Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

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stoopkid13

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby stoopkid13 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 8:27 am

I had a pretty meager salary before I came to law school, so when I was working, eating out four meals a week and hitting bars twice a week almost never happened. Probably once a week for both (I never ate lunch out). Probably spent about $2300 a month, so I don't think $2000 a month is really out of the question.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Hikikomorist » Sat Jul 09, 2016 8:45 am

jbagelboy wrote:
weee wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
sublime wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have no debt and will be doing biglaw for 5 years hopefully. I'll pull in over a million over 5 years post-tax, which is enough to pay off a nice house and save 500k, even after living costs.

And the reality is that most other non-biglaw legal jobs still require much more than 40-hr weeks.



Could you share how you figured the bolded? I looked at the salary scale and there is no way. And I don't know that the bonuses get you there either.

Admittedly, I'm at a firm on the 180 scale; pay no state income tax; pay federal taxes as married filing jointly; and receive NY bonuses. YMMV.

Formula: Base + bonus = total --> After-tax total.

Year 1: 180 + 15 = 195 --> After tax: 159k.
Year 2: 190 + 25 = 215 --> After tax: 173k.
Year 3: 210 + 50 = 260 --> After tax: 205k.
Year 4: 235 + 65 = 300 --> After tax: 232k.
Year 5: 260 + 80 = 340 --> After tax: 258k.

Total: 1.027M over five years, after taxes. That also doesn't include the stub year or compounded interest on savings.


This blows my mind. I used a tax calculator and it seems like with standard deductions and personal exemptions for a person and their spouse with one income, you subtracted only the federal tax from the base + bonus. You haven't factored in $7,347 per year in social security taxes (increasing with inflation), and another 1%ish for medicare. That takes you under 1M but it's not far off. Let's say your living costs are $2k/month (including food, entertainment, health care, transportation costs, home maintenance, utilities, homeowner's insurance, property tax), that rounds up to 125k over 5 years. I guess if you count 401k against your 500k saved then that doesn't count against your home. If you get a good rate (3.5%) and pay your home off in 5 years you may only pay a small amount of interest, which means the base cost of your home might be around 350k for 375k total paid. So, if you live somewhere with no state income tax, NY market rate pay, and a "nice home" costs $350k, you have really set yourself up well after 5 years of biglaw, and I think the answer is a resounding "yes" that biglaw is for you if you're in the situation with no debt, as you can accelerate your long term financial stability so incredibly quickly. Personally I don't find that cost of living realistic but where I live that cost for a house remotely resembling "nice" is off by at least a factor of 2x, maybe 3-4x so maybe it's possible in some places, and I need to talk to my wife about going to there.


no one--and I mean no one--has total living costs of $2k per month. so by definition no couple has living costs as low as $2k per month. food and entertainment alone may be $2k per month, then another $2k on rent, and another $500 on car/transport costs and incidentals. wtf.

If this advice isn't limited to NYC/SF/DC, it's pretty absurd. My monthly expenses living in a middle-of-the-road city were roughly $800.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jul 09, 2016 11:48 am

It is absolutely not impossible to spend less than $200/wk on food/entertainment (for one person). I'm not saying it's impossible or even unreasonable *to* spend that much, but saying that an adult *has* to spend that much on food an entertainment a week is just silly. (Who lives that way? Someone focused on saving a million bucks, presumably.)

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby makerbreaker » Sat Jul 09, 2016 12:15 pm

spyke123 wrote:I know the anon doesn't live in nyc but in nyc $450-500 (for two people) a week on food and entertainment seems reasonable to me. Eating out/going out is ridiculously expensive in the city (I read somewhere an average bill is $40-50 per person) and an average resident probably does it at least a few times a week. Obviously, if you don't drink or prefer to cook on weekends, then $450-500 may be on the high side but I have a hard time believing that's the case for most folks who live in nyc. Don't forget to add $50 or so a week on lunch/starbucks. And groceries aren't cheap either. $30 for two people on weekends? That's ~10 meals for $30? Makerbreaker if you live in nyc, can you let me know where you shop?


If you don't need everything to be organic and impeccably displayed (Trader joes is definitely NOT a cheap grocery store, perhaps average), there are fruit and vegetable stands at landmark locations that sell fresh fruits/produce for a fraction of the grocery store price.

Ever since I left NYC, saving became significantly easier even though the current city has a comparable COL. There was constant social pressure in NYC to spend money (eat out, night out, get nicer things, etc.)

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:03 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:It is absolutely not impossible to spend less than $200/wk on food/entertainment (for one person). I'm not saying it's impossible or even unreasonable *to* spend that much, but saying that an adult *has* to spend that much on food an entertainment a week is just silly. (Who lives that way? Someone focused on saving a million bucks, presumably.)

Correct, or someone making $35-45k, which even if we limit it to "professional" college graduates is, like, thousands of people in their twenties who do live in NYC, not to mention everyone who does live in cheaper cities.

If you work biglaw then yeah, you can regularly drop $40-50+/pp on meals without worrying about it -- that's great! It's a good reason to work in biglaw. But it's wildly out of touch to suggest that no one lives in NYC on $2000/month all in, when many of your own peers are doing it -- and that's even before considering the literal millions of working class people in the outer boroughs, who I know don't count to TLS.

TL;DR - just because *you* don't want to live a certain lifestyle doesn't mean it's implausible to do so.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Nebby » Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:14 pm

I think JDB might be used to a different standard of living. When I was in NY (as a student) I spent about $600/month on food/entertainment/transportation

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anyriotgirl

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby anyriotgirl » Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:14 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:It is absolutely not impossible to spend less than $200/wk on food/entertainment (for one person). I'm not saying it's impossible or even unreasonable *to* spend that much, but saying that an adult *has* to spend that much on food an entertainment a week is just silly. (Who lives that way? Someone focused on saving a million bucks, presumably.)

Correct, or someone making $35-45k, which even if we limit it to "professional" college graduates is, like, thousands of people in their twenties who do live in NYC, not to mention everyone who does live in cheaper cities.

If you work biglaw then yeah, you can regularly drop $40-50+/pp on meals without worrying about it -- that's great! It's a good reason to work in biglaw. But it's wildly out of touch to suggest that no one lives in NYC on $2000/month all in, when many of your own peers are doing it -- and that's even before considering the literal millions of working class people in the outer boroughs, who I know don't count to TLS.

TL;DR - just because *you* don't want to live a certain lifestyle doesn't mean it's implausible to do so.


biglaw associates might have more money than a person making $40k, but almost certainly have way less free time than a person making $40k, which has also been discussed on this website a million times. They probably don't have less time than a working class person working three jobs, but that's really moving the goal posts.
Last edited by anyriotgirl on Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby anyriotgirl » Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:17 pm

Nebby wrote:I think JDB might be used to a different standard of living. When I was in NY (as a student) I spent about $600/month on food/entertainment/transportation


not everyone wants to live on rice and beans neebles
Last edited by anyriotgirl on Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Nebby » Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:19 pm

anyriotgirl wrote:
Nebby wrote:I think JDB might be used to a different standard of living. When I was in NY (as a student) I spent about $600/month on food/entertainment/transportation


not everyone wants to live on rice and beans neebles

I saved most money by limiting how much I eat out, not by limiting what I eat at home. You can still eat a variety of foods so long as you cook them yourself. It's almost like people have different preferences!

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anyriotgirl

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby anyriotgirl » Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:22 pm

Nebby wrote:
anyriotgirl wrote:
Nebby wrote:I think JDB might be used to a different standard of living. When I was in NY (as a student) I spent about $600/month on food/entertainment/transportation


not everyone wants to live on rice and beans neebles

I saved most money by limiting how much I eat out, not by limiting what I eat at home. You can still eat a variety of foods so long as you cook them yourself. It's almost like people have different preferences!


not everyone wants to live on rice, beans, pasta, eggs, oatmeal and bananas
Last edited by anyriotgirl on Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Nebby » Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:25 pm

anyriotgirl wrote:
Nebby wrote:
anyriotgirl wrote:
Nebby wrote:I think JDB might be used to a different standard of living. When I was in NY (as a student) I spent about $600/month on food/entertainment/transportation


not everyone wants to live on rice and beans neebles

I saved most money by limiting how much I eat out, not by limiting what I eat at home. You can still eat a variety of foods so long as you cook them yourself. It's almost like people have different preferences!


not everyone wants to live on rice, beans, pasta, eggs, oatmeal and bananas

I don't blame them, and I'm not saying they have to or that I do. I really don't understand your point? People are free to spend however much they want per month. My point was that it's possible to live in NY/DC and spend about $600/month on food/entertainment/transpo. On a biglaw salary, you could easily bump that up to $1000/month and still have a lot left over

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:36 pm

anyriotgirl wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:It is absolutely not impossible to spend less than $200/wk on food/entertainment (for one person). I'm not saying it's impossible or even unreasonable *to* spend that much, but saying that an adult *has* to spend that much on food an entertainment a week is just silly. (Who lives that way? Someone focused on saving a million bucks, presumably.)

Correct, or someone making $35-45k, which even if we limit it to "professional" college graduates is, like, thousands of people in their twenties who do live in NYC, not to mention everyone who does live in cheaper cities.

If you work biglaw then yeah, you can regularly drop $40-50+/pp on meals without worrying about it -- that's great! It's a good reason to work in biglaw. But it's wildly out of touch to suggest that no one lives in NYC on $2000/month all in, when many of your own peers are doing it -- and that's even before considering the literal millions of working class people in the outer boroughs, who I know don't count to TLS.

TL;DR - just because *you* don't want to live a certain lifestyle doesn't mean it's implausible to do so.


biglaw associates might have more money than a person making $40k, but almost certainly have way less free time than a person making $40k, which has also been discussed on this website a million times. They probably don't have less time than a working class person working three jobs, but that's really moving the goal posts.

No, moving the goal posts is changing the conversation from "you can't live on $x" to "I don't want to live on $x."

Look, I've done both. I spend more now because I make more now. I don't delude myself into thinking it's necessary. If I placed a higher value on saving money, I would live like I used to.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:45 pm

That is the thing isnt it? The more we make the more we spend. We are never content.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Hikikomorist » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:03 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:It is absolutely not impossible to spend less than $200/wk on food/entertainment (for one person). I'm not saying it's impossible or even unreasonable *to* spend that much, but saying that an adult *has* to spend that much on food an entertainment a week is just silly. (Who lives that way? Someone focused on saving a million bucks, presumably.)

Correct, or someone making $35-45k, which even if we limit it to "professional" college graduates is, like, thousands of people in their twenties who do live in NYC, not to mention everyone who does live in cheaper cities.

If you work biglaw then yeah, you can regularly drop $40-50+/pp on meals without worrying about it -- that's great! It's a good reason to work in biglaw. But it's wildly out of touch to suggest that no one lives in NYC on $2000/month all in, when many of your own peers are doing it -- and that's even before considering the literal millions of working class people in the outer boroughs, who I know don't count to TLS.

TL;DR - just because *you* don't want to live a certain lifestyle doesn't mean it's implausible to do so.

Man, living in NYC on $35k while working has to be an incredibly unpleasant existence.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:05 pm

People who work 60-70 hours a week probably aren't going to shop for and cook every single meal if they have literally anything else going on in their lives. The longer you work, the more you pay for certain types of conveniences that don't even necessarily relate to paying more money for them just because you can.

I'm going to cosign the idea that the only single people in NYC Biglaw spending less than $2k a month are (a) loner autists, or (b) living in spectacularly inconvenient living arrangements.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:11 pm

If you're working 60-70 hours a week you're probably not spending a lot on going out, either (that is, to clubs/bars/etc, not just eating out).

Again, no one is saying you have to live that way or that there's any problem with not. Just that to say it's not possible is silly. Not possible for you with your priorities, totally fine (if I were in NYC working biglaw I would absolutely be the same way. But it would be a choice, not a requirement).

Besides, the $2k is for food/entertainment, not housing, so I'm not sure what living arrangements would have to do with it.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby makerbreaker » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:14 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:People who work 60-70 hours a week probably aren't going to shop for and cook every single meal if they have literally anything else going on in their lives. The longer you work, the more you pay for certain types of conveniences that don't even necessarily relate to paying more money for them just because you can.

I'm going to cosign the idea that the only single people in NYC Biglaw spending less than $2k a month are (a) loner autists, or (b) living in spectacularly inconvenient living arrangements.


If you're working long hours, presumably you also don't have the time to eat at nice restaurants and go out several times a week. Plus the firm probably pays for some of the meals. It is equally plausible that More work -> Less $$ spent on food and entertainment.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:25 pm

Well shit, you could live with two roommates in Waterbury. Or dumpster dive for food. Or never use electricity. Or sleep on the sidewalk and just keep your work clothes in your Planet Fitness gym locker too.

You can do most anything. Isn't the meaningful realm what's reasonable to do? Isn't the right question how people can have at least the amenities we consider middle-class?

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:26 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:People who work 60-70 hours a week probably aren't going to shop for and cook every single meal if they have literally anything else going on in their lives. The longer you work, the more you pay for certain types of conveniences that don't even necessarily relate to paying more money for them just because you can.

I'm going to cosign the idea that the only single people in NYC Biglaw spending less than $2k a month are (a) loner autists, or (b) living in spectacularly inconvenient living arrangements.

Ah yes, the not at all autistic move of judging people by how much money they spend

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:28 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Well shit, you could live with two roommates in Waterbury. Or dumpster dive for food. Or never use electricity. Or sleep on the sidewalk and just keep your work clothes in your Planet Fitness gym locker too.

You can do most anything. Isn't the meaningful realm what's reasonable to do? Isn't the right question how people can have at least the amenities we consider middle-class?

Is it your position that spending $450 a week on "food and entertainment" is the minimum amount necessary to have "reasonable middle-class" amenities? If so, we're at an impasse.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:29 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Well shit, you could live with two roommates in Waterbury. Or dumpster dive for food. Or never use electricity. Or sleep on the sidewalk and just keep your work clothes in your Planet Fitness gym locker too.

You can do most anything. Isn't the meaningful realm what's reasonable to do? Isn't the right question how people can have at least the amenities we consider middle-class?

We're talking only about food and entertainment, not housing. And no, the question isn't how you can have the amenities you consider middle-class (whatever exactly you think that means, which is incredibly subjective). The question originally was how someone in biglaw could save a million dollars in whatever amount of time. I'm not saying whether that savings goal is realistic, but if your goal is to save the absolute most money possible, of course you can live on less than $500 for food and entertainment a week. No one has even once said this is something that you, personally, should feel obligated to do.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:34 pm

This whole discussion is like golden handcuffs 101

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Monochromatic Oeuvre

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:37 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Well shit, you could live with two roommates in Waterbury. Or dumpster dive for food. Or never use electricity. Or sleep on the sidewalk and just keep your work clothes in your Planet Fitness gym locker too.

You can do most anything. Isn't the meaningful realm what's reasonable to do? Isn't the right question how people can have at least the amenities we consider middle-class?

Is it your position that spending $450 a week on "food and entertainment" is the minimum amount necessary to have "reasonable middle-class" amenities? If so, we're at an impasse.


Nope. I don't spend that much and I still live pretty comfortably.

I just think the debate over what's "possible" misses the point, because most people aren't robots and will enjoy the occasional convenience of a deli meal, or the occasional night out with friends, or whatever it is normal people do.
Last edited by Monochromatic Oeuvre on Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby jchiles » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:37 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote: Or sleep on the sidewalk and just keep your work clothes in your Planet Fitness gym locker too.



You can't keep stuff in a planet fitness locker overnight dude

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:40 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Well shit, you could live with two roommates in Waterbury. Or dumpster dive for food. Or never use electricity. Or sleep on the sidewalk and just keep your work clothes in your Planet Fitness gym locker too.

You can do most anything. Isn't the meaningful realm what's reasonable to do? Isn't the right question how people can have at least the amenities we consider middle-class?

Is it your position that spending $450 a week on "food and entertainment" is the minimum amount necessary to have "reasonable middle-class" amenities? If so, we're at an impasse.


Nope. I don't spend that much and I still love pretty comfortably.

I just think the debate over what's "possible" misses the point, because most people aren't robots and will enjoy the occasional convenience of a deli meal, or the occasional night out with friends, or whatever it is normal people do.

But what "the occasional convenience of a deli meal" or "the occasional night out with friends" means (and costs) is INCREDIBLY subjective.



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