Why work the best years of our lives away?

I was on a Zoom with a bunch of friends from school who all work a typical 9am - 5pm job. I thought I'd share a convo we had to see everyone's thoughts on this forum as I found it to be quite eye-opening for me and has now made me start considering a career switch.

It's my 27th birthday coming up and they asked me what I'm doing for it, I said 'not much, work is quite busy atm and I have my end of year review coming up so want to make sure I get promoted to associate'. They replied with 'honestly man why are you working the most valuable and enjoyable part of your life away? Life is short and you don't know how long you have left do you really want to spend it working non stop?'

My response was 'It's a sacrifice now but I'm thinking long term about where I want to be when I'm older' 

They then said 'You don't know how long you have left, what happens if you died tomorrow you would have done nothing apart from work your entire life, are you really willing to give up your 20s and early 30s so you can retire early at the age of 50 when the best part of your life is over?'

I honestly had no response to this.

They then asked what I've accomplished, I said I was going to be an associate soon and they responded saying how meaningless that was, they said how they've all traveled the world, slept with so many girls they lost count, learned from past relationships and mistakes, found new hobbies, met new friends and lived a stress-free life in their twenties and said how they never needed a high paid job to do so.. then made a joke 'all whilst you were creating a pitchbook'.

This made me think, I have a good job yeah, but I'm almost 30, I'm single, I haven't slept with a girl since I started IB three years ago, I haven't traveled the world, and I've not done anything meaningful with my life.

The fact that someone who does a 9am-5pm earning a basic salary is literally able to live a fulfilling and happy life that sounds far better than mine made me really think, what is the point of us working our best years away? I studied my life away as a student, then joined IB straight out of university and have worked 80+ hour weeks for the past 3 years and now I'm turning 27 with nothing to show for it.

What is the point of high finance careers such as IB/PE when we literally have to give up our best years?

Comments (195)

 
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Nov 2, 2020 - 6:56pm

Because at any point you can leave that life. Take a year long vacation then jump into a less stressful job if you wanted with three times as much saved as your friends.

Plus your doing important work that has meaning

PS your friends all sound jealous

 
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Nov 3, 2020 - 12:18pm

I mean I guess meaningful work was not the best term to use...

More like "not in a dead end job" 

You can exit to a lower commitment job, to another IB firm, to a good MBA, keep going up the IB ladder at your firm or try for another "high finance" role (assuming hell get the offer sometime soon) 

You cant do that in almost every other industry so at least the work hes doing is meaningful to his future and career. 

 
Nov 4, 2020 - 5:29am

I was with you in the first half. But, "important work that has meaning" is a stretch mate. 

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Nov 2, 2020 - 7:02pm

Have to put things in perspective. They all have valid points but have to keep in mind those are simply their views on life. Majority of ppl not in the industry will not understand the grind - have to think about your "why" of what you're doing and if it aligns correctly, don't feel bad about what your friends have / have not done.

 
Nov 2, 2020 - 7:07pm

If you have a better alternative then sure go for it

Money can purchase freedom, if you have the guts to buy it
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Nov 2, 2020 - 7:12pm

While I agree with your friends to some degree, I like to think anyone trying to convince me hard enough to live how they're living or do what they're doing is misery seeking company in some form.

You'll find success stories on both ends of and all along the work-play spectrum. The key is finding the balance that makes you comfortable and happy.

 
Funniest
Nov 2, 2020 - 7:16pm

Me finding out Im not gonna get laid after I start FT :/

path less traveled

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Nov 2, 2020 - 7:16pm

I mean it is a sacrifice. But just because its, their best years doesn't mean it's yours. I personally couldn't handle the IB lifestyle, but in your 30s you can have a great life after IB. It's not like life is over after 29.

 
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Nov 2, 2020 - 7:48pm

That's a myth - if you stay in high finance you will always have to be on. I'm doing this as long as I want (I enjoy it) but saving all my $ so when I call it quits, it won't be for money 

 
Most Helpful
Nov 2, 2020 - 7:18pm

There's legitimate arguments for better work/life balance while still saving some money, experiencing things, etc. I also think it heavily depends on your personality and the type for IB is definitely in the minority in that regard. However, I hate the "what if you die tomorrow" argument. I won't be regretting anything while I am dead, but I will regret being alive at 50 with no money having to work out of necessity for the foreseeable future just to survive. 

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 2:35am

You'll also regret pissing away your 20s (if not more than that because even VPs and MDs have pretty terrible work-life balance in my experience.) But I guess it's all about balance and personal priorities.

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 9:33am

Give me a break, the grass is always greener. Do whatever the hell you want and don't pay attention to age. With still being in school (which contrary to popular belief isn't "care-free" and can be quite stressful) having little to no money, little to no real world experience, please tell me why people think you're supposed to conquer the world in your 20s and even 30s.

By the way, I had friends who didn't want to "piss away their 20s"...and now they're just pissed. While I'm about to buy my own place, some of them are moving back in with family in their 30s. 

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 8:10am

Great points. Also note that they're not thinking hard enough about their own viewpoint, "What if you die tomorrow". As a religious person, I hope that if I die tomorrow that I didn't waste yesterday drinking, doing drugs, and banging whores.

If they really thought about their statement on a deeper level, they would figure out that they need to be doing more in their 20s than just partying and enjoying hobbies.

 
  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Ind
Nov 3, 2020 - 12:52pm

So glad someone posted a comment from this perspective. I was considering posting something similar myself. Also a man of faith here, and know that if I die tomorrow, I die knowing that I was doing something meaningful with my life. I used the talents I was blessed with to work towards a goal and purpose in life, and if my life is cut short in that pursuit, I certainly wouldn't consider it to have gone to waste. In the end, I will stand accountable before God for what I did with the blessings and limited time I had on this Earth. Several comments here about OP's friends saying that OP is "pissing away" his 20s, but I think it's OP's friends who are "pissing away" their 20s.

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 12:50pm

Have a zoom call with your friends in 10 years and then another in 20.
 

Maybe you won't be in IB but you will probably still be hard working and goal oriented while they will probably still be laissez faire about everything and trying to drag you down with them so that they don't feel bad about their lazy and directionless ways. People don't change. 
 

See how many of them will beat around the bush to either ask you for a networking intro for which they are wholly unqualified or maybe even to borrow some money. See how many of them go full revisionist history and deem you "lucky" and "privileged" to be at where you are in your career. 
 

Don't listen to the people in the peanut gallery, listen to people that you actually respect. Turn to them for advice on vacations and bars, not your career. 

 
Nov 9, 2020 - 4:05pm

ksbw28

There's legitimate arguments for better work/life balance while still saving some money, experiencing things, etc. I also think it heavily depends on your personality and the type for IB is definitely in the minority in that regard. However, I hate the "what if you die tomorrow" argument. I won't be regretting anything while I am dead, but I will regret being alive at 50 with no money having to work out of necessity for the foreseeable future just to survive. 

That's quite a polarized view. There's A LOT of space between being a minimum wage worker, and being a upper-middle class banker. 

And for what it is worth - show me one banker that successfully retired at 40, and I'll show you ten that are still enslaved to work due to high cost lifestyles .Lifestyle creep is super real, and you don't even need to live like a baller to fall prey for it. Too many kids, too many marriages, too expensive properties, it all adds up  

 

 

 
Nov 9, 2020 - 5:27pm

I account for the middle grounds in the first sentence which I agree is a legitimate claim that most people would probably be better suited for, and I make the dichotomous point you highlighted only in reference to the "what if I die tomorrow point," which I would argue is just as dichotomous of a view so its deserving of an extreme counterexample. 

The median net worth at age 30 is like $10,000. A banker may not be able to retire at that age with a baller lifestyle which for some reason seems to be the definition of doing financially well on here, but even with bad financial habits should be to save multiples of that each year. 

 
Nov 2, 2020 - 7:25pm

Im sorry to break it to you but my former MD (mentor) put it best when we went out for coffee once.

 

All the analysts / juniors in IB are sacrificing for a risk-adjusted set of rewards, call it exits, call it comp, call it whatever. A vast majority of them end up realizing it's a shitty career / lifestyle they cant handle forever and get swept up once it hits VP level. I've seen it happen a bunch.

 

What was different for my MD was he was lucky. Met the right people, was in the right group, was on the right deals at the right time in the right environment. It's like that for most of the rock stars. It's not a merit based industry (the world isn't in general). He's 38, he'll pul 3+ mil this year but again he's not everyone.

 

It's a sad sheep life. I'll get MS no doubt, but prolly from the same kids that'll get swept under the rug

 
Nov 2, 2020 - 7:34pm

I write about this at length in this detailed thread here: https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/burnout-life-choices

I wrote it soon after a two-month sabbatical around the world between IB and PE.  It got randomly combined with other threads towards the bottom, but my own post generated a ton of valuable discussion.

I'm not sure what the right answer is.  I know for sure hooking up with 0 girls sounds like a nightmare.

Array
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Nov 2, 2020 - 7:56pm

I think they have their numbers wrong. You do sacrifice your 20s but it's not necessarily for retirement at 50. By your mid-30s, you should be doing really good.  That's where I'm at now and work a 9 - 5 making 3x of the friends who were having such a good time in their 20s.

Side note: Should not be a big surprise that the same group who dicked around the past 15 years is the first to complain about income inequality etc now that we're in our 30s....wonder why

 
Nov 2, 2020 - 8:15pm

Its all relative and its all perspective. What you think is the best years of your life may or may not be the best, and whether your best days are ahead of you are largely up to you. 

There's two sides to this. On one side, seeing as they're probably not as driven, they're compensating for the fact that they have been doing all those things but also don't have anything in the bank and probably won't be home owners. On the other side, they've had a fun time in their 20s and maybe that's worth it to them, the only person that can decide that is them. 

All I know is that 40% of americans cannot cover a $400 emergency expense without going into debt. A lot of your friends are probably living paycheck to paycheck or close to it and there's nothing wrong with that, people have different preferences. Maybe they're not. But the only thing that matters is what you think about your own life and what you want to do in the future. You're seeing the highlights of their life, you're not seeing or hearing about the struggles, low points, etc. Don't judge your life against other peoples based on how they say their life is or what their instagram says. 

 
Nov 2, 2020 - 9:07pm

I think its also worth noting that if all your friends are single and have no dependents or major expenses (other than normal things like rent) most people don't need a high salary to do whatever they want. Things obviously get much more complicated and expensive once you decide to get married and have kids. Therefore, depending on their career/salary trajectory they could be struggling to get by once they decide to settle down. Especially if they are the only ones working, which granted, is less common now but still a popular choice for many couples. Having little to know savings by 30-35 can also be an issue since its hard to save if you are providing for more people whereas if you stick it out in high finance till age ~30, you could fairly easily have $1mm saved, which is more than enough for a down payment on a decent house and a great base for retirement 20 years down the road. As mentioned earlier, at that point there will be plenty of opportunities available to you to still earn several hundred thousand dollars a year and work 40-50 hours a week.

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 11:09am

It's worth noting that there are plenty of people out there with jobs outside of high finance in cities not named NYC or SF that can live comfortably and save reasonably, with solid career trajectories. 

 
  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Nov 2, 2020 - 9:14pm

I'll tell you flat out that the best years of your life are not your 20s, anyone who thinks that is probably still in their 20s or became complacent in their 30s and didn't do much thereafter. I guarantee your friends will be telling you how lucky you are when you are comfortable in your 30s able to support yourself and potential family as well while they are trying to figure out how they are going to afford baby number 2, buy a bigger house and get a new car to fit the family. Hopefully you're a smart lad and have a few bucks tucked away, if in a few years you come to the conclusion that banking isn't working out you can fuck-off for a year to travel and do whatever you want before settling into that comfy 9-5. Your friends are short sighted and don't see the bigger picture, at the end of the day do what makes you happy but don't let other people try to tell you what should make you happy.

 
Nov 2, 2020 - 11:13pm

I think people who over-index in one stage of their life are often ill-prepared for the next stage. I had plenty of acquaintances in college who bought into the idea that college is 'the best four years of your life', so they went all-in on partying and didn't put any effort towards GPA or doing internships. Now that I'm a few years out of college, it's obvious to me that the people who sacrificed some of the fun and set themselves up to land good jobs after school were the smart ones, and they're now having much better post-grad experiences.

I'm not old enough to know, but I suspect a similar process occurs in your 20s. If you go all-in on 'fun', don't save any money, or don't put effort towards a career, you'll be in a worse position once it's time to pay for a wedding, have kids, or buy a house in your 30s (obviously not everyone pursues these milestones, but most do).

The solution, as with most things, is to find the right balance between the two extremes. Don't completely discard career aspirations to max out on fun, and don't become a miserable workaholic with no hobbies or fun time either.

 
  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Nov 2, 2020 - 11:47pm

Stick to it man, I was told by everyone in my life not to do IB and now I'm starting out of college at a 9-5 making $93K all-in while my friends in banking are making $130K+. I am terrified that I won't be able to support my family when I'm in my 30s and will never be able to give my children the privileges you will absolutely be able to. You sacrifice the present for the future; you're doing it right keep at it

 
Nov 6, 2020 - 2:42pm

Or you can make the sacrifices NOW and have a great amount of savings by the time you want to have kids (lets say 30-35 years old).  Live below your means and save and invest heavily.  $95k is plenty depending on your goals an values.

 
  • Analyst 1 in PE - LBOs
Nov 2, 2020 - 11:58pm

What were you doing between 21-24? I've heard some cases of people who spend those years traveling the world, working one-off jobs, taking gap years, etc. then starting a job like IB shortly thereafter.

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 12:15am

Your friends sound irritating. When they (likely) start to moan and complain down the road about how the world is unfair and you're making the cash you do, remind them of how hard you worked while they didn't do sh*t.

The "what if you die tomorrow" attitude is crap unless there actually is a high probability of you dying tomorrow or on any given day. Moreover, everyone has different priorities. There is no right or wrong here, just what makes sense for you and your situation and goals. Now please, go get laid. Then keep crushing it.

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 3:02am

You somehow had to bring politics into this.

EDIT: Dude erased the part where he mentioned they must be Bernie supporters lol. Pretty disingenuous. No wonder why I got a bunch of MS. 

 
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 3, 2020 - 12:46am

I hope you are sexually frustrated and started to think like a monk but if you are serious - what kinda soy boy shit is this ? Everyone is working their ass off to create wealth at the expense of relationships and their mental and physical health but it sure as hell beats living paycheque to paycheque hoping the lights stay on.

You are making good money and working in an industry that will reward you for being driven. Private equity, hedge funds, venture capitalist, asset managers are not much better and require the same stress in exchange for a compensation package that will put you in a new tax bracket. 

I am not a yuge money whore and do not think that life is all about materialistic items however you are overthinking this and digging a big hole that none of your woke friends can fill. There is a reason you are in banking - maybe it is money or the perks that come along with the job but there is an underlying reason you are here on this earth in the role you are in now. 

I recommend you start lifting heavy and gain some testosterone before you start wearing all birds and move to San Fran. 

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 1:00pm

ay why you gotta talk shit about my allbirds :(

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

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Nov 3, 2020 - 8:37am

"Slept with so many girls they lost count". That;s crazy they really cant count past 10. If your friends actually said this or any version close to it, please gets new friends because no one who actually fucks says anything close to that, these dudes are fucking dweebs.

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 1:05pm

Also,  If we are being honest what does one actually get from having a bunch of one night stands? really nothing?  Personally, I prefer to have some sort of emotional attachment to the women I sleep with/ I actually enjoy the romantic side of things more.  

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 9:07am

First off - you not having accomplished anything is bull shit. You are building a career, gaining valuable experience and setting yourself up for success throughout your life. I'm so over people going 'oh well what if you die tomorrow'? Well guess what - I won't be here to comment if that happens. So what? What's their point? Get that shit out of your head. 

What you need to do is think long and hard about what makes you happy over the long term. What is the right balance between day to day happiness - and creating a future for yourself that maximized happiness over the long term. I'm happier than I've ever been, and I'm more focused on my career than ever - but I've also made sure to make time for hobbies, my S/O, etc. 

People who are insecure about their choices in life, often seek to find validation by converting you to 'their' view or justifying 'their' lifestyle with comments similar to what your friends have said. They struggle with people who are advancing, changing and growing. They might be 100% happy with their life - but I would bet against it. It's similar to people who post nothing but highlights on social media - it's just that, the best parts. Keep that in mind as you choose which friends you keep, and which ones you leave behind. I have plenty of friends who I'm very cordial with but, over time, have simply pulled apart from as they have chosen different paths than myself. 

 

 

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 9:33am

Plenty of people live long and fulfilling lives and are perfectly happy working regular desk jobs 9-5 for 30 years. Plenty of other people lead similarly fulfilling lives working 80 hour weeks for 50 years. Different strokes.

 

Nobody on this forum can make that choice for you. Obviously people here are going to lean more towards the latter group, but plenty of kids figure out that IB isn't for them after dipping their toes in the water for a year or two or ten. I know I did. Give me a regular $2-300k corporate gig, not necessarily 9-5 but maybe not more than like 50 hours a week, I'll ride that shit out til I'm 50+ then start scaling down towards maybe 10-20 hours of work a week. Should have a good couple million of my own by the end of it, hopefully the wife does too, and even at a conservative 3% drawdown that's $100k+ a year, hopefully tax-advantaged to boot. 

 

Just gotta figure out how to actually snag one of those cushy gigs...

 
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Nov 3, 2020 - 9:56am

do 9-5 corporate jobs that pay you $2-300k (on what level) really come by easily? joining a tech ib group soon and curious about exiting to the corporate side. thanks.

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 10:23am

Too many "ifs" in your friend's argument. What "if" you don't die tomorrow? Now what "if" you live 10, 20, 30 more years? Healthcare is only getting better, and I'm guessing you can afford it with your finance income. It sounds like your friends are betting on dying tomorrow with that YOLO lifestyle, to be frank, it's stupid. The best years of your life are the years you make your best years. You can be 40 years old having sex with 20 year old girls if you want. You can take $100,000 to Thailand and live like a king having sex with different women every night if that's your thing, you wouldn't be the first man to do it. Or you can grind to be an MD or quit and start a company. Your life is what you make it; however, living your life banking on the chance you can die tomorrow is not the way to go. The odds are higher you'll live a lot longer than tomorrow, and you want to set yourself up not to have to struggle when you're 60 because you were having sex with girls you can no longer remember in your twenties, and you forgot to invest in your future. Being 60 with nothing to show for except stories of the good ole days isn't cool. Ever thought your friends might be trying to convince themselves more than they're trying to convince you?

To put it in perspective look at people that thought high school was the best years of their lives. They were popular, had sex every weekend, didn't study, didn't go to college, got high, got drunk, and lived life like it was a music video. Now high school is over and they have nothing to show for it. A lot of those people end up regretting their choices when they're getting close to 30 because they have to work shit jobs, they don't have an education, maybe have a kid, and life isn't good.

Also think about this. The odds are higher that your friends get a girl pregnant and the party is over than the odds of you dying tomorrow.

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 11:34am

Wtf is this boomer comment LOL. 

You can get high in high school/university and party/have sex all while getting a good job after you graduate. Everyone who tells you something else is frustrated their student life was shit and hides this by acting as if they made a conscious sacrifice for their future career. 

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 11:46am

Haha, I wasn't saying you couldn't have a good time and do good in school. I was using an extreme example of a loser that goes all-in on partying in high school, and then they wake up in the real world a few years later with nothing to show for it. We all have kids like that in our class.

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 11:01am

1. I saw a meme once that said "the internet is basically people w/o jobs telling ppl w/jobs that they should quit their job"

2. Optimally, you want to operate in the grey area. Meaning, if one side is all free time/no money, and the other side is no free time/all money, you want to be somewhere in the middle. Different ppl have different takes about what side is best. I mean, don't work all the time to not enjoy it, but also, don't chase skirt while having $0 you can get your hands on. Also, don't be dollar absolute. Meaning, if you can make $100K working 9-5, but can make $115K working 20 hours a day, that's all blood money. 

3. Working is all about risk adjustment. Think about what Buffet says (you can see who is swimming naked when the tide goes out). Living on a low salary or not working hard/saving is great until a recession hits, or an unexpected expense comes up, or you lose your job. Or you're not thinking about the future. Really, at the end of the day, you're working to own assets. A house, maybe a business, financial assets, rentals. It's really hard to be a staff person somewhere until age 60 then think about trying to get these things, you have to build to it. 

4. Also remember, both sides of the argument are correct and full of shit. On one hand, don't be consumed by material possessions, but don't be working constantly to afford your third yacht. And also, don't follow the "what is you die tomorrow crowd" (a) like said above, you probably won't die tomorrow and if you do what does it matter what you didn't see (b) ppl say that, but think about how everyone would "really" live in they had one day left, most aren't doing that, they just use it as an excuse to do something they know they shouldn't be doing. 

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 11:40am

The issue with investment banking is that many bankers don't even want to be there. They just work like a brainless lab rat so they can self-masturbate mentally to university students checking their LinkedIn page. I have nothing against working hard but if you're not enjoying the work you do and you're spending all your time doing shit you hate, you're a fucking loser. 

 

 
Nov 10, 2020 - 10:28pm

Marlborough

The issue with investment banking is that many bankers don't even want to be there. They just work like a brainless lab rat so they can self-masturbate mentally to university students checking their LinkedIn page. I have nothing against working hard but if you're not enjoying the work you do and you're spending all your time doing shit you hate, you're a fucking loser. 

 

Comment of the year 

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 12:08pm

First of all, don't operate in extremes in any part of life (with rare few exceptions) as that's not where you will find LT sustainability & happiness. It's not a binary choice between flipping patties are BK and being a banking MD. Which means if you do either of those things you're less likely to have a good outcome. In your case, don't sacrifice your 20s away if you think you'll have regrets. Work hard, but no need to work 90hrs a week to secure a future. 

Second, realize that some sacrifice is inevitable and you need to do what you'll regret the least. I think 99% of people who say they have no regrets are lying to themselves at least a little bit. For instance, even working 55hrs a week you'll still miss a lot of happy hours, may be called in on a weekend, etc. That is a sacrifice but probably bearable if you're ambitious. You're right in that you (and me to be honest here, I get it) have missed out on a lot. Definitely haven't had as many relationships as friends who took an easier road & haven't had as much time to explore hobbies. I defintiely do have some regrets here but as a mid-20s guy like yourself, there is plenty of time for those things.

I've contemplated the above (work vs. non-work) a lot and personally I'm getting a bunch of work done out of the way before COVID ends. Think of right now as a time-freeze / equalizer. Can't really go out to bars regularly (unless you are both selfish & stupid) / travel / meet girls, so use this time to focus on career stuff before pivoting away post COVID. Personally I'll be golfing a lot more post-COVID, doing a bunch more meetups & sports groups (did 1-2 pre-COVID), and learning guitar. I'm working ~60hrs a week right now and will taper down to ~50-55 post-COVID to accomodate this stuff. If you're in a job working 80hrs, just ask yourself if you wouldn't mind switching to something with lower hours but still great comp potential.

Anyway, think of what Bezos called regret-minimzation. You'll have regrets no matter which path you walk, take the path where you regret the least.

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 12:59pm

As a current student in my early 20's and who's trying to get into IB desperately, don't go ahead and take on those guys advice. It all comes down to YOURSELF, financially the industry pays well and can reap a lot of benefits etc. think about it in my opinion. I'm willing to sacrifice those few years because now I'm struggling financially as is. At the end of the day a shit ton of people don't get into IB so just consider it 🤷🏾‍♂️

 
Nov 8, 2020 - 5:35pm

That's they're way of viewing things.... I rather work my ass off than to stress myself financially in the future🤷🏾‍♂️ I really don't mind doing the hours knowing that I'll pay off somehow

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 1:11pm

So, a little background, work in IB, had to hustle like crazy to get in after being pigeonholed in crappy 9-5 jobs before. Now have a family too.

 

First, the what if you die tomorrow argument is retarded. If we knew were going to die tomorrow nobody would go to work, we'd just make sure our last day was really fun and meaningful. But since we most likely will not die tomorrow and statistically will live to 80 it makes sense to do things that aren't the most fun today but payoff down the road, like building your career.....

Here's what's going to happen, your 9-5 friends are going to be economically fucked, not exaggerating. Most of the people from my 9-5 past can pretty much forget about economic security. They will work meaningless boring jobs topping out around $90k and will struggle economically. You on the other hand will have the CHOICE, key word here, you get to choose, your friends won't, if you want to keep on grinding and making really good money or taking a little less intense but still well paid position doing something else. 

 

In addition, your 20s are not the best years of your life, ideally each decade should be better because you as a person keep improving and you make your life better. 

 

My other piece of advice would be, please take vacation and please date. If you find the right person please settle down, you should not and do not have to trade the most meaningful and gratifying things in life for your career. Trust me, my analysts still manage to go have fun, you should too. 

 

In short, your path is objectively better than your "friends" who it sounds like are probably just trying to rationalize their life choices and shortcomings. It does pay off but you don't need to sacrifice your personal life for your career either.

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 1:17pm

NPV

My other piece of advice would be, please take vacation and please date. If you find the right person please settle down, you should not and do not have to trade the most meaningful and gratifying things in life for your career. Trust me, my analysts still manage to go have fun, you should too. 

Yes, this. 

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 2:00pm

NPV

 

Here's what's going to happen, your 9-5 friends are going to be economically fucked, not exaggerating. Most of the people from my 9-5 past can pretty much forget about economic security. They will work meaningless boring jobs topping out around $90k and will struggle economically. 

This is highly dependent on who your friends are.  If you went to a target school/MBA and most of your friends are from those schools, the 9-5 people are decidedly not topping out at $90k.  I went the 9-5 route after an MBA, am 5 years out and will make ~$185k this year with no "topping out" anywhere in sight.  All of my friends from my target undergrad/MBA who went to 9-5/6 jobs are in similar places (in fact due to my industry I'm probably on the lower end of comp for 9-5/6 jobs).  I also really, really enjoy my job and find it incredibly interesting and stimulating.  

In fact, I would argue that on average the 9-5 people who came from target/top MBA backgrounds are more stimulated by their jobs than those who went to IB.  I'd say 90% of the people I know who went to IB (or are still in IB) did it solely for the money and actually have no real interest in the job itself beyond that.  Meanwhile almost everyone I know who went to a corporate role did it for a mix of reasons, but interest in the company/industry/role was very high up there.  

 

This is not meant to denigrate IB or sacrificing your younger years for earning potential - different strokes for different folks.  I'm just trying to make sure the comparison is accurate.  Most people who have the choice of IB are not looking at IB vs. dead-end corporate jobs at McMillan Widgets in Iowa.  They're choosing IB vs. corporate strategy at F500, marketing at Nike, product management at Google, etc.  That is the relevant comparison and argument.   Personally I have my own preference (I place an inordinately high value on my marginal free time past ~50 working hours), but everyone is entitled to their own version of the cost/benefit analysis. 

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  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
Nov 3, 2020 - 2:11pm

What do you mean by topping out? I'm starting out of undergrad at a 9-5 and am making $93K and am terrified that I won't have the "choice" to do what I want as you describe. Is this what you mean?

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 2:26pm

Probably should have qualified my statement, if you're making $93k you're probably in a job that gives you meaningful experience and by extension exit opportunities, you'll be fine

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 1:16pm

For me, when you come from a poor background, it's a no-brainer. You just don't want to be broke ever again. And it's not just about you anymore...
Even if I were to have a 9 to 5, I'd still be hustling for more to make ends meet. Some of us don't have an option any how. Choose your poison... or your meat.

 
Nov 4, 2020 - 7:30am

You are speaking the truth. Some people that come from a poor background laugh at people complaining about IB hours because they know what it's like to work those types of hours without an IB salary. A lot of it is manual labor too. So playing with Excel and Powerpoint for all those hours is a step up. If you're going to work long hours anyway, it's better to do it with a nice salary than minimum wage or worse.

 
Nov 4, 2020 - 3:01pm

Yeah man, I come from a poor background and I know that my family needs me to step up even if they don't say it. I understand that mental health and happiness is important but realistically my life is not going to be that happy until i make sure my family has financial freedom. 

 
Nov 4, 2020 - 4:19pm

To me, mental health and happiness is relative. For someone coming from, say, an upper middle background, it could mean anxieties or the like. For me, it's being broke lol. That in itself is an anxiety and I'm saying "being broke" because I don't want to flat out say poor.

I just want to be financially buoyant enough to make my own CHOICES. That, right now and probably will continue to be as I never want to go down this road again, is motivation enough to keep grinding.

Someone said something similar to OP in another post about how they went backpacking through Asia or so and it was so funny to me... bruh, I don't even have enough money to leave my town right now lol.

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 1:33pm

The point that you could die tomorrow is valid, but a little bit of a scare tactic because you really only have a 0.17% chance of dying over the next year, and that's not adjusting for you having an office job, (hopefully) being healthy, etc. Over the next 10 years, you have a 2% chance of dying (again, not adjusting for your relative health, etc.). 

Should you really manage your life to the 2%? Or will you manage your life to the 98%? That being said, I think adopting the mentality that today could be your last helps put things in perspective, but also math is math and it just isn't really that likely that you die in the next 10 years. 

I've also noticed that the activities my friends do outside of their 9-5 jobs aren't always that incredible. I.e. watching Netflix for a few hours a night, scrolling on Instagram, eating out. As long as you can find 1-2 good hobbies to do during the weekend and spend time building relationships with people, even if a 5 minute call once a week, you aren't missing out on too much. You should try to travel though, that is the one point they might have you on.  

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 1:49pm

To the extent additive - my view has always been that folks struggle to think on the margin as it relates to income versus lifestyle. Maximizing earnings today (note there can be a distinction versus maximizing long-term) is at times inefficient as it relates to both present and future happiness. At our age, the marginal personal cost of an incremental dollar of earnings is not a linear function. I have always felt that each hour of work above ~75 per week has a dramatically greater negative impact on my lifestyle / happiness than the incremental hour from, say, 50 to 75 (with each hour beyond 75 being incrementally worse, i.e. increasing marginal cost). To map to a topical conversation as of late - the incremental hours an Apollo associate has to work to clear that extra $50k - $75k are wildly painful, and (in my view) not close to worth it. 

When viewing career decision-making through that lens, I always try to be honest with myself and ask two questions: 

1. Across my current opportunity set, what is the best compensation / lifestyle balance currently on offer?

2. If I am opting not to pursue the opportunity that meets the answer to (1) above, is that decision driven by the desire to realize a superior lifestyle-adjusted compensation package x years down the line that would otherwise likely be unavailable if I did select the answer to (1) above? 

At the end of the day, everyone's lifestyle-comp curve looks different. I am sure there are some folks that see marginal comp utility dramatically drop off after a 40 hour work week, and there is nothing wrong with that. But being honest with yourself about what that curve looks like (spoiler: if you are active on this site, you are likely more "burned out" at present than truly more fulfilled long-term by a 40H/wk gig) is critical, in my view, to consistently making rational decisions around lifestyle-comp tradeoffs. Unfortunately, the decision to move down this curve meaningfully is often a one-way ride, so you don't want to take that trip unless you have a high degree of confidence in the shape of your curve long-term.  

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 2:01pm

I'm sorry but this site has some very jaded and confused college kids. I can understand doing IB out of college for 2 years to get the experience, but UNLESS you actually enjoy the work in IB (most don't), you really are wasting your time and life. There are so many ways to make a very comfortable (even high class) living in this world outside of high finance. I can understand working 80+ hour weeks into your later adult years ONLY if you are doing something you are truly passionate about... but to just "make bank"..? I guess it depends on your values and goals in life, but I have to agree with your friends that there is a lot more to life than grinding on pitch books all night just to make a bunch of money. Figure out what makes you tick, and what you would actually enjoy doing for the next 30 years of your life. Once you figure this out, then you can come up with a plan to reach those goals, and the money will follow. If you're already miserable in IB, I think the answer is clear that you should start soul searching and find a new career path.

Remember, the vast majority of wealthy people in the US did not make their money in high finance. There's people making tons of money in literally every industry.

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 2:39pm

Everyone who makes this argument talks about living 'your best life' in your 20's like it's some sort of saving grace.

These people omit the fact that whether you spend your twenties slaving for the machine or sleeping with countless girls, both paths lead to death. At which point what you did in your twenties is meaningless.

 
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Nov 3, 2020 - 3:11pm

Give it 13 years. When you hit 40 your kids will be the smartest in their class. You and your wife(or husband) will be traveling the world and being able to do cool things because you have money. Yeah they may be able to travel the world and eat nothing but cheap McDonald the whole trip. It will pay off. I would recommend going out a little more and hanging out with some girls/guys... My wife is the most meaningful part of my life. 

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 6:41pm

I'm waiting for one of the elder WSO posters to come in with an amazing post. Until then, I'll try and keep it super short. 

As I've gotten older the one question that has come up more and more is "What do you want out of life". It pertains to work, life, where you live, what you do, what you eat, how much you sleep, etc. It's ultimately up to you what you want your life to be and pursue things that make you happy. Some people really like to work and like the feel of professional accomplishment. Some don't care about ever having a career and want to "work to live". My argument against your friends is that you've built a strong professional career foundation that can never be taken away. You could leave banking for a few years, travel the world, sleep with a lot of women (clearly that sounds important to your friend group...) and come right back and get another high paying corporate job without missing a beat. Your friends who have had a more "fun" 20s will likely wake up one day and realize that they might never have that luxury of working a cushy six figure job...and if they're ok with that, more power to them, again it's up to the life you want to lead.

Specifically to the argument that our 20s are our best years and you should make the most of them, I'd say the same argument could be made for most time periods. College was supposed to be the best time of my life...I had a good time, but also worked hard and wanted to get a good job, I'm in my late 20s now and while I've had some great and fun life experiences, working in PE has limited some of my opportunities as well, the flip side is I made good money, had great professional experiences, and feel a fair amount of economic freedom at a young age. I'm pretty happy with my balance so far and I'd say you need to figure out what is important to you. Your friends might be going on fun vacations now, but if you worked hard and make a bunch of money in banking until you're 32, you can also go on said vacations, potentially in even more luxury. 

My personal belief is that work is a little like saving money. There is a massive compounding effect to starting early and most people acknowledge that, but taken to extremes it can be a bad thing. Your friends sound like they're putting very little in the bank in terms of work experience, which maybe or may not be ok given how they want to live their life. Fast forward 10 years when they have families, multiple kids, and are frustrated at the lack of career opportunities while you're cruising as the VP of Finance for a F500 company making $400k/year while working 50 hours a week, maybe they're jealous. At the same time, if you work super hard and are making millions in 10-15 years, but you've lost your entire social network due to work, are in poor health, and have no hobbies... that's the other end of the extreme.

 

TLDR: Try to find a balance, think about what you ultimately want your life to be like and pursue paths that lead to that goal. Don't value life based on how many people you've slept with.

 
  • Associate 2 in IB-M&A
Nov 3, 2020 - 7:53pm

Seriously man. Not even during the summer? You can definitely do better on the hooking up with girl front. Not talking about interns or other analysts. Have u even tried Tinder?

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 10:33pm

Be grateful that these are just your friends and not your wife.

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
  • 1
 
Nov 3, 2020 - 10:48pm

Your friends are bums without goals; just wait until they envy you in a couple of years bc they are stressed out about mortgages and car payments while you can comfortably provide for yourself and your family bc you worked hard in your 20s.
You have too much ahead of you to waste it just so you can supposedly have fun on your 20s.
I was like that starting college, and my dad sat down with me and we talked. Those 4 years of not going out 5x a week like ur friends bc you have to study will pay of

 
Nov 3, 2020 - 11:43pm

Ahh yes another lost sapien on this big blue rock we call earth. 

Life is pretty short. Don't take it too seriously. When you die the world keeps spinning. 

Do what you love. We are all just meat sacks that have gained consciousness to acknowledge our consciousness. 

 
Nov 4, 2020 - 10:13am

Not everyone's primary goal is financial freedom.

I was raised in the mid west and worked from 5th grade to senior year of high school as a janitor and a lawn mower. Junior summer and senior summer of high school I also worked in a warehouse about 10 hours every day. Some of my co-workers were best friends and they enjoyed showing up to work everyday. Their primary goal was not financial freedom by any means. They are perfectly ok getting $12.50 an hour for the rest of their life. Although this is in a low cost of living area. 

Most people make decisions to maximize their utility and everyone has different preferences and different levels of rationality. I would not be so quick to label these people "losers" or "fuck ups" (I understand you did not use these terms but I can sense that some people in this forum are thinking it). Most people don't go to a prestigious institution to allow them the opportunities to even enter high finance this is probably the top .05% of the us population. Even more people don't even go to college. 

Life is as hard as you choose to make it. With the scarcity of time you have to make decisions that agree with your values. If you waste your time doing stuff you hate, you basically throw your life away.   

   

 
Nov 4, 2020 - 1:25am

Please... don't.

I live in Southeast Asia and have seen those types a lot. They come here with BS degrees (e.g. gender studies), teach English to kids and earn like $1k5-$2k a month. While that's a lot here, you are forever stuck in that income level. Then during their spare time they go to bar/clubs, meet girls, and visit a new country every 2 months. My neighbor is a British dude who brings home a different bar girl every week.

Sure, they're having fun. Fast forward in 10 years, they will not have an established career, have very little in savings, cannot afford a house, and heck, which good woman would want to marry a man who has slept with 300 bar girls?

 
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Nov 6, 2020 - 12:00am

fwiw, my dad's freshman year college roommate moved to Taiwan at 27 to teach english because he has an asian fetish. He slept around as you do as a tall blonde guy in a southeast asian country for like 30 years, then married a taiwanese girl half his age who speaks very little english like 5 years ago. He has a beach house in the US that he comes back to in summer, forget where. Sounds emotionally lacking, sure, but much better than 80% of the unhappily married (or divorced) working robots on this forum.

also, "what good woman would want to marry a man who has slept with 300 bar girls?" 1) in southeast asia, if the man is white, a lot, and 2) in the west, if the guy is moderately hot, cool, and wealthy, a lot

 
Nov 6, 2020 - 2:48pm

 

also, "what good woman would want to marry a man who has slept with 300 bar girls?" 1) in southeast asia, if the man is white, a lot, and 2) in the west, if the guy is moderately hot, cool, and wealthy, a lot

Yea and think about the quality of that woman.....  

 
Nov 4, 2020 - 2:55am

There's nothing wrong with pursuing drugs, sex, travel, alcohol, parties, and other cheap thrills that ultimately bite you in the long run. If you prefer that lifestyle, feel free to go with it. The rest of us will continue working hard and prioritizing education and career advancement over foolish debauchery

 
Nov 4, 2020 - 5:55am

It's fascinating how many posters here are creating a false dichotomy of doing IB or living paycheck-to-paycheck.

I did two IB internships, hated both them, and currently work 35-50 hours a week in FAANG. I make 70% or so of what I'd make in IB and have time for working out, dating, reading and travelling. To me it's a much better deal. Plenty of friends that work in interesting corporate gigs (outside of FAANG) as @Mastersz57 said that make a very comfortable salary and are not working nearly as hard as they did in banking.

 

To OP - your friends also have a false dichotomy in their head. Only making easy choices makes for a hard life, but blindly picking the hardest path is equally dumb. If you are this unsatisfied with your life, consider options that are slightly more towards the middle of the work/pay payoff curve.

 

  • 3
 
Nov 4, 2020 - 2:28pm

This right here. So annoying that everyone on this thread is painting the narrative that you either work like a dog, or you basically live paycheck to paycheck. Plenty of people in the US working ~40 hours/week and making enough to live very comfortably while saving for retirement at a reasonable age. 

 
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Nov 6, 2020 - 12:07am

are you in product management? Or are you an SWE? I'm a CS / business double major and I don't think being an SWE for an entire career would be better than 2 year banking -> corp dev, which is my current plan, since coding gets old just like excel. I know the hours are better, but I only plan on doing banking for 2 years anyway, not my whole 20s or 30s. I've heard product is great, but it's also more competitive at FAANG than anything else I've seen except MF PE, so curious which you're in

 
Nov 6, 2020 - 5:52am

Coding is a really broad term, and to me writing SQL/Python is more interesting than doing excel. Having technical street cred really helps in all roles in tech as well.

I'm in a Data Analyst role, looking to move to product management/product analyst ladder internally in the next 2 years.

 
Nov 4, 2020 - 5:37pm

Ex-BB analyst here. Couple thoughts:

1. There are a lot of paths aside from banking that pay you well (if not better) where you don't have to sacrifice your life. If you don't know what these are, you probably need to work smarter, not harder.

2. From what I've seen, most MDs (who have families) in big coastal cities aren't THAT wealthy. They generally live pretty normal lives aside from maybe having a slightly nicer car, a slightly bigger house, and get to stay in slightly nicer hotels on vacation. If you really don't believe you can make money any other way, ask yourself if these things are worth your 20s.

3. I think someone mentioned above, but the banking vs. not banking debate (in a vacuum where you take a lower paying job as an alternative) is really not being homeless vs. being a rockstar - the wealth distribution between these paths is a lot tighter than you'd think. If you're a decent investor and are smart financially, you might actually come out ahead in the non-banking path given all the restrictions you have around equities.  

4. The road is long...The amount of sh1t you have to eat to get to MD, and the amount of sh1t you have to eat while you're an MD is staggering. Yes you're delaying gratification, but is that delayed gratification really that much better? Ask yourself what it is you're exactly eating sh1t for...

I'd recommend taking another job for a little bit to get some more perspective and enjoy some of those 20s. If you go to Corp Dev or something, you'll definitely get some credit for it if you do decide to go back to banking. 

 
Nov 5, 2020 - 6:28pm

My 2 cents:

I didn't pursue IB out of undergrad. I worked a job that rarely required more than 45/50 hours and made six figures. It was extremely comfortable, but I was losing my mind. I wanted to be challenged, and the reality is that most people don't really utilize that "free" time. I already had a steady gf and wasn't clubbing/doing silly stuff.

I went back to get my MBA to do IB. Yeah the lifestyle is rough, but I feel far more satisfaction in my work and have learned more in the past year than I did in three at my old job. This is not even bringing in the career and life optionality it provides down the road.

 

TLDR: Your friends get to enjoy some things you don't, but the 20s lifestyle should NOT be the best days of your life, and from being on the other side, I felt like I missed out on a lot that you get with IB.

Array
 
  • Intern in HF - EquityHedge
Nov 5, 2020 - 10:06pm

Started at a prop shop this year. Although I'm not as busy you IB guys, it's somewhat relatable. All I'd say is ask them what the fk these guys are doing that makes them feel like they are "living the life." Watching more Netflix shows? Going to some hipster cafe and reading some selfhelp book? Please, I'd rather work more, so I can retire quicker, get an AMG, and give back to my parents. I know a bunch of guys from high school that aren't doing much and living paycheck to paycheck. We all make choices with our paths. If they are satisfied with sweating to pay bills, so be it.

 
Nov 6, 2020 - 9:54am

I think life is all about finding the balance that works best for you at the end of the day. The cliche that "you can have anything you want, but not everything you want" rings true to me. If you want to do important, high-stakes work or make a lot of money, you'll have to sacrifice a lot in life, including personal relationships or leisure, to achieve that end. If you highly value leisure, like your friends appear to, you're not going to make a ton of money and will have to make other lifestyle sacrifices because nobody is going to pay you a lot of money to put in an average amount of effort into your job. 

For example, I'm somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. I know I wouldn't be happy working 40 hours a week and never moving up in my job or working on anything important, but I also know I wouldn't be happy working 65+ hours a week and sacrificing my health, hobbies, and friendships just to make an obscene amount of money in a high stress job. Therefore, my "balance" is working a 50ish hour job at a middle market company in a manager+ position where I have enough responsibility/visibility to move up the chain. The negative will be that I'm also going to be doing more "mundane" tasks and not always working on the sexiest projects, since higher stakes work necessitates higher stress and greater attention to detail, and my growth trajectory in terms of comp/title will also be much slower.

I'm only 30, so I'm not yet in a position to dole out life advice and you should take what I say with a huge grain of salt. Speaking for myself though, it took me a while to figure out what my ideal balance is (literally all of my 20s...) and trying a lot of different things/making mistakes to understand what's truly important to me.  If something isn't working for you, which honestly appears to be the case from the tone of your post, maybe it's worth considering trying something very different (i.e. corp dev for someone like you) to see how much lifestyle matters to you. It could very well end up being a mistake. I work in public accounting, so not quite as rough a lifestyle as IB but definitely more difficult than 85% of corporate jobs, and know plenty of people who tried the corporate gig and boomeranged back because they weren't happy with the slower pace/progression and realized they didn't have enough hobbies to take advantage of getting off at 5 everyday. Maybe IB is different, but I'd still imagine if you made Associate, left for corp dev to try something new, and asked to come back or applied to a different bank, you should still be able to do it, so why not try something new if what you're doing now isn't necessarily making you happy?

 
Nov 6, 2020 - 11:18am

No need to sweat it my guy. Everyone's got a different story but I present to you a prospective Tier I comp re: missing out on the best parts of life

 

I interned at a small, lower MM boutique during my summer as a rising senior, worked the monkey hours doing shitty intern level work, then got offered to work off-cycle through my senior year. All my friends were partying and enjoying senior year (until the pandemic), getting laid by from babes in any sorority you name, and experiencing the 'exciting' college life. Meanwhile, I was walking out of classes on the phone with MDs asking me to spread comps for companies we didn't even pitch and monkey shit like that. I attended zero parties my senior year of college. I sacrificed my early college years trying to break into banking as well as my senior 'party all you can' year which I will never get back. And FYI I work at a no-name shop (great group of guys but no recognition as few people have heard of the firm), so it wasn't like I was walking around with the LinkedIn title "Incoming IB Analyst at GS TMT or EVR tech" to all my buds. But I don't regret it one bit because I hustled to break into banking from a non-target (I mean a non-f*cking target where the best job offered at my school's finance career fair was taking lunch orders and making coffee runs for traders at a commodities exchange).

 

Point is, life is a challenge and life is too short. F*ck feelings and pursue the grind. Ask questions later. It's all about your self confidence in what you want to achieve. If you're a Bernie voter looking to coast through your so called precious years, then don't develop the syndrome in your 30s of "I want free everything because I was happy in my 20s traveling to Paris, working my 9-5, and now I have a dead end job with boring, non-interesting people." Banking is not the end all be all, it's a path you chose to pursue goals you want to achieve. As a first year, I see nothing but grinding and bullshit, however, I know my end goals and if I do not achieve them, at least I can look back at the hustle smoking a cigar in flipflops and a Hawaiian tee watching Scarface. The world is not going anywhere, it'll be there to explore so why worry. 

 

Btw, I haven't gotten laid since high school. It's primarily because I'm shitty at talking about anything except how Dean Witter took Harley Davison public in the 80s and why Rhodesia should still be a sovereign country, which most girls are not too into. The gluck-gluck 4000 turbo will come in time, but at the moment I am focused on my career development. Hope you can relate and if not sorry you had to read this CIM on my life. Just remember that your career shouldn't be based off emotion, but what you strive to achieve.

 
Nov 6, 2020 - 12:45pm

Ebitda_027

If you're a Bernie voter looking to coast through your so called precious years, then don't develop the syndrome in your 30s of "I want free everything because I was happy in my 20s traveling to Paris, working my 9-5, and now I have a dead end job with boring, non-interesting people." 

This is totally unnecessary.  There are PLENTY of kids from high earning families who are total losers, lazy, entitled, and have no shame/are oblivious to how they come across and are 100% republicans.  This is a shallow understanding of who supports politicians.  If we're going to generalize, it's MUCH more accurate to say high earners support Republicans purely for financial self interests (taxes, etc).  And that's totally OK because it's 100% true Republicans want to cut taxes... there are facts behind it.  But let's not insinuate Republican supporters = hard workers = earning everything they have 100% on their own, while the other side = lazy = want handouts = are poor and it's all their fault.

 
Nov 11, 2020 - 6:00am

This dude hasn't gotten laid since high school; you think he's got it figured out?

 
Nov 6, 2020 - 12:20pm

All in all, do what's best for you and that's all. People will always have an opinion in what you do - whether it's partying and traveling or just working FT. If you this get to you, you already lost.

Seems like your friends are also losers - you guys clearly don't have the same paths in life and also don't value the same things. See in 10 years from now where they'll be. Quite funny how the ones who party today are the same who cry about income inequality in their 30s.

The grind goes on.

 
Nov 6, 2020 - 12:32pm

Life comes down to choices. There is a spectrum and banking is clearly on one extreme.  That said, if you want career AND financial success you need to work harder AND smarter.  This means in the beginning eating some sh*t (so to speak), but as you progress being savvy to building relationships and navigating the workplace.  As you get older you need to build and refine your longer term career path and goals.  You won't get anywhere if you don't keep referring back to this because it's what keeps you focused and grounded.

But DO NOT let others deter you unless there's a truly valid reason.  The "You're young now, why waste the best years" and "What if you die tomorrow" arguments are frankly idiotic. In that case, no one should ever save any money, no one should plan for retirement, no one should buy insurance, etc.  Look how that attitude totally fucks so many people over, both low and high wage earners.  If you die tomorrow you're dead - it's over, unless you think you'll be floating in heaven looking down upset at yourself.  And as much as young banking analysts are supposed to be the "top performing smartest kids of the lot", so many think life peaks at 30-35... that's an immature mentality/low standards for yourself and your potential life partner/short term thinking.

Financial security and freedom allows you to live a phenomenal lifestyle, but it requires a solid plan and balance in life. Blowing $300+ at bars and clubs and $150+ for dinners in NYC every week multiple times a week shows immaturity and no plan.  Go ahead and do that, but does it need to be more than 1-2x per month?  Do you need to buy overly expensive clothing and try to fit in in every aspect of life?

To OP:  At this point you should have been angling to perform highly, be visible in your group, and set aspirational expectations for promotion and bonuses that are made clear to your superiors.  If you perform well there's no reason why you shouldnt be polite and frank about having high ambitions and wanting to hit certain titles faster than the norm and expecting to be paid top decile based on your contributions. It's a fine balance and THAT'S what it takes to manage your career so you progress fast.  Pair that with an enjoyable lifestyle but diligent investing, and you can transition to a corporate role in a few years as a VP and then get better hours.  You'll be early-mid 30's at that point and can prioritize a partner/family.  

 

Lastly, don't fuck up this whole thing by marrying the wrong person. Buffett said it best when he said the biggest choice people make is who they choose as their partner.

 
Nov 6, 2020 - 2:46pm

I worked in trading in my twenties - best damn fucking years of my life. Tons of money and I was going out none stop.

My friends who worked in M&A would rage with me on Friday night (I would have started on Thursday, and sometimes Tuesday with clients).

Your life sucks - not because you work in M&A, but because of your attitude. Not fucked in 3 years, I really really really hope you are trolling. You have so much fucking money for your own damn good, just go buy a hooker.

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+33IBby 1st Year Analyst in Investment Banking - Mergers and Acquisitions">Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
I'm tired man
+26IBby Intern in Corporate Finance">Intern in CorpFin

Total Avg Compensation

January 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (9) $911
  • Vice President (31) $349
  • Associates (139) $232
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (18) $155
  • 2nd Year Analyst (86) $151
  • Intern/Summer Associate (89) $144
  • 1st Year Analyst (344) $134
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (298) $83

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