There’s no right or wrong way for lawyers to spend our money, but there are some similarities between us when it comes to just how we use the money we make.
Lawyers, like many busy professionals, are likely to use money to save time and make all our hard work feel worth it. And in addition, like plenty of Americans, most lawyers are also working to pay down student loan debt.
So: Exactly how are your fellow lawyers really spending their hard-earned cash? Read on to find out.
Vacations and Travel
For many of us, the “work hard, play hard” mentality didn’t end in college or law school. After all, what good is working as hard as we do if we don’t get to enjoy the payoff? With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many lawyers spend a good amount of money annually on vacations. When we travel, we’re generally not crashing on friends’ couches or staying in motels; we seek out the most luxe experiences we can afford. Hey – we’ve gotta fight burnout somehow.
They say time is money, and for busy lawyers, they’re absolutely right. As such, we are prone to spending money on anything that can help save time – even just 10 minutes here or there. This means lots of Uber rides instead of the subway and plenty of take out or delivery instead of cooking at home. Spending money to save time might increase your cost of living, but it’s worth it when it means you’re that much closer to hitting your billable hour requirement.
Student Loan Debt
By the time they earn their J.D.s, most lawyers have racked up six figures of student loan debt. Even if you head right to Big Law and a lavish salary after receiving your degree, chances are you’ll be paying down those debts for a while. It’s not glamorous, but most lawyers are working to pay down their law school student loans for several years after completing their educations.
Gifts of Accomplishment
When you work as hard as we do, it can feel particularly good to spend money on a gift for yourself when you get promoted or win a big case. Sure, it’s a rationalization – but within reason, rewarding yourself for career successes is a great form of positive reinforcement, one that many lawyers embrace.
No matter your profession or whether you buy or rent, paying for housing eats up a significant percentage of your income. For many lawyers, though, it’s important to live somewhere that justifies, in some way, working so hard. Sure, many of us are spending more time at work than at home … but at least whenever we do get to lounge on the couch, it’s a high-end one that we enjoy very much.
When you can break away from the office on a Friday night, you’re going to want to make that Friday night count. Lawyers (like many busy professionals) spend a lot of money on nights out – restaurants, bars, concerts, theater, and other entertainment. It’s also important to note that the best lawyers also tend to have busy social calendars; being a good lawyer means being good at fostering relationships, which can help you acquire new business or find new career opportunities.
The categories above are just a few of the areas in which lawyers tend to be heavy spenders. Being aware of common areas of high spending for those in our field can be beneficial, not just so you know how you compare to your peers, but also so you can determine where you might be able to cut a little spending if saving more is your goal.