If you thought your entry-level banking job would allow you to stop living off your parents, you were wrong. Junior bankers today say their lifestyle is far from what they’d expected when they sent in their banking application forms. And like most Millennials, they still rely on their parents for financial assistance.
“To be honest, my expectations were made of dreams and fantasies,” Jeb, a 26 year-old third year analyst in leveraged finance told us. “I'm not living like a king, I'm living like some sort of rich student Share on twitter.”
The ‘rich student’ lifestyle means most banking juniors share accommodation with friends (most of whom also work in banking). “The only difference between now and university is that we have a nice modern flat and a cleaner,” Jeb says. “If I’m really proactive, I can save about 5% of my income every month,” he adds. “None of my colleagues are really planning to buy their own homes – unless they have families who can help them out. And then they buy flats in cheaper areas from zone three outwards.”
Peter, a second year associate who went into a debt capital markets job after completing an MBA at a top business school last year, says he lives with his girflriend. They don’t save much money – but they don’t need to – his parents have promised to help him buy his first home. Without their help, he says it would take him years to buy anything in London: “I see colleagues saving for six or seven years just to get a deposit,” he says.
Peter says he takes nice holidays and eats out in expensive restaurants. But without parents to help him, Jeb says he lives very parsimoniously: “I get 25 days compulsory holiday every year, and I usually go to European locations which are cheap.” He also works hard – at least 10 hours a day, leaving home at 7am and returning when he’s ‘done.’
Does this make banking a bad career choice? Although the industry hasn’t measured up to his initial expectations, Jeb says he’s still a lot more fortunate that friends from university who went into other industries. “Looking at how other graduates in normal jobs are living, people in the finance industry live like kings. Even though we work longer hours, and our hourly rate is lower, on average we still have better opportunities than the rest.”