Greatest Hits: Volume 8 (Insanity)

Greatest Hits

If I am to be perfectly honest, Easter Friday found me in a slightly disoriented state.

I am no stranger to hard work, but even by those standards, the past weeks have been more than intense.

The investment banking world is on absolute fire.

IPOs have been riding high since last summer, with issuers taking advantage of record valuations. The new news, however, is that the M&A market was also back with a vengeance in Q1.

Most banks, however, remain significantly understaffed.  You could see a car crash coming a mile away.

Last week, things finally boiled over.

In an industry shocker, the juniors over at Goldman Sachs rang a very public alarm and published a damning presentation about their working conditions.

It’s an entertaining read, with absolute zingers like:

“I’ve been through foster care – and this is arguably worse”

“My body physically hurts all the time”

“This is beyond hard-working, this is inhumane / abuse”

Now, working hard comes with the territory in investment banking. I’ve certainly paid my dues as a junior banker.

But when a relatively senior banker like myself ends up sleeping 3 hours a night for days on end, you can imagine what those lower down on the totem pole are going through.

Silver Linings

As with many things, the current situation may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

Banks will likely need to hire more people, somewhat easing the workload.

In the meantime, they will do what they do best: throw money at the problem until it goes away.

Juniors are getting $20k bonuses, Peloton bikes, and apparently even snack hampers just to stay put.

More senior employees will need to wait until the end of the year to get their reward.

For me, a busy Q1 meant hitting my budget for the entire year in just three months.

I’ve announced five deals and built up a solid pipeline for the year ahead to boot.

The next nine months won’t be easy, but as any banker will tell you, a chunky P&L makes an immeasurable difference in this industry.

More broadly, it’s a sign of the times.

Remote working means that the same amount of people can all of a sudden do much more – because they are not wasting time commuting to the office and flying around the world to see clients.

The vast amount of money flooding the system sure had something to do with the stock market being where it is.

But when the dust settles, the Covid-related productivity gains won’t disappear. They will continue to buttress corporate earnings.

Anyone who owns a piece of the magic money machine stands to benefit. Take your cue.

Closer To Home

The past few weeks have been eventful on non-work fronts as well.

A few days ago, Banker on FIRE turned two years old.

I am too exhausted to do a dedicated post to it now, but I do want to thank the readers who have visited this blog, read the posts, and took the time to comment on them.

This blog is now getting anywhere between 40,000 and 100,000  pageviews a month and I am grateful for every single one.

In addition, a long-time reader has reached out and offered to fine-tune the UX on the blog, meaning that it now loads faster and with fewer disruptions. You know who you are – a big thank you for improving the experience of thousands of readers in one go.

In other news, my wife and I notched up another win on our real estate investing journey.  After months of searching, we added another property to our portfolio.

And having run the numbers on our pandemic property purchase, it begins to look like more and more of a home run.

I’ll make sure to cover the above topics in more detail over the coming weeks.

In the meantime, it’s time to shut down the laptop, turn off the lights in my home office, and leave you with a collection of top-quality reads for the upcoming weekend.

Happy Easter!

From Yours Truly

Dogs and Wolves

So You Want To Make The Big Bucks?

Never Too Late: How To Build Wealth In Your 50s

In addition, I managed to squeeze in an interview over at Dividend Power the other day.

If you like dividend investing, you can do much, much worse than checking out this excellent blog.

Building Wealth

It’s never as good as it seems or as bad as it feels. The Irrelevant Investor covers off The Generational Wealth Gap.

How Recessions Change The Winners In The Stock Market – A Wealth Of Common Sense

What Can Investors Do In The Face Of Low Returns – Monevator

Want to build wealth faster? Better start making better decisions. The Harvard Business Review on How To Stop Overthinking Everything

Early Retirement

If You Play With Fire, Don’t Get Burned – Dollars and Data

And if you haven’t yet seen the original post that’s raised quite a ruckus in the FIRE circles, here it is.

Lifestyle Design

One of my favourite bloggers, Four Pillar Freedom, covers off The Five Hour Workday

You Can Grit Through Anything, But You Shouldn’t Do It Forever – The Financial Panther

All Around

In Defense Of Drudgery – Accidental FIRE

Recommended Books

As always, some excellent and entertaining books to wrap it all up.

The Happiness Curve – Jonathan Rauch

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini

Monkey Business: Swinging Through The Wall Street Jungle – Peter Troob and John Rolfe



P.S: Attention New Bloggers:

if you are a personal finance blogger who hasn’t yet been featured on Greatest Hits, I would like to hear from you.

Please send an email to bankeronfire at gmail dot com with a blog post you would like to submit for consideration.

The key criteria for inclusion are as follows:

(i) Content that will be interesting or beneficial to the readers of this blog (I hope you will forgive me for reserving judgment on this one)

(ii) Your blog must be at least 6 months old, with regular posts. Too many bloggers flame out early, and I don’t want the readers here to follow a bunch of dead links.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Note: the above post may contain affiliate links.  You can read up about our affiliate policy here.

About Banker On Fire

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Banker On FIRE is an M&A (mergers and acquisitions) investment banker. I am passionate about capital markets, behavioural economics, financial independence, and living the best life possible.

Find out more about me and this blog here.

If you are new to investing, here is a good place to start.

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12 thoughts on “Greatest Hits: Volume 8 (Insanity)”

  1. Good to hear things are going well. Our company has had its best quarter since Q3 2008 – our US customers are ordering like crazy.

    Enjoy your break and get some sleep.

  2. FI-FireFighter

    Congrats on 2 years blogging, you aren’t replying to comments which you nearly always usually do, which means you are taking a break, r&r and family time ?.
    Great blog, thanks for taking the time to do it.

  3. Banker On FIRE

    Thanks everyone for the well wishes!

    Indeed, I’ve managed to take a proper break on Saturday and Sunday, which was beyond awesome 🙂

    Back in action with a new post later this week!

  4. Congrats on the two year anniversary! Most blogs fail after 6 months (which, I’m approaching so… I hope I don’t fail).

    It’s amazing how much the juniors got paid just for working themselves to the bone..

    1. Banker On FIRE

      Thanks David.

      You are right, that kind of money makes a massive difference, even more so in ones early 20s. However, that assumes it’s (i) handled properly – i.e. invested and not spent and (ii) you don’t do any irreparable damage to your health, which is probably the trickier aspect with that workload.

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