It’s Not All About The Money

Having family dinner or more money? Bond counsels, bankers, and more are considering their lifestyle over a paycheck.

This week I celebrated my forty-first anniversary with my lovely wife Sharon. Celebrating 41 years today as I have been told is a major accomplishment; sad but a true statement regrettably.  I have always been one of the adages: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.  This leads to my blog for this week, which is dealing with the whole concept of happiness within the public finance industry for bankers, bond counsels, and the list goes on.  I know I touched on this a bit ago; however, as one of my loyal readers, you have expected me to share trends that I am seeing. This is one of them, and an interesting one at that.

Will They Or Won’t They Retire?

As public finance is not the sexiest area within the capital markets field, it usually translates to less burnout of the traditional investment bankers.  As public finance bankers are not working around the clock to get the next merger complete before a deadline, etc.  There is a tendency of much older bankers and bond counsels present, which leads to frustration by the younger up-and-coming professionals. Why? It’s due to the senior people not opting for retirement; however, I am seeing recently this is not the case as much with the age group between fifty and sixty. What I will affectionately call the pre-retirement professionals.  I am seeing more of these pre-retirement professionals taking a serious look at their career trajectory and opting for happiness rather than more money. They are wanting to get off the proverbial mouse wheel.

Happiness & Lifestyle: What Public Finance Bankers, Bond Counsels & More Are Prioritizing

Recently I have heard not one, but a handful of successful bankers share with me that it’s no longer about the chase, the large checks, and the big bonus.  It’s much more about their personal happiness and the lifestyle that they can now live.  No more traveling, late evening hearings, and so on. They can be home for dinner, and well, you get the picture.  I even have been told of one person on the banking side that their manager even yells at them, “Who would want to live like this after a very successful career?”  In other instances, bankers that have been told there is this golden pot at the end of the rainbow when the senior banker/bond counsel finally retires, are getting tired of waiting.  This trend is permeating and growing every day.

Bond Counsels, Bankers, And More Have To Think: Meetings Or Dinner With The Family? 

What does this mean to you the candidate and the hiring manager?  It means that highly successful well-paid bankers or bond counsels are looking at opportunities with less of a grindstone or pedal to the medal position, and rather opting for more sedate positions where they are in control of their own destiny.  Some are looking to work with issuers while others are looking for maybe less billable hours.  Bankers are opting to not travel as much, so positions closer to home or remote are becoming more attractive. You may get that banker interested in your position if they see that, other than counsel meetings, they can be home to have dinner with their family.  Lifestyle is the key and if you are not feeling the “love” that you once felt, it may be time for you also to look to make that lifestyle change and pursue opportunities you may not have felt were worthy of yourself years ago.  Many firms are creating new compensation models that are more geared to your happiness than production.  Let us share these with you.


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs, so you never miss one. You can find our listing in the “supplier and services” section of the Red Book under the title of “executive recruiting.”

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.