Monday, December 20, 2010

Random money thoughts

I'm kind of cranky about money right now. I'm tired of arguing to get back money that's already mine or to correct an organization's mistake that puts me at a disadvantage. I'm going to try not spending for a while and see if that helps. :p


I have a friend  in my dance company, I don't know her very well, but I have known her for a long time. She came back to class after a long time away -- because she had twins! And I never would have guessed if she hadn't said anything (only five weeks ago, and she looks like she did pre-pregnancy -- which was already amazing -- but with bigger boobs). Anyway, she has a 24-hour nurse for the babies right now and is looking for a full-time, live-in nanny.


This woman is close to my age, maybe a few years older but not much, and she makes enough money to support a lifestyle that includes owning an apartment in a shishi neighborhood AND paying someone's entire salary to watch her kids. She's married, and her husband probably does well too, but she was just made partner in some sort of financial firm. I knew she made more money than I do, but now I'm kind of staggered to wonder how much more. I can't imagine myself ever in my life making enough money to afford a live-in nanny.

I thought hard to see whether there's any jealousy underlying my reaction to her, but I don't think so. Anyone who has a live-in nanny has to deal with what I call the Fancy People, the people whose parties I perform at with my dance company, and who I sometimes have to deal with for work, and frankly that would drive me crazy. I don't like Fancy People, and I'm not a Fancy Person and don't aspire to be one. My definition of financial security involves me never having to keep a job I hate and being able to help send my kids through college. No live-in nanny required.

It still boggles the mind, though.


Also today, a friend was offered her dream job at a salary so ridiculously low I was speechless. Even for someone with no experience, it winds up being less than minimum wage at the hours the position unofficially requires. I know it's heartbreaking for her to turn it down, but as she put it, she'd like to eat meals occasionally. 


Peanut and I are getting up in just a few hours to try to see the lunar eclipse during the winter solstice. The last time this happened, Louis XIV was born and the Beijing Gazette was switching from woodblock to movable type printing. Not just a once in a lifetime experience!


  1. I am not sure how it works in your country but here in SOuth Africa, even people without kids have live-in domestic helpers and at 26, without earning even the top salary I can afford to have a cleaner come in and clean my house 3 times a week because it is one of the cheapest services ever. Down here it will be strange to find a married woman with kids who doesn't have a live-in nanny who can cook, has done first aid professionally and who can also drive the kids around for their co-curricular activities. I don't think it is fancy at all - just depends on the culture you gre up accustomed to, so I think.

  2. Wow, that's quite a difference between South America and the US! My experience certainly doesn't speak for everyone, and there are wealthier families here in New York than anywhere else I've lived, but I believe live-in childcare (much less live-in domestic help) is rare in this country.

    In my experience in the upper middle class midwest and southeastern US, I have never heard of anyone who had live-in househould help. Here in NYC, I know a few people who have worked as nannies, but none of them were live-in. I don't know anyone who actually used a nanny for their kids -- if they had childcare it was in the form of a day care center or family caretaker.

    Housekeepers, on an hourly basis, are pretty affordable for the upper middle class but even so, it's rare (or maybe it's just rare to talk about having a housekeeper).

    To put it in perspective, Peanut and I make two times the average annual income for a 4-person family in the States, and there is absolutely no way we could afford live-in help. The earning power of someone hiring live-in help is much, much, MUCH higher than normal.

  3. Kind of random, but I refuse to buy a house until we can afford a bi-weekly housekeeper (and a gardener, if I'm being honest). I hate to clean! Thank goodness my fiance is on the same page as me.

  4. Don't feel envy for your friend. I work at a lage investment bank in the city. If you said she made partner or MD(Managing Director)she's making a pretty penny with stock options etc. I know people with salaries of $650k on up.
    Most of the women who have kids on my floor have a nanny. Only 2 have lice in ones though.
    It's sad to say but most of us work for the big investment banks because of the bonuses!

  5. Did you see the eclipse? We stayed up and then woke up later in the night, but were thwarted by an overcast sky - curses!

  6. @Lindy, we did! We set the alarm for 2:30, sat around shell-shocked for a few minutes trying to decide whether we really wanted to brave the cold, but finally put on a couple layers and ventured outside. It was a clear night here in NY, and we had a great view of the red moon nearly eclipsed. After about twenty minutes, the moon was too dark to see well with the light pollution here so we went back inside. It was eery to be out at such an odd, quiet time here, but that was an amazing experience and I'm really glad we did it.


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