Wall Street Secrets

The Hidden Costs of Working on Wall Street

Working on Wall Street is a dream for many, but it comes at a high cost. Business Insider shares all of the expenses you should expect to pay if you want to have a career on one of New York's most well-known streets.

Yes, you make a lot of money when you work on Wall Street, but you're going to have to spend a lot of money to stay there.
To go to work every day you'll need to look the part — the suit, the shoes, etc. To live every day with a banker's schedule, you'll need people to take care of you — maid service, dry cleaners etc.

RELATED: What it Was Like Working For the Real-Life 'Wolf of Wall Street'

And then there are the social obligations — trips, schmoozing, memberships ...

Wall Street is full of Joneses, and as the saying goes, they're hard to keep up with.

Here's how much money it takes to try.

From the start, prepare to drop $3,000+ on an apartment in the Financial District

Rents may have slightly declined in Manhattan in 2012, but the average rent is still more than $3,300 a month according to Citi Habitats.

We searched two-bedroom apartments in the area and turned up a few for less than $3,000, but they were few and far between.

Luckily, the Financial District/Battery Park City area saw the biggest drop in asking prices — down 12 percent at the end of the year from October.

And given the beating Superstorm Sandy subjected the area to last fall, you'll definitely want to budget for flood insurance.

Men need at least $200 to invest in a solid pair of dress shoes. That figure doubles for women, who will need at least two pair.

What good is a $5,000 suit if you're rounding it out with the same pair of kicks you used to hit the streets in as an intern?

Men, invest in a solid pair of black or brown dress shoes that meet these three critera: They won't scuff easily; they'll hold up to daily beatings running around the office; and you can go from work to cocktail hour without having to change.

Let's be real, if you want to look great, you'll need more than one pair.

Ladies, unless you're willing to teeter over potholes and cracked sidewalks in 4-inch Manolo's, you'll need a sturdy pair of flats to trek to and from the office as well.

Trust us. Nothing ruins a $300 heel faster than a puddle of mystery Subway sludge.

And it costs at least $20 per month to keep your soles from caving in.

Unless you've nabbed a private office with a view by now, chances are you're not in any hurry to burn cash on shoe replacements every few months.

For a few bucks, turn over your weary kicks to the plethora of time-tested cobblers on Wall Street. Judging by dozens of glowing reviews, few are as beloved as Minas Shoe Repair.

"[Minas Shoe Repair] is the only place I take my designer shoes for repair," writes one Yelp reviewer. "It can get pricey, but paying a little under $100 for resoling and re-heeling and fixing up a $700 pair of Chanel flats definitely beats shelling out another $700 for new ones."

Wall Street's also one of the few places you can pop in for a $3 shoeshine at the corner drugstore.

A quality suit will cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000.

A good suit can cost upwards of $3,000 with tailoring, but, despite appearances, not everyone on Wall Street is bankrolling that kind of green.

The trick is finding a suit that matches your budget and won't make you look like a poor-fitted schmuck in front of the boss.

Consider the fact that most suits must be tailored to fit the body perfectly. Some stores will offer it in-house free of charge, but it's worth finding a tailor you trust and can keep going back to.

Read on for more.

Workers with insane hours will need at least $600/month to keep caffeinated and adequately fed.

There's a reason Wall Street isn't exactly known for its fine dining options — people who work there aren't the types to linger over a long lunch.

"As is the case almost 100 percent of the time when it is under my own control, the decision is to leave the building [for lunch]," recounted Darden Balach, 30, an investment banker, in a piece about his daily routine for Bloomberg." I head out with some guys from the team and grab a sandwich nearby."

And since the most successful leaders tend to be early risers, grabbing breakfast on the go is probably also par for the course. Once you factor in Starbucks runs and grabbing a bite on the way home from work (who has time to shop?), you're looking at at least $30 a day on fuel.

It can cost from $80 to $125 per month to maintain your wardrobe.

The average household spends $500 on dry cleaning per year, and a recent report on the dry cleaning industry estimates that business workers spend as much as $1,500.

Even if you've learned to milk your wardrobe 'til you're literally down to your last pair of mismatched socks, you'll need to dry clean your threads at least twice a month to keep up appearances.

Now that we think about it, it's no surprise that one of the Manhattan's most popular 24-hour dry cleaners was founded by an ex-banker.

Power breakfast/lunch cost $30 - $50 per meal.

If you're doing power breakfast, it's generally with the Tischs at the Regency (Park Avenue Winter while they remodel). A breakfast for two can cost $65+ dollars.

And lunch... super popular spot Michael's is lowering it's prices (at least) but you can still expect to pay $25 for a salad.

Start saving now for your $85,000 country club membership.

The idea of silver-haired Wall Street types talking shop on the green may seem old fashioned, but it's the perfect place to cultivate the kind of business relationships that are rarely formed behind a desk.
But good luck getting in.

Without a family or business connection, it can take years to even get on the wait list of some super elite country clubs. And even then, you're looking at an initiation fee that can easily soar into the six-figure range.

The good news, at least, is that some of the clubs in New York have softened their rules on fees in the wake of the economic downturn.

Shaker Ridge Country Club in Albany, New York, waived its $6,000 initiation fee this past summer, and the invite-only private Glenwood Country Club ($85,000 to join) in Old Bridge, N.J. dropped monthly spending limits at the onset of the recession.

And then there's the notoriously exclusive Seboback Golf Club in the Hamptons. It made headlines a few years ago with a $650,000 membership package.

Maybe you're a city person, which means a membership at Soho House for $900-$2400.

Annual Membership Rates:

Local House Membership $1,800
Every House Membership $2,400
Under 27 Local House Membership $900
Under 27 Every House Membership $1200
Children’s Membership $250*

Budget at least $100/month for maid service.

Thanks to technology, workers often wind up carrying their work just about everywhere they go.

That leaves little time for household chores, and we wouldn't blame you for hiring an extra hand to help.

House cleaning services in Manhattan vary based on apartment size, the number of rooms and frequency of visits, but bank on spending at least $100 per month for bi-weekly cleaning, according to Care.com.

The Hamptons share.

If you're young, you can get a share with your friends. This doesn't have to be super expensive, but if you want a good deal you have to start looking early (like, now!). It also depends on the town you want to stay in. You can find 4-bedroom shares in Southampton for $2,500/month. Not bad, but that's the low end.

On the high end you get something like this — 4 BR, $30,000 just for August.

Or for a 4-BR ocean front in Amagansett you're looking at this:

June: $10,000
July: $20,000
July-LD: $42,000
Aug-LD: $25,000
MD-LD: $48,000
Year Around: $60,000

Schmoozing with clients — $200 to $500.

Now, the bank should pay for this. However, since times are tough you might have to take on some of the burden on your own.

This also depends on your job. If you're a quant, you may not have to hang out with your clients. If you're in sales it's going to be on the higher side.

And you'll need to take weekend trips to blow off steam. Bankers love a quick Vegas trip, but it'll cost around $3,250.

And obviously if they're going to do it, they have to do it right:

Flight to Las Vegas - $650-700
Stay at the Cosmopolitan — $430
Meals — $350
Bottle service at the club — $800
Gambling money — $1,000

Miami's popular too. If you want to do that right it'll cost you around $2,100.

If you're going to Miami, you have to stay at the right place and hit the clubs:

Flight to MIA - $400
Fontainebleau Hotel -$559
Spending money — $800

You need to work out at the right place.

That means working out at Equinox, which costs $456.19 up front and $188 per month after that.

Or maybe you can take up a Wall Street exercises craze like Soul Cycling — 30 classes in Tribeca will cost you $850.

The occasional 'I'm sorry' present - $150 to $300.

As a Wall Streeter with unpredictable hours, you're bound to miss a few dates, dinners, kids' concerts, sporting events, etc. The bigger the event you missed, the bigger the gift you'll need to give to make up for it.

You're going to want to apologize to keep the peace, especially with your significant other.

You don't have much time to find another person who's willing to put up with it.

So you're going to have to make a pretty penny to pay for all that and save money.

The costs we've identified add up to over $100,000 (without the country club membership) and that's not even getting into having kids and paying for their education. And then there are taxes ...

That's rough, but at least they'll likely have the salary to back it up. The average take-home pay on Wall Street is around $363,000/year, even with residual scars left by the recession.

And not everyone has to live this way. Maybe you don't want to live in the city, maybe you don't care about the Hamptons, and maybe Vegas makes you sick.

You'd be richer for it.

—Linette Lopez

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