Inside Bankers' 'Malaise' Over Slashed Bonuses

Wall Street workers finding it difficult to get by, or so they say
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 29, 2012 2:03 PM CST
Updated Mar 3, 2012 7:00 PM CST
Inside Bankers' 'Malaise' Over Slashed Bonuses
Wall Street bankers just aren't making what they used to.   (Flickr)

Wall Street bankers received smaller bonuses this month, and it is really hard for them. If you're having trouble dredging up any sympathy, perhaps that's because you just don't understand what it's like to be in the 1%: "People who don’t have money don’t understand the stress," one Marks Paneth & Shron partner explains. "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?" Bloomberg says that cuts to 2011 discretionary pay were at least 25% at Goldman Sachs and Barclays and that cash bonuses were capped at $125,000 at Morgan Stanley, but the New York Times says bonuses have been "merely bruised," and that total payouts are predicted to drop just 14% this bonus season. More fairly unbelievable tidbits from Bloomberg's tales of woe:

  • These people have suffered: Many millionaires have had to "re-examine lots of assumptions about how grand their life would be," says the founder of a peer-learning group for investors. They've suffered "a crushing setback," resulting in a feeling of "malaise" and "paralysis."
  • $350,000 just isn't enough to afford… The private-school tuition, summer rental home in Connecticut, and Brooklyn duplex upgrade that one Euro Pacific Capital director would like. "I can’t imagine what I’m going to do," he says. "I’m crammed into 1,200 square feet. I don’t have a dishwasher. We do all our dishes by hand."
  • You're forced to shop on a budget: Like settling for $5.99-a-pound salmon.
  • And you have to skip vacations: Like those that one banker used to take to ski at Whistler, Tahoe, or Aspen. Another trader who used to travel to places like South America, Ibiza, and India recently had to turn down a vacation in New Orleans, where his friend was going to judge a Mardi Gras wet T-shirt contest, because it wouldn't be "financially prudent."
  • But if you remembered to actually save money, you're probably OK: One hedge fund manager had to sell two of his motorcycles, but because he has always saved, he can still spend $17,000 per year on his two dogs.
(More Wall Street stories.)

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