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It ain’t easy being rich

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I had to keep checking to make sure I wasn’t actually reading the Onion:

But Ms. Chemtob’s clients are concerned all the same, she said, because their incomes have shrunk, say, to $2 million a year from $8 million, and they know that their 2008 bonus checks are likely to be much less impressive.

One of her clients recently confessed that his net worth had decreased to $8 million from more than $20 million, and he thinks that his wife will leave him. He has hidden their fall in fortune by taking on debt to pay for her extravagant clothes and vacations.

“I literally had to sit there and tell him that he had to tell his wife that she had to stop spending,” she said. “He was actually scared she would leave him because their financial situation changed so drastically.”

Don’t stop there, it gets even better. I almost dropped my monocle reading this:

THEIR spouses could leave them when they discover that their net worth has collapsed to eight figures from nine. Friends and business associates could avoid them as they pass their lunchtime tables at Barney’s or the Four Seasons. And these snubs could trickle down to their children.

“They fear their kids won’t get invited to the right birthday parties,” said Michele Kleier, an Upper East Side-based real estate broker. “If they have to give up things that are invisible, they’re O.K. as long as they don’t have give up things visible to the outside world.”

The horror:

“A year ago, he would have only flown Gulfstreams,” Mr. Sullivan said. “Now it’s moving to the point where he’s flying Beech jets and Learjets.”

And perhaps the best excuse for going off your diet, ever:

ONE Wall Street executive, Ms. Bauer said, snacks on nuts in her office all day to manage the stress of potentially losing her position, while another confesses to inhaling four bowls of cereal at 10 p.m. Even their sex lives are suffering, Ms. Bauer said, because of the stress or because the weight gain makes them feel unattractive.

Her clients blame the economy for their out-of-control waistlines.

“The number one concern that they have is the state of the financial market,” she said. “There definitely is a correlation between the stock market and weight gain.”

Suffice to say, the lack of perspective these people have is simply mind boggling. These people are everything that’s wrong with the US economy right now, and a good chunk of what’s wrong with our culture as a whole.


Written by Eric

June 3, 2008 at 5:23 pm

Gordon Gecko Weighs In

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The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms – greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge – has marked the upward surge of mankind, and greed – you mark my words – will not only save Teldar Paper but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you. – Wall Street, 1987

Of course, the Reagan-era economy  that Michael Douglas’ character summed up so well here looked positively sane and egalitarian compared to the Bush economy now imploding around us.

I honestly don’t know enough about financial markets to comment intelligently upon what’s happening today, other than observing that words like “emergency” and “crisis” are being tossed around by many commentators, joining the talk of “recession” that’s been present for the last few weeks. But I thought it would be worth revisiting the fundamental idea that got us into this mess, which obviously has yet to change in the minds of some on Wall Street.

Greed is not good. Maybe this time we’ll actually learn that lesson.

Written by Eric

January 22, 2008 at 1:20 pm