The Dashed Dreams of Wall Street Wives

In today's economic turmoil, won't someone please think of all the Wall Street wives?

There's a little (okay a lot) of schadenfreude going on about Wall Street, but I still find this article by Geraldine Baum for the Los Angeles Times about dashed dreams of Wall Street wives very interesting:

Fran Alvarez rarely spent lavishly, as she describes it, during the five years her husband, Carlos, 43, was making $250,000 writing software programs for Credit Suisse. He will be earning half that in his new job away from Wall Street. It was either that or sell the house with its $3,000 monthly mortgage.

At 41, Fran is the caretaker of their daughters, Gabriella, 6, and Isabella, 4. In the last five months she has gone back to her daughter-of-a-mechanic mentality. She canceled magazine subscriptions and expensive cable -- and stopped buying soft toilet paper.

"Growing up, my mom used to buy the scratchiest toilet paper, and when we complained she would say, "When you get your own job, you buy the expensive type,' " Fran says. "Well, we're back to the scratchy stuff."


(Photo: Carolyn Cole / LA Times)

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New York City is currently the most expensive city in the United States. In Manhattan, the average 2 bedroom apartment (between 1000-1200 feet) can average approximately 1.2 million dollars.

Even in the outer boroughs such as Brooklyn, the average 2 bedroom (between 1000-1200 sq feet) can average approx. 500K.

In terms of rental, a $2000- $3000/month equals a decent 800 sq feet apartment with a flushable working bathroom.

One reason why prices are so high is because, the best jobs are concentrated in Manhattan. As a result everyone tries to live really close to Manhattan to ensure a reasonable commute. Given the fact that many New Yorkers (Wall Streeters and non-Wall Streeters) work 60-80 hour weeks, the commuting time becomes extremely important. When you're burning the midnight oil, the last thing you want is a 2 hour drive home.

Also, because the U.S. dollar was so low, many Europeans sought to buy up real estate in New York, keeping the prices very high.

So yes, a six figure salary looks like a lot of money on paper, but in reality, it really depends on where you live. A six figure salary may buy you a lot of nice things in one place, but in NYC, it can buy you a lot of scratchy toilet paper.

Hey, but it's better than being in London, where 2 movie tickets cost $30-40.

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*urge to rant rising* But I won't. I think it all comes down to how one was raised and their belief in how to deal with money. I have a part time job to help my dad pay for the daily stuff. If Fran is having such a hard time doing things maybe she should get a job. Extra earners in the family do help in the long run.
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At least some good things come of this kind of crisis. Pampered mallrat soccer moms get a small reality check. Welcome to our world. If you want real tragedy, try the Zimbabwe recession.
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I may be only one person (not a family of 4), but I work as an office admin on Wall St and I gross about $60 a year. After taxes it's MUCH less than that. I live in NYC, have Netflix, Cable, Cable modem and buy soft toilet paper by the case (saves a few bucks). So...I guess the key to survival is to just not have kids? Sounds good to me!!
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