It is Never Enough

It seems that no matter how much we have it is no enough. I knew a family fried who was a top executive in a big bank and made a lot of money, but he was still living with a knife to his throat, because he was unable to cut back. Despite a hefty salary, he had to maintain a large stately Greenwich house with a pool, 3 kids in private school, a swanky Manhattan gym memberships, a maid, despite the fact that his wife did not work. He did economize by buying barely used Mercedes and Porsches, instead of totally new ones.

He should have moved into a normal house, and put the 3 kids into public school. I am sure that in Greenwich the local schools are good. That would have been enough, but he did not do it, and instead lived on the edge financially.

Here are stories of other “sufferers” from Mish Shedlock.

Andrew Schiff 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.

“People who don’t have money don’t understand the stress,” said Alan Dlugash, a partner at accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron LLP in New York who specializes in financial planning for the wealthy. “Could you imagine what it’s like to say I got three kids in private school, I have to think about pulling them out? How do you do that?”

Wall Street’s cash bonus pool fell by 14 percent last year to $19.7 billion, the lowest since 2008, according to projections by New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

“It’s a disaster,” said Ilana Weinstein, chief executive officer of New York-based search firm IDW Group LLC. “The entire construct of compensation has changed.”

Wall Street headhunter Daniel Arbeeny said his “income has gone down tremendously.” On a recent Sunday, he drove to Fairway Market in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn to buy discounted salmon for $5.99 a pound.

$17,000 on Dogs

Richard Scheiner, 58, a real-estate investor and hedge-fund manager, said most people on Wall Street don’t save.

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.

He described a feeling of “malaise” and a “paralysis that does not allow one to believe that generally things are going to get better,” listing geopolitical hot spots such as Iran and low interest rates that have been “artificially manipulated” by the Federal Reserve.

Poly Prep

The malaise is shared by Schiff, the New York-based marketing director for Euro Pacific Capital, where his brother is CEO. His family rents the lower duplex of a brownstone in Cobble Hill, where his two children share a room. His 10-year- old daughter is a student at $32,000-a-year Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn. His son, 7, will apply in a few years.

“I can’t imagine what I’m going to do,” Schiff said. “I’m crammed into 1,200 square feet. I don’t have a dishwasher. We do all our dishes by hand.”

He wants 1,800 square feet — “a room for each kid, three bedrooms, maybe four,” he said. “Imagine four bedrooms. You have the luxury of a guest room, how crazy is that?”

Summer Rentals

The family rents a three-bedroom summer house in Connecticut and will go there again this year for one month instead of four. Schiff said he brings home less than $200,000 after taxes, health-insurance and 401(k) contributions.

“I wouldn’t want to whine,” Schiff said. “All I want is the stuff that I always thought, growing up, that successful parents had.”

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