Most of my banking friends in Philly are generally in the 55-75hr range with most weekends free (obviously can be worse when things pop up). As TNA mentioned though it's such a small scene and it's pretty competitive just by the lack of open seats, probably more than half of which are in the burbs and will require a decent commute.

If I wanted to leave the NE I'd probably head to Chicago or Charlotte.

Jan 18, 2017

Anchorage

Jan 19, 2017

You forgot the "Sk." The proper spelling is Skanchorage. Commute can be impacted if a moose is hit by a semi-truck. The homeless people are normally pretty friendly. Also, Alaska is generally ahead of the curve in terms of suicide rate. The big perks are the residential hunting fees and the stipend for living there.

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Jan 20, 2017

Dubuque.

Jan 18, 2017

As a resident, I second all of the Chicago plugs. 90% of NYC, half the price. To be sure, there's a bloodbath on the southside. Five month winters also suck, but downtown during the summer, the city puts NYC to shame. Freshwater beaches a few blocks from downtown, Grant Park, the Art Institute, and generally happier people.

Oh, and the rent on a one bedroom in a high rise full amenity building in Streeterville or Lakeshore East costs less than a walk-up studio on 11th ave in NYC.

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Jan 19, 2017

The answer really is Chicago.

Of the big three LA's only upside is weather and NYC is massively overpopulated with the world's trust fund kids and over-inflated egos, not to mention the trash and construction problems.

You can put 20-40% down on a condo that costs $1M in SF or NYC after two years of bonuses as an analyst that is in the heart of River North or West Loop (main hubs of restaurants/clubs/bars) and have a 5-10 minute walk to work.

Obviously all three cities are great should you not have the ability to choose between offers, but at times I'm shocked at the differences in quality of life between myself and peers with similar career paths in different cities.

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Jan 19, 2017

Agree with all of this, however I think you are down playing the harshness of the Chicago winter. This shit is a different animal. There were some days in December when I walked home from my office, and after the 8 minute walk I thought I had frostbite.

Jan 20, 2017
Mark Hanna:

Agree with all of this, however I think you are down playing the harshness of the Chicago winter. This shit is a different animal. There were some days in December when I walked home from my office, and after the 8 minute walk I thought I had frostbite.

In Feb and Jan, yes, it's not unheard of to get below 0 degrees F for a day or two. And it's not unheard of for us to get snow and cold weather in November. The average temp for Chicago is about 7 F (4 C) lower than NYC in January, and there's a bit more variance in our weather-- NYC sits southeast of the Appalachians to block some weather from Canada and has the Atlantic ocean to moderate temperatures. There is very little besides 800 miles of flat land separating Chicago from Hudson Bay to the north or the Gulf of Mexico to the south.

So to be sure, we get cold spells that are worse than NYC, but we also get the same breaks during the winter where it gets up to 50 F/ 10 C or so.

Also, winter in Chicago is experienced fundamentally differently for a white-collar person in Chicago than NYC. It's not prohibitively expensive to own a car here. I've heard parking runs $600/mo now in Manhattan; it's more like $200 in Chicago. If you live in a condo building, it will have a fitness center, usually an indoor pool, and sometimes a grocery store.

So my experience in Manhattan was walk to the train, ride home, walk home, get workout bag, walk to gym, walk to grocery store, walk home. In Chicago, you just go home from work, and your pool, fitness center, and often your grocery store are in the building. There's even an underground walkway that some condo buildings and office buildings are on-- you may not even have to walk outside. In NYC, if you wanted to go somewhere (and your rusty honda was parked in Secaucus because NYC parking is expensive), it was schedule a zipcar, find one ridiculously far away, walk or take a cab there, and go. Here in Chicago, although a car isn't more required than NYC, you're going to have a car because the cost of ownership is 1/3-1/2 of Manhattan. Unlike NYC which restricts the number of parking spaces, Chicago building codes require them. Wider streets FTW.

Ok, I know the Chicago winter sounds suffocating if I'm talking about all of these features to keep you indoors. These are features you really only use if it's below about 15 degrees out, which is only like 10-20% of winter days in an average winter, and it's rarely like that for more than 2-3 days in a row. Meanwhile, the top quintile looks just like New York-- it gets up to 50 or 60 for a few days in January and February just like there. Other features of the city-- like the ability to drive somewhere without having to take public transit, the ability to go down to Lake Michigan and watch the waves roll in, I think they make even the winter a higher quality experience at the end of the day.

I wouldn't recommend it to someone from Miami, but I think the city, even in an average winter beats NYC.

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Jan 18, 2017

Go check out Chicago. You'll fall in love with the city and its people.

Jan 18, 2017
shortstack:

Go check out Chicago. You'll fall in love with the city and its people.

IT DEPENDS.

If you are generally unhinged, angry, unhappy, douchey, or sociopathic Chicago sucks. You should stay in NYC, Miami, SF, or wherever the cool kids live these days.

But for everyone else, it's a nice city for down to earth people.

FOR GOD'S SAKE DON'T PLUG IT TOO HARD-- YOU'LL RUIN IT.

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Jan 18, 2017

I completely agree, man. People need to let go of the "cool" things in their lives and start focusing on the enjoyable ones. When I had moved to Chicago from the Philly area I thought I was in the twilight zone from how outgoing people were, I was actually concerned that everyone had a hidden agenda. I'm back on the East Coast now quite regrettably.

Jan 19, 2017

So how dangerous is it? Are any of the BBs near the southside of chi-town? The media makes it sound like chicago is worse than Compton.

Jan 19, 2017

Probably Miami- for the Lat Am bankers that advise on Lat Am deals.

Jan 19, 2017

This thread is making me want to move to Chicago

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Jan 19, 2017
hawketrackler:

This thread is making me want to move to Chicago

Visiting there during the winter will do the opposite.

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Jan 19, 2017

Why does everyone shit on NYC? It's hub of finance and a great place to spend your 20's. Of course it costs a little extra to live there but it is easily affordable with a banking salary. The world isn't crazy, there's a reason why it costs more to live there.

Jan 19, 2017

a little extra? 70k in Texas is equivalent to making ~120k in NY. 70k in Chicago is equivalent to making ~105k in NY. This is assuming living in Brooklyn not Manhattan. In percentage terms, NY (Brooklyn) is 79% more expensive to live in than Texas and 49% more expensive than Chicago... wow.

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Jan 19, 2017

100% agree with BTB. NYC is just not worth the COL and is generally overrated. I think alot of this is caused by foreign born residents. Many of these people do not have a clue about the other tremendous cities of the US.

Great place to start a high finance career, but then you should look to get out, imo.

Jan 19, 2017

...and many of the people there are outright elitist, superficial, or rude. I can't blame them, too many people concentrated in such a small area. NYC is a global city like no other, but I'm fine with just visiting once a year.

Westchester on the other hand... gorgeous.

Jan 19, 2017

NYC is a rathole, that's why. The COL is outrageous, it's crowded, disgusting, and a freak show. There is literally garbage and feces all over the sidewalks, there are entire streets that just reek of piss/crap at random times (mind you these are wealthy areas of Manhattan). Two things NYC has the rest of the country beat in: 1) Women 2) Food. Aside from those two things the city is a joke.

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Jan 19, 2017

women? can't see how NY possibly beats spots like LA/ Miami and some of the southern cities w/ southern belles.

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Jan 19, 2017

The initial question is, what is the best city for work life balance for a banker. Many people here provided answer based on cost of living, weather, or culture. Not sure exactly what you are looking for but I will try my best to provide both insights.

Best city for work life balance for a banker - Depends on the firm and team and how you define banker. That was pretty easy.

In terms of choosing a good city to live in I don't always understand the dislike for newer cities. Yeah they might not have a huge history or culture about them but you in essence are part of creating the history and culture. Using Charlotte as an example, they have professional NFL/NBA teams and a nascar track nearby. Look online and you will see that you can buy yourself a nice condo in a highrise in Charlotte for pretty low cost.

There are a ton of great cities and I was only using Charlotte as an example. I do agree that it is a small city but it all comes down to what you want out of your home residence. I think consulting from Charlotte but traveling to a ton of other cities could be pretty exciting. Disclosure: I do not live in Charlotte, but am using it as an example.

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Jan 20, 2017

"Yeah they might not have a huge history or culture about them but you in essence are part of creating the history and culture." - Do you really think that are you part of creating the history and culture in a city like Charlotte? I can only see this being the case if you are someone with a ton of influence like Hugh McColl. I will agree that its interesting to live in a city that is still finding its identity and experiencing rapid growth but this does not make up for the lack of engrained history and culture.

Also, Nascar track nearby... really? I won't argue that going to a Nascar race every once and a while isn't a sh%t show and highly entertaining but not something that really defines a city in my mind. I would much rather have two legs of the triple crown within driving distance Northeast.

I agree with the OP that Charlotte does offer a good work/live balance (I know you were only using it as an example but I think it is tough to really get a feel for a city until you have lived there for at least a year) but, in my opinion, the appeal of Charlotte increases later in life if you are looking to get out of the bigger cities for better climate and a more relaxed atmosphere. However, I think the city can be limiting in your 20s and early 30s unless, as the OP mentions, you are in consulting and travel to a lot of other cities and take advantage of the low COL in Charlotte. It is definitely up there on the list of cities that offer a high work/life balance but I think there are a lot of factors to consider besides COL, weather and the "culture" at face value.

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Jan 20, 2017
rustyboots:

"Yeah they might not have a huge history or culture about them but you in essence are part of creating the history and culture." - Do you really think that are you part of creating the history and culture in a city like Charlotte? I can only see this being the case if you are someone with a ton of influence like Hugh McColl. I will agree that its interesting to live in a city that is still finding its identity and experiencing rapid growth but this does not make up for the lack of engrained history and culture.

Also, Nascar track nearby... really? I won't argue that going to a Nascar race every once and a while isn't a sh%t show and highly entertaining but not something that really defines a city in my mind. I would much rather have two legs of the triple crown within driving distance Northeast.

I agree with the OP that Charlotte does offer a good work/live balance (I know you were only using it as an example but I think it is tough to really get a feel for a city until you have lived there for at least a year) but, in my opinion, the appeal of Charlotte increases later in life if you are looking to get out of the bigger cities for better climate and a more relaxed atmosphere. However, I think the city can be limiting in your 20s and early 30s unless, as the OP mentions, you are in consulting and travel to a lot of other cities and take advantage of the low COL in Charlotte. It is definitely up there on the list of cities that offer a high work/life balance but I think there are a lot of factors to consider besides COL, weather and the "culture" at face value.

+SB I agree with every point you made

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Jan 20, 2017

Chicago has a slightly healthier work culture.

In NYC, your career is your #1 priority.

In Chicago, your #1 priority is your family; hence work is your #1 responsibility.
You're expected to be at work at 9 am, and you're expected to stay till 5, and you're expected to put in eight hours... but people start to feel bad if you're staying past 7 or 8 pm. Because you are expected to have a life outside of work, too.

One quick measure you can use for a city's work culture is when the last rush hour commuter train (that goes to white collar suburbs) leaves, and when the people on the last express train with families and kids actually get home.

On the Northeast Corridor, the last express train leaves Penn Station at 8:14 and arrives in New Brunswick (first white collar suburban stop) at 9 pm.
http://www.njtransit.com/pdf/rail/R0070.pdf
On the North Shore line in Chicago, the last express train leaves Northwestern Station at 6:31 and arrives in Wilmette (first white collar suburban stop) at 6:55 pm.
https://metrarail.com/sites/default/files/upn_0405...
By one measure, the ~80% quantile Chicago worker's workday ends 1.5-2 hours sooner. To be sure, the exchanges open an hour earlier in Chicago due to the time difference, but I'm not sure the average workday starts that much earlier than 9 am.

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Jan 19, 2017

Chi town has the midwest thing but I gotta say the Left coast probably wins domestically, San Fran?
otherwise go with somewhere like Paris with Socialism and a 35 hr workweek. if that is your thing...

Jan 19, 2017

A couple quick points on SF:

  • People in SF don't call it San Fran
  • There are two homeless people per block
    -SF is like NYC except the people with inflated egos have way less reason to think so highly of themselves
    -Every get together has people talking about their awful app
    -You're paying out the ass to not own property there
    -The dining is worse than you would expect
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Jan 19, 2017

Plus, while NYC streets do smell like piss with an alarming regularity, I have never seen multiple homeless people literally drop their pants in broad daylight and take a shit on the sidewalk before visiting SF.

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Jan 20, 2017

France is not a socialist country and no guy in finance there works only 35 hours.

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Jan 19, 2017

It's refreshing how seemingly logical people in this thread believe there's some sort of amazing arbitrage opportunity for housing that continually persists. That somehow in NYC the basic concepts of supply and demand hinge on 8 million irrational people. It seems like there are two basic possibilities: 1) NYC housing is the largest persistent market inefficiency in human history, or 2) the factors that drive up housing prices in new york city are present to a noticeably lesser degree in other urban areas. I'll let you ponder which is more likely.

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Jan 20, 2017
Going Concern:

It's refreshing how seemingly logical people in this thread believe there's some sort of amazing arbitrage opportunity for housing that continually persists. That somehow in NYC the basic concepts of supply and demand hinge on 8 million irrational people. It seems like there are two basic possibilities: 1) NYC housing is the largest persistent market inefficiency in human history, or 2) the factors that drive up housing prices in new york city are present to a noticeably lesser degree in other urban areas. I'll let you ponder which is more likely.

Not exactly sure what you're getting at, but tax adjusted income relative to COL provides valuable information when choosing a place to live. Full disclosure, NYC is one of, if not the, top city in America. Let's look at an example of two cities with different population densities but all else close to equal. Let's assume city A has a high population density and pays you $200K/Yr. Now let's assume city B has a lower population density and pays you $160K/Yr. Using a tax rate of 40% you are taking home $120K and $96K respectively. If a clean 2 bed two bathroom apartment is $4500 in A but only $2000 in B, then you're half of the rent is $1250 more each month. So ignoring everything else the rent adjusted after tax income for A is $93K and for B is $84K. That means you're only taking home $9K less in city B even though you make $40K less. Now the shocking part of this whole example, In a place like Charlotte NC you pay almost 5% less taxes than in NYC, which comes up to around $8K in my example.

Feel free to pick the example apart. The point still stands that some second tier cities have high salaries and lower taxes relative to their COL which is a form of arbitrage as compared to NYC. Not to mention you work a hell of a lot less in some cases.

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Jan 20, 2017
Praesto:

Not exactly sure what you're getting at, but tax adjusted income relative to COL provides valuable information when choosing a place to live.

What I'm getting at is that there are many other secondary factors to consider besides just income and COL, when deciding where to live. If someone is a simple person that just needs money from a job and basic survival elements (shelter, groceries, etc), and is indifferent to almost everything else, then you're absolutely right - use tax-adjusted income and COL to figure where's the best bargain.

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Jan 20, 2017
Going Concern:

It's refreshing how seemingly logical people in this thread believe there's some sort of amazing arbitrage opportunity for housing that continually persists. That somehow in NYC the basic concepts of supply and demand hinge on 8 million irrational people. It seems like there are two basic possibilities: 1) NYC housing is the largest persistent market inefficiency in human history, or 2) the factors that drive up housing prices in new york city are present to a noticeably lesser degree in other urban areas. I'll let you ponder which is more likely.

I really do think there's a behavioral finance thing to rich foreigners trying to ferret hard-earned savings out of the Yuan or out of Russia investing in class A real estate in globally-famous cities like NYC. Then letting those condos sit empty, taking up space in the sky.

Idunno, if I wanted to invest in Brazil, I'd be able to pick out Rio and Brasilia on the map, and that would be about it.

This is all going to come crashing down if Trump does a bunch of tariffs on China etc.

As someone who deals with market inefficiencies for a living, I think NYC is "the largest persistent market inefficiency in human history", although actually the tech bubble was much bigger. So this is hardly unprecedented.

I also think there should be a modest property tax surcharge on condos that are completely unoccupied. As in not being lived in by a homeowner or a renter. We can't be unfair, but paying 1.25% rather than 1% of your condo's value on your property tax every year sounds reasonable. The city needs to respect investors like landlords, but renters and homeowners should be given a modest advantage over the "let's turn Manhattan condos into currency and just let them sit empty and never even enter the country" crowd. Cities ought to give suburbanites and maybe even other US residents or simply people who enter the country occasionally a partial break on pied a terres, but if you can afford a condo that sits empty, doesn't generate sales tax, and you never visit, you can afford to pay a little bit more on your property taxes.

Back to brass tacks. If you're looking at buying a home, consider Jersey City or Hoboken or "Morningside Heights"/Harlem, or consider Class B real estate. Basically, anything that would cause your aunt, who has never lived in NYC, to curl up her nose, but actual local residents enjoy living in.

If you are a local putting 20% down on a mortgage, buying a property that's half of your balance sheet, short of the fix-and-flip and realtor crowd, you are one of the most sophisticated buyers in that market. You also have some of the best comparative advantages (not the best absolute advantage) for buying with the property tax and mortgage interest deductions. You have fewer behavioral biases relative to information affecting your decision than someone placing a phone call from St. Petersburg or New Delhi or Beijing. You know where the cool New Yorkers pictured in those glossy brochures actually want to live. Ok, so don't buy in some Class C building that I would live in (check parking lot for rusty hondas), but if you find a Class B building or a Class B borough or neighborhood, or even if you find a unit that's nice to live in but isn't very photogenic you're probably competing with fewer rich dumb money buyers to buy it, and you're probably paying a fairer price.

NYC is probably a property bubble, just like the S&P 500 was 18 years ago (and might be today). But people who bought value stocks got burnt less and made their money back sooner. And if you use it to avoid paying rent and on top of that get tax deductions that work out to 1-2% of the condo's value every year, you make your money back even faster.

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Jan 19, 2017

Kabul, Afghanistan. Bulge bracket Taliban bank.

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Jan 20, 2017

LA sucks, everyone. Don't come to LA. Yep, definitely do not come here to live. Year-round sunshine, surfing, hiking, biking? Overrated. Food scene? Those beach side taco trucks aren't winning any Michelin stars. Beautiful women? Yeah but, their breasts are too big, or something. Whatever. LA sucks, nobody ever move here, got it? Stay in your NYC studio apartment and bank on.

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Jan 20, 2017

Jesus, this thread went off the rails.

1) NYC is great, but expensive. People flock to NYC because of the concentration of opportunities, but also because it strokes their ego. Everyone I know that has this mega NYC or bust attitude lives a relatively crappy existence and doesn't take advantage of a fraction of the things NYC has to offer.

2) Shitting on Chicago because it isn't NYC is clown as well. It is the second largest city with all the pros of NYC with less of the cons.

Personally, I love Chicago, NYC, Philadelphia, etc. Any city with great and diverse food, art, museums, culture, history and urban living.

Note to all readers - your zip code doesn't make your dick bigger.

Jan 21, 2017
TNA:

It is the second largest city

Just to clarify, LA is the second largest city - Chicago is third - both in MSA and incorporated city rankings

Jan 21, 2017

The two largest cities in this country are NYC and Chicago. Places out west have sprawling cities that have no urban appeal or walkability. Both of these cities above have density, a key factor in being a city.

When it comes to cities, the only thing that matters is density. LA is a fine place, but does not have the same experience as NYC or Chicago (IMO, even as Philadelphia or Boston).

Jan 21, 2017

I wouldn't spend much time on hypotheticals until you have something solid to work with. It's easy to get caught up in that.

Jan 21, 2017

Surprised that Boston has been totally overlooked, it's definitely much smaller than NYC/Chicago but largely a 9-5 city. Decent amount of S&T and boutiques, and great for PE/Asset Management. From a work/life balance perspective, I think it squarely beats NYC, where you'll be working much more and paying much more for the same standard of living i.e Even for a comparable job I think you will work significantly more in NYC just BC of the work focused culture, whereas in Boston everyone is out of the office by 5/6.
Obviously, NYC has Boston beat in most other metrics, but Boston definitely has its merits. Would be curious to hear other opinions on Boston

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Jan 22, 2017

edward jones feeder road offices provide pretty ballin WLB

Jan 23, 2017

San Diego, duh

Jan 24, 2017

Mexico City

Jan 24, 2017

Denver.

May 23, 2017

Not to dig up an old post, but how do you guys feel about Boston?

May 23, 2017