When hard times come, some people cut their coffee habit.
Others ... their Aspen habit.
At least that's what happening this year, since Wall Street bonuses dropped an average of 13% to their lowest point in four years.
Take for instance real-estate investor and hedge-fund manager Richard Scheiner, who Bloomberg reports has a labradoodle named Zelda and a rescued bichon frise, Duke, both of whom cost him $17,000 a year.
Scheiner decided to sell two motorcycles he didn’t use. He call his car “the Volkswagen of supercars": a Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet.
Andrew Schiff, who, as director of marketing for broker-dealer Euro Pacific Capital Inc., makes $350,000 a year, rents a duplex in a brownstone in Brooklyn where his 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son share a room. “I can’t imagine what I’m going to do,” Schiff told Bloomberg. “I’m crammed into 1,200 square feet. I don’t have a dishwasher. We do all our dishes by hand.”
Is It Ridiculous?
Some of the Wall Street sufferers make it hard for others to identify with them. The woman who calls the decreased bonuses "a disaster" might be overstating it a little, and the claim that "people who don't have money just don't understand the stress," is shockingly insensitive.
It reminds us of the UrbanBaby thread in which moms with household incomes well in the 1% complained that a $13 million income made them feel decidedly middle-class. Apparently, there's just something about New York that makes it easy to be out of touch.
Of course, it's easy to roll our eyes when you read that during flush times, one of these Wall Streeters once spent $3,000 on a three-day trip, but we all understand how hard it is when money you thought was coming in isn't going to.
Some of these financiers enrolled their children in expensive private schools, banking on an expected income. Now they are having to pull their kids out of those schools and cancel or cut back their vacations.
Cue the Emergency Fund
To combat this kind of unwelcome surprise, we recommend everyone stockpile some money in an emergency fund—enough money to cover your living expenses for six to nine months at least, in case of surprises just like these. Saving isn't always fun, but we're sure glad to have a cushion when something goes wrong.
In that respect, we have to commend Scheiner (he of the $17,000 a year in dog upkeep) who isn't feeling the pinch as much as his fellow financial titans ... because when things were good, he saved.