Warehouse D
Poor Rich Guy
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Complains About Living On $350,000 A Year


By James Donahue


For those of us struggling to make ends meet on the meager wages we earn, or the fixed Social Security payments that filter into our bank accounts each month, the story about New York banking executive Andrew Schiff forced to live on a reduced income of $350,000 a year boggles the mind.


Schiff, director of marketing for broker-dealer Euro Pacific Capital Inc., is among the workers in the financial-services industry that are receiving smaller bonus checks. The story said Schiff, like the other Wall Street workers like him, are complaining that the cuts are making it difficult to maintain the lifestyles they have been enjoying.


He said the $350,000 he now earns doesn’t cover his family’s private school tuition costs, a Kent, Connecticut summer rental home and the upgrade they planned for their 1,200-square-foot duplex in Brooklyn.


One New York executive said: “People who don’t have money don’t understand the stress.”


Another Wall Street spokesperson declared “It’s a disaster.”


Schiff said he brings home less than $200,000 after taxes, health insurance and his contributions to his 401(k).


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


The family had planned to expand their duplex to 1,800 square feet, with three or possibly four bedrooms thus providing each person in the household with a personal bedroom and having a guestroom.


Indeed, the cost of renting or buying real estate in New York is steep. Anyone daring to try to live in nice homes must have a very good income or expect to share lower cost flats with other renters.


The struggling lower middle class and poor Americans have no sympathy for people like Schiff. They have become skilled at surviving on incomes that put them either in or just slightly above the poverty level. If they haven’t been evicted from their homes, they are probably sharing the space they live in with other families just to collectively cover the rent payments.


Many retired Americans living on Social Security are either sharing their homes with their adult children or are in some way helping their children financially.


More and more Americans are facing eviction and homelessness, even if they are employed. The jobs they are finding, if they  find one at all, usually pays less than they need to make rent payments, provide food and clothing for the family, maintain a vehicle and pay the cost of gasoline to get to and from work. Yet they have become skilled at “making do with less.” They frequent summer yard sales, second-hand shops and discount stores, feed their families on low-cost prepared foods, and car-pool to work and back.


Most people living on the poverty line can’t afford to buy a newspaper or own a computer so they have never read about Schiff’s terrible plight. But if they knew about it, they would probably have a big laugh.


Schiff is not among the one-percent of the very wealthy billionaires that are controlling the money and power. Thus he is obviously among the long list of high paid executives now suffering from unexpected cut-backs in income brought about by the world’s on-going financial collapse. To be fair, for people who have been used to living Schiff’s precarious lifestyle, once gambling on increased profits and the rising housing bubble, the fall to middle-class income or worse is obviously more devastating than anything experienced by the already impoverished.