My Situation - Advice Needed

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My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:50 pm

Hey everyone,

I was wondering if I could get some advice on my situation. I graduated from a T10 school with $230,000 in student loans. I was really dumb at the time and was looking to make up for bad grades in college and the financial crisis and did well enough on the LSAT to get into a good school and thought "hey, I can make great money and be totally fine".

Fast forward a few years and I am still $130,000 in debt, currently a 3rd year in NYC biglaw and I just can't take the job anymore. I have some savings (about $75,000) and some money in retirement (about $40,000), but the massive debt load still sits on my head. The reason I'm thinking about quitting is because I have ended up with massive anxiety from this job, something I never had, to the point where I have trouble sleeping and getting through the day. I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. I find the demands on your time completely unreasonable and I just don't think it is worth doing this anymore. I don't want my life to be controlled by my debt situation. I know I made mistakes to get to this point, but I just can't fathom doing this for another 2 years, especially as the pressure builds and you get more senior.

Have any of you encountered these feelings yourself or in friends? have any of you said "Fuck It" and just quit with high debt loads? Any advice is welcome and thanks in advance.

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:59 pm

Although I have no debt, I am in the same stressful situation. I can tell you that stresses related to substantive work is more manageable than having shitty bosses who suck your soul dry.

At the end of the day, your paycheck will clear. I think you should give yourself 2-3 months and try to find another job that is less demanding. Get a feel on how hard it is to get a job in ur market.

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:03 pm

not op.

75k saved? That's a pretty hefty savings account.. Maybe throw 30k from that to your loans to take a big hit out? Also, why not start looking for midlaw or non-NYC law jobs that are less stressful? You'd be taking a massive pay cut though. Work on yourself/your work/life balance and try to remedy the anxiety? Just my thoughts

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby Npret » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:06 pm

Your mental health is crucially important and biglaw grinds up a ton of people. It's designed to grind people up and have them leave. You aren't the only one this happened to in their biglaw job.

I think quitting without some kind of a plan would be a mistake. Sitting at home with nothing to do is a fast track to depression for ambitious people. You need to have something in mind. If you are in NYC the bar association has mental health referrals so I would definitely talk to someone before just leaving.

At the end of the day you can make minimal payments in your debt if you have to do so. Just figure out a plan before you quit. You will work it out. No one is saying you have to stay at a job that's destroying you just because of loan payments.

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:not op.

75k saved? That's a pretty hefty savings account.. Maybe throw 30k from that to your loans to take a big hit out? Also, why not start looking for midlaw or non-NYC law jobs that are less stressful? You'd be taking a massive pay cut though. Work on yourself/your work/life balance and try to remedy the anxiety? Just my thoughts


I'm very frugal given my debt load. Was able to pay off over $100,000 in loans and save at the same time. I really don't want to use y savings for that since I'm not sure how long I'll last and the more money I have the better in case something happens. If it wasn't for the anxiety and the job, I'd say i'm in a pretty good situation. I am working on those things, but its hard. If a deal comes in and the client wants to close in a week, then I don't sleep for a week. Even when i'm not that busy, I see others around me looking like zombies, working all weekend, billing 80 hours weeks, and I get anxiety just thinking that I could be next. It's also hard to work on those things when your anxiety trigger is your job.

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby clerk1251 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:not op.

75k saved? That's a pretty hefty savings account.. Maybe throw 30k from that to your loans to take a big hit out? Also, why not start looking for midlaw or non-NYC law jobs that are less stressful? You'd be taking a massive pay cut though. Work on yourself/your work/life balance and try to remedy the anxiety? Just my thoughts


I'm very frugal given my debt load. Was able to pay off over $100,000 in loans and save at the same time. I really don't want to use y savings for that since I'm not sure how long I'll last and the more money I have the better in case something happens. If it wasn't for the anxiety and the job, I'd say i'm in a pretty good situation. I am working on those things, but its hard. If a deal comes in and the client wants to close in a week, then I don't sleep for a week. Even when i'm not that busy, I see others around me looking like zombies, working all weekend, billing 80 hours weeks, and I get anxiety just thinking that I could be next. It's also hard to work on those things when your anxiety trigger is your job.


Have you considered refinancing your loan? If you spread the 130 out over 10 years or so, you'll probably only end up paying about $1,200 a month, and you should be able to do that comfortably even on a job that pays $80k, not even taking into consideration your savings. This should give you the flexibility to go anywhere you want after.

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:27 pm

clerk1251 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:not op.

75k saved? That's a pretty hefty savings account.. Maybe throw 30k from that to your loans to take a big hit out? Also, why not start looking for midlaw or non-NYC law jobs that are less stressful? You'd be taking a massive pay cut though. Work on yourself/your work/life balance and try to remedy the anxiety? Just my thoughts


I'm very frugal given my debt load. Was able to pay off over $100,000 in loans and save at the same time. I really don't want to use y savings for that since I'm not sure how long I'll last and the more money I have the better in case something happens. If it wasn't for the anxiety and the job, I'd say i'm in a pretty good situation. I am working on those things, but its hard. If a deal comes in and the client wants to close in a week, then I don't sleep for a week. Even when i'm not that busy, I see others around me looking like zombies, working all weekend, billing 80 hours weeks, and I get anxiety just thinking that I could be next. It's also hard to work on those things when your anxiety trigger is your job.


Have you considered refinancing your loan? If you spread the 130 out over 10 years or so, you'll probably only end up paying about $1,200 a month, and you should be able to do that comfortably even on a job that pays $80k, not even taking into consideration your savings. This should give you the flexibility to go anywhere you want after.


This is exactly what I'm doing. Decided to go with the 15 year, fixed through First Republic. Interest rate is only 4.1% (which isn't amazing, since right now i'm at 1.95%). Think this should give me a lot more flexibility to get by and figure out my next move (or just continue racking up savings if i can somehow stick this out).

clerk1251

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby clerk1251 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
clerk1251 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:not op.

75k saved? That's a pretty hefty savings account.. Maybe throw 30k from that to your loans to take a big hit out? Also, why not start looking for midlaw or non-NYC law jobs that are less stressful? You'd be taking a massive pay cut though. Work on yourself/your work/life balance and try to remedy the anxiety? Just my thoughts


I'm very frugal given my debt load. Was able to pay off over $100,000 in loans and save at the same time. I really don't want to use y savings for that since I'm not sure how long I'll last and the more money I have the better in case something happens. If it wasn't for the anxiety and the job, I'd say i'm in a pretty good situation. I am working on those things, but its hard. If a deal comes in and the client wants to close in a week, then I don't sleep for a week. Even when i'm not that busy, I see others around me looking like zombies, working all weekend, billing 80 hours weeks, and I get anxiety just thinking that I could be next. It's also hard to work on those things when your anxiety trigger is your job.


Have you considered refinancing your loan? If you spread the 130 out over 10 years or so, you'll probably only end up paying about $1,200 a month, and you should be able to do that comfortably even on a job that pays $80k, not even taking into consideration your savings. This should give you the flexibility to go anywhere you want after.


This is exactly what I'm doing. Decided to go with the 15 year, fixed through First Republic. Interest rate is only 4.1% (which isn't amazing, since right now i'm at 1.95%). Think this should give me a lot more flexibility to get by and figure out my next move (or just continue racking up savings if i can somehow stick this out).


Well, 1.95% is surely better than 4.1%, but in the grand scheme of things, it's all relative. I went with a 10 year refi through first republic when I was at biglaw and then went to clerk. Going from a solid 6 figures to 60k sucked, but I'm still managing to make ends meet somehow, even with my sizable loan payments. At the end of the day, thinking about it creates a lot of stress for me, and it will be until it's paid off, but I know it will be fine in the long run. It's hard not to think about it, but if you actually sit down and make a budget and figure out what the absolute bare minimum you need to make ends meet is, it's probably way less than you realize.

Also, where is your 75K sitting? That's a good chunk of change that can be earning you something. Put it in a good savings account where you are earning good interest (currently I'm earning 1% interest on my money I have in my savings account).

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jrf12886

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby jrf12886 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:42 pm

Sorry to hear about your situation. I would definitely start looking for opportunities to lateral or go in house. As a third year, some opportunities should be available to you; get in touch with a recruiter. You should maybe be willing to take a pay cut in order to have a less stressful job, given that you have $75k in savings, that could help you make loan payments even if your budget is tight on a lower salary. (Alternatively, you could reduce your loan payments by using a portion of your savings towards the principal balance of your loans; 75k is probably more cash than you need). You actually are only $20k in the negative with respect to your net worth, which is a lot better than a lot of people three years out of law school. You have lots of options, which hopefully will help relieve a little of that stress.

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby Devlin » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:49 pm

If it was me I would (in this order):
1) Find another job ASAP out of NYC; coast for as long as you can at your current job.
2) Move out of NYC.
3) Get settled in, live frugally and pay a lot of that $75K towards your student loan.

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby 1styearlateral » Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:59 pm

clerk1251 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:not op.

75k saved? That's a pretty hefty savings account.. Maybe throw 30k from that to your loans to take a big hit out? Also, why not start looking for midlaw or non-NYC law jobs that are less stressful? You'd be taking a massive pay cut though. Work on yourself/your work/life balance and try to remedy the anxiety? Just my thoughts


I'm very frugal given my debt load. Was able to pay off over $100,000 in loans and save at the same time. I really don't want to use y savings for that since I'm not sure how long I'll last and the more money I have the better in case something happens. If it wasn't for the anxiety and the job, I'd say i'm in a pretty good situation. I am working on those things, but its hard. If a deal comes in and the client wants to close in a week, then I don't sleep for a week. Even when i'm not that busy, I see others around me looking like zombies, working all weekend, billing 80 hours weeks, and I get anxiety just thinking that I could be next. It's also hard to work on those things when your anxiety trigger is your job.


Have you considered refinancing your loan? If you spread the 130 out over 10 years or so, you'll probably only end up paying about $1,200 a month, and you should be able to do that comfortably even on a job that pays $80k, not even taking into consideration your savings. This should give you the flexibility to go anywhere you want after.

$1,200 loan + $1,500-$2,000 in rent per month isn't really sustainable on $80k.

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby clerk1251 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:17 pm

1styearlateral wrote:
clerk1251 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:not op.

75k saved? That's a pretty hefty savings account.. Maybe throw 30k from that to your loans to take a big hit out? Also, why not start looking for midlaw or non-NYC law jobs that are less stressful? You'd be taking a massive pay cut though. Work on yourself/your work/life balance and try to remedy the anxiety? Just my thoughts


I'm very frugal given my debt load. Was able to pay off over $100,000 in loans and save at the same time. I really don't want to use y savings for that since I'm not sure how long I'll last and the more money I have the better in case something happens. If it wasn't for the anxiety and the job, I'd say i'm in a pretty good situation. I am working on those things, but its hard. If a deal comes in and the client wants to close in a week, then I don't sleep for a week. Even when i'm not that busy, I see others around me looking like zombies, working all weekend, billing 80 hours weeks, and I get anxiety just thinking that I could be next. It's also hard to work on those things when your anxiety trigger is your job.


Have you considered refinancing your loan? If you spread the 130 out over 10 years or so, you'll probably only end up paying about $1,200 a month, and you should be able to do that comfortably even on a job that pays $80k, not even taking into consideration your savings. This should give you the flexibility to go anywhere you want after.

$1,200 loan + $1,500-$2,000 in rent per month isn't really sustainable on $80k.


You sure about that? $1,200 + $2000 = $3,200. $3,200 x 12 = $38,400. Assuming you take out about a third in taxes, you're left with $53,333 (and really you'll probably be left with a bit more). Now, $53,333 - $38,400 = $14,933. That means that after you take care of your rent and your loans, you are still left with over $1,000 a month for living expenses (food, car, etc). You won't even have to touch a penny of your savings, and will probably even end up adding to it.

Don't worry though 1styearlateral, most people go to law school because they are terrible at math too.

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby S.Picquery » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:23 pm

.

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:29 pm

Having fallen into a similarly bad mental state, I can say that the trick is to avoid thinking about it in all or nothing terms.

The reason you're thinking of quitting is because you've been very stressed out for a very long time, and want to say "fuck it" for some much needed relaxation. In retrospect, the trick is to never take the stress so seriously - the do or die attitude can be helpful for some people in individual situations (getting good grades, interviewing well, etc.) Of course, it can also backfire, but you may be the kind of person who does their best under pressure.

The problem with this is that long term stress is unhealthy. It sounds like you have been stressed out for a very long time, and have only recently started to fall apart. If so, congratulations. If you've been stressed since 2009, you are more resistant to stress than 99% of the population. My guess is that it goes beyond sleep, and work stress. When you're with family or friends, or doing an activity you once enjoyed, you're never truly there because you always have this dark cloud hanging over you that makes it impossible to ever truly experience joy.

Your brain is like The Dude and Walter from The Big Lebowski. The post-2009 part of your brain is yelling, "Over the line!" while the other part is saying, "Will you just take it easy?" I know it well. The trick is to find the balance. It sounds like you've been all Walter, and now you're become the Dude. Neither one is right. You need to find the middle ground, which is, "It's not the end of the world if I get fired, but it would be easier if I didn't" so I'm going to try but I'm not going to kill myself. To do this, you need to have the confidence that you'll get back up if you fall, or at least the faith that God or the cosmos will protect you or some other alternative to the do or die mindset.

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby jrf12886 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:37 pm

clerk1251 wrote:
1styearlateral wrote:
clerk1251 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:not op.

75k saved? That's a pretty hefty savings account.. Maybe throw 30k from that to your loans to take a big hit out? Also, why not start looking for midlaw or non-NYC law jobs that are less stressful? You'd be taking a massive pay cut though. Work on yourself/your work/life balance and try to remedy the anxiety? Just my thoughts


I'm very frugal given my debt load. Was able to pay off over $100,000 in loans and save at the same time. I really don't want to use y savings for that since I'm not sure how long I'll last and the more money I have the better in case something happens. If it wasn't for the anxiety and the job, I'd say i'm in a pretty good situation. I am working on those things, but its hard. If a deal comes in and the client wants to close in a week, then I don't sleep for a week. Even when i'm not that busy, I see others around me looking like zombies, working all weekend, billing 80 hours weeks, and I get anxiety just thinking that I could be next. It's also hard to work on those things when your anxiety trigger is your job.


Have you considered refinancing your loan? If you spread the 130 out over 10 years or so, you'll probably only end up paying about $1,200 a month, and you should be able to do that comfortably even on a job that pays $80k, not even taking into consideration your savings. This should give you the flexibility to go anywhere you want after.

$1,200 loan + $1,500-$2,000 in rent per month isn't really sustainable on $80k.


You sure about that? $1,200 + $2000 = $3,200. $3,200 x 12 = $38,400. Assuming you take out about a third in taxes, you're left with $53,333 (and really you'll probably be left with a bit more). Now, $53,333 - $38,400 = $14,933. That means that after you take care of your rent and your loans, you are still left with over $1,000 a month for living expenses (food, car, etc). You won't even have to touch a penny of your savings, and will probably even end up adding to it.

Don't worry though 1styearlateral, most people go to law school because they are terrible at math too.


I think i'd struggle with only $1000 to work with after paying rent and loans. I'd need to really cut back on eating out/ordering and on drinks with friends. I'd also have very little wiggle room to spend on entertainment or random things. This is for NYC.

clerk1251

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby clerk1251 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:44 pm

jrf12886 wrote:
clerk1251 wrote:
1styearlateral wrote:
clerk1251 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:not op.


I think i'd struggle with only $1000 to work with after paying rent and loans. I'd need to really cut back on eating out/ordering and on drinks with friends. I'd also have very little wiggle room to spend on entertainment or random things. This is for NYC.


Of course. It's not like taking a huge pay cut will come without re-adjusting your quality of life, but that's not to say that it is not entirely doable. Also, the OP already stated how he is frugal, so it might actually be easier on him than on most. But there are also a lot of assumptions here. First, we assume he doesn't want to touch his savings. Second, we assume he reinvests his interest from his savings, to grow his savings. Third, and the biggest assumption of all, we are assuming he is going to only make $80k. Someone who spends three years in NYC biglaw has plenty of well paying exit opportunities. I was more or less just giving you the worst case scenario, that if he needed to take a new job at a huge pay cut, he should have no problem getting by on $80k, realistically. So anything more than that will only go further towards a better qualify of life, or retirement, or additional savings.

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby RaceJudicata » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:59 pm

clerk1251 wrote:
1styearlateral wrote:
clerk1251 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:not op.

75k saved? That's a pretty hefty savings account.. Maybe throw 30k from that to your loans to take a big hit out? Also, why not start looking for midlaw or non-NYC law jobs that are less stressful? You'd be taking a massive pay cut though. Work on yourself/your work/life balance and try to remedy the anxiety? Just my thoughts


I'm very frugal given my debt load. Was able to pay off over $100,000 in loans and save at the same time. I really don't want to use y savings for that since I'm not sure how long I'll last and the more money I have the better in case something happens. If it wasn't for the anxiety and the job, I'd say i'm in a pretty good situation. I am working on those things, but its hard. If a deal comes in and the client wants to close in a week, then I don't sleep for a week. Even when i'm not that busy, I see others around me looking like zombies, working all weekend, billing 80 hours weeks, and I get anxiety just thinking that I could be next. It's also hard to work on those things when your anxiety trigger is your job.


Have you considered refinancing your loan? If you spread the 130 out over 10 years or so, you'll probably only end up paying about $1,200 a month, and you should be able to do that comfortably even on a job that pays $80k, not even taking into consideration your savings. This should give you the flexibility to go anywhere you want after.

$1,200 loan + $1,500-$2,000 in rent per month isn't really sustainable on $80k.


You sure about that? $1,200 + $2000 = $3,200. $3,200 x 12 = $38,400. Assuming you take out about a third in taxes, you're left with $53,333 (and really you'll probably be left with a bit more). Now, $53,333 - $38,400 = $14,933. That means that after you take care of your rent and your loans, you are still left with over $1,000 a month for living expenses (food, car, etc). You won't even have to touch a penny of your savings, and will probably even end up adding to it.

Don't worry though 1styearlateral, most people go to law school because they are terrible at math too.


$1000 per month -- in any city -- isn't all that much. Fixed payments (i.e. Cable/internet and transit (car or mass transit)) would eat into a decent chunk of that money. After that, you'd be left with like $220 ish per week. Thats tough. Forget having to go to the doctor or dentist and god forbid taking even a weekend vacation.

Also, your rent numbers are probably low for nyc where OP is.

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:07 pm

You can always try heading South. I went to law school in the Southeast, so the majority of my friends work in southern cities (Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Birmingham, etc.). I can say from my own personal and my friends' experience that the pace of life is much slower.

Even good local firms that pay $100k+ won't work you to death. I know of several places where 10-hour days are the norm, and weekend work is fairly rare. Plus, the cost of living is nothing compared to NYC. If you were willing to live like a pauper, you could probably pay off your debt in a few years.

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby 1styearlateral » Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:42 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:
clerk1251 wrote:
1styearlateral wrote:
clerk1251 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:not op.

75k saved? That's a pretty hefty savings account.. Maybe throw 30k from that to your loans to take a big hit out? Also, why not start looking for midlaw or non-NYC law jobs that are less stressful? You'd be taking a massive pay cut though. Work on yourself/your work/life balance and try to remedy the anxiety? Just my thoughts


I'm very frugal given my debt load. Was able to pay off over $100,000 in loans and save at the same time. I really don't want to use y savings for that since I'm not sure how long I'll last and the more money I have the better in case something happens. If it wasn't for the anxiety and the job, I'd say i'm in a pretty good situation. I am working on those things, but its hard. If a deal comes in and the client wants to close in a week, then I don't sleep for a week. Even when i'm not that busy, I see others around me looking like zombies, working all weekend, billing 80 hours weeks, and I get anxiety just thinking that I could be next. It's also hard to work on those things when your anxiety trigger is your job.


Have you considered refinancing your loan? If you spread the 130 out over 10 years or so, you'll probably only end up paying about $1,200 a month, and you should be able to do that comfortably even on a job that pays $80k, not even taking into consideration your savings. This should give you the flexibility to go anywhere you want after.

$1,200 loan + $1,500-$2,000 in rent per month isn't really sustainable on $80k.


You sure about that? $1,200 + $2000 = $3,200. $3,200 x 12 = $38,400. Assuming you take out about a third in taxes, you're left with $53,333 (and really you'll probably be left with a bit more). Now, $53,333 - $38,400 = $14,933. That means that after you take care of your rent and your loans, you are still left with over $1,000 a month for living expenses (food, car, etc). You won't even have to touch a penny of your savings, and will probably even end up adding to it.

Don't worry though 1styearlateral, most people go to law school because they are terrible at math too.


$1000 per month -- in any city -- isn't all that much. Fixed payments (i.e. Cable/internet and transit (car or mass transit)) would eat into a decent chunk of that money. After that, you'd be left with like $220 ish per week. Thats tough. Forget having to go to the doctor or dentist and god forbid taking even a weekend vacation.

Also, your rent numbers are probably low for nyc where OP is.

Yeah, I was specifically speaking to NYC living. And $1,500/mo. in rent is pretty generous, and definitely NOT rent for a luxury building, which OP is probably accustomed to. It's probably closer to $2,800-$3,300, depending on location. I only know this because I am in a similar situation and I am pretty familiar with how far I can extend myself financially given my biggest nuts every month are rent and loans. Is living on $80k/year possible in NYC with loans of that amount? Sure. But I'll be damned if OP has an extra penny to spare to do anything remotely fun. I guess he could relax in his apt and watch the cars drive by.

That said, clerk I do not disagree with you: my math skills are shit.

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Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:34 pm

clerk1251 wrote:
1styearlateral wrote:$1,200 loan + $1,500-$2,000 in rent per month isn't really sustainable on $80k.


You sure about that? $1,200 + $2000 = $3,200. $3,200 x 12 = $38,400. Assuming you take out about a third in taxes, you're left with $53,333 (and really you'll probably be left with a bit more). Now, $53,333 - $38,400 = $14,933. That means that after you take care of your rent and your loans, you are still left with over $1,000 a month for living expenses (food, car, etc). You won't even have to touch a penny of your savings, and will probably even end up adding to it.

Don't worry though 1styearlateral, most people go to law school because they are terrible at math too.


I came to NYC on an $80k salary almost a decade ago, so I'll pitch in what my finances were like:

$2150x2/MO = $4300 take home/MO

- $1700/MO rent
- $1000/MO loans

= $1600/MO

- $75-100/week food (groceries/occasional coffee/snacks/etc.; not including dining out/Seamless/etc.)
- $60/MO cell bill
- $80/MO internet bill
- $35-50/MO electricity (only utility)
- $10-20/MO laundry
- $25-50/MO on pet stuff (variable)

(assuming lower costs for the month)
= $1090/MO for fun/clothes/savings (roughly $272/week)

(assuming higher costs)
= $940/MO (roughly $235/week)

My employer gave me free transit $$ for coming into work on time; if I didn't get that free $$, add another $100 to my monthly bill:

- $100 unlimited monthly

== $990/MO or $840/MO (roughly $210/week)

I was also fresh out of UG and didn't understand what it meant to have a 401k, and didn't have any deposits to my account at the time; subtract at least $100/MO or so for that if you plan to contribute:

== $890/MO or $740/MO (roughly $185/week)

If you like going to movies (I do), subtract another $50/MO from that so you can go to two movies a month; if you like eating out (I do), subtract another $100/MO from that so that you can eat a dinner a month at a fancy place, or once a week at a mid-range location. If you like going out to bars once a week or partying, subtract another $15-45 a week for that, plus any cover charges (and this is assuming three drinks is your idea of a crazy night). If you're a man who gets your hair cut once a month, add another $30-40; if you're a woman and you get your hair cut every other month, that's another $100/every other month. If you need new clothes that month, add another $50-100. If you're a woman and you need makeup or manicures to be considered a professional, add another $50-100. Etc.

I liked to keep at least $500 in my checking acct at all times in case of an emergency, so I typically had about $380 to work with every month, assuming I had a social life (dinner out 4x @ $25, two movies a month non-matinee, one drink a week @ $15 incl. tax + tip, expenses assoc. with being a chick). An extra $200/MO in loans I guess would make that $180. I saved $100/MO.

I never felt poor, by any means. But whether or not this is a great/terrible budget to work with depends a lot on what you like to do in life/what kind of finances you like to keep. NYC does not make it easy to live on a salary that would make you rich AF somewhere else.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327239
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:20 pm

OP here - thanks everyone for the advice, definitely "nice" to see others that feel similarly to me about this job. I decided that while I do have to continually work on my mental state, trying to not put so much pressure into every situation (which is new to me, I was always really laid back before law school), I think this outlook is just really hard to do in NYC big law. Certain partners at my firm just have no value for associate time and working with them is a hellish situation. While I get that comes with the territory and many can just suck it up, I just don't want to spend my life helping these people make money by leveraging my mental health and time. Life is too short, and for those that can deal with these types of personalities, I have a lot of respect, but I'm just not that type of person.

Think I'm definitely going to refinance my loans and push it out to a 15-year term, making my payments go from 3K/month to about 1K/month. Then I'm just going to try and keep collecting paychecks and just try to get by without getting staffed with the shit partners. I'm not even going to worry about my hours or hitting bonus for next year. Otherwise, I'm going to begin actively looking for legal jobs in smaller legal markets outside of major city areas. Was interested in Denver, but my fear is that the market is becoming more and more like a major market in terms of the work and housing costs are skyrocketing. Thinking of trying out Maine or Vermont and finding a smaller firm there where people aren't as obsessed with making as much money as possible.

In-house is a great option, but i think that NYC is just a bad place to be if you are really looking for a QOL difference. My fiance and I would love to have a house in the next few years, a yard, maybe a few dogs and a kid. I just can't imagine doing all that in NYC, even if I had a 9-6 in-house job. Basically, I'm saying fuck this. I graduated from law school with $250,000 of debt, shitty 1L grades and no job. I managed to get jobs at a V10 firm and a V100 firm and a compliance job at an investment bank and each job seems worse than the last. I just don't want to keep spinning my wheels here trying to jump around and find out what I can stand while paying off debt fast. Time to slow things down and try to find some balance.

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swampthang

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Posts: 468
Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:40 pm

Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby swampthang » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here - thanks everyone for the advice, definitely "nice" to see others that feel similarly to me about this job. I decided that while I do have to continually work on my mental state, trying to not put so much pressure into every situation (which is new to me, I was always really laid back before law school), I think this outlook is just really hard to do in NYC big law. Certain partners at my firm just have no value for associate time and working with them is a hellish situation. While I get that comes with the territory and many can just suck it up, I just don't want to spend my life helping these people make money by leveraging my mental health and time. Life is too short, and for those that can deal with these types of personalities, I have a lot of respect, but I'm just not that type of person.

Think I'm definitely going to refinance my loans and push it out to a 15-year term, making my payments go from 3K/month to about 1K/month. Then I'm just going to try and keep collecting paychecks and just try to get by without getting staffed with the shit partners. I'm not even going to worry about my hours or hitting bonus for next year. Otherwise, I'm going to begin actively looking for legal jobs in smaller legal markets outside of major city areas. Was interested in Denver, but my fear is that the market is becoming more and more like a major market in terms of the work and housing costs are skyrocketing. Thinking of trying out Maine or Vermont and finding a smaller firm there where people aren't as obsessed with making as much money as possible.

In-house is a great option, but i think that NYC is just a bad place to be if you are really looking for a QOL difference. My fiance and I would love to have a house in the next few years, a yard, maybe a few dogs and a kid. I just can't imagine doing all that in NYC, even if I had a 9-6 in-house job. Basically, I'm saying fuck this. I graduated from law school with $250,000 of debt, shitty 1L grades and no job. I managed to get jobs at a V10 firm and a V100 firm and a compliance job at an investment bank and each job seems worse than the last. I just don't want to keep spinning my wheels here trying to jump around and find out what I can stand while paying off debt fast. Time to slow things down and try to find some balance.


Chiming in late here to add that if you're thinking of refinancing, probably do it while you can still report a biglaw salary, since that will help you get the best rates. As for the debt, train your brain to triumph over your feelings: you have a plan, you're paying it off, you can gin up an amortization schedule and see where you are along the path-- it just takes time. Sounds like your mental health/QOL/everything would be improved by exiting NYC, though also don't write off seeking counseling about some of the pressure/anxiety issues you're feeling- everyone could probably do with more counseling than less.

thsmthcrmnl

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Posts: 249
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:07 am

Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby thsmthcrmnl » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:27 pm

clerk1251 wrote:Also, where is your 75K sitting? That's a good chunk of change that can be earning you something. Put it in a good savings account where you are earning good interest (currently I'm earning 1% interest on my money I have in my savings account).


Don't put your savings in a savings account. If they're not going to loans, most of them should be in a tax-privileged index fund.

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HillandHollow

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Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:43 pm

Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby HillandHollow » Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:58 am

Anonymous User wrote:
clerk1251 wrote:
1styearlateral wrote:$1,200 loan + $1,500-$2,000 in rent per month isn't really sustainable on $80k.


You sure about that? $1,200 + $2000 = $3,200. $3,200 x 12 = $38,400. Assuming you take out about a third in taxes, you're left with $53,333 (and really you'll probably be left with a bit more). Now, $53,333 - $38,400 = $14,933. That means that after you take care of your rent and your loans, you are still left with over $1,000 a month for living expenses (food, car, etc). You won't even have to touch a penny of your savings, and will probably even end up adding to it.

Don't worry though 1styearlateral, most people go to law school because they are terrible at math too.


I came to NYC on an $80k salary almost a decade ago, so I'll pitch in what my finances were like:

$2150x2/MO = $4300 take home/MO

- $1700/MO rent
- $1000/MO loans

= $1600/MO

- $75-100/week food (groceries/occasional coffee/snacks/etc.; not including dining out/Seamless/etc.)
- $60/MO cell bill
- $80/MO internet bill
- $35-50/MO electricity (only utility)
- $10-20/MO laundry
- $25-50/MO on pet stuff (variable)

(assuming lower costs for the month)
= $1090/MO for fun/clothes/savings (roughly $272/week)

(assuming higher costs)
= $940/MO (roughly $235/week)

My employer gave me free transit $$ for coming into work on time; if I didn't get that free $$, add another $100 to my monthly bill:

- $100 unlimited monthly

== $990/MO or $840/MO (roughly $210/week)

I was also fresh out of UG and didn't understand what it meant to have a 401k, and didn't have any deposits to my account at the time; subtract at least $100/MO or so for that if you plan to contribute:

== $890/MO or $740/MO (roughly $185/week)

If you like going to movies (I do), subtract another $50/MO from that so you can go to two movies a month; if you like eating out (I do), subtract another $100/MO from that so that you can eat a dinner a month at a fancy place, or once a week at a mid-range location. If you like going out to bars once a week or partying, subtract another $15-45 a week for that, plus any cover charges (and this is assuming three drinks is your idea of a crazy night). If you're a man who gets your hair cut once a month, add another $30-40; if you're a woman and you get your hair cut every other month, that's another $100/every other month. If you need new clothes that month, add another $50-100. If you're a woman and you need makeup or manicures to be considered a professional, add another $50-100. Etc.

I liked to keep at least $500 in my checking acct at all times in case of an emergency, so I typically had about $380 to work with every month, assuming I had a social life (dinner out 4x @ $25, two movies a month non-matinee, one drink a week @ $15 incl. tax + tip, expenses assoc. with being a chick). An extra $200/MO in loans I guess would make that $180. I saved $100/MO.

I never felt poor, by any means. But whether or not this is a great/terrible budget to work with depends a lot on what you like to do in life/what kind of finances you like to keep. NYC does not make it easy to live on a salary that would make you rich AF somewhere else.




Okay, and how does this budget look when the rent payment is a more-realistic-for-2017 $2500/month? Like this:

$2150x2/MO = $4300 take home/MO

- $2500/MO rent
- $1000/MO loans

= $800/MO

- $75-100/week food (groceries/occasional coffee/snacks/etc.; not including dining out/Seamless/etc.)
- $60/MO cell bill
- $80/MO internet bill
- $35-50/MO electricity (only utility)
- $10-20/MO laundry
- $25-50/MO on pet stuff (variable)

(assuming the slightly more realistic middle range of the costs listed here...is your laundry bill seriously only $20/month?)
= $485/MO for fun/clothes/savings (roughly $121.25/week)

A couple months ago, I went to my doctor (for the first time since moving to my current job) and had some basic blood labs drawn to establish my baselines and whatnot. I have pretty decent insurance, but I got a bill later that month for $500. There goes the entire month's "surplus" (I'm in public interest, so I don't actually have a surplus ever, but you get my point). It's easy to write out a budget that works, but life doesn't always go that way.

What was this thread about, again?

Anonymous User
Posts: 327239
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: My Situation - Advice Needed

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:03 pm

thsmthcrmnl wrote:
clerk1251 wrote:Also, where is your 75K sitting? That's a good chunk of change that can be earning you something. Put it in a good savings account where you are earning good interest (currently I'm earning 1% interest on my money I have in my savings account).


Don't put your savings in a savings account. If they're not going to loans, most of them should be in a tax-privileged index fund.


I don't trust the markets right now at all. This is money we are saving for a house and moving out of NYC eventually and with thoughts that the bond bubble is bursting and equities are overvalued, I don't want to touch the market. Would rather use my savings to buy a house in 2 years rather than risk losing some of it.



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