Not everywhere in the world is suited to Wall Streeters. They have specific needs that are all governed by one truth — bankers have money, but no time.
Still with the little time they have, bankers need to travel, feed themselves, dress the part, impress their clients and try to have a little fun once in a while.
Business Insider decided to try to figure out the truth about the best place to do all that.
We took 16 of the most important financial hubs in the U.S. and ranked them by their suitability for the banker life.
The Banker Livability Index has five components – length of commute (time is money), flight times to NYC, London, and Hong Kong (for getting to important meetings), services to make a banker’s life easier (gyms, late night delivery, maid services, and laundry/dry cleaners), places to take clients and network (high end restaurants, high end bars, and, for special clients, strip clubs), and proximity to various luxury clothing stores. (You can read more about our methodology here.)
Lets see if anyone reconsiders some of their life choices after this one.
What’s there: Detroit is synonymous with the auto industry, home of General Motors and a number of other auto manufacturers.
Banker Livability Index: 66
Why the rank: Detroit, tragically, lacks most of the amenities a banker needs. Motown received the lowest scores of any of the cities in the subindexes for services and for places to go out.
15. Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
What’s there: A ton of Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Minneapolis, including Target, U.S. Bancorp, General Mills, and Ameriprise Financial.
Banker Livability Index: 78
Why the rank: Minneapolis bankers enjoy a slightly shorter commute than many of their peers in other cities, but a dearth of expensive restaurants and bars holds the Twin Cities back.
What’s there: Bank of America, a monolith of the financial industry.
Banker Livability Index: 81
Why the rank: Charlotte has a similar BLI profile to Minneapolis – a fairly short commute and okay services, but without too many high end bars or restaurants.
What’s there: Houston is enormously important to the energy sector, and is the home of a number of major oil and energy companies, most notably ConocoPhillips.
Banker Livability Index: 82
Why the rank: Houston is relatively isolated by our measure — it takes a little longer to fly to NYC, London, and Hong Kong from Houston than from most of the other cities. Houston also suffers from a lack of banker-required services, with fewer gyms and late night delivery options than the other cities.
What’s there: AT&T, the financial services company Comerica, and many other companies are headquartered in Dallas.
Banker Livability Index: 84
Why the rank: Dallas is pretty similar to its fellow Texas city Houston in its BLI sub-indexes, but enjoys slightly more high-end retail, and thus is a little better for the banker life.
What’s there: SAC Capital Advisors, GE Capital, the U.S. headquarters of UBS, and a ton of companies that have fled New York over the last couple decades.
Banker Livability Index: 90
Why the rank: Stamford has somewhat fewer amenities than many of the other cities, balanced out by a surprisingly high number of Yelp search results for “strip clubs”, putting the land of the hedge funds in the middle tier of banker-friendly cities.
What’s there: One of the main business hubs of the South, Atlanta is home to corporate giants like Coca Cola, The Home Depot, and UPS.
Banker Livability Index: 91
Why the rank: Atlanta has solid scores in most of the sub-indexes, and in particular, being home to the busiest airport in the world means that getting to NYC, London, or Hong Kong is fairly straightforward. One area where Atlanta is lacking is in its nightlife, with fewer high end bars and restaurants than most of the other cities.
What’s there: Berkshire Hathaway, does there need to be anything else?
Banker Livability Index: 92
Why the rank: The home of the Oracle falls right in the middle of our banker life measures, but it is a city of extremes. Omaha has the shortest commute by far of the cities we looked at, coming in at just over 18 minutes. However, Omaha is also the most isolated of the cities, with the longest flight times to New York, London, and Hong Kong — layovers at O’Hare slow things down pretty dramatically. One also must wonder where Mr. Buffett gets his suits, since Omaha lacks nearly all of the high end retail that bankers in the other cities enjoy.
What’s there: Seattle is the center of the northern reaches of the tech world, home of Amazon, Microsoft, and everyone’s favorite mediocre coffee chain, Starbucks.
Banker Livability Index: 95
Why the rank: Seattle has an excellent variety of services essential to the time-constrained banker, including the highest number of Yelp results for “maid services” per capita of any of the cities studied. Seattle is kept out of the top tier by a relative lack of high-end retail stores.
7: Washington, D.C.
What’s there: 435 terrible people who are theoretically supposed to set federal economic policy, but who instead spend their days lurching from self-made crisis to self-made crisis.
Banker Livability Index: 105
Why the rank: Home to the nation’s power elite, DC provides ample access to the kinds of services, high end entertainment, and luxury retail essential to the banker lifestyle. There are plenty of great places to lobby a congressperson in the capital.
What’s there: Fidelity Investments, Bain Capital, State Street, and many more.
Banker Livability Index: 111
Why the rank: Boston is an all around good banker city. In particular, Boston’s proximity to New York and positioning on the Northeast coast provide for the shortest flights to NYC and London of all the cities studied. Boston also has a very nice selection of late night delivery options, second only to New York.
5: Chicago, IL
What’s there: Chicago has a long history of being the main hub of the central U.S. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange holds a central role in commodities markets, and Chicago is home to Chase, Citadel, and a number of other companies and firms.
Banker Livability Index: 114
Why the rank: Chicago scores big on flight times, with its central location, and on high-end retail, with the second highest number of stores among the cities we studied. The only thing holding the windy city back from an even higher score is its relatively long average commute of nearly 34 minutes.
What’s there: Miami is one of the largest cities in the South, and its proximity to Latin America makes it a hub for many corporations doing business in that region.
Banker Livability Index: 116
Why the rank: Miami has a somewhat poor flight time score, since it takes a full 20 and a half hours to get to Hong Kong, the longest flight among the studied cities. Miami also has a relatively low number of maid services, laundry services, and other banker-friendly amenities. However, Miami more than makes up for this with its incredible night life — the city boasts more high end bars and restaurants per capita than any other city, except for New York.
3: Los Angeles
What’s there: Los Angeles is the main economic center for the Western United States, and it is a major hub of trade along the Pacific Rim. It also has Hollywood and all the ridiculousness that entails.
Banker Livability Index: 117
Why the rank: LA has strong all around scores for each of the subindexes. The only major banker inconvenience is that, being on the West Coast, a direct flight to New York takes a little over five hours, and a trip to London about ten.
2: San Francisco
What’s there: Most of America’s technology industry, and consequently, a horde of venture capitalists.
Banker Livability Index: 129
Why the rank: San Francisco provides ample amenities to the busy banker. The city has the highest number of gyms per capita of any of the cities studied — West Coast people like to stay in shape. San Francisco features an excellent selection of high end restaurants and bars. San Francisco also has by far the largest number of strip clubs per capita in the study. If you are an angel investor living in San Francisco and looking for the next big startup, your life is pretty awesome.
1: New York
What’s there: Everything.
Banker Livability Index: 161(!)
Why the rank: This was not even close. Shocking probably no one, New York is the best city to live in if you are in the world of finance. Other than having the longest average commute of any of the cities studied, New York pretty much blew the other cities away in all the categories — New York is at the center of things, it has services and amenities everywhere, and the city features some of the finest dining, nightlife, and high-end shopping on the planet.