Schiff, 46, is facing another kind of jam this year: Paid a lower bonus, he said the $350,000 he earns, enough to put him in the country’s top 1 percent by income, doesn’t cover his family’s private-school tuition, a Kent, Connecticut, summer rental and the upgrade they would like from their 1,200-square- foot Brooklyn duplex.Oh the humanity! The New York of his dreams is forever just out of reach, so close and yet so far! Maybe we should pool our unemployment checks and send them to Mr. Schiff so he can rennovate his duplex.
“I feel stuck,” Schiff said. “The New York that I wanted to have is still just beyond my reach.”
You know how we always hear about the bad behavior of the poor, how they are where they’re at in life because of bad decision making, immoral behavior and an overall lack of restraint? Well, behold the superior thrift and moral virtue of the one percent:
Richard Scheiner, 58, a real-estate investor and hedge-fund manager, said most people on Wall Street don't save.They’re also more cultured and sophisticated that the lower orders. Here’s proof:
“When their means are cut, they’re stuck,” said Scheiner, whose New York-based hedge fund, Lane Gate Partners LLC, was down about 15 percent last year. “Not so much an issue for me and my wife because we’ve always saved.”
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.
Hans Kullberg, 27, a trader at Wyckoff, New Jersey-based hedge fund Falcon Management Corp. who said he earns about $150,000 a year, is adjusting his sights, too.That little punk is rich because he deals in synthetic CDOs, i.e., he engages in fraud and speculation. He’s a con artist. If there was any justice in the country he’d be sitting in a prison cell.
After graduating from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 2006, he spent a $10,000 signing bonus from Citigroup Inc. (C) on a six-week trip to South America. He worked on an emerging-markets team at the bank that traded and marketed synthetic collateralized debt obligations.
His tastes for travel got “a little bit more lavish,” he said. Kullberg, a triathlete, went to a bachelor party in Las Vegas in January after renting a four-bedroom ski cabin at Bear Mountain in California as a Christmas gift to his parents. He went to Ibiza for another bachelor party in August, spending $3,000 on a three-day trip, including a 15-minute ride from the airport that cost $100. In May he spent 10 days in India.
Earlier this month, a friend invited him on a trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The friend was going to be a judge in a wet T-shirt contest, Kullberg said. He turned down the offer.
It wouldn’t have been “the most financially prudent thing to do,” he said. “I’m not totally sure about what I’m going to get paid this year, how I’m going to be doing.”
The malaise is affecting elite scholars in academia as well.
M. Todd Henderson, a University of Chicago law professor who’s teaching a seminar on executive compensation, said the suffering is relative and real. He wrote two years ago that his family was “just getting by” on more than $250,000 a year, setting off what he called a firestorm of criticism.Well that puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it? So does this:
“Yes, terminal diseases are worse than getting the flu,” he said. “But you suffer when you get the flu.”
Last week, while working on a documentary about hunger in Michigan, Russ Russell had an experience that left him speechless.
I was visiting with this family and one of the little boys said he wasn’t going to eat,” said Russell, development director for Forgotten Harvest, a Detroit-based nonprofit that rescues and redistributes fresh food. “He said, ‘Oh, I’m not eating dinner because it’s my brother’s turn tonight. Tomorrow is my night.’”