Saturday, June 07, 2008

Money, It's a Gas

Via IOZ, we find out that maybe the rich are just like you 'n' me after all:

They seem to have nothing to fret about: their net worths range from $5 million to $1 billion. A blip in the markets shouldn’t send their chateau-size Park Avenue co-ops to foreclosure or exile them to Payless Shoes.

But Ms. Chemtob’s clients are concerned all the same, she said, because their incomes have shrunk, say, to $2 million a year from $8 million, and they know that their 2008 bonus checks are likely to be much less impressive.

One of her clients recently confessed that his net worth had decreased to $8 million from more than $20 million, and he thinks that his wife will leave him. He has hidden their fall in fortune by taking on debt to pay for her extravagant clothes and vacations.

“I literally had to sit there and tell him that he had to tell his wife that she had to stop spending,” she said. “He was actually scared she would leave him because their financial situation changed so drastically.”

Everybody now -- Awwwww. Let's all chip in and buy these poor saps a giant fucking hug, shall we? Even in the best of times, I could never muster a glimmer of sympathy for these conspicuous-consuming leisure-class bozos; in current conditions they are welcome to divvy up their remaining net worth among the soup kitchens and animal shelters, and die broke like the rest of us.

It would at least be helpful to get an idea of how these douchebags earn their incomes and bonus checks. Experience tells most of us that, even if they're not out-and-out hedge-fund bookies who create no actual wealth, but merely sift and maneuver other people's money and divert the inevitable collapse downstream, these would-be captains of industry probably do less actual work than any of their hopeful subordinates.

“Most people won’t go to their banker and say: ‘You know I’m in desperate trouble. I need funds,’ ” said Andy Augenblick, president of Emigrant Bank Fine Art Finance, which allows clients to borrow against art collections worth more than $2 million. Mr. Augenblick said that the number of requests for these types of loans is five times higher than a year ago. He said that while these borrowers claim that they don’t need the money, their latest financial statements show that their net worth has withered in the past year.

Other wealthy clients are cutting luxuries that they think their friends and relatives won’t notice, according to Mr. Del Gatto of Circa. At Circa’s midtown offices, he said, the seven consultation rooms have been busy with customers selling their precious gems. Some older couples, he said, are selling estate jewelry to help support their children who have lost Wall Street jobs. Bankers are paring down their collections of Patek Philippe watches. Wives from Greenwich and Scarsdale are selling 2-carat to 35-carat single-stone diamond rings. One recent client explained to Mr. Del Gatto that she was selling $2 million in diamonds she rarely wore, because her friends wouldn’t notice that they were gone.

“She said, ‘If I sold my Bentley or my important art, they would notice,’ ” he said. “That we hear, in differing examples, every day.”

Oh, it's just all so horrible. Truly we are living in the end times. Until the guillotine once again becomes socially acceptable, it's hard to go beyond a reflexive "fuck 'em". Cry me a river.


IOZ said...

Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.

Heywood J. said...

I knew that song was sticking in my brain for some reason. I forgot that you'd used that line for a title a few weeks back. Déjà vu all over again.

Cody Carter said...

wow, afraid his wife would leave him because he's only making 8 million a year... that's ridiculous. i can tell that their relationship is all about the love...