Whining Wall Streeters complain about smaller bonuses, $500,000 salaries

Published: Friday, March 2 2012 10:57 a.m. MST

The average bonus fell almost 18,000, or 13 percent, to $121,150, which makes it the second lowest in the last eight years, according to CNN Money.

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For Wall Street employees, it’s hard to lose your bonus.

Just ask Alan Dlugash, a partner at accounting firm Marks Panth & Shron, who specializes in financial planning for the wealthy.

“People who don’t have money don’t understand the stress,” Dlugash told Bloomberg. “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?”

Other Wall Street workers share Dlugash’s burden.

Schiff, a 46-year-old director of marketing for broker-dealer Euro Pacific Capital Inc., told Bloomberg that if he is paid a lower bonus, then the $350,000 he earns a year isn’t enough to cover his family’s private-school tuition, summer rental in Kent, Conn., and the upgrade to his 1,200-square-foot Brooklyn duplex.

“I feel stuck,” Schiff told Bloomberg. “The New York that I wanted to have is still just beyond my reach. 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.”

Schiff’s yearly income puts him in the country’s top 1 percent.

The average bonus fell almost 18,000, or 13 percent, to $121,150, which makes it the second lowest in the last eight years, according to CNN Money.

The average wage in the U.S. in 2010 was $41,673.83, according to the Social Security Administration’s figures from payroll taxes.

Some folks on Wall Street have turned to money-saving measures as their bonuses get cut, including couponing, according to Businessweek.

Danial Arbeeny, managing principal at CMF Partners, told Businessweek that his in come has “gone down tremendously,” and is no longer able to take annual ski trips to Whistler, Tahoe or Aspen.

“They have a circular that they leave in front of the buildings in my neighborhood,” Arbeeny told Businessweek. He also says that executive search-veterans who work with hedge funds tend to make about $500,000 in a good year.

The Bloomberg articles have surfaced numerous opinions across the Internet.

Jonathan Capehart, a member of the Washington Post editorial team, wrote a response to the article. He said that the article was likely to generate “zero sympathy for the cosseted Wall Street 1 percent.”

“Far be it from me to begrudge someone else’s fabulous finances,” Capehart said in his article. “It’s as American as apple pie, mom and going to college to hope that one day we’ll be rich. It’s in our DNA to hope that one day we, too, will be able to stop worrying about the next payday and when bills are due. But if we are blessed to have all this come true, may we never, ever forget what it’s like to ‘do all our dishes by hand.’”

Lisa Du, a writer for Business Insider, also commented on the article in a recent post.

“There are bills to pay — on private school tuition, on salmon, on summer house rentals and on dog walkers — and that's definitely a universal problem, right?” Du said in her article.

EMAIL: jferguson@desnews.com

TWITTER: @joeyferguson

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