Young and making substantial money...doesn’t feel real?

Not a shite post. Seriously, I'm 23 and making nearly $150k a year for manipulating excel templates and copying PowerPoint formats. I also still live like how I did in college, you could tell by me still using the beer glasses I won from a raffle on St Pattys Day, in my apartment, which are literally the only nice drink ware I own. I wear cheap clothes but I do have a pretty nice AP watch. Besides that, I just am having a hard time coming to grasp this reality. I don't know. I'm sure some of you guys have experienced this or can relate.

Comments (75)

 
Oct 16, 2020 - 2:11am

I am older than you and I still don't own any furniture, any glassware, cutlery, art, nice lights, wallpaper, curtains, or anything else. there was a plan to get all of these things at some point but didn't sound like fun, so didn't do it.

While my living expenses have gone up (mainly due to hobbies), I still don't vacation and have no "real home". The only item I actually bought was a my very first monitor I got for Prime Day this year. Never had one before. My laptop is like 13 years old. phone is a 50 $ Android.

Money on a trading account is just a number, and it doesn't "feel real" unless you buy a lifestyle with it. Buy the things you need, not the things you want.

 
Oct 16, 2020 - 2:31am

That number does give security, but as humans we have a hard time grasping things that are nonphysical. stuff like faith, love, numbers on accounts. Hence why so many people get married, have a family and buy their entire life on amazon.com. In a way they are trying to make their life feel more real.

Find out why you did all of this, what was the hope you had while studying and working to get where you are? Maybe you can now afford a certain hobby or interest.

Goals without a good execution are just dreams.

 
Oct 16, 2020 - 7:27am

Continue living beneath your means. It's a GREAT habit and will provide you financial independence later in life (which provides you all sorts of independence). That doesn't mean don't buy things. Certainly buy things you need and get good quality so they last. OCCASIONALLY buy some things you want as I think it's important to reward yourself from time to time. Helps maintain your focus, reminds you why you do things, and provides some enjoyment. You have to have enjoyment to sustain anything long term (jobs, relationships, hobbies, etc.)

Just avoid the temptation to frequently live in the moment financially. When I was much younger, I had lots of wants without the means to afford them. Nice watches, cars, etc. Normal stuff. I used to look at the watches in the window and tell myself I'll get that when I do X. Funny thing, when I hit X I know longer cared about the watch or car. That allowed me to save and invest which gives you the freedom to pick and choose important things later (like jobs, houses, vacations, essentially anything). Gave me the freedom to start my own business knowing I had some cushion.

 
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Oct 16, 2020 - 11:07am

Haha sick man, I got a black sub for my impulse buy. Honestly, use it to your advantage. You worked hard to get the job you have and living frugally should be a bad thing. By looking at your name your job revolves around cost of equity. You have equity now so try to build it up. Always more $ out there, shouldn't feel like a bad thing that you're making your fair share 

 
  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Oct 16, 2020 - 9:07am

Feel sort of like crap reading this because that was my exact mindset when I started. Fast forward 1 year and I moved in with my GF and I'm spending like crazy. 

 

Need to go back to my roots

 
Oct 18, 2020 - 5:33pm

Pan European Monkey

girls man

Tru dis.  Not sure why someone gave monkey shit.  There's a family guy scene, i think, where an alternate scenario is briefly visualized of a well-dressed Peter and Brian sitting around reading the paper in a vast mansion, just the two of them, at a somewhat older age having made tons of money but having clearly sacrificed family and friends to get there.  At one point Peter says, "Welp, I think I'm going to go microwave a canteloupe and have sex with it."  
I'm happily married, but it comes at a cost and there are times where I'd like to be that guy who's rich beyond belief fucking a microwaved canteloupe, alone, in his beautiful mansion.

 
Oct 16, 2020 - 11:12am

a nice house in the suburbs will cost 900k (a basic house will cost 500k...but you'll want the nice house).   Until you have a million in the bank, you are not rich...so don't spend like you are.

Also, 150k salary will be around 110k after taxes...and only 60k after basic living expenses...its a nice start...but you have no idea how much life will cost

 
Oct 16, 2020 - 1:52pm

I had a similar feeling starting my career, albeit I was making much less money than you. I think most people feel like this when they start out. If I could things over again, this is what I would try to focus on:

  • Automate your savings and investing: Set up an online account with Ally, SoFi, etc and have a set amount of money direct deposited into that account. Once you have a FAT emergency fund, change the automation to a brokerage account. Do the same with your 401k and any other investment accounts. And then, and this is the most important part, don't check these accounts except like once every 3-4 months at most. Make a goal for the money you have in your brokerage account (I am not pulling this out until I am ready to buy a house/amazing vacation/helicopter) to help you resist the urge of pulling it out on impulse. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Do your best to not buy things when you're emotional: I use the term emotional loosely here, but what I mean is don't buy things when you feel like you're on top of world or when you feel like you hate your life because of the pressures of work/ figuring out where you fit into the adult world/ etc. If you buy things when you're too high you're going to feel like you can afford anything and everything. If you buy things when you are too low, what you are likely doing is trying to justify a job you hate at that moment in time by buying things. 
  • Try to keep things in perspective: You're 23, you do not need to live like Patrick Bateman. Allow yourself to enjoy those simple things without the anxiety that you have to be spending. The more money you have the more freedom you have - I am sure you have heard this before. What having money really does is it allows you to make a rationale decision in a tough situation. It can keep you from feeling stuck at a job you hate or making some other decision while you're desperate.  

These are just the things I wish I had done a better job of doing, hope they're helpful

 
Oct 16, 2020 - 2:09pm

Sure thing. Just keep truckin man. Right now is a weird ass with COVID, people haven't interacted with their friends in a normal way in 6 months, they're worrying about their older family members, the economy, etc - then add onto that adjusting from college, which is the most freedom you'll ever feel, to an extremely demanding job, it's difficult to put it all in perspective

 
Oct 16, 2020 - 8:24pm

All good tips. I'd add that things just come with time. I don't live extravagantly and don't have a penchant for cars/watches/luxury vacations but eventually realized that toys like electronics, clothes (not talking Gucci but good stuff), misc. hobbies, etc. don't cost that much in the grand scheme of things. You won't live like a broke college kid forever and your lifestyle will creep but that isn't necessarily a bad thing if you're saving a lot and managing your finances. Then in a few years when it's time to upgrade furniture or apartment or whatever you know you can reasonably swing it. Just don't buy a lot at once or live outside your means. The truth is that people living it up at 23 are either broke/not saving or came from money.

 

 
Oct 16, 2020 - 3:24pm

I feel ya man. I'm the same age and making similar amounts of money. (Also crazy that our paycheck will only go up and we could be making 2x that within the next couple years. And we'll still be under 30).

For about a year, I lived like I make 40k a year. I even felt guilty paying $600 for a super cheap vacation (first vacation in my professional life).

Now I increased my monthly spending by couple hundred bucks for the last 3 months (I still live like I make 60K a year), I feel even more guilty. Something just doesn't feel right. Even though I'm just buying better ingredients for my cooking, I feel like I'm living a life of sin for some reason.

Ultimately though, I think it's a good thing. I only spend on things I have to spend on. And whatever little luxury I do pay for barely impacts my overall financial stability in the long term.

 

 
  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Oct 16, 2020 - 10:11pm

I really feel this. And it feels inconsistent - I shop for the cheapest food but will also buy like $40 bourbon (but still absolutely feel the guilt). Headed into PE in a few months and the thought of paying $2k/mo in rent is nauseating. I think a slight guilt is healthy to keep us from blowing all of our cash, but here's to hoping we don't let it eat at us lol

 
  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Oct 16, 2020 - 10:11pm

I really feel this. And it feels inconsistent - I shop for the cheapest food but will also buy like $40 bourbon (but still absolutely feel the guilt). Headed into PE in a few months and the thought of paying $2k/mo in rent is nauseating. I think a slight guilt is healthy to keep us from blowing all of our cash, but here's to hoping we don't let it eat at us lol

 
Oct 16, 2020 - 10:14pm

Well put my friend. I relate to your feelings 100% and that's what "bothers" me I guess? I wear a ~$13K plain looking watch that nearly nobody notices or would care about and pay an absurd portion of my income to rent in NYC while paying minimal food costs but god forbid I'm out at a networking dinner and I pay $60 for a bottle of house Italian wine. I feel it bro.

 
Oct 16, 2020 - 10:14pm

Well put my friend. I relate to your feelings 100% and that's what "bothers" me I guess? I wear a ~$13K plain looking watch that nearly nobody notices or would care about and pay an absurd portion of my income to rent in NYC while paying minimal food costs but god forbid I'm out at a networking dinner and I pay $60 for a bottle of house Italian wine. I feel it bro.

 
Oct 17, 2020 - 7:41pm

In short, you get over it.

Imposter syndrome results from putting someone whose sense of self-worth is low, but they're in a "high-achieving" position or a position that they think requires more than they bring to the table. If you have a chip on your shoulder but work in IB/PE or some Director/VP role in a company, you'll have imposter syndrome. I know because I felt like this a little.

I eventually realized a few things that helped me get over it:

(1) leaders in our world everywhere (politics, companies, non-profits, etc.) are far less capable than they seem. Look at the state of our world and tell me that we have competent leaders everywhere. We don't. The demand for capable leaders has always exceeded supply. And some of the ones that seem capable are putting on airs. 

(2) I realized that, if I got the opportunity to take on roles of my peers, bosses or collaborators, I could probably develop into the roles that they take on and perform just as well. In other words, I built confidence in my abilities.

(3) Realizing luck plays a role in separating the winners from losers

And regarding doing Excel/PPT and getting paid way too much...well, I'll just say you gotta put in your dues :) 

Array
 
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 16, 2020 - 4:27pm

Just wondering OP, is it a feeling of guilt or not deserving it, or just the "absurdity" making that much especially given the current economic situation? Im just a college senior but even having an IB job lined up rn while a lot of people in the class of 20 are struggling to find work is kinda crazy to me. Where I grew up the median salary for an individual is like 25k a year so IB salaries seem absurd to me in general but I do feel really thankful to be in this position.

 
Oct 16, 2020 - 6:12pm

You won't meet anyone that regretted "saving too much". You'll meet plenty of people who did the opposite. Good on you!

BTW, the APRO was probably a good buy, most have skyrocketed this year in value.

 
Oct 17, 2020 - 12:01am

My only suggestion based on mistakes i've made: don't let lifestyle creep get up to you. Enjoy life, buy nice things that make you happy but don't like spending scale up with income.

As i hit 7 figures i was easily spending over 100K a year on shit I didn't need. Fixed costs got higher and higher (ie 9 grand / mo mortgage on house).

 

I feel marginally richer than when I was an analyst in IB in terms of committed spending

 
  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Oct 17, 2020 - 11:55pm

2 years beyond where you are and no expensive outlays other than exotic vacation on my 2-3 weeks off every year. One bedroom, watch sports with the boys on the weekend afternoons, dinner with the girlfriend a few nights a week. Nothing wrong with having inexpensive tastes - keep doing you. I don't have any aversion to spending money, but no reason to pay for a lifestyle you don't personally enjoy. Don't spend because you feel like your 'have to.'

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