An i-bankers survival guide part 2
After what I may say was a surprising response to an earlier post (see “An i-bankers survival guide“), it’s back by popular demand. As part of our continued public service effort to help our i-banking friends survive these difficult times, here are 10 more ideas to deal with the Bear Market and a bleak-looking LTIP payout:
“Go back to smart casual”
Remember the early part of this decade, when it seemed necessary to wear golf shirts to work, or jackets with no ties, whatever the professional occassion? Just think how much cheaper it is to not have to constantly buy new Zegna ties at $170 a crack. And since you can’t possibly wear the same tie in the space of 6 weeks, 30 ties in a tight rotation amounts to more than $5k after tax. Pretend the NASDAQ is at 6,000 again and roll out the “techie” look.
“Ditch the French Cuffs”
To start with, it takes a certain heft to pull them off in the first place. Unless you can speak fluent French or have flown in on a deal from the United Kingdom that is. More importantly, if you dump the french cuff shirts you’ll save both on your dry cleaning bill plus there’s no need for 25 sets of $300 cufflinks — those can go up on eBay tout suite. Call them “vintage” to get a better price.
“Charge the Rogers@Home bill back to the firm”
If you didn’t work at an investment bank, you wouldn’t need 24 hours access to anything more than a dial-up service. If they want you working on powerpoints from home, they should pay for the high speed internet line. Don’t worry, the grey-haired Vice-Chairs have been doing it for years.
“Put your kids in public school”
Despite the slowing economy and credit crunch-induced Bear Market, many Toronto private schools saw a 100% increase in applications for the coming school year. Since most of Bay Street found public schools to be rewarding experiences for themselves, why not their offspring? The teachers are dedicated and caring, and you’re already paying their salaries as it is through your taxes.
“Move to Aurora”
VC Rick Segal tells me that this is practically a cure-all. Everything is cheaper in Aurora, he assures. Drycleaning, takeout food, lawn maintenance. Maybe not Starbucks, but the rest of the things you care about. What’s more, First Professional has just constructed a huge WalMart plaza at Wellington and 404, so you can get your environmentally sensitive lightbulbs and DVDs (going out to the movies is too expensive) cheaper now, too.
You are forever hearing that the grandparents want to see more of their grandkids? Great idea. How about doing some babysitting? If teenage babysitters in Oakville are charging $15/hour, that adds $100 (after tax) to the night if you take your wife out to dinner and a movie. If you have the luxury of two sets of grandparents, get a rotation plan going and you’ll never pay for a sitter again.
“Syndicate your Leafs tickets”
You already know how the season is going to end, so why are you paying $400/night for every pair? There are many ticket brokers who’ll take the tickets off your hands at a premium, so you can actually be making money if you offload them to a local high end ticket service. And, let’s be honest, you never get to go to the games anyway given unexpected firedrills at work. Who enjoys scrambling at 530 p.m. to find a suitable home for a pair of 700 p.m. start Golds? Soooo wasteful.
“Take up painting as a hobby”
Not that you have talents in this area, but the good news is that your wife will probably accept one of your paintings as an Anniversary or Valentines’ Day gift, given the sentimental value of your hard labours and all. How sensitive of you. And you’ve just saved some major cabbage.
“Cut the # of golf lessons in half”
Speaking of wasting money, given how busy you are at the office, you’re only playing 8 rounds of golf a season. There’s little point in paying someone $125/hr. to help you improve your flop shots. If you’re not playing regularly, you can’t truly improve. But you already probably knew that. Youre wife already thinks “a lesson” is the same as playing a round, even though it takes 3 hours less on a Saturday morning; cutting it back means you’re in the doghouse less, which is nice. Tell your golf pro that you’re busy on some M&A mandates and you’ve got to cut back on the personal stuff.
“Resign from the gym”
Be honest, it’s been so long since you’ve been to the Adelaide Club that you’ve forgotten the combination lock numbers on your locker. It sounded good at the time. Work will pay the initiation fee, and then subsidize the annual dues. But, you’ve not been since 2006. Who is kidding who?