lapolicia wrote:XxSpyKEx wrote:jchiles wrote:And a very different story when you're 75 and working as a Walmart greeter because you don't have a retirement to life off.
At what age do you have to quit your lowly PI/Gov/Small firm job and work at Walmart?
Either when they're mentally incapable or practicing law anymore, when they're pushed out of their job, or when their organization ceases to exist and nowhere else wants to hire someone who's already 65+ (because they don't think the person will stick around very long).dixiecupdrinking wrote:XxSpyKEx wrote:I question whether those people you know who went into low paying government, PI, and small firm jobs, but don't have a wealthy family or spouse, will be happy long-term.
I think that at any given point in time, they'll continue to be happier than people in biglaw, and probably happier than most people in non-biglaw legal jobs that pay biglaw-comparable money.
I agree that making $50-60k for the rest of your career, particularly in a high COL area, would make retirement difficult, but that's not really a scenario anyone is looking at. I'm only really familiar with NYC, but if you're in state/local government or a PD's office here, you'll be making six figures or close to it eventually.
To be clear, I am not prepared to take a $100k paycut on the off chance it would make me happier (though I will be prepared to do it sooner than later). So maybe mine is a grass-is-greener perspective. But I think that yours sounds like a risk-averse/somewhat sour-grapes perspective.
Let's be clear, making six figures "eventually" means in around 20-30 years in many DA/PD's offices in NYC. At many nonprofits (which is a large part of PI and a place where many of these "happy" attorneys work), it pretty much isn't going to happen unless you take on a very senior management role. But those very senior management jobs are often very different than doing the work that makes these attorneys happy (i.e. often you're just running an office rather than doing actual legal work or helping individual clients). Moreover, the increase in pay later in your career isn't particularly helpful with respect to retirement with how compounding interest works. Some people might be fine with working into their late 70s, but I'm definitely not one of them. I suspect a lot of people who are "happy" with there low paying PI jobs now won't be when they're in their 70s and unable to retire.BiglawAssociate wrote: Anyway, point is maybe people making less money are more short-sighted and care less about long term goals
THIS. They're happy now because they're short-sighted and aren't thinking nearly enough about the future.
Many (most?) of those PI jobs come with great defined benefit pensions, so the compounding interest isn't really necessary and they will do fine in retirement.
Federal government has a pretty reasonable defined benefit pension plan, which you can reasonably expect to get when you retire.* Pretty much everywhere else doesn't. Most nonprofits don't have pensions (largely because people don't tend to spend more than a few years at nonprofits). Even at ones that have pensions, in most situations, it's highly unlikely the nonprofit will be around and you'll collect that pension in 30 or 40 years. Many state and local government jobs have pension plans, but you have to pretty fucking crazy/dumb to planning your retirement around actually getting that pension. A ton of them are very heavily underfunded, and basically the first thing that gets cut are pensions when states, cities, counties, etc. face financial difficulties. Imo, it's not all that much more secure than having a pension at a company or law firm. You might get some of that money, but the risk is WAY too high that you won't get all or even most of it. Even in places where pensions are well funded now, there's really no way of knowing who's going to get elected and what terrible financial decisions they're going to make in the next 30 or 40 years, and the pensions could suddenly become a hot topic and a place where the state, city, etc. is looking to make cuts.
*Although, that point is kind of moot with fed government, because they actually pay pretty reasonably, and with a fed government salary, you easily could save for your own retirement. Most PI jobs don't pay anywhere near what the fed govt does.
worldtraveler wrote:I'm one of those poorly paid but happy attorneys. The thing is, I'm kind of broke now but my salary is steadily climbing and I have all my basic needs covered, plus 16 weeks of vacation every year. Thanks to IBR/PSLF I'm also not paying loans. Things could be far worse.
WTF job do you have that gives you 80 days of vacation per year? I'd take a pretty substantial paycut for 80 days off a year too.