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Everyone has one of those dreams. A dream of a perfect life. You know, not having to worry about money, having a stable income, having some time on the side to do what you like to do, a good marriage and being able to send your kids to college.

And then the person outlining some form of the dream above to me tells me they want to work in investment banking to accomplish this dream. Investment banking helps you accomplish a life style completely opposite of the life style outlined above.

If you want a stable life style, work at a fortune 500 that isn’t in the financial services sector. Working a technical job or office job for 50 hours a week provides a stable income, gives you time on the side to build your family and marriage, and provided prudent financial planning, comfortably sends your kids to college.

On the other hand, investment banking does yield a lot of money, but in a rather unstable fashion. Since your income is so much correlated with the market, you may find yourself spending your 200k bonus on a Ferrari in good years, and wanting to quit in bad years because you make as much per hour as a McDonalds employee. You won’t have time on the side to do what you want to do because of the 80-100 hour weeks (not included are the times you have to go drinking with clients even if you don’t feel like it), and likely consequences to your marital life. Did I mention your kids won’t see you, ever?

You say you’ll be very prudent with your money? That’s kind of hard with your life style. And if what you wanted to do in your free time wasn’t drinking with your clients, too bad.

I’m not saying investment banking will necessarily be a bad job for everyone. It is a perfect fit for some people. It just isn’t for the type of person who wants to spend time with family and not have to worry too much about money.

Then, to bring it to a larger extreme, you start saying that you want things like this:

Van Cleef and Arpels: Midnight Poetic Wish

Or maybe a bigger toy…

Ferrari 458 Italia

Oh, hell, why not just go for the full package and get the nice house to hold it all:

Katharine Hepburn Former Estate

Unfortunately, for aspiring investment bankers, unless you reach the President or Chairman of a bulge bracket, the large house worth 30 million dollars is definitely out of your price range. The Ferrari can come for associates and managing directors, but only at financial sacrifices elsewhere (maybe you don’t have to worry about college tuition because you don’t have kids…). And even an associate will feel the pain of buying a luxury watch.

So, at the end of the day, although throwing around “100k right out of college” sounds amazing, there are a lot of considerations that make this 100k not necessarily match your lifestyle. Think about what type of life you want to live. Think long and hard…

Don’t just think about the money. Money helps you achieve a life style you would enjoy. But if your job prevents you from living the life style you enjoy, isn’t the money useless?

And if you want a mansion, expensive toys and switch your wife every once in a while, go start a successful company like this guy.

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