Like many carbon-based lifeforms, you perhaps think that bankers are driven only by naked greed. But that is just because you don't understand them: They actually have a deep psychological need for that money.
In a new article at the U.K. site eFinancialCareers, several bankers explain that they have legitimate reasons for needing more than one million British pounds (about $1.6 million) per year in pay -- more money than most non-banking types could ever figure out how to spend. In a nutshell, it's all about psychology. Abraham Maslow clearly should have added "crap-tons of money" when building his hierarchy of needs.
“It’s really not that unusual to find Wall Street bankers who are close to declaring themselves bankrupt,” Gary Goldstein, co-founder of U.S. search firm Whitney Partners, tells eFC's Sarah Butcher. “Some people are really struggling.”
The entire story -- the latest in a series of jaw-dropping articles from Butcher, who is becoming the City of London's version of Bloomberg's Max Abelson, reporting bankers saying dumb things -- is required reading for anyone trying to understand the soul of the banker.
The struggles of millionaire bankers (in Butcher's piece most of them are men) are an important factor for heartless regulators and shareholders to keep in mind as they consider putting limits on banker pay in the wake of a financial crisis that was fueled by bankers chasing higher pay. "One million" of anything -- pounds, dollars or Bitcoins, sounds like a lot to us rabble, but let bankers explain to you how it's pretty much the same as nothing, really.
For one thing, taxes will quickly whittle a seven-figure income right down to the mid-six figures, perilously close to being within sight of the middle class. Then, an ex-Goldman banker points out, with the mere $600,000 in take-home pay remaining, bankers still need to "pay the mortgages on, and maintain houses, in the Hamptons and Manhattan, to put three children through private schools costing $40k a year each, and to pay living costs."
Bankers might want to shed some of these costs by, say, sentencing their kids to rub elbows with the filthy Poors in public schools or owning just one house. But they are under constant social pressure to spend and spend some more, according to another ex-Goldmanite -- who is now a psychotherapist, naturally.
And this is before the wives get their cut. According to the bankers and ex-bankers in this article, there are only two marital choices available to bankers: The frumpy, educated girl they've been saddled with since college, or a physically attractive layabout who sucks their soul and bank account dry. Which only makes sense, because what other kinds of women are there, amiright, fellas? Science.
An even stronger urge than than the need to keep up with the Rotschilds or satisfy the missus is rooted in the bankers' childhoods. Every time they push a client to buy a subprime CDO, these bankers are merely trying to bring a smile to the cold, disapproving eyes of the parents looking over their shoulders. According to the squid/therapist quoted in the article, only "intense therapy" can help.
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