Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wealthy financiers sometimes have to do household chores, not always able to afford new shoes

As someone who sometimes is a bit short on cash, I'm always looking for ways to save a buck.  Thankfully, some British bankers have compiled their tips!  I'm sure this will be helpful and not at all hilariously out of touch.

If you want ways of saving money, an investment banker may not seem the best source of advice. Believe it or not, however,  bankers are changing their spending habits as their bonuses shrink and become allocated over several years. Both bankers and their once free-spending wives

Bankers are fiscally responsible, of course--it's those durn free-spending wives you gotta watch out for!

are suddenly becoming familiar with the art of thriftiness. For your benefit, we’ve spoken to a selection of current and ex-bankers and to their spouses about how they’re cutting their personal spending.
This is what they have imparted. We hope it is of use.

1. Go on a clothes diet

Sadly, this doesn't mean eat your clothes.  2-4 are all basically the same and could be summarized as "sometimes spending a gazillion dollars on your children will not be affordable".

2. Involve the entire family

3. Put your children into the state school system
4. Make your children pay their own university fees

“People forget that in the UK the government offers student loans that cover fees,” said one ex-banker who is making his son pay his own way through higher education.

Indeed!  People just forget about that option, and by "people" I mean "all of the people except for the ones who make merely a reasonable income and always have to borrow money for large purchases because damn, I don't just have fifty thousand bucks lying around here."

In any case, I'll acknowledge that these first four were a little out there and not pertinent to most people, but hardly offensive to less-well-off individuals.  Rest assured, that will change shortly.

5. Change your travel habits

Oh, you mean maybe drive to family vacation instead of flying, or travel a little less to save money?

Eli Lederman, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley who has reinvented himself as an author,

said he’s ditched business class flights.

“I still go to New York  five or six times per year, but now I forego business class to travel in premium economy,” he said. “With the new flexibility to plan ahead – which was impossible when I worked for a bank – you can get good fares. And if you’re smart about it, the airlines still give you all the perks.”

So you had to give up business class for premium economy?  I'd be sympathetic if I had a fucking clue what the difference was.  You said yourself that you still get all the perks.

6. Start ironing

This may sound like a small thing, but while they’re working most bankers do not iron their own shirts. When they stop working or lose money, they start ironing.

“Now I iron all my shirts,” one ex-banker told us. “I’ve always loved doing this in a Zen kind of way, but I never had the time to do it.”

In all honesty, this is the one guy in the article I felt any sympathy for, because this is the kind of thing that only someone desperately trying to come to grips with losing their job would say.  "Oh, no, getting fired was great!  Now I have plenty of time to spend in the outdoors, since that's where I sell all of my worldly possessions at garage sales to feed my family."

Another banker, who used to work at Goldman Sachs and now runs his own business, said he gets his wife to iron his shirts nowadays. “At Goldman there was a service in the basement where I dropped my shirts off for a fee, but now I ask Jane to do it for me,” he said.

How self-sacrificing of you, taking on the monumental task of making your wife do your personal chores for you!  Let's see if we can find a worse way to say that, though.

“The wife is doing the ironing,” another banker told us. “She’s not loving it, but she doesn’t want to get a job herself so is having to accept it.”

Nailed it!

7. Don’t carry so much cash

“Stop carrying a wedge of cash around with you,” said the ex-Goldman banker. “It reduces the temptation to tip people so much.”

The problem with carrying around cash is really that you're tempted to be too generous to the minimum-wage-earning folks serving your food?  Glad we fixed that particular money sink.
8. Start tutoring your children yourself

Well, that's just crazy.  What's the point of being a banker if it doesn't get me out of actually raising my own children?  I know it seems like I'm joking, but wait until you hear what bankers have to say about going on vacation with their kids.

9. Stop skiing, or ski more cheaply

Thanks for offering a backup option in case "not skiing" was too extreme for me.

In the ideal world, financial services professionals in the City of London would take a Powder Byrne skiing holiday every year. Unfortunately, this can be a little expensive.  “I took the family skiing with Power Byrne last year and spent £13k,” one hedge fund manager told us. “It was great – they take the kids away from you in the morning and only return them in the late afternoon, but you pay for that kind of attention.”

You took the family skiing so that someone else could spend quality time with your kidsThus far, the main benefit of being rich appears to be that you don't have to do any of the actual family stuff yourself.  Chores?  Nope, sorry.  Take care of the kids?  Why am I paying for a ski vacation if I have to do that?

10. Stay with friends

You mean when you're broke and unemployed, and just need a place with a roof to sleep?

When you go on holiday in the summer (or over Easter)


don’t pay for your accommodation – stay with friends. “I went to the Maldives six times in a row,” said the hedge fund manager. “But last year we didn’t go to the Maldives for the first time in six years – we went to stay with friends in New York.

Yes, save money by staying with friends when you vacation internationally.  That'll really help!
11. Sell the second home

Do you really think people with a second home just forget they can sell it if they run out of money?  "Sorry, kids, no dinner tonight.  We're broke!  Don't forget to pack for our trip to the summer home in the countryside tomorrow!"  The best part about this tip is that apparently, no one's actually using it yet:

“The second home in the country is where you rack up the most serious costs,” said the hedge fund manager. “A lot of people I know are talking about ditching the country house. No one’s done it yet though.”

Revised title for this tip: "Think about selling the second home.  Don't do it, though."

The remaining nine tips are pretty repetitive, so we'll call it there.  Apparently bankers think that tips like "sell your old clothes instead of trashing them" are useful thrifty pointers, so, thanks for that, guys!  I'll stop setting fire to my belongings when I'm done with them.  They also advise those seeking to cut costs to...buy expensive cars!

20. Get a Prius

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