This column is not about working too hard, or the dangers of high cholesterol, or lack of exercise. It is about a rash of suicides within the financial community. What this actually means is less certain than the reporting on it might imply.

Yesterday, 47-year-old Edmund Reilly, a trader at the Vertical Group, jumped in front of a Long Island Rail Road Train, and was pronounced dead at the scene. That led to an article from the New York Post reporting that this was one of many recent suicides of people in the financial industry. IBT had a headline last fall “Suicide Among Bankers Appears To Be On The Rise Again As Pressures To Get Banks And Businesses Back In The Black Takes Its Toll.”

The Post was so kind as to include a list of a half dozen other suicides this year by people working in finance. A quick search reveals many other finance suicides in recent months. “Banker Suicides” even has its own Wikipedia page.

In the world of high finance, the latest problem is taking one’s own life.

Or is it?

Continues here

Category: Bad Math

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

15 Responses to “Why Are So Many Traders Killing Themselves?”

  1. CD4P says:

    Yikes!

  2. rd says:

    People jumping in front of trains are news events. So are homicides. Most suicides, which are much more common than homicides, don’t make the headline news though .

    In general, the US has a high rate of suicide deaths and one of the primary reasons is the ready availability of guns, especially handguns. Many people try to commit suicide, but most methods are ineffective and don’t succeed (only 10% succeed, if that is the correct term). However, guns are very effiective and a high percentage of attempts using guns succeed (@90%).

    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/magazine/guns-and-suicide/

  3. BennyProfane says:

    Let’s balance this out with the amount of suicides the country has seen since the banker spawned financial crash, as millions lost their jobs and homes over the last six years.

  4. Low Budget Dave says:

    As a general rule, suicide is more common among people with money problems or drug problems. Traders tend to have fewer money problems than average, but drug use is slightly more common.

    The career with the highest rate of suicide is line workers factory food production. Physicians (including psychiatrists) run a close second. After that comes other factory workers, scientists, dentists, police, and so on. People in the finance industry do not even make the top ten.

    Also, suicide tends to be for personal reasons. Career might enter in to the equation, but is far behind personal factors such as age, health, education, legal trouble, relationship status, and so on.

    So basically, any article that implies that traders are jumping out of windows in mass is completely false. Their bonuses are up this year, their industry is well-respected (even though not particularly deservedly), and Tea Party has not managed to cancel their health insurance.

    My guess is that if a trader gets hit by a train, he was pushed.

  5. cjb says:

    We don’t take mental illness seriously enough in this country. Whether it’s depression, bi-polar, schizophrenia, or the personality disorders; narcissism and socio-pathy, we like to chalk it up to a moral problem rather than a brain disfunction. It’s sad that traders, as well as people from all walks of life think they can gut the problem out, and keep trying, until it’s too late. Dr. Amens “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life,” should be read by anyone suffering from these problems, as well as anyone with family members afflicted by them. Understanding how the brain can mis-fire and bring about these problems can be the first step to getting the help one needs.

  6. mpetrosian says:

    Maybe they become conscious of the business or the system, whatever, on some deeper more macro level and don’t like what they see or their role in it. It is all very complex, and far reaching, etc
    But ultimately meaningless in the long long run. I notice these suicides are always from the institutional side. Maybe because on the retail side you’re always connecting with people and touching on very personal issues, it’s so much more personal. If you’re doing your job right and truly helping clients then you’re living with purpose on an awesome level that I can imagine would be hard to find on a trading desk. Sometimes though when I’m dragged to a restaurant to hear a mutual fund wholesaler speak, I dream of standing up at the table in front of everyone and blowing my head off.

  7. LeftCoastIndependent says:

    46 suicides “off” the Golden Gate Bridge in 2014. Not 100% sure, but don’t think any were bankers. Flake Californians don’t want a safety fence topped with barbed wire strung across the bridge because it might ruin their view.

  8. We human geneticists have a very simple theory: mental disorders, many of which are largely genetic in origin, are much more common among traders than the public at large. Think narcissicism and other personality disorders, as well as outright . Any of these characteristics sound as if they might be overrepresented among the self-styled masters of the universe?

    From the DSM-IV-TR:

    1. Expects to be recognized as superior and special, without superior accomplishments
    2. Expects constant attention, admiration and positive reinforcement from others
    3. Envies others and believes others envy him/her
    4. Is preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of great success, enormous attractiveness, power and intelligence
    5. Lacks the ability to empathize with the feelings or desires of others
    6. Is arrogant in attitudes and behavior
    7. Has expectations of special treatment that are unrealistic

    Hardly surprising.

  9. The Window Washer says:

    Male suicide rates are higher and most of these are men.
    Had a conspiracy theorist friend comment on this and I just added up the number from one company then ran it against the employee count.
    Suicide rate was about half of normal.
    So the real question is why aren’t MORE financial services people committing suicide.
    Why are the Biltergurgers, trilateral commission and the illuminati keeping these people alive?

  10. EIB says:

    The divorced father of three had rented a house around the corner from his ex-wife, Michelle Reilly, in East Norwich, NY.

    THAT, my friends, is the answer to your riddle.
    Surprised you guys are that detached from reality…

    • My point is that based on a dozen suicides it is premature to declare a craze sweeping the industry

      • EIB says:

        Yes, of course. NYT love to point out trends that are not. But, in this one case, the above is the smoking gun. Note the media doesn’t touch it.

        ~~~

        BR: Except its the NY Post . . .

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