I've worked in hedge funds for years now and you'd think I would be used to it. However, the longer I'm in this industry the more that two things become apparent: this is both a job that absorbs a lot of your free time and one that gives you a lot of free stuff - so long as you're at work.
There is, for example, the well-documented free food. While my wife has to cook for herself and our children, I am fed for free at work. Catered lunches are a pretty common perk for people working at hedge funds. When I started getting free food for lunch, I thought it was the best perk in the world. Eating out gets expensive and packing lunches can get boring. Now, 15 pounds heavier, I’m less enthusiastic about this perk.
There are also free events. Brokers are always inviting me out to things. Sporting events. Concerts. Dinner and lunches. I’m assuming this is what life is like when you're attractive? I wouldn’t know. Anyways, it’s pretty cool to go to all these events and get great seats, all for free.
I’m not a big sports person, so the more interesting events for me have been a wine tasting (in Napa), a couple’s cooking class, and children’s musical. The last two were particularly good because it’s also been hard to explain to my wife that I need to go to some event for four hours and live it up in the name of “networking,” while she has to stay home and take care of the kids. There’s only so many times you can use that excuse before you have a florist on speed dial.
Alternatively, it can be possible to placate an irate spouse with company swag. Companies love investors and what better way for investors to understand a company than trying their product? A coworker who covers consumer discretionary names got a free cruise for him and his spouse. Unfortunately I cover financials and have never received a free Visa card.
I have, however, got to fly on private jets. There's only one thing better than flying on your own private jet, and this is flying on somebody else’s. Sometimes brokers do events where it's too difficult to fly commercial, so they'll charter a jet. It’s unlikely I’ll make enough money to afford my own jet and it’s too late to marry rich, so this is really my own option for flying private.
If you’ve never flown private before, don’t. Flying commercial is already a horrible experience. If you get a taste of the good life, you'll never want to go back. Needless to say, on family holidays we don't travel in our own jet and have to queue with everyone else. Again, I can't really mention my disgruntlement with this as it's another part of my work life that my wife doesn't get to participate in.
At work, I get to live off freebies. At home, I'm just another guy on a salary (and bonus). A good salary, but a salary nonetheless.
Margin of Saving was created by an analyst at a multi-billion dollar hedge fund to help others learn how to invest and save.
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