« on: November 28, 2008, 06:42:54 PM »
haha i like to think that you're doomed either way. i'm a recent t20 grad marking market rate in nyc. look at it from this perspective: my salary is 160k; i take home ~95k of that after taxes. of that 95k, i'm paying ~28k or so on basic rent (for a studio). some may say that that is a ridic sum to pay for rent in nyc. they're probably right, though at this stage of my life i like to think that i have progressed past the 8ft by 7ft cramped-living-space-with-no-window routine ... so i pay ~28k. my studio is decent; nothing too luxurious. besides, i don't know anyone in our first year class who isn't paying at least 24k in rent (including those who commute from the outer suburbs of brooklyn). see where this is going? so my 160k, after basic rent and taxes, is more like 65-67k. Ok, that's still decent money ... right? well yeah, i guess, but oh wait, i have that 6 figure debt to pay (on top of the money borrowed to make it through this summer) and then there's living expenses and travel expenses (to see family, friends, girlfriend, whatever) and ut oh ... looks like i'm still completely broke
but wait, at least i have my bonus, right? well yeah, my firm is doing well despite the downturn so who knows, maybe i'll get used to billing 11-a-day (soul crushing) and pull a nice 40k bonus. 40k, that's awesome money ...except, under our current income tax scheme (yes, it's going to get worse in 2010), i'll take home ~17k of that. 17 of 40? yeaaaah. i'd rather stick to 8 or 9 hrs billed per day and call it even. the whole government conscript thing never held much appeal for me anyway.
at least i have raises to look forward to. once i climb the salary ladder, i'll be fine. for example at 160k, i take home 95k. at 200k i take home 110k. at 250k, i take home 125k. so wait, my salary may increase from 160 to 250 in the next 5 years or so, but my take home only increases by 30!?? oh poo, i'm DOOMED ...
... unless of course i make nyc biglaw partner. haha yeah, that's likely. i have a better statistical probabilty of, well, winning the lotto. anyone know what the powerball is up to this month? [and lets not forget the massive opportunity cost posed by taking 3 years off from work to obtain the degree + the massive loans required to do so - it will be years before i even approach the break-even point]
anyway, the point is that you're doomed no matter what you do. generating wealth through income alone is not the smart play (as the income tax bracket is brutal on both the state and fed levels). now if you could somehow make $ through capital gains (flat 15% tax rate) then you might be able to get ahead.
but yeah, don't go into the law looking to get rich. for 99.5% of us, it's not happening (and that includes those of us in biglaw)