Imagine reading your Sunday newspaper, in my case, the Washington Post where the requisite financial stories abound discussing the recession and families scaling back etc and then screeching at this headline:
Now, like many of you, the sarcasm dripped as I read through the article thinking to myself, how crazy this woman is for even stating that she was squeaking by on 300k.
Here were the responses on Twitter:
@Gingerlatte That article was crazy…..She should downgrade their lifestyle… bigtime!
Let’s get to it, she either needs to scale back to keep her mouth shut, she sounds crazy. I need not tell you that people are losing their homes, living in shelters and taking menial jobs in order to put food on the table and in some cases, that means the Dollar Menu from McDonald’s or the local dollar store. But she has time to form her lips and state that she is struggling on 300k?
I’m sure you’re eager to know the stats but it’s important to know that she does not earn 300k, her salary is actually $150k plus a bonus and she also receives $75k in child support from her ex husband. But this year her salary/bonus will be reduced by 10%. Furthermore, as the article states, this began with her divorce, not the economy: ”Life in this $2.5 million house was built on the premise of two incomes, not the income of a divorced mother of three in a tanked economy.”
“Her property taxes are $35,000 a year, the nanny is $40,000 and the gardener is $500 a month. When she bought out her husband’s share of the house after their 2006 divorce, she assumed the costs of keeping it afloat — $8,000 to $10,000 a month. There’s a pool man, a gardener and someone to plow the snow from the quarter-mile-long driveway.”
“As tight as money is, she has decided that living in a 4,000-square-foot house on three acres is the practical thing to do.“A), I couldn’t sell the house right now,” she says, citing the slow real estate market.
“B), this is where my kids go to school.
And C), it’s where my job is.”
Pick your jaws up off the floor and stay with me, this gets better. Apparently the rich don’t talk much about this type of thing, you know it’s in bad taste to discuss money around these parts. Meanwhile Ms Stein has a sewer problem that apparently stinks throughout the basement that she would rather ignore and keep her children in the same house, deny herself highlights and get her daughter…….wait for it—>a generic cellphone. How about we reduce some expenses, do your own hair color and the daughter goes without a cellphone altogether?
I’d like to remind Ms Stein that while everyone is feeling the pinch, she has a concrete solution. Sacrifice and spend less. That’s it! I understand that she can’t very well sell the house and come out on top in this economy, so I feel her on that one. But the nanny? Gardener? After school activities? Cell phone? Would all have to go!
I am in no way advocating taking away her children’s childhood’s by yanking all social activities but if they are engaged in 3-5 after school/recreational activities then I would cut that down to 1 or 2. The private school would also have to go. Parents often project onto their children their own feelings during hard times which is understandable. They have to remember that children are resilient, in fact more so than adults and taking them out of the local private school which I’m sure costs many thousands per year would just mean another life adjustment for the children. They would survive and learn to live with it for the time being.
Then I would fire the gardener and either find out how to do the work myself or barter the work in exchange for some kind of services that she can perhaps provide herself.
The nanny would either have to go or she would take a pay cut in exchange for health insurance, after all she gets FREE room and board in a very nice house, honey she would need to feel the pinch too. If a pay cut isn’t possible then fire the nanny and ask one of her unemployed local friends to take over at a much reduced cost. The nanny also has the nerve to talk about her personal recession starting in 1994? Go back to school, retool yourself and get a job like the rest of us!
Ms Stein also has to think about the fact that her job and bonus are on the line. She is the Vice President of Mastercard and given the way the credit card companies are hurting right now, she needs to get over this sense of entitlement and reduce her expenses which are largely related to keeping up with the Jones’-ITIS.
Finally, consider this, her lifestyle right now and the struggle to keep afloat has everything to do with her 2006 divorce and at that point she should have downsized according to her SALARY and not her bonus and child support, none of which are guaranteed. Hell her salary isnt but as long as she is in her position at Mastercard, she gets a check right? Ex hubby can decide not to pay child support and the bonus could very well disappear. So it would seem to me that this is of her own doing and wanting to keep up appearances after the divorce.
Time to step into reality with the rest of the world Ms Stein.