How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

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untar614
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby untar614 » Mon May 20, 2013 1:20 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:
NYstate wrote:
Bronte wrote:Others have already said it, but the premise of the thread is just not right. It does not require an extremely tight belt to pay off $250,000 in loans on five years of big law. The average after-tax, after-loan payment income is around $70,000. That does not require aggressive frugality.

Yes, most people leave in 3-5 years, but many of them go to other big firms. Most people can stay in big law for five years if it's financially necessary. There are reasons to worry about going to law school at sticker, but not being able to pay off your debt assuming you land big law is at best low on the list.


Question: how many people in this thread or on this forum who are paying sticker will make five years in big law? I think it is a very small percentage - even for T14 grads.

Have any of you guys been to law school or actually worked in big law? I've lost track.


Read Tiago's posts a few posts above you.

For that first year, is it really realistic to live off $44k after taxes and payments unless you have roommates? That's 4k a month and at least $2500 is gobbled up by rent in NY.


A quick look at padmapper tells me there are studios in manhattan available for under 2k/month that, while not great, aren't living-in-a-cardboard-box small. Here's one just a block away from Cravath's office: https://www.padmapper.com/show.php?type ... 6&src=main
Is 2k/month after rent not enough to live off of for a year? I know stuff in NYC is more expensive, but you probably won't have a car, for one, so that's an expense to scratch off.

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Bronte
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Bronte » Mon May 20, 2013 1:22 pm

NYstate wrote:
Bronte wrote:Others have already said it, but the premise of the thread is just not right. It does not require an extremely tight belt to pay off $250,000 in loans on five years of big law. The average after-tax, after-loan payment income is around $70,000. That does not require aggressive frugality.

Yes, most people leave in 3-5 years, but many of them go to other big firms. Most people can stay in big law for five years if it's financially necessary. There are reasons to worry about going to law school at sticker, but not being able to pay off your debt assuming you land big law is at best low on the list.


Question: how many people in this thread or on this forum who are paying sticker will make five years in big law? I think it is a very small percentage,even for T14 grads.

Have any of you guys been to law school or actually worked in big law? I've lost track.


We have already discussed attrition rates. See above. Regarding whether any of us have actually been to law school or worked in big law, the answer is yes. I graduated law school, paid sticker, and have a job at a big law firm. I start in the fall.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon May 20, 2013 1:40 pm

untar614 wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:
NYstate wrote:
Bronte wrote:Others have already said it, but the premise of the thread is just not right. It does not require an extremely tight belt to pay off $250,000 in loans on five years of big law. The average after-tax, after-loan payment income is around $70,000. That does not require aggressive frugality.

Yes, most people leave in 3-5 years, but many of them go to other big firms. Most people can stay in big law for five years if it's financially necessary. There are reasons to worry about going to law school at sticker, but not being able to pay off your debt assuming you land big law is at best low on the list.


Question: how many people in this thread or on this forum who are paying sticker will make five years in big law? I think it is a very small percentage - even for T14 grads.

Have any of you guys been to law school or actually worked in big law? I've lost track.


Read Tiago's posts a few posts above you.

For that first year, is it really realistic to live off $44k after taxes and payments unless you have roommates? That's 4k a month and at least $2500 is gobbled up by rent in NY.


A quick look at padmapper tells me there are studios in manhattan available for under 2k/month that, while not great, aren't living-in-a-cardboard-box small. Here's one just a block away from Cravath's office: https://www.padmapper.com/show.php?type ... 6&src=main
Is 2k/month after rent not enough to live off of for a year? I know stuff in NYC is more expensive, but you probably won't have a car, for one, so that's an expense to scratch off.

Don't have to live alone/in Manhattan. No reason to be paying $2000+ in rent when you're 25, 26, 27 years old, don't care how much you think you deserve it because of that biglaw salary. Live like 20-somethings live in NYC and you will have plenty of money.

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jbagelboy
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby jbagelboy » Mon May 20, 2013 1:44 pm

Bronte wrote:As promised, here is a spreadsheet that demonstrates that paying down $250,000 in debt over the course of five years in big law on the Cravath scale results in an average after-tax, after-loan payment salary of roughly $70,000 a year: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc ... aVHc#gid=0. In summary:

Image

This assumes $250,000 in debt, a 40% tax rate, and a 7.5% interest rate. These are fairly conservative assumptions, as many people who pay sticker will likely have closer to $225,000 in debt, a 35% tax rate, and a 7.0% interest rate. It also assumes the Cravath scale plus bonuses and incorporates a 3-month stub year. This is a less conservative assumption but is essentially the base case for New York big law.


Thank you for doing this.

I have to ask, isn't this conservative estimate with taxes/loan interest flawed? So long as you have a halfway decent accountant, your loan interest payments will count against your fed and state income tax, so in reality if you fall into a 35% bracket (its only up to 39% for significantly higher incomes), your effective tax rate after your refund will be much lower, particularly if you're a couple or if you have kids.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon May 20, 2013 1:48 pm

jbagelboy wrote:So long as you have a halfway decent accountant, your loan interest payments will count against your fed and state income tax, so in reality if you fall into a 35% bracket (its only up to 39% for significantly higher incomes), your effective tax rate after your refund will be much lower, particularly if you're a couple or if you have kids.

The student loan interest deduction is only a deduction, not a credit, and it phases out long before 160K. For a single filer you can't get any of it above 75K AGI. And even for those who do, the max is $2,500 in a year.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon May 20, 2013 1:52 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:So long as you have a halfway decent accountant, your loan interest payments will count against your fed and state income tax, so in reality if you fall into a 35% bracket (its only up to 39% for significantly higher incomes), your effective tax rate after your refund will be much lower, particularly if you're a couple or if you have kids.

The student loan interest deduction is only a deduction, not a credit, and it phases out long before 160K. For a single filer you can't get any of it above 75K AGI. And even for those who do, the max is $2,500 in a year.

Yup. I think you can only claim it your stub year so it's only ever going to net you a thousand bucks or so.

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Rahviveh
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Rahviveh » Mon May 20, 2013 2:06 pm

Do NY firms typically reimburse for brokers fees and moving costs?

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jbagelboy
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby jbagelboy » Mon May 20, 2013 2:21 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:So long as you have a halfway decent accountant, your loan interest payments will count against your fed and state income tax, so in reality if you fall into a 35% bracket (its only up to 39% for significantly higher incomes), your effective tax rate after your refund will be much lower, particularly if you're a couple or if you have kids.

The student loan interest deduction is only a deduction, not a credit, and it phases out long before 160K. For a single filer you can't get any of it above 75K AGI. And even for those who do, the max is $2,500 in a year.


hmm. thank you for letting me know. I got nearly all my income taxes (state & fed) back in refunds from my job my first year after graduation (so 6 months of work july - december) by deducting my UG tuition/interest payments (the deduction acted like a credit after I filed since I paid full tax rate bimonthly). I was hoping the same would apply for LS but I guess not.

My SO will prolly still be in a Ph.D program by the time I'm working as an associate, so I might get some added cushion filing as a couple where my partner has no real income

edit: also I won't have near sticker debt so this conversation doesn't really apply to me sorry

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Lincoln
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Lincoln » Mon May 20, 2013 2:42 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:Do NY firms typically reimburse for brokers fees and moving costs?


Depends. My firm does 50% of the broker's fee and 100% of moving costs.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby toothbrush » Mon May 20, 2013 3:10 pm

This thread makes me a bit less debt averse tbh. Especially considering by the time I graduate my SO will be living with me and making enough to cover CoL (most likely) I think that paying back sticker is actually not as scary. For those who are doing it alone: go find your soulmate.

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untar614
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby untar614 » Mon May 20, 2013 3:20 pm

toothbrush wrote:This thread makes me a bit less debt averse tbh. Especially considering by the time I graduate my SO will be living with me and making enough to cover CoL (most likely) I think that paying back sticker is actually not as scary. For those who are doing it alone: go find your soulmate.

Srsly. I got a buddy moving to Atlanta with his fiance while he applies to med school (hopefully nearby). She's an engineer making 70-80k/yr in her early 20's. I gotta find me a suga'mamma.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby wisdom » Mon May 20, 2013 3:40 pm

It might sound crazy and entitled to say, "Oh God, I have to live like someone making ~ 70k (pretax), 45-50k (post-tax)." But then keep in mind that the cities you're working in for big law (NYC, DC, SF, LA, Chicago) are not cities with an ordinary cost of living. Yeah, in a lot of places in this country, take-home pay of 45-50k is great. In New York it's pretty mediocre.

Also keep in mind that when you leave big law, it's not like you have any guarantee you'll still score a lower-stress job that pays six figures. So in the only period of your career where you earn great money, the vast majority of it goes to taxes and to paying for the credential that allowed you to obtain that job. We're basically like NFL players who wash out after 3-5 years in the league with $50k in savings off of nominal earnings in the millions.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby feralinfant » Mon May 20, 2013 3:49 pm

wisdom wrote:It might sound crazy and entitled to say, "Oh God, I have to live like someone making ~ 70k (pretax), 45-50k (post-tax)." But then keep in mind that the cities you're working in for big law (NYC, DC, SF, LA, Chicago) are not cities with an ordinary cost of living. Yeah, in a lot of places in this country, take-home pay of 45-50k is great. In New York it's pretty mediocre.

Also keep in mind that when you leave big law, it's not like you have any guarantee you'll still score a lower-stress job that pays six figures. So in the only period of your career where you earn great money, the vast majority of it goes to taxes and to paying for the credential that allowed you to obtain that job. We're basically like NFL players who wash out after 3-5 years in the league with $50k in savings off of nominal earnings in the millions.


i think the odds are actually pretty good that you'll exit to six figures. maybe not the 250k you'll be making when you leave big law but low six figures is a reasonable expectation.

And i know a ton of twenty somethings liveing on <35k in NYC. Sometimes a lot, lot less. I live in Boston right now. I would feel like i was rolling in it if i made 50k post tax.

it does sound entitled to act like 50k post tax, with the expectation of much higher earning power over the course of your life is a raw deal. It sounds like it because it is.

I'm not saying its for everyone but it's not like you're signing up for a Siberian Gulag.

ETA: That 35k number is pre-tax by the way.
Last edited by feralinfant on Mon May 20, 2013 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Rahviveh
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Rahviveh » Mon May 20, 2013 3:50 pm

wisdom wrote:It might sound crazy and entitled to say, "Oh God, I have to live like someone making ~ 70k (pretax), 45-50k (post-tax)." But then keep in mind that the cities you're working in for big law (NYC, DC, SF, LA, Chicago) are not cities with an ordinary cost of living. Yeah, in a lot of places in this country, take-home pay of 45-50k is great. In New York it's pretty mediocre.

Also keep in mind that when you leave big law, it's not like you have any guarantee you'll still score a lower-stress job that pays six figures. So in the only period of your career where you earn great money, the vast majority of it goes to taxes and to paying for the credential that allowed you to obtain that job. We're basically like NFL players who wash out after 3-5 years in the league with $50k in savings off of nominal earnings in the millions.


I think taking home $50k in LA is perfectly fine. You can live quite comfortably. I don't know about NY.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon May 20, 2013 4:59 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:
wisdom wrote:It might sound crazy and entitled to say, "Oh God, I have to live like someone making ~ 70k (pretax), 45-50k (post-tax)." But then keep in mind that the cities you're working in for big law (NYC, DC, SF, LA, Chicago) are not cities with an ordinary cost of living. Yeah, in a lot of places in this country, take-home pay of 45-50k is great. In New York it's pretty mediocre.

Also keep in mind that when you leave big law, it's not like you have any guarantee you'll still score a lower-stress job that pays six figures. So in the only period of your career where you earn great money, the vast majority of it goes to taxes and to paying for the credential that allowed you to obtain that job. We're basically like NFL players who wash out after 3-5 years in the league with $50k in savings off of nominal earnings in the millions.


I think taking home $50k in LA is perfectly fine. You can live quite comfortably. I don't know about NY.

You can live quite comfortably on that in NYC as well. What you have to do is adjust your expectations to fit NYC standards. You'll be living better than most professional people in the early parts of their careers, even though that still might mean living in Brooklyn or Queens and/or with roommates. If you don't like that, then you can take longer to pay off your loans and spend more on your living expenses, but it's important to recognize that if your standards are so high that you need to live in comparative (for NYC) luxury then you'll pay accordingly. The notion that you just "have" to pay $2,500 for an apartment in NYC is absurd, and yeah, if that's where you set your floor, then maybe you'll have trouble budgeting.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby timbs4339 » Mon May 20, 2013 5:08 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:
wisdom wrote:It might sound crazy and entitled to say, "Oh God, I have to live like someone making ~ 70k (pretax), 45-50k (post-tax)." But then keep in mind that the cities you're working in for big law (NYC, DC, SF, LA, Chicago) are not cities with an ordinary cost of living. Yeah, in a lot of places in this country, take-home pay of 45-50k is great. In New York it's pretty mediocre.

Also keep in mind that when you leave big law, it's not like you have any guarantee you'll still score a lower-stress job that pays six figures. So in the only period of your career where you earn great money, the vast majority of it goes to taxes and to paying for the credential that allowed you to obtain that job. We're basically like NFL players who wash out after 3-5 years in the league with $50k in savings off of nominal earnings in the millions.


I think taking home $50k in LA is perfectly fine. You can live quite comfortably. I don't know about NY.

You can live quite comfortably on that in NYC as well. What you have to do is adjust your expectations to fit NYC standards. You'll be living better than most professional people in the early parts of their careers, even though that still might mean living in Brooklyn or Queens and/or with roommates. If you don't like that, then you can take longer to pay off your loans and spend more on your living expenses, but it's important to recognize that if your standards are so high that you need to live in comparative (for NYC) luxury then you'll pay accordingly. The notion that you just "have" to pay $2,500 for an apartment in NYC is absurd, and yeah, if that's where you set your floor, then maybe you'll have trouble budgeting.


I think people often feel like they are "forced" to live in NYC if they want to work biglaw since that's where a lot of the jobs are. Of course they don't see the benefits of that, which is a financial sector that is large enough to support a crapload of those jobs in the first place.

The idea of being able to just throw 50K a year at loans and still throw down 2K a month for an apartment is extremely privileged. It's easily like the top 5%, if not 1%, of people in their mid-twenties. There's an alternative, which is just to spread the payments out over 10 or 15 years, live with the debt like a lot of Americans do, and make do on a lot more post-tax income. Obviously you can't have everything on 160K, but you can certainly have a lot more than most.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby jbagelboy » Mon May 20, 2013 5:10 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:It might sound crazy and entitled to say, "Oh God, I have to live like someone making ~ 70k (pretax), 45-50k (post-tax)." But then keep in mind that the cities you're working in for big law (NYC, DC, SF, LA, Chicago) are not cities with an ordinary cost of living. Yeah, in a lot of places in this country, take-home pay of 45-50k is great. In New York it's pretty mediocre.

Also keep in mind that when you leave big law, it's not like you have any guarantee you'll still score a lower-stress job that pays six figures. So in the only period of your career where you earn great money, the vast majority of it goes to taxes and to paying for the credential that allowed you to obtain that job. We're basically like NFL players who wash out after 3-5 years in the league with $50k in savings off of nominal earnings in the millions.


I think taking home $50k in LA is perfectly fine. You can live quite comfortably. I don't know about NY.


I can't imagine NYC would exceed LA by THAT large a margin. Living in LA I spend a significant chunk of income on my car, which would not occur in NYC. $100+/mo insurance, $175+/mo gas, $150-200 registration, $1000+ yr avg maintenance/repairs, $50/mo average in tolls, and any traffic/parking tickets you may accrue, which for me averages a few hundred a year.

NYC public transport ~$120/month or less if you split an unlimited metro card with an SO. Whatever delta might emerge in rent and food price indexes is overcome here already.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Rahviveh » Mon May 20, 2013 5:30 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:It might sound crazy and entitled to say, "Oh God, I have to live like someone making ~ 70k (pretax), 45-50k (post-tax)." But then keep in mind that the cities you're working in for big law (NYC, DC, SF, LA, Chicago) are not cities with an ordinary cost of living. Yeah, in a lot of places in this country, take-home pay of 45-50k is great. In New York it's pretty mediocre.

Also keep in mind that when you leave big law, it's not like you have any guarantee you'll still score a lower-stress job that pays six figures. So in the only period of your career where you earn great money, the vast majority of it goes to taxes and to paying for the credential that allowed you to obtain that job. We're basically like NFL players who wash out after 3-5 years in the league with $50k in savings off of nominal earnings in the millions.


I think taking home $50k in LA is perfectly fine. You can live quite comfortably. I don't know about NY.


I can't imagine NYC would exceed LA by THAT large a margin. Living in LA I spend a significant chunk of income on my car, which would not occur in NYC. $100+/mo insurance, $175+/mo gas, $150-200 registration, $1000+ yr avg maintenance/repairs, $50/mo average in tolls, and any traffic/parking tickets you may accrue, which for me averages a few hundred a year.

NYC public transport ~$120/month or less if you split an unlimited metro card with an SO. Whatever delta might emerge in rent and food price indexes is overcome here already.


Good point but I was just relating it to the quality of life. Looking at that $2k a month studio someone posted makes me shudder. Whereas you can get a decent sized place in LA since there's so many options. And I prefer driving to being packed like cattle into a subway but that's just me.

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megagnarley
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby megagnarley » Mon May 20, 2013 5:40 pm

LA you can easily find a nice spacious 1 bdrm in Brentwood for around $1300 a month, which is well within striking range of Century City. Even bringing home 50k after taxes it would be more than doable. I do it right now on much less.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby muskies970 » Mon May 20, 2013 5:46 pm

have you guys seen this:

https://www.law.umich.edu/financialaid/ ... fault.aspx

It lets you pick by metro area too which is cool.

Personal Thoughts: People are focusing too much in this thread on trying to pay off the debt in 3-5 years, when 10 years seems more feasible for a healthy lifestyle all around. IMO 10 years of paying off HUGE debts while still living better then most of the rest of the nation, then followed by living well for the rest of one's life does not seem to be a horrible option. In this thread/ site I see everyone 20-24 years old not discussing the parts of our lives post 30-35 years of age... Yes I'd love to strike it rich before then but who wouldn't... I'm looking at the law degree as a lifetime investment to be in the top 10% of the nation/ top 1% of the world. As well as having somewhat of a chance into the profession when I have experience to find something rewarding where a difference can be made. Not too shabby. (Disclaimer I'm paying nowhere near sticker to attend)

So is paying sticker ideal? Of course not. Are you fucked? no where near it (if you land a biglaw job or do PI for 10 years).

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby feralinfant » Mon May 20, 2013 5:52 pm

muskies970 wrote:have you guys seen this:

https://www.law.umich.edu/financialaid/ ... fault.aspx

It lets you pick by metro area too which is cool.

Personal Thoughts: People are focusing too much in this thread on trying to pay off the debt in 3-5 years, when 10 years seems more feasible for a healthy lifestyle all around. IMO 10 years of paying off HUGE debts while still living better then most of the rest of the nation, then followed by living well for the rest of one's life does not seem to be a horrible option. In this thread/ site I see everyone 20-24 years old not discussing the parts of our lives post 30-35 years of age... Yes I'd love to strike it rich before then but who wouldn't... I'm looking at the law degree as a lifetime investment to be in the top 10% of the nation/ top 1% of the world. As well as having somewhat of a chance into the profession when I have experience to find something rewarding where a difference can be made. Not too shabby. (Disclaimer I'm paying nowhere near sticker to attend)

So is paying sticker ideal? Of course not. Are you fucked? no where near it (if you land a biglaw job or do PI for 10 years).


i (sort of) agree with this. Five years is a really aggressive timetable. That being said if you paid sticker you just have a really large principal that it can take a while to start making a dent in. Couple that with not being sure what your life might be five years out, when in all likelihood you'll be out of biglaw and the pressure to pay down aggressively makes a lot of sense. But I definitely agree its not exactly fiscal insanity to slow down the repayment schedule and live more comfortably

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon May 20, 2013 6:02 pm

timbs4339 wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:
wisdom wrote:It might sound crazy and entitled to say, "Oh God, I have to live like someone making ~ 70k (pretax), 45-50k (post-tax)." But then keep in mind that the cities you're working in for big law (NYC, DC, SF, LA, Chicago) are not cities with an ordinary cost of living. Yeah, in a lot of places in this country, take-home pay of 45-50k is great. In New York it's pretty mediocre.

Also keep in mind that when you leave big law, it's not like you have any guarantee you'll still score a lower-stress job that pays six figures. So in the only period of your career where you earn great money, the vast majority of it goes to taxes and to paying for the credential that allowed you to obtain that job. We're basically like NFL players who wash out after 3-5 years in the league with $50k in savings off of nominal earnings in the millions.


I think taking home $50k in LA is perfectly fine. You can live quite comfortably. I don't know about NY.

You can live quite comfortably on that in NYC as well. What you have to do is adjust your expectations to fit NYC standards. You'll be living better than most professional people in the early parts of their careers, even though that still might mean living in Brooklyn or Queens and/or with roommates. If you don't like that, then you can take longer to pay off your loans and spend more on your living expenses, but it's important to recognize that if your standards are so high that you need to live in comparative (for NYC) luxury then you'll pay accordingly. The notion that you just "have" to pay $2,500 for an apartment in NYC is absurd, and yeah, if that's where you set your floor, then maybe you'll have trouble budgeting.


I think people often feel like they are "forced" to live in NYC if they want to work biglaw since that's where a lot of the jobs are. Of course they don't see the benefits of that, which is a financial sector that is large enough to support a crapload of those jobs in the first place.

The idea of being able to just throw 50K a year at loans and still throw down 2K a month for an apartment is extremely privileged. It's easily like the top 5%, if not 1%, of people in their mid-twenties. There's an alternative, which is just to spread the payments out over 10 or 15 years, live with the debt like a lot of Americans do, and make do on a lot more post-tax income. Obviously you can't have everything on 160K, but you can certainly have a lot more than most.

Agreed 100%. I do think some of the entitled attitude comes from initially thinking that $160k is going to make you RICH. If you go in thinking that you'll get a great chance to get out of debt, get a decent springboard for your career, and live in relative comfort though not luxury, then you should be pretty happy. Living in NYC will make you miserable if you insist on thinking about all the things you can't afford, but nobody ought to be living badly by any reasonable standard in biglaw.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Real Madrid » Mon May 20, 2013 6:54 pm

wisdom wrote:It might sound crazy and entitled to say, "Oh God, I have to live like someone making ~ 70k (pretax), 45-50k (post-tax)." But then keep in mind that the cities you're working in for big law (NYC, DC, SF, LA, Chicago) are not cities with an ordinary cost of living. Yeah, in a lot of places in this country, take-home pay of 45-50k is great. In New York it's pretty mediocre.

Also keep in mind that when you leave big law, it's not like you have any guarantee you'll still score a lower-stress job that pays six figures. So in the only period of your career where you earn great money, the vast majority of it goes to taxes and to paying for the credential that allowed you to obtain that job. We're basically like NFL players who wash out after 3-5 years in the league with $50k in savings off of nominal earnings in the millions.


First, Chicago is not expensive.

Second, isn't it a bit disingenuous (if not outright ridiculous) to say on the one hand people are being foolish for assuming they'll have six-figure exit options from big law only to turn around
and basically say that at no point in your career post-big law will you approach 160k. If you're trying to be the voice of reason, it kind of requires that you be, you know, reasonable.

NYstate
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby NYstate » Mon May 20, 2013 11:10 pm

Real Madrid wrote:
wisdom wrote:It might sound crazy and entitled to say, "Oh God, I have to live like someone making ~ 70k (pretax), 45-50k (post-tax)." But then keep in mind that the cities you're working in for big law (NYC, DC, SF, LA, Chicago) are not cities with an ordinary cost of living. Yeah, in a lot of places in this country, take-home pay of 45-50k is great. In New York it's pretty mediocre.

Also keep in mind that when you leave big law, it's not like you have any guarantee you'll still score a lower-stress job that pays six figures. So in the only period of your career where you earn great money, the vast majority of it goes to taxes and to paying for the credential that allowed you to obtain that job. We're basically like NFL players who wash out after 3-5 years in the league with $50k in savings off of nominal earnings in the millions.


First, Chicago is not expensive.

Second, isn't it a bit disingenuous (if not outright ridiculous) to say on the one hand people are being foolish for assuming they'll have six-figure exit options from big law only to turn around
and basically say that at no point in your career post-big law will you approach 160k. If you're trying to be the voice of reason, it kind of requires that you be, you know, reasonable.



Law is wierd though that many people have their highest salaries in big law when they are the least experienced.

Somewhere else in this thread people were comparing living on something like 50 or 70 thousand as a big law associate with other people earning that salary in other jobs.

2 points:
1. Those people not in big law didn't pay hundreds of thousands of dollars and 3 years to get the same take home. I feel this is a false comparison. They also may not be expected to have clothes and other trappings that prove they fit in.

2. Big law is better considered as 2 80,000 jobs. The other people making the same take home are most likely not working anywhere close to the hours or the unpredictability of hours of big law. They may be constantly on demand because almost everyone seems to be now. Maybe a per hour comparison of post loan and post tax income would be more accurate.

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Bronte
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Bronte » Mon May 20, 2013 11:29 pm

NYstate wrote:Law is wierd though that many people have their highest salaries in big law when they are the least experienced.

Somewhere else in this thread people were comparing living on something like 50 or 70 thousand as a big law associate with other people earning that salary in other jobs.

2 points:
1. Those people not in big law didn't pay hundreds of thousands of dollars and 3 years to get the same take home. I feel this is a false comparison. They also may not be expected to have clothes and other trappings that prove they fit in.

2. Big law is better considered as 2 80,000 jobs. The other people making the same take home are most likely not working anywhere close to the hours or the unpredictability of hours of big law. They may be constantly on demand because almost everyone seems to be now. Maybe a per hour comparison of post loan and post tax income would be more accurate.


As to your first point, the fact that nonlawyers didn't pay hundreds of thousands of dollars is irrelevant because we're talking about after-loan payment income. Further, the fact that lawyers had to spend three years in law school is irrelevant in the context of a discussion about whether it is feasible to pay down sticker in big law. You are right that it is relevant to the broader discussion whether a law degree is a good investment, but that's a different issue.

As to your second point, yes, big-firm attorneys work long hours. But the idea that a bunch of nonlawyers have 9-5 jobs starting at $70k a year and increasing to $100k in the third year is misguided. Jobs with similar pay, like entry level finance and consulting gigs, also involve strenuous hours.

In any event, the point was not to argue that law is a better path than consulting or finance. It was to argue that once you're in big law, even with substantial loan payments, you are making decent money.




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