Having to eke out a life on only $350,000 a year

Oh those poor widdle rich people. The smaller bonus checks on Wall Street are causing some awful misery among the Mammon-worshipers, y’all. Some people are having trouble affording a nice summer rental place. According to these newly disadvantaged personages, “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?”

Well, Sweet Babou and myself have out pre-K daughter in a pricey private preschool … and we have to cut back on other areas. For example, we don’t have nice clothes and we don’t have much of an entertainment budget. This is because we know we cannot have our cake and eat the damn thing too. And, while we certainly want the best of everything for our kids, we know there is a BIG difference between having to go to a cheaper school and having to struggle to feed them.

The millions of Americans, especially the 14 million children, plagued with food insecurity probably don’t have a clue about “stress”, do they Mr. Dlugash? The boy who told Russ Russell, the development director for Forgotten Harvest, that “Oh, I’m not eating dinner because it’s my brother’s turn tonight. Tomorrow is my night.” … that boy just can’t fathom how hard you have it, there in the top 1% of American income.

The good news is that Faux News totally pities you. That’s right, they maintain that it’s really hard to “get by” on a meager salary like $250,000 a year … even as they throw a hissy fit at the thought of a maid in NY city making  $60,000 a year.  Even though that $60 K is the equivalent of making $29K in a less expensive city, like Atlanta.

Now someone who makes the $380,000/year it takes to qualify for the top 1% can be made to feel “poor” if he compares himself the 400 richest Americans, who make an average of $345 Million a year, and he has the right to be pissed that he pays a tax rate of 35% and they pay a tax rate of 18%, but if he thinks he is suffering the way poor people, which would be a family of five (just like his) making $25,790/year, BTW …. then he is so full of shit it is bursting out of his ears like a broken fire main.

Basically, a bunch self-absorbed asshats who think they are entitled to the cream of the top of any pan of milk are now bitching and whining because they can’t have every single damn thing they want. Boo. Hoo. It must really suck to have to vacation in a less-awesome summer home.

So to all the Wall Street Banksters and their sycophants who are no longer rolling in the same kind of green … I cannot find a unit of measurement that coveys how little I give a fuck about “your” poverty.

PS — I do, however, care about the people effected by the recent tornadoes. Please consider making a donation for disaster relief today by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

About Betty Fokker

I'm a stay-at-home feminist mom.
This entry was posted in are you kidding me with this shit?, Mammon, shit I think y'all should know. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Having to eke out a life on only $350,000 a year

  1. Melanie says:

    Preach it!

  2. Dorothy says:

    Please – I’m not a 1%-er, nor do I agree that they’re entitled to the bonuses that they get paid.

    But let me put this in perspective for you sweetlumps: $250K doesn’t go far at all in NYC. I lived for more than 20 years in the NYC metro area and in the beginning, had that same $35K/year starting salary that you have right now. And what that got me was $5 between paychecks and sharing a $750 apartment with a stranger in a NJ slum, so I could afford the public transit to get back and forth to work. I spent my last year in NYC subletting a 550 square foot studio – at below market rates – for $1800/month. Market rate – which was CHEAP btw, was $2500/month for that shoebox. What do actual 2BRs run? You know- a real two bedroom with a door that your child could sleep in? Try $4-5K a month.

    By the time I finished paying neccessities like the subway to get back and forth to work, and food from an actual grocery store (not takeout), i was grateful for all the free things to do in the city. Because god knows I couldn’t afford to do much more. It certainly didn’t include Manolos, 5-star dining experiences and Broadway plays.

    And what was I making at that point? Just under $100K. Wow. So maybe if you’re making $250K a year, with a spouse and 2 kids, that money doesn’t go very far if you’re living in NYC. “Well, don’t live there, Mrs. GotRocks”. Of course – go cheaper – go to a borough. Live in a suburban community. And pay $300/month + parking fees to get on the commuter rail. Plus the car expenses you didn’t have, when you lived in the city.

    Landlords routinely ask that renters have 30x-40x the rent as minimum income. Brokers want 15% of the yearly rent for the privilege of opening the door. Subway rides are $2.50 a pop for the unwashed masses and even cheap ass coffee at the deli on the corner runs a 1.50 a pop.

    So when you talk about how the poor $250K/year people have no concept of how $35K/ year people live, YOU have no idea what the context is in which they have to live.

    Sure, the SINGLE $250K earning banker has no problems. But if you want to make apples = apples, then talk about how the 2 parent, 2 kid banker making $250K squeaks by in one of the most expensive metro areas of the world, if one spouse doesn’t work.

    They’re not eating at Le Cirque. They’re eating $7 rotisserie chicken and trying to figure out how NOT to pay double what you pay for cheap crap @ the Manhattan target.

    Now I’d like to see how your life compares to the guy at the Korean bodega that sweeps the floor for <$35K year, and somehow manages to make ends meet for his wife and kids that live in northernmost sections of NYC.

    Context is everything.

    • Betty Fokker says:

      Well, I have to ask you, sunshine, if you actually READ the post before you started. For one thing, I provided a handy-dandy link for context of what cost of living is in a big city like NY v/s a smaller city like Atlanta. For another, the whole point is that middle-class budgeting is NOT THE SAME THING AS POVERTY. You see, if you have enough money for necessities, but not much left over, you may not be “rich” … but you sure as shit ain’t “poor”. And comparing the agony of scraping by with a family on $250,000 in NY (which according to the cost-of-living wizard calculator is just slightly more in disposable income than my family has) to REAL poverty is still horseshit. Having to live in a smaller home is NOT the same as having no home, or a home about to be foreclosed on. Having no money left after all the stuff you NEED is paid for is NOT the same thing as having chose between food and the water getting cut off. My family is not “rich”, in that we have to budget to have the things that are most important to us … but having to say no to a trip to Disney Land is a world away from having to choose between groceries or rent.

      • Dorothy says:

        I did read your post- and that’s why I answered. I have lived that poverty level income, so I’m intimately acquainted with both ends of the spectrum.

        I think your post is bitter and jealous. I think you want to rant at people that make more money, but live in a more expensive area and therefore have their own stresses with budgeting to make ends meet, albeit with a bigger pool of money. I think you know nothing of what it’s like to live in an absurdly expensive metro area, where your income is taxed at one of the highest in the nation. I think you’d rather make a case of how hard it is to be a in a single income family, and rail at others about how much ‘easier’ they have it, because they made different choices that are equally as valid for them as your choice is to stay home.

        I think this post is another example of why 99% commentary is chalked off to ‘jealousy and bitterness from people who wish they were rich.”

    • Betty Fokker says:

      According to the NYT cost-of-living gadget, the $250,000 in NYC is the equivalent of just under $118,000 in Indianapolis. I have friends who make less than half that who live there, and they have a middle class life thanks to tight budgeting and the relinquishment of some necessities … like fucking health insurance for the wife. They have also been get-you-lights-turned-off poor, as have I. There is really NO comparison between what they have now and what poverty is … even though they are by NO MEANS rich. So if NYC residents want to protest that their 1% taxes need to start at $713,000 (because that is the equivalent to $350,000 in Cincinnati) then they have a legitimate argument. But if they want to whine they are in dire financial straights then I call BULLSHIT.

      • Dorothy says:

        Clearly, you’ve never spent more than what – a nanosecond in the NYC metro area?

        30+ years of living there, and I can tell you that $118K for a family of four, **in an equivalent living situation** as Indianopolis IS IMPOSSIBLE. You *cannot* have the same things in the NYC metro area (the NY/NJ/CT area) as that $118K will get you in – it simply costs too much. Period. End of story. Finis. No 3BR/2B house w/a garage. No quarter acre. No SUV.

        I move to MD 2 years ago. I make less here, and BOUGHT a 1600 sq ft house. I couldn’t RENT more than 550 sqf in MANHATTAN, WITH MORE INCOME. I live higher on the hog in the DC MD suburban area than I ever did in NY, on less salary. Context, context, context.

        COLA indices are only part of the picture.

        You’d rather rant about how people are whiners, and that’s the point of your post. rant away. That doesn’t mean you’re right. Or informed. But you’ll feel better. Have at it.

    • BarbN says:

      Well, since I know Fokker won’t reply to this one, I’ll step in. First of all, you obviously don’t know her if you think she’s a whiner. If you hang around here for awhile, you will realize that she may be opinionated and occasionally over the top in stating her case, but she never whines. Her point, which you’ve evaded in all of your responses, is that having to scrape by and yet still *being able* to scrape by, is different than actually living in poverty. Entirely different. And also, you completely missed the point of the cost-of-living gadget. $250,000 in NYC is the equivalent of $118,000 in Indiana– that doesn’t mean that you should try to get by on $118,000 in NYC. It means that a family living on $250,000 in NYC is in an equivalent financial position to a family living on $118,000 IN INDIANAPOLIS.

      • Bethany says:

        Also, going to speak up as someone else living in the DC/MD area. I’m going to guess that this person lives on the far far outskirts on the DC area (i.e. rural MD or the county everyone avoids because it still has breed specific legislation) since when I chat with my Brooklyn friends we tend to have relatively similar grumblings about similar rents on apartments, costs of restaurants and groceries (we all rejoice when we’re able to stock up in Ohio). Just in case that helps anyone else see her comments in the proper light.

        I may not always agree with Fokker, but even I know that $350,000 isn’t poor. It’s stressful to have to shift from an upper class to a middle class standard of living, but it’s certainly not poverty. I validate and understand the stress, but I think it’s lacking in (oh, let’s go for the pun) class to complain about it in the way these people are in a public context (i.e. not over a glass of beer with friends in private) when they know that there are people not far away having a much worse time of things.

  3. tinapj says:

    Well said, Betty!

    Dorothy – starting a detailed comment disagreeing with the post with “sweetlumps”? Really?! That just makes it sound condescending and rude from the start!

    • Dorothy says:

      It is – because the post is condescending and railing about something that author didn’t put in it’s context.

      You want to talk about how difficult it is to make ends meet on 35K a year, for a family – I’m all with that. It’s unbearably hard. But don’t trot out a third party to crucify in public without putting it in context. That’s poor ‘journalism’, and poor comparison writing at a minimum.

      Make apples to apples, then rant, and I’m right there with you.

      • Dorothy, let’s take the salary numbers and the anger out of it for a minute. She is comparing apples to apples. What she’s saying is that having to choose which of your children to pull out of private school is a world away from having to choose which of your children to feed.

  4. I would be perfectly happy if the tax bracket was adjusted for regional differences, because what you both say is true. I have lived in New Jersey all my life. By tax codes, I have been considered lower middle-class and upper middle-class. I have never felt poor (thanks, Mom) and I have never felt rich. I am grateful for all my blessings, especially my five children who eat up all our money. We do not have an extravagent lifestyle, and we struggle to pay our bills. We are in debt, like everyone else. We are not poor. But we are not rich, although in a few years it may look that way on paper.
    I’m weary of the whole thing–I think Congress doesn’t give a shit about any of us, and it will remain our individual responsibility to care for one another. Let’s start by not yelling at eachother, because when we do, the ass-hats win.

  5. Fokker :) Please don’t let people like Bitter Dorothy get you down. Keep doing what you do. I for one, appreciate it.

  6. Betty Fokker says:

    Dorothy — my bad for not pointing out the COLA was showing that a family living on $250,000 in NYC is in an equivalent financial position to a family living on $118,000 IN INDIANAPOLIS. Seriously, I should have realized you would skim it and miss the point. Furthermore, my family is, according to COLA, living just slightly below the level of a family of 4 making $250,000 in NYC — so I have no reason to be jealous. I know all about having to budget, and I also know it is NOT the same as poverty … which is the POINT you KEEP MISSING. The main difference between me and the middle-class twits in the articles I was citing is that I KNOW that I am in a good place and I don’t whine about my lack of a nicer summer home while there is REAL problems for people who live in REAL poverty. How on earth did you miss the part about 14 million kids with food insecurity. You really think that is the SAME as the penny-pinching on $250,000 in NYC????

  7. Betty Fokker says:

    Follow the first link and you’ll find this lovely quote: “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.” My heart just aches for him that he won’t be able to rent his nice summer home. That is totally the same thing as losing your only home to foreclosure.

  8. Did anyone else notice that while Fokker links all her sources dearest Dorothy expects us to believe everything that comes out of her mouth without any confirmation?

  9. londonmabel says:

    I think this is a very telling phrase: “The New York that I wanted to have is still just beyond my reach.” And: “have been forced to “re-examine lots of assumptions about how grand their life would be.”” And: “All I want is the stuff that I always thought, growing up, that successful parents had.” And: “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.” And “He said he no longer goes on annual ski trips to Whistler (WB), Tahoe or Aspen.”

    The article is talking about people who are trying to live a Certain Lifestyle. Not Trying the Live. The kinds of choices they’re being forced to make are painful because they set up for themselves elitist expectations of how their life should look. This has nothing to do with people who have to scrape up change to take the subway to work, or buy groceries.

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