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Old 03-03-2012, 10:34 AM   #81
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What I've read about the high income Wall Street people is that they are typically very bright and went to highly selective colleges. They are people who could have been CPAs, engineers, IT gurus, etc. There are many places in the US where you can do those jobs with modest commutes and expenses. Instead, they chose this type of Finance knowing that most of the jobs are in a few, high COL, areas.

So I think they had many more attractive choices than most people, they simply chose this lifestyle.
When I graduated from university, most the people I knew picked what they wanted to do and then went to wherever the jobs were. When you are young, you often don't think too much about COL, etc. After you get a few years down a track it can be very hard to change.

Even in a field like engineering, I would disagree with you that you can always find a job in low cost of living areas. While this might be true for some specialities, for others you are again stuck with where the employers are located (usually big cities on the coasts with high costs of living).

In my field, I'm basically restricted to SF Bay area, seattle, and few of the big cities on the east cost. There are occasionally jobs in low COL areas but if you look at the location with a long term view, there is one position with one employer and if it doesn't work out you are going to be screwed.
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:07 AM   #82
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"I'm not Zen at all, and when I'm freaking out about the situation, where I'm stuck like a rat in a trap on a highway with no way to get out, it's very hard,"
A lot of people can identify, or at least empathize. I think the best example of this is in the movie "Ink" when the M&A CEO is raging in his car because he ignored his child.

Maybe that's what we should be taking from this story instead of the obvious out-of-touch aspect of it? We often spend to or above our means, not matter how much we make.
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:49 AM   #83
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Regarding geographic differences in income, my experience/observation is that in my field (civil engineering, likely the most vanilla of engineering yet needed everywhere) salaries in no way come close to matching the costs of high COL areas. If you're wanting to RE I'd say besides LBYM the most important thing is assessing COL vs. salary for the area. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to live in a miserable area just because it was cheap living. My son was engineering in Boston, sharing an apartment with two others, and came to Raleigh NC. Thought he'd died and gone to heaven, own apartment and money to burn. Not sure, but I don't think the consulting firm he works for recognizes the area your in for salary unless it is just something done at review time.
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Old 03-03-2012, 01:29 PM   #84
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When I graduated from university, most the people I knew picked what they wanted to do and then went to wherever the jobs were. When you are young, you often don't think too much about COL, etc. After you get a few years down a track it can be very hard to change.

Even in a field like engineering, I would disagree with you that you can always find a job in low cost of living areas. While this might be true for some specialities, for others you are again stuck with where the employers are located (usually big cities on the coasts with high costs of living).

In my field, I'm basically restricted to SF Bay area, seattle, and few of the big cities on the east cost. There are occasionally jobs in low COL areas but if you look at the location with a long term view, there is one position with one employer and if it doesn't work out you are going to be screwed.
When I graduated with an engineering degree, there were a lot of jobs in the SF Bay area. The starting salaries were higher too. But I found a nice job in a nice but much lower cost of living area (at the time), and I believe I was much better off for it.

Lots of my peers in the late 70s were in engineering school because it was a ticket to a good paying job - providing you could make it through the program. In college I got the impression that most of the students in higher paying fields were there because of the money. Well over half anyway.

And I know people who dropped out of engineering school in the 80s and left engineering jobs in the 90s to go to Wall Street because "that's where the money is". I still remember our CEO gloating to one engineer who left for Wall Street about how well the engineers who stayed with the company were doing now that the company went public. Some (many?) people get dazzled and go chase the money. I don't feel that sorry for them when they fail to take the possible costs into account.

So, IMO, COL and location comes with the career decision. People flooded business schools in the 80s and 90s hoping for those "big bucks". Even the folks starting out are often making deliberate economic decisions when they choose their degree.

Audrey
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:07 PM   #85
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So the rich AND poor have the same problem ... a victim mentality; a failure to take responsibility for your actions when things get tough.

Only difference is things are always tough for the poor.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:39 PM   #86
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In such a situation, people might think things are getting worse for them (because they only look up the pyramid). But, they seem too blind to look down.
Exactly right. Then they get mad when the bottom of the pyramids isn't sympathetic to their plight.
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Old 03-04-2012, 03:41 AM   #87
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This person may have regrets all his life about having talked to the press. I was interviewed once for a national TV news program - I will NEVER do this again.
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:53 AM   #88
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If you are in certain fields, you are restricted to certain expensive areas, unless you get really lucky. I grew up in Queens and could never afford to live in Manhattan, so I lived in Queens and Jersey and dealt with horrific commutes for many years (an hour and 45 minutes each way that costs 500 a month sound like fun?). Even those places are not cheap. 10k in real estate taxes on a small house in Jersey is common (even considered cheap in some places). So if I was going to put up with all this, I expected to be paid outlandishly well. Unlike the fool in the article, I saved my money and when the music stopped I was able to land a good job in a lower cost, higher qol area. Not everyone can get out of dodge. But if you think living in an area like NYC is a picnic with a family, you are quite deluded.

There is high pressure to spend as well. I was encouraged to park my happy station wagon way in the back of the lot in Greenwich and when I walked into any shop but the hardware store or the fish place I would routinely be ignored (outlet store couture did not measure up). It is very real and you feel it every day. Most people give in to it. I always knew I was a fishmonger's son two generation from woodchuck for dinner (if you were lucky) but that is rare in an industry where you must pump your ego for the fight to get ahead.

Walk a mile in the other guy's shoes...
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