The salary and compensation given to you from your employer is a measurement of several different factors–your worth to the company, the intersection of supply of qualified labor and demand for the position, and to provide incentive to retain your abilities.
Entry level bulge bracket financial analysts make 70 base, 10 signing bonus, and a year end compensation package labelled as a ‘retention incentive bonus’ that ranges between 0 to 70 (varies slightly by bank and group, but largely determined by your eagerness to take it in your ass). For every year, your base salary grows by 10. When you become an associate and actually join the bank (a conscience decision to be in finance for life), you receive a 40 signing bonus and your base becomes 125. You will receive your first real bonus on the same cycle as the rest of the bank–within six months of the signing bonus. All that money, of which gives me the sneaking suspicion that the money is there to make us feel better about how horribly soulless the job is. The compensation must be good, otherwise no one would want to do it. People would leave to go work in other industries.
If we look at banking through this lens, that the pay is inversely correlated to the satisfaction or joy derived from the work, then banking must be the among the worst jobs one can possibly have (arguable, of course; other influencing factors include prestige and allowing your chinese mother something to say to ther chinese mothers at dinner parties). Banking consumes your entire existence because of the hours. You are owned by the corporation.
Everyone has a number. The number is the threshold amount of money he/she needs to keep from leaving wall street. Even though some people claim they are principled and will leave no matter how much the pay is, their numbers are probably higher than most.
The number is also based on several different factors. How important money is to you is by far the most significant, and that is determined by your spending habits, your indebtedness, and your age. For young people with no families, the number is not that important. I spend all my money on alcohol. Though i like microbrews, i could go back to the old english (extreme example).