who makes the most over the course of a lifetime: banker, lawyer, doctor?

Bob Loblaw's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 334

I know there are a lot of variables at play, but this came up in a conversation between me and a couple friends, one of whom is going to med school to be a surgeon, and the other going to law school.

Who will make the most money over the course of a lifetime? Consider the average investment banker: street comp-level IBD analyst stint --> MM PE vs. Top-level Doctor vs. Lawyer?

Discuss.

Comments (24)

Jan 20, 2013

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May 7, 2012

None of the above. The wise investor (i.e. buyside) makes the most.

May 7, 2012
Powa23:

None of the above. The wise investor (i.e. buyside) makes the most.

If you want to go down that road, its the entrepreneur who makes the most :P

    • 1
May 7, 2012

Ha, I actually can't think of any other "occupation" that can make rain like an entrepreneur

May 7, 2012
Powa23:

Ha, I actually can't think of any other "occupation" that can make rain like an entrepreneur

http://cdn.eurweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/1...

May 7, 2012
drexelalum11:
Powa23:

Ha, I actually can't think of any other "occupation" that can make rain like an entrepreneur

http://cdn.eurweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/1...

Definitely qualifies as an entrepreneur, and he can sell ice in the winter, fire in hell, he's a hustler baby, he sells water to a well.

Aug 26, 2015
Powa23:

Ha, I actually can't think of any other "occupation" that can make rain like an entrepreneur

Also, nobody else goes bankrupt like an entrepeneur. Most startups fail....so you probably should make sure you know what the hell you're doing and be passionate about it if you go that route rather than starting the first shitty business that comes to mind because you think being an "entrepreneur" sounds glamorous.

Protip: you're probably going to put in near analyst hours starting up a new business. I have a friend who is putting in hours like that working on a gym business.....which is one of the easier kinds of business to start.

May 7, 2012

If you don't have equity you don't have shit. Answer: the entrepreneur, whatever the field.

May 7, 2012

What the fuck are you guys smoking? Everyone knows that gynecologists make the most money.

May 7, 2012

You'll make the most at what you actually want to be doing.

May 7, 2012

You will make most in what you genuinely like to do. If you do something just for the sake of money/prestige, without having an underlying passion for the craft, you will be average (no matter how hard you pretend to try) and will not make a lot of money. Simple as that.

Stay curious

May 7, 2012

Oops, this has actually been already said by UFO insider. My comment is to second his comment :)

Stay curious

May 7, 2012

I hear social workers make the most of anyone though.

May 7, 2012
Anacott_CEO:

I hear social workers make the most of anyone though.

You have to love the game, thats all I am saying.

Stay curious

Best Response
May 7, 2012

Here are some of my data points;

One of my uncles is an ER doctor who works 10 shifts of 8 hours each per month and makes 250K off this. He also has a family practice that he operates 2 days a week which brings him another 100K a year. He takes one full week off a month. He didn't start making serious money until his mid 30s but now he's late 40s and has a net worth of about 5MM and loves his life. He doesn't even think about retiring and says he'll do this until he's able to and doesn't even think of it as work.

One of my cousins works for a very prestigious law firm in Toronto (McCarthy Tetrault) and makes good money. He's been a partner for about 5 years now and makes around 500K a year. He works like 80 hours a week, looks 10 years older than he is, and barely has time for his two boys. His single minded goal is to save enough money as soon as possible and GTFO. Problem is every time he hits his exit number, he realizes he needs more.

A friend of my dads is a managing partner at a MM PE firm in Boston. He started his career in banking, and started his own PE firm with 3 of his colleagues after he made MD at his bank. He now has a net worth of at least 50MM. He has 3 kids that are all grown up who are my age and they're spoiled completely rotten and only respect their dad for the things he can buy them (I.e. An R8 for one of the boys for his 21st birthday).

Finally, I know you didn't ask for this, but I am also well acquainted with a MD at a megafund who was previously the CEO of a very large pharmaceutical company that was acquired by another giant. He has a net worth of over 300M.

Out of all of these people, the doctor seems by far the happiest. He truly loves his job. He doesn't make nearly as much money as the other three, but he doesn't care. He has so much time for himself, and his family and that's what's important to him.

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Sep 9, 2014

Doctors dont have time at all. They dont have a family life. Moreover its a question of someone's life and death, so the pressure drains them by the time they are home in eve. If they say "I am leaving now for home"... count he will leave after 1 hour. No at a stretch vacation as such. No honeymoon post marriage, no valentine's day, no birthday....I got married when my husband was doing his fellowship and was on long 36 hour call on my brithday and valentine's day. Not complaining but it looks like doctors have a very comfortable family life which is not he fact.

Sep 9, 2014

Not always true - I'm close with two doctors who work 30-35 hours per week (4-5 weeks off per year) and still clear 7 figures. The trick: owning your own practice.

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May 7, 2012

There is a trade-off between doing what you love and doing what's practical; you'll make the most money doing something that's a good combination of what you're good at, what you enjoy, and what's economically practical.

May 7, 2012

i dunno guys i heard gay porn is very lucrative.

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

    • 1
May 7, 2012

manbearpig, just wondering is the doctor in Canada or in the US? Might affect his compensation numbers

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May 8, 2012
helpmepleasethx:

manbearpig, just wondering is the doctor in Canada or in the US? Might affect his compensation numbers

Canada. I think its generally a myth that doctors make significantly more in the US than they do in Canada though. They have higher potential in the US, but the averages are about the same. Specially after factoring in the cost of malpractice insurance.

Sep 9, 2014
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