Would you live here for $200k?

A lot of basis towards each coast and no love for the middle of this country. Would you take a job in one of the flyover states for $150k base, $90k(mixed Bonus) for 2 years then it jumps up VP, SVP ($400k base) etc? Corporate Development type of role with financial analyst mix.

If so what city would you live in and what major city would you not live in?

Rent for 950sqft apt ~$1k for a great one
Buy a home for under $250k

States: Some fly-over states include Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, New Mexico, Iowa, Kansas, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas.

Comments (60)

Best Response
Jul 20, 2017 - 2:41pm

I'd live in hell if the pay package was lucrative enough.

  • 46
Jul 21, 2017 - 3:47pm

"The lack of money is the root of all evil." - Mark Twain

"A man can convince anyone he's somebody else, but never himself."
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Jul 23, 2017 - 4:17pm

I would, it's an every day occurrence to take your tiger to the mall and buy gold bars from a vending machine.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne
Jul 20, 2017 - 2:55pm

What are you talking about? California is one of the best run stat..


26 Broadway where's your sense of humor?
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Jul 21, 2017 - 2:57pm

I'd say so. Midwest. Right next to IA/IN. Part of the Great Lakes. Plus, what are the odds that you're going to have a $200k/yr gig doing interesting/challenging work in Des Moines/Bismark/Topeka/etc.? Seems like one of the more reasonable Midwestern cities that would have jobs with comparable compensation imho.

Jul 21, 2017 - 3:28pm

I would have to argue against IL being considered a flyover state even though it is housed in the Midwest.

Chicago alone houses 2.7MM in population whereas the next closest flyover big city is OKC housing 600K. IL alone may out populate the flyover states combined. Chicago is 3rd most populated city in the US and has the most traffic'd/busiest airport in the country as well.

Jul 21, 2017 - 3:43pm

No doubt Chicago is huge but I don't think that population can qualify/unqualify a state from being a fly over state. If you want to qualify a state as a fly over state in terms of population I think you should measure it by the number of planes that fly over the state, which I would guess to be Virginia/Pennsylvania. I agree that you can't fly over IL if your flying into ORD, but I think more planes fly over IL than any other Midwest state (excluding air traffic landing in ORD/MDW) . Was thinking more along the lines of where in the Midwest could someone earn $200k+ as an Associate/Sr. Associate. To me the only logical city would be Chicago. Perhaps KC/Cleveland/Nashville though.

Jul 23, 2017 - 10:59pm

If you are in IL go outside of the Chicago metro. The state becomes cornfield really quick. Personally, I would live there if I wasn't already settled.

Only two sources I trust, Glenn Beck and singing woodland creatures.
Jul 20, 2017 - 2:48pm

Nashville wouldn't be bad for later on in the career. I'm not living in Oklahoma.

26 Broadway where's your sense of humor?
Jul 21, 2017 - 12:30pm

I would love to live there.

Only two sources I trust, Glenn Beck and singing woodland creatures.
Jul 21, 2017 - 12:34pm

not even a brothel gets that many inches in a winter

26 Broadway where's your sense of humor?
  • 16
Jul 23, 2017 - 9:11am

My buddy has been living in Jackson Hole for a few years now after graduated from college (such a UVM kid type move). Oh man that place looks incredible.

Jul 21, 2017 - 12:28pm


Only two sources I trust, Glenn Beck and singing woodland creatures.
  • 1
Jul 21, 2017 - 1:05pm

I think the game plan for that type of scenario would be to take the insanely good paying (relative to the region) job and try to scale quickly before lateraling to east / west coast.

The thought process is, you subjugate yourself to a really shitty 3-4 years, but due to extremely lost cost of living (rent a super cheap place) coupled with minimal spending, you could save like 80% of you comp. In 4 years you'd save the same amount that you would in 8 or 9 years in NYC or LA due to cost of living.

It's kind of like a mini prison sentence, but it gives your resume a differentiating factor and an interesting story to tell. This time could also be used to enjoy a slow pace of living for a while to allow for a mental breather, and you could also potential use down time to travel.

Jul 21, 2017 - 1:23pm

Really depends on your overall career goals and personality. I personally would never do that and given your comment, this sounds like a less than ideal situation. However, I will describe a real life successful career path involving this that could lead you back to the coasts.

I know someone who did do exactly this after 3 years in MM banking and 2 years at a middle market PE fund ($1 bn fund at the time). He then worked for a portco in the middle of no-where and actually loved the job and area. He ended up applying to b-school afterwards and got into HBS, which ended with him landing a PE job post-bschool.

Point is, if you are thinking b-school, this is a a great path as schools like HBS love the operating experience. Also, assuming you have some PE and/or i-banking experience prior, you will have a strong application for a PE job post-bschool.

To your second point, some interesting places in a flyover state that I would consider include:

Chicago - very fun city, with a cosmopolitan dynamic (restaurant and culturally-wise)
Nashville - fun nightlife, attractive southern people

A lot of people like kansas city as an easy place to raise a family.

Jul 21, 2017 - 1:56pm

$200k in a low cost-of-living area is a lot (A LOT) of money.

I live in the South. You can do a lot on $200k of annual income. You could pretty quickly save up for a down payment on a 2500+ sf house, loaded to the tits. Plus a nice car. Plus a boat. Plus that junior country club membership. All while seeding that 401(k).

Most cost-of-living adjustments don't really take into account the apples-to-apples cost of living. A website may quote you a 150% COLA, but...is that for a similar commute? Similar neighborhood? Similar size of apartment/house? COLA gets wacky when you take a 15-minute traffic-free commute in a smaller city and compare that to a 45-minute subway ride in another and call them equivalent.

I compared my current offer to one in a large coastal city. My wife and I did an honest assessment of equivalent quality of life, and the difference in cost; we decided that an offer in my current city would only have to be 40% to be on par. Easy choice.

"Son, life is hard. But it's harder if you're stupid." - my dad
  • 5
Jul 23, 2017 - 6:54pm

I think it gets downplayed on this site because so many monkeys are in their early 20s and trying to factor in their opportunities to grow their careers. I remember feeling "left out" because I wasn't in New York or Chicago or SF or whatever, and it seemed like the "best" opportunities were all concentrated in the big cities.

I'm in my early thirties now, so...I really don't care if someone else doesn't like where I live.

I was at a management presentation about a month ago, and the company had hired JPM/GS/ms to represent them, and I was chatting with a VP during a break. Naturally, we were talking about golf. He was talking about how tough it is to get outside the city where he can actually play, and then when he's back in his apartment there's not really space to even roll putts in his living room.

Dude probably makes twice what I do, but there's no way I would switch with him.

"Son, life is hard. But it's harder if you're stupid." - my dad
  • 3
Jul 23, 2017 - 2:12pm

I live in the Midwest. Girlfriend and I make around 110k or something like that pre bonus first year out of undergrad. We do whatever the fuck we want, whenever the fuck we want. We're probably going to start investing in riskier ventures early, and will most likely clear 500k by like 28. It's actually a pretty good living if you ask me. The people in the Midwest are fucking simpletons though so it can get boring.

Jul 23, 2017 - 2:16pm

This all depends on what you consider important at the age you're at. Value takes many forms, not just money. If you're an urban person that loves trying great new restaurants, immersed in great culture, meeting lots of great new people, access to lots of new career opportunities and networking nearby, etc then a flyover state probably isn't going to provide the required value to you. On the other hand, if your goal is to live a more traditional life, save money, raise a family, etc, then $200k in a flyover state could be a viable option. It all depends on what your interests and priorities are

Jul 23, 2017 - 3:21pm

5 million:

Dallas, Denver, Houston have that and great income/COL ratio. Unless you are a snowflake convinced that you can only be happy in New York or SF while spending ridiculous % of income on a crammed apartment.

It's all relative and a matter of tradeoffs. Also the OP is specifically talking about places like North Dakota and Arkansas

Jul 23, 2017 - 2:53pm

Besides what people have mentioned about age/family, I think it also depends on the flyover state itself and the cities in the state.

States like Colorado (Denver, Tennessee (Nashville), and Georgia (Atlanta) are vastly better than states without a prosperous city like Alabma/Montana/etc. These cities they have jobs, entertainment, and universities that allow the state to prosper and you can commute to on a daily basis.

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Jul 23, 2017 - 6:29pm

New Mexico, yes. Arkansas, yes. Texas, yes.

The rest of those places fucking suck.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller. "Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL
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Jul 24, 2017 - 10:51am

I have a friend who works as an chemical engineer for oil companies. He was offered a job to work on an oil rig in fairly dangerous part of the middle east. Basically you get off the plane, get into a tank and dont get out of the tank until to are at the rig. The comp package was about 400k all in. He turned it down saying that money is not worth risking your life for.

I, however, would have taken the risk and done it for a year or two.. but thats me. That being said, I would easily consider working in a flyover state if the package was lucrative enough, but I wouldn't stay there forever.

Jul 24, 2017 - 11:31am

I think a lot of this depends on personal circumstances and where you are in life. For instance:

Career- If you are mid-career, it certainly is a tempting offer. As stated, $200K in a low cost of living area is quite a lot of money. At the same time, if you are just starting your career you may want to go to a big city. I know in my case, I started out at a large consulting firm in NYC. Doing so gave me a great network from the onset as I met many important partners, clients, and even peers who to this day would pick up the phone if I called. I don't think I would've gotten the same in a "fly-over" state.

Family - If you have a family, quality of life considerations play a big role in where you live. I would much rather raise a family in a Nashville or Kansas City than a downtown Chicago or NYC. However, if you are still young and single you probably would like a large city more. As someone who's lived in both types of settings, I can tell you that you are more likely to not only have more fun in bigger cities but your chances of meeting a great girl and getting into a meaningful potential long-term relationship are better too. Nothing really compares to the singles scene in such places.

Jul 24, 2017 - 2:38pm

Born and raised in a small town in the SE corner of Missouri. Living there is not all bad. My cousin still lives there and rents a very nice apartment in Springfield (mid-sized town) for $400/month. If you had several hundred grand a year to blow living in cities like this it would be a pretty good life.

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