Andrew Schiff earns $350,000 a year working as a marketing director for brokerage firm Euro Pacific Capital, and he says he struggles to get by. According to Bloomberg, with his bonuses cut back this year, Schiff feels financially pinched, coming up short to pay for his daughter’s $32,000 NYC private school tuition and his family’s summer vacation home rental. The cutbacks have made Schiff pretty gloomy. He laments, “The New York I wanted to have is just beyond my reach.”
Schiff’s story is just one in Bloomberg’s recent article on the dashed dreams of Wall Street members seeing their bonuses shrink.
These types of “I make more than most Americans but I’m really poor lately, seriously guys” articles pop up from time to time, with the wealthy person in question usually telling the same story: “I honestly don’t have that lavish of a lifestyle. Like everyone else all I pay for is my NYC apartment, my three cars, health insurance and some tiny luxuries like a 4-month vacation beach house rental in the summer. I just want a comfortable life for my kids like everyone else, and I work really hard, doggonit!”
The crowd reaction is always predictably volatile. You have your “Go to hell” comments from the unemployed, the “I am really happy living on $34k/year, you should practice appreciating the simple things in life” from the idealists, the “You need to make a budget, start buying clothes on sale and stop leasing a BMW” from the frugal middle-income earners, and then the fellow wealthy New Yorkers who say, “All you poor people just don’t understand, private school in New York City IS a necessity!!!”
Aside from reminding me of my size zero friends thinking they need to lose weight (which is quite sad, really), I find these articles an odd cultural phenomenon in the bigger class warfare stuff going on right now. Like, who are these wealthy 1% people who feel compelled to tell their sob story to reporters, and haven’t they learned yet that it’s a bad PR move and they’ll be hard-pressed to get sympathy? And while, yes, the complaints seem ridiculous, why does the immediate reaction from so many people tend towards the poor-Olympics of, “Oh, you think YOU have it bad?!”
There are clearly a ton of issues behind all of this, but for now: what is your reaction to the Bloomberg article?