Schiff for Brains

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I've seen a lot of chatter lately about the interview with Andrew Schiff in which he complained about how hard it was to get by on just $350,000 a year. The "smaller bonuses" environment on Wall Street is hitting the well-off in ways that the middle class finds, shall we say, unsympathetic. There are, last time I checked, 1,559 comments on this one story, pretty much all of which tell Mr. Schiff to get stuffed.

Schiff, who bears a disturbing resemblance to Judd Hirsch in Ordinary People, was not the only suffering 1% to be interviewed. Regarding another individual, the article states: "Scheiner said he spends about $500 a month to park one of his two Audis in a garage and at least $7,500 a year each for memberships at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester and a gun club in upstate New York. A labradoodle named Zelda and a rescued bichon frise, Duke, cost $17,000 a year, including food, health care, boarding and a daily dog-walker who charges $17 each per outing, he said."

I actually sort of understand what the people interviewed are trying to say: once you get used to paying for a certain lifestyle (private school tuitions, nice cars, a vacation home, a gardener, etc.) it all adds up to a pretty big figure that needs to be covered each year. I have a good income that most of the U.S. would think of as pretty healthy, but believe me, I'm always worried about money. If I were a single man living on his own, I'd be living like a king (or, more accurately, I'd be able to save about 80% of my income, since it really doesn't cost that much for me to survive on my own). But these days, tuition to elementary school for just one of my children is literally four times what I paid going to a private college each year. And that's just one of many expenses.

For those of you out there who are pulling down big salaries but have seen their massive bonuses trimmed down to simply very big bonuses, here's my tip: don't go near a microphone. It's really not going to do you any good.