{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Genuine question for highly paid fish: Are you happy with your life? What are the negative aspects that come with the high salary?\n\nI see a lot of people making $300k-500k+/yr and curious to hear some unfiltered opinions about how your life is going. I know sometimes I think it would be nice to be making bank but I imagine there are things which come with the territory that I don’t consider.\n\n(Including your salary would be helpful.)", "post_id": "60171bddf056b8002427bfcb", "reply_count": 393, "vote_count": 67, "bowl_id": "5e6fe1c31f5e51001d267e46", "bowl_name": "The Work-Life Bowl", "feed_type": "bowl" }
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Genuine question for highly paid fish: Are you happy with your life? What are the negative aspects that come with the high salary?

I see a lot of people making $300k-500k+/yr and curious to hear some unfiltered opinions about how your life is going. I know sometimes I think it would be nice to be making bank but I imagine there are things which come with the territory that I don’t consider.

(Including your salary would be helpful.)

likesmart
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500k combined, 700k left on mortgage ($1.8mm market value). We are very very fortunate, we bought our first place during the RE bubble, our ROI was 85% within 6 years. We then moved into a neighborhood with top school district that we never thought we would be able to afford, at least not during our 30s.

I would say that we are generally content and very grateful with what we have, we did not come from families with money. We both worked our way through college so we feel fortunate to have the opportunities that propelled us into this income category. It’s definitely nice to have the financial freedom, enough savings to cover living expenses for one year if one of us don’t have a job, don’t have to budget much for expenses, vacations, etc. I don’t need to work but hubby never pressured me to be a SAHM, he knows how much I love my job. During the last few years, while our kid was younger and required more attention from us, I took on jobs that were lateral move but provided flexibility of working from home.

Cons: Hubby works long hours so weekends are sacred to us spending family time together, but there are times when he works weekends too. We don’t get to have dinners together during weekdays. Kid is usually asleep by the time he comes home.

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As with most things...it's all relative.

I used to have a high-income career (IB), but left to pursue an entrepreneurial opportunity.

Ultimately that didn't come to fruition, so I had to pivot and was unable to make my way back into a role similar to what I previously had.

I landed in a relevant, though much more mundane, role and it's been a struggle.

My wife and I make about $200k per year, so we aren't hurting for money, but that doesn't necessarily relieve the anxiety of financial security.

I often think about how I could be making 3x-4x more and have a positive net worth instead of negative (student loans). I could also be plowing money into investments that would compound, instead of balancing loan payments with the need to save cash for a potential job loss situation.

Admittedly, I'm a bit of a workaholic and would gladly trade my 40-hour workweeks for 80-hour weeks in banking...and not just because of the money, but because the sense of accomplishment (both current and future) that is associated with such a role.

Being back in banking would be infinitely more stressful than my current work, but at the same time, the money and trajectory would eliminate the tremendous stress I currently encounter about whether I'm learning and growing, and whether the next potential employer is going to value my current work.

Currently I feel like I'm languishing in a role that doesn't have a very clear future, which adds to the stress of life (settling down, buying a house, kids etc.).

Financially, I'm not as high as I would like to be, and to make matters worse, my trajectory appears to be flat for the foreseeable future. That's all a challenge in its own way and a very difficult pill to swallow when you're the type of person who is capable of being...and previously was...on a high-income career path.

Complaining aside, the real takeaway is that life is life and it's rarely a perpetual, stress-free dream state, even if you do have a high income.

With that said however, having money is like a magic wand that can erase a long list of stressors that the average person struggles with on a day-to-day basis...so it's a great super power to have.

Anyways, wanted to add a perspective from someone that's sitting in the middle, but has been exposed to both sides.

likehelpful

So true! As Kanye once said “having money isn’t everything, but not having it is.”

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Given where I was financially when I started consulting at 26, I do feel significantly better now that I make ~350k at 37. I’m no longer stressed about eating out, holidays, daycare, household repairs, needing to financially help a relative/ friend etc.The peace of mind that a decent salary/savings brings you goes a long way in allowing you to enjoy the time that you don’t spend at work.

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How did you move over into consulting if you didn’t start there right after college?

likefunny

I’m 34 and a VP at a media agency making $200. I’ve been a VP for years because I’m terrified of the mental anguish and stress of SVP level, a role which I could’ve gotten a while ago if I had wanted it. (SVP = $250+) It’s probably not as stressful as I make it out to be in my brain but point is: I feel you OP. I feel like maybe I’ve reached my money:sanity threshold.

likesmartfunny

I should add that I’m very happy with the balance of my role and salary. I have autonomy and agency so I feel in control over my schedule and work/life balance for the most part—hence my unwillingness to change titles.

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I do think having more $ = more freedom and fewer problems. I’m more of a workaholic than most of my friends even in the same industry/in a HCOL city like NYC, because I learned that money solves most problems. These are all the things I’ve done and hated: sharing an apt as a fresh grad, having to clean my own apt (I’m very particular about things being extra clean and organized), public transportation (extreme OCD & germaphobia) and flying coach. Having experienced the discomfort associated with all this, I spend most of my $$$ to outsource these tasks. The freedom and mental well being is worth more than luxury bags, cars, fine jewelry etc.

likesmarthelpful

So have you just given up hobbies and free time completely? I can think of plenty to do besides going to parties.

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So many responses so I’m sure it’s been covered but the short of it is this: there is at least one study out there that shows there is very little correlation between wealth and happiness above a certain middle class income threshold which probably varies by city. When you make more money, you trade financial concerns for additional work stresss and responsibility. What’s important to you? Figure that out and go hard after it whether it’s work, family, independence, whatever... it’s pretty simple actually once you know yourself and what you truly value. That’s the hard part.

likesmart

A lot of truth to this. All of the things I enjoy are either affordable even at a 50k salary or is free. Having a higher salary now just means that I'm able to help family/those in need more and there's a sense of fulfillment that comes with helping others. I guess it depends on what makes you happy.. my sister needs luxury bags/expensive things to feel happy, so making 70k won't even fulfill all her wants (not needs) in life.

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We used to earn 235k combined when we just got married and now 800k plus combined, of which husband makes a lion share. I don’t think we are less stressful now only because we earn more. Vice versus. I do constantly struggle with whether I should continue to work as I feel like my share of income is not enough for offset our additional tax plus all the additional cost (nanny etc). And my job is so demanding that it stops us from having a second kid. At the same time, I don’t think it is fair or fun to quit working and only rely on my husband to be the only bread earner. Also as we make more, we seem to want more — a better school (private) and a bigger house at a nicer location. So we constantly remind ourselves that we are happy where we are and should keep our living style.

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When I met him, he was already a counsel. He then became a partner, which makes a huge difference in his income. I was still junior then. I should say even from the beginning, his salary was much more than I had.

helpfullikefunny

37 and $500k...life is great! My high income has let me save up a good chunk. Bc of that + being tired of the grind has got me thinking about doing something entirely different that is stress free and pays decently and has benefits.

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Consulting. No industry. I am the grim reaper slashing ppl's jobs.

funnylikeuplifting

Wow. What I would do for half of what some of you make!!! I’ve been saving up for my own modest house for the last three years...... still have a ways to go lol one day I’ll get there 🤞🏼

likeuplifting

Seems that no one who replied is in advertising. my dad always said “if you want to make a lot of money, get in the money business.” boy was he right.

likefunny

Yeah, I started in advertising and it would have taken a couple decades to get paid what I do now in consulting. Advertising was way more fun and less stressful though...

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Pre-MBA, I pulled ~300-350 working in PE. Super unhappy and hated life, but did make enough money to pay for business school, which I’m now in.

One unfortunate thing from a career perspective was that I’m not so sure working in PE was worth it, given that it didn’t help advance my career since PE was a temporary detour (not interested in PE in the long term)

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What did you do before PE?

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I would feel so much richer even at 100k if I didn't have my siblings, parents, and grandparents to take care of..

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I know there is societal/cultural pressure and expectations and all sorts of potential scenarios in which what you are doing makes sense...but this sounds terrible. I hope your siblings are able to step up and help...and that your parents are capable of contributing to their own care. If not you'll have a very hard time advancing financially. That's a lot of burdens.

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It sounds hokey but I have found that practicing gratitude, volunteering to do pro bono, and community engagement has completely changed my attitude toward my income and life.

For years I compared myself to those with more. I was never happy, even when my income and bonuses increased and increased. Finally I realized that I have enough for me and my family and that there are more important things in life.

I hope everyone can find their “enough.”

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How are senior managers making $250 or $300?!? I am making 175$k as a senior manager 5. Those of you making these numbers are in BIg 4? What am I missing here? :( diverse women here... could that be why I am so significantly underpaid???

likefunny

That’s what I found between the firms as well.

Earn decently well for my age and geography but full bonus goes into debt heavy family business which has been keeping the family purses oiled for past many many many years, just under 40% of monthly income goes into family house expenses. Hardly able to save much since the wedding and things are always up and down with wife. She earns but we don't share any finances....she pays for things she usually buys in the house (groceries, other consumables), I pay for large tickets like rent, or anything new we buy, travel etc. Just at the cusp of realising that damn, mental peace and happiness is indeed a little bit more important than money but it's a bit like chicken and egg too if you think about it. Always wanted to start a business but now feel if I really have it in me to start? And with all the responsibilities will it ever look prudent to leave the steady income and take the plunge.

Boy, looks like I've ranted! Sorry.

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Earning ~$100k untaxed - the money just seems to disappear - deseprrtalty need to work on financial habits

likesmart

Hubby and I are both 31, and making over $600k combined, plus $200k+ from investments in a decent year. I would say yes, we’re very happy and having money to do what we wanted is a big part of it. Eventually we’ll also want children so having the funds to help with that will be important so that we can maintain our lifestyle and both our careers. We plan to retire by 38-40 and then live off our investments. Haven’t seen too many negatives yet.

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Smart with your money! My husband and I saved more than we spent resulting in “I can retire anytime now”

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I'm at the lower end of this and have been surprised that this income (with kids) does not go as far as I thought it would go. In my late 20s I believed 200k with a family would be more money than I'd ever need. Don't get me wrong, I'm blessed and fortunate - not overlooking this fact, but have learned I was niave pre kids about how far money goes with a family.

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Totally agree especially when you factor in income taxes and child care and cost of living!
I was living in a suburb of LA making $225k HHI and we were living paycheck to paycheck.
Moved to a suburb of Dallas and we are able to max out retirement accounts for the first time.

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$305k not including bonus. I feel incredibly lucky to not have to worry about money. I can provide my kids with the best education, take awesome vacations, eat amazing food, and generally not worry too much about bills. This is an incredible blessing that is not lost on me.

I am often stressed out, but so are people who make a lot less than I do.

Also, I’ve always been stressed out. In high school I worked all the time because I was stressed about college opportunities; in college, it was stress about getting into a top law school; law school was stress about first job. Now I’m stressed out about keeping my job and advancing up the ranks. I just try to mitigate the stress by meditating, trying to be present in the moment instead of worrying about work I should be doing, being grateful for the what I have, going to church to keep perspective, and getting lots of exercise.

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I remember years ago a partner asking me if serving wealthy clients made me want what they have. The answer was no, because some of the most miserable people I knew were my wealthy clients. A couple worth $33 mill and still growing that fought, separated, got cops called on them, got back together, rinse and repeat. A plastic surgeon making $450k+ a year who couldn't get enough money together to open a personal checking account and paid $3-4k a month in bounced check fees. His wife thought they were poor and was just waiting for her mother to die so she could have her inheritance. I only make $130k in a MCOL city, but I'm thinking about cutting my hours next year because it feels like all I do is work. I want more time to enjoy my life, and putting it off until retirement may mean that my health won't allow me to do the things i am putting off now.

likesmart

Dang I was making 60k in one of the highest HCOL cities in the US living off an air mattress... and still worked 80 hour weeks... what am I doing wrong😅😅😅

likeupliftingsmart

I make $330k now and $120k 5 years ago. I don’t think I’m nearly as happy.

likehelpful

It seems like most I’ve heard at Alix seem pretty happy?

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