"Wife Bonuses" - Allowances of the Upper East Side

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Rank: The Pro | 28,691

A New York Times writer put together an article on the wives of rich and powerful men in the upper east side. There's a lot of absurdity in the "national geographic" way the writer describes their lives and an obvious liberal, feminist tilt given the publication, but there is a hidden gem inside that is absolutely hilarious.

And then there were the wife bonuses.

I was thunderstruck when I heard mention of a "bonus" over coffee. Later I overheard someone who didn't work say she would buy a table at an event once her bonus was set. A woman with a business degree but no job mentioned waiting for her "year-end" to shop for clothing. Further probing revealed that the annual wife bonus was not an uncommon practice in this tribe.

A wife bonus, I was told, might be hammered out in a pre-nup or post-nup, and distributed on the basis of not only how well her husband's fund had done but her own performance -- how well she managed the home budget, whether the kids got into a "good" school -- the same way their husbands were rewarded at investment banks. In turn these bonuses were a ticket to a modicum of financial independence and participation in a social sphere where you don't just go to lunch, you buy a $10,000 table at the benefit luncheon a friend is hosting.

Women who didn't get them joked about possible sexual performance metrics. Women who received them usually retreated, demurring when pressed to discuss it further, proof to an anthropologist that a topic is taboo, culturally loaded and dense with meaning.

We often ramble on about bonus season for analysts and associates here on WSO, but who knew that the wives of the BSDs have the same set up? I love that instead of an "allowance" or a "budget" these financiers obviously went with the "bonus" model - putting their creativity on display. The idea that it was hammered out during a pre-nup too makes me really hope it isn't as simple as say, 25% of the husband's income, but instead features a complicated waterfall model where the wife's take home changed based on certain benchmarks.

Just fantastic. God bless America.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/17/opinion/sunday/p...

Comments (61)

May 19, 2015

Amazing

May 19, 2015

interesting piece, but are we surprised?

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May 19, 2015
AndyLouis:

interesting piece, but are we surprised?

The structure is what kills me. Rich men giving their trophy wives money isn't news, but the concept of "wife bonus season" makes me chuckle uncontrollably.

May 27, 2015
AndyLouis:

interesting piece, but are we surprised?

Sadly, no...must be one of those "only in New York" things.

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

May 19, 2015

At first thought it sounds like a good idea to me. It makes the wife feel like she is adding value and being rewarded for that value and there are great incentives in place. Everyone does it, this way just happens to be much more structured and seems like it could prevent a lot of fights. It also gets a lot of money fights out of the way which is one of the largest causes of divorce.

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May 19, 2015

you're joking, right?

May 19, 2015

What do you disagree with?

I'm too drunk to taste this chicken -Late great Col. Sanders

May 20, 2015
littleredman:

At first thought it sounds like a good idea to me. It makes the wife feel like she is adding value and being rewarded for that value and there are great incentives in place. Everyone does it, this way just happens to be much more structured and seems like it could prevent a lot of fights. It also gets a lot of money fights out of the way which is one of the largest causes of divorce.

You are 16, aren't you?

    • 2
May 21, 2015

I'm just a realist, do you really think you don't provide others with incentives in the way they act. Listen to Charlie Munger talk about incentives, all this does is lay it all out there so you can have a good measuring system and it will prevent fights in the future. It just happens to be spun in a darker way by showing that only the super rich on wall street are doing it, so it must be funded by greed. If it sets a limit to how much your wife will be spending while at the same time allows her to feel as though she is being paid for a job being a stay at home mom, which is from what I've heard many times a full time job, what is wrong with that?

Best Response
May 19, 2015

I can see the future WSO threads...

Is it more prestigious to structure your marriage as a cayman or delaware limited partnership?
What kind of pref and carry terms are appropriate for an 8/10 wife?

May 19, 2015
Hugh Myron:

I can see the future WSO threads...

Is it more prestigious to structure your marriage as a cayman or delaware limited partnership?
What kind of pref and carry terms are appropriate for an 8/10 wife?

Amazing

May 19, 2015
Hugh Myron:

I can see the future WSO threads...

Is it more prestigious to structure your marriage as a cayman or delaware limited partnership?
What kind of pref and carry terms are appropriate for an 8/10 wife?

SPV's before STD's

May 19, 2015

Yes, it does appear like that at first glance. But you need to consider a different viewpoint: the woman is agreeing to these arrangements. It's ultimately her decision signing up for the program...

I'm too drunk to taste this chicken -Late great Col. Sanders

May 19, 2015

I would consider myself to have an upper-middle class income and don't consider myself a miser by any means, but if my wife wants a $10,000 table she can go out and find a fucking job.

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."

May 19, 2015
big f-ing deal:

I would consider myself to have an upper-middle class income and don't consider myself a miser by any means, but if my wife wants a $10,000 table she can go out and find a fucking job.

I would ask my wife why she's getting such a cheap table.

    • 1
May 19, 2015

Never trust what is written in the papers. If it sounds ludicrous, it probably is. Think about the time last year when some 17 year old high school senior from Queens supposedly earned tens of millions trading in the stock market or when some guy supposedly punched me in the company locker room shortly after the LEH bankruptcy, both of which turned out to be laughably false.

    • 3
May 19, 2015

That is the truth.

And Dick you have done a good job here. I was ready an article on BusinessInsider today (not news I know I know) that was flaming you and in my head I was thinking "LIES! ALL FILTHY LIES!"

May 19, 2015

Just offer him a blow job, no need to be shy.

Incoming Ash Ketchum, Pokemon Master
Literally a problem, solve for both X and Y, please and thank you.
Hugh Myron: "Are there any guides on here for getting a top girlfriend? Think banker/lawyer/doctor. I really don't want to go mid-tier"

    • 1
May 28, 2015
whitecollarandsuspenders:

That is the truth.

And Dick you have done a good job here. I was ready an article on BusinessInsider today (not news I know I know) that was flaming you and in my head I was thinking "LIES! ALL FILTHY LIES!"

Dude, BusinessInsider is only news if Buzzfeed is too. I they both have about the same investigative ability as People Magazine.

May 19, 2015
DickFuld:

Never trust what is written in the papers. If it sounds ludicrous, it probably is. Think about the time last year when some 17 year old high school senior from Queens supposedly earned tens of millions trading in the stock market or when some guy supposedly punched me in the company locker room shortly after the LEH bankruptcy, both of which turned out to be laughably false.

Maybe so, but I also know about some insane shit that you wouldn't believe even if you saw it live on TV.

May 20, 2015
DickFuld:

Never trust what is written in the papers. If it sounds ludicrous, it probably is. Think about the time last year when some 17 year old high school senior from Queens supposedly earned tens of millions trading in the stock market or when some guy supposedly punched me in the company locker room shortly after the LEH bankruptcy, both of which turned out to be laughably false.

Idiots bite, and idiots read. Some numb nut probably did this with his wife and all of a sudden all high flying bankers supposedly do the same... What a load of shi.t

May 20, 2015
Disjoint:

Idiots bite, and idiots read. Some numb nut probably did this with his wife and all of a sudden all high flying bankers supposedly do the same... What a load of shi.t

Think about the industry we're in. It's equally likely that some numb nut did this with his wife and all of a sudden all high flying bankers thought it was a great idea and did the same thing

    • 1
Sep 7, 2019

This reminds me of a similar article written elsewhere (not NY Times but similar quality paper, maybe in The Atlantic or something similar) where the journalist was reporting how college students were having less sex because of the prevalence of porn. The students interviewed talked about how they could get sex but just didn't care about having sex anymore because there was so much porn.

That and this story are transparently fake because of just how ridiculous and pandering they are.

May 19, 2015

If any of this is true then it's positive publicity for finance professionals. Girls have one more reason to chase guys living in the upper east side.

Incoming Ash Ketchum, Pokemon Master
Literally a problem, solve for both X and Y, please and thank you.
Hugh Myron: "Are there any guides on here for getting a top girlfriend? Think banker/lawyer/doctor. I really don't want to go mid-tier"

May 20, 2015

kudos to @SSits for trolling NYT

    • 1
May 20, 2015

Literally lol'd when this popped up on my newsfeed.

May 20, 2015

While I'm sure someone does this, I'm going to assume the NYT wanted to sensationalize what most families call "budgets" (yes, that's a super quant finance word that's just not outrageous sounding enough though...) that are used so that you don't spend all of your money. And when a bonus comes in, everyone gets to have a little more fun with money. Wife allowances & bonuses and performance metrics for getting those bonuses: they sound far more alluring and make finance people seem like out of touch fucktards.

May 20, 2015
Dingdong08:

While I'm sure someone does this, I'm going to assume the NYT wanted to sensationalize what most families call "budgets" (yes, that's a super quant finance word that's just not outrageous sounding enough though...) that are used so that you don't spend all of your money. And when a bonus comes in, everyone gets to have a little more fun with money. Wife allowances & bonuses and performance metrics for getting those bonuses: they sound far more alluring and make finance people seem like out of touch fucktards.

Thank God for some rational thought here. Maybe a couple people have that sort of set up but 99% just realize once the cash flow hits the spending gets to increase.. Pretty simple stuff. As far as budgeting goes, telling your wife she can spend 10k/month as an allowance vs. phrasing it as a budgeted 10k for expenses makes it sound completely different when it reality it's the same thing.

If you all end up making a lot of money you will end up giving your wife a set spending limit/time period. What you call it is up to you.

    • 1
May 20, 2015

What the hell people, what the hell... I knew woman were organized, but damn they have this down to a science

May 20, 2015

Despite what most of us would like to believe, most wives run shit (at least in the sense that most of us are too tired/lazy to argue). I don't think some of the young guys appreciate the dynamics of marriage, especially if you are a high earner and don't have a prenup. Marriage is by far the most important investment decision you will make. Choose wisely.

    • 1
May 21, 2015

Anyone who grew up rich knows how fucking stupid this is. It isn't true. Sure, maybe one or two wives on the entire UES refer to getting their own personal "bonus" from their husband - it is the overwhelming exception to the universal law of this phenomenon NOT happening.

May 21, 2015

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that those who understand, are trying to rationalize it with logic, or support the allowance and performance based bonus system are not married and probably haven't had a longer term relationship. Unless you live in Saudi Arabia where women are more or less chattel, if you mentioned this system to 99%+ of women they'd flip their shit on you. If I ever told my wife "Hey babe, we're going to try something different. I'm going to give you $X/mo but if you get little Dingdong Jr. into that elite elementary school, you get a bonus of up to Y% of your salary, but I'm going to make it discretionary on my part because I want to make sure that you fulfill your other wifely duties such as getting that handicap down because you're reflecting poorly on me at the country club. And while we're at it, let's formalize this in a post-nup document. I'll have my lawyers send it over to your lawyers but let's get this done by the end of the week," at best I'd be sleeping on the couch for the next few years or at worst I'd be a eunich and she'd hand me my balls in a doggy bag.

Essentially you're telling your wife that they work for you and you're the boss. Maybe my wife's a women's lib feminist and I don't realize it, but I'm pretty sure women do not want to work for their husbands.

And like @hamilton714 said, it's just not true.

    • 4
May 21, 2015
Dingdong08:

... little Dingdong Jr. ...

you want your kid to be beaten up in the school yard, don't you?

May 21, 2015
MBA_Junkie:

Dingdong08: ... little Dingdong Jr. ...

you want your kid to be beaten up in the school yard, don't you?

His full name is Francis Hubert Dingdong. I give my kids really awful names to toughen them up. Start them in krav maga at three and start cycling anadrol and deca at 7 so that when some punk calls them a sissy Francis on the playground they throat punch them, pull their pants down and piss on their choking face.

    • 3
May 21, 2015

If it is that ridiculous, then why do a large percentage of families do it with their children. If Tommy gets a 4.0 he gets to go to Disneyland. It will largely depend on the woman on the other side, but what is the problem with giving her a few incentives. If you maintain x weight then you get x dollars. Sure it may sound demeaning, but if you lay it out there in the beginning what is important then it's pretty fathomable. I don't know you or your wife, but I'm sure there are areas in your life that are less sensitive, where you could put an incentive in place if you already don't. I'm sure you unconsciously do it now; your wife has been really nice at home so you take her out to dinner, but at the end of the night in the back of your mind you're thinking to yourself you better get laid that night(with her on top). What is the difference?

    • 3
May 21, 2015
littleredman:

If it is that ridiculous, then why do a large percentage of families do it with their children. If Tommy gets a 4.0 he gets to go to Disneyland. It will largely depend on the woman on the other side, but what is the problem with giving her a few incentives. If you maintain x weight then you get x dollars. Sure it may sound demeaning, but if you lay it out there in the beginning what is important then it's pretty fathomable. I don't know you or your wife, but I'm sure there are areas in your life that are less sensitive, where you could put an incentive in place if you already don't. I'm sure you unconsciously do it now; your wife has been really nice at home so you take her out to dinner, but at the end of the night in the back of your mind you're thinking to yourself you better get laid that night(with her on top). What is the difference?

The difference is that they're kids and you're their parent, and your wife is a modern Western adult in 2015. I would like any married man on this site to tell us what would happen if they actually told their wife that if they keep their weight below X lbs, you'll give them $Y. Their wife would kill them. You could probably do that with an internet bride from Kazakhstan but I'd bet a senior finance guy living on the UES is married to a well educated woman who would laugh in their face as the best reaction.

Rationalize and try to logically justify it all you want but it just wouldn't work. In theory it may sound ok but in reality you'd be divorced or your testicles would no longer be in your scrotum.

    • 1
May 21, 2015
littleredman:

If it is that ridiculous, then why do a large percentage of families do it with their children. If Tommy gets a 4.0 he gets to go to Disneyland. It will largely depend on the woman on the other side, but what is the problem with giving her a few incentives. If you maintain x weight then you get x dollars. Sure it may sound demeaning, but if you lay it out there in the beginning what is important then it's pretty fathomable. I don't know you or your wife, but I'm sure there are areas in your life that are less sensitive, where you could put an incentive in place if you already don't. I'm sure you unconsciously do it now; your wife has been really nice at home so you take her out to dinner, but at the end of the night in the back of your mind you're thinking to yourself you better get laid that night(with her on top). What is the difference?

Have you ever dated a woman? Or talked to one? Ever?

    • 1
May 21, 2015
littleredman:

giving her a few incentives. If you maintain x weight then you get x dollars. Sure it may sound demeaning, but if you lay it out there in the beginning what is important then it's pretty fathomable.

This is real life and not the Sims

May 22, 2015
littleredman:

If it is that ridiculous, then why do a large percentage of families do it with their children. If Tommy gets a 4.0 he gets to go to Disneyland. It will largely depend on the woman on the other side, but what is the problem with giving her a few incentives. If you maintain x weight then you get x dollars. Sure it may sound demeaning, but if you lay it out there in the beginning what is important then it's pretty fathomable. I don't know you or your wife, but I'm sure there are areas in your life that are less sensitive, where you could put an incentive in place if you already don't. I'm sure you unconsciously do it now; your wife has been really nice at home so you take her out to dinner, but at the end of the night in the back of your mind you're thinking to yourself you better get laid that night(with her on top). What is the difference?

My compliments. You troll well.

May 23, 2015
Dingdong08:

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that those who understand, are trying to rationalize it with logic, or support the allowance and performance based bonus system are not married and probably haven't had a longer term relationship. Unless you live in Saudi Arabia where women are more or less chattel, if you mentioned this system to 99%+ of women they'd flip their shit on you. If I ever told my wife "Hey babe, we're going to try something different. I'm going to give you $X/mo but if you get little Dingdong Jr. into that elite elementary school, you get a bonus of up to Y% of your salary, but I'm going to make it discretionary on my part because I want to make sure that you fulfill your other wifely duties such as getting that handicap down because you're reflecting poorly on me at the country club. And while we're at it, let's formalize this in a post-nup document. I'll have my lawyers send it over to your lawyers but let's get this done by the end of the week," at best I'd be sleeping on the couch for the next few years or at worst I'd be a eunich and she'd hand me my balls in a doggy bag.

Essentially you're telling your wife that they work for you and you're the boss. Maybe my wife's a women's lib feminist and I don't realize it, but I'm pretty sure women do not want to work for their husbands.

And like @hamilton714 said, it's just not true.

Right on the money.

May 21, 2015

You think it's that ridiculous, take Buffet as an example, he gave both his wife and children weight incentives. Give it any meaning you like, ex. "the health benefits." We're all guilty of doing it to others (all in different ways) and because an article describes it in villainous way you immediately fall into the author's trap.

May 21, 2015

I don't know how this isn't sinking in. If you tried this with an actual human being you'd wind up with a fist so far up your ass it'd make Elmo quiver.

May 21, 2015
littleredman:

You think it's that ridiculous, take Buffet as an example, he gave both his wife and children weight incentives. Give it any meaning you like, ex. "the health benefits." We're all guilty of doing it to others (all in different ways) and because an article describes it in villainous way you immediately fall into the author's trap.

ok ... here is what you need to do to see the argument these guys are making:

  • talk to a woman - she is the human being that comes attached to a vagina..
  • i think it is safe to assume that you have never encountered a vagina in real life so, for reference, it looks like your fleshlight... and this is gonna blow your mind - it is the fleshlight that is the duplicate, not the other way around..
  • so to find a woman you go around asking people on the street whether their private parts look like the flesh light you would be holding in your hand
  • once you find a woman introduce yourself first & then ask her about this.. I guarantee you the answer will come swiftly and painfully .. just make sure you bring a doggy bag for you balls as @Dingdong08 pointed out before..

you are welcome!

    • 1
May 23, 2015

Littermam says "you take your wife out with hopes of getting laid (with her on top)" then mentions The Game lol amazing kid, amazing

May 25, 2015
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May 28, 2015
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