Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One Hundred Thousand Dollars!

When I was fourteen I took swimming classes at the Faux Hill Collegiate. I very vividly remember getting changed in the mens locker room after class one afternoon listening to the two university aged instructors talk about what they wanted to do "when they got older." I'd imagine that on some psychological level, I was also sorta interested in what type of meat lay under the swimming trunks of a 20 year-old university student... but on I'm also pretty certain that, homosexual tendencies aside, I was intrigued enough by talk about their prospective salaries(this is Faux Hill after all, we start talking about money at a young age).

Declared the hotter one: "Low six figures - that's all you need to be happy."

Ah the naivety of a pre-graduate still living off his parents... Reality check? $100k? In today's world 100k buys my muscle jock, Red Cross instructor, a nice sports car... and maybe some hair plugs.

To wit it appears as if in the Faux Hill not only is pink the new black, but low seven figures are the new six figures. A friend of a friend, Chuck, recently declared, "One cannot really live unless you're making 1 million dollars per year." My first reaction: WHAT is this kid talking about? CRAZY talk?

So today's topic: income, which makes sense as it we're bordering on tax time and this Faux Hillary is having his father's accountant file his income taxes (if you think Sim Sim Sima can completely cut the cord I've got another thing coming to her, even if she doth protest that I'm not a real adult yet, please).

First some statistics to wet your appetite.

Warning - the following may shock, and potentially appal you - strong stomach's only:

- In Toronto in 2000 the media family income was: $83,346; that means 50% of families in Toronto make more, 50% earn less
- An annual income of $89,000 was enough to put an individual among the 1.2 million Canadians who made up the top 5% of the country's tax-filer population in 2004
- An income of $181,000 was sufficient to put someone among the 237,000 people in the top 1% of the tax-filer population.
- The richest one-hundredth of a percent (0.01%) of taxfilers, Canadians had to have income of more than $2.8 million

Thank you StatsCanada for ruining my life.

Such research was spawned after a couple of dinners, brunches and gala's (things I quite like: a gala!) where the subject of income came up repeatedly like an awkward albatross around everyone's neck. So... with my Philip Marlowe hat on I figured it was time to do some private dicking [Ed: get your mind out of the gutter. I don't always make inappropriate jokes, although I was tempted to write: "you should see me work a glue gun" to someone in an email, bested by attempt at poor Passover humour: "I'm really just looking for someone to part MY red sea..."]

Let's take a look at Sabrina (we're going with Gossip Girl names cause its almost April 21) who was recently in from the States and over the course of several martini's (why have just one?) she told me how much she was going to make as a summer law student at a big American firm: $3,100 a week (quick math: that works out to almost 150k a year). While over brunch a couple of medical school students debated $200k salaries (paediatrics) versus $400k pay days (specializations...).

The difficulty is not of course in hearing such conversations - because everyone likes money. Everyone likes cashmere. Everyone likes Holt Renfrew... the difficulty of course is that such conversations live in a completely detached bubble. Such conversations exist in a realm where $200k salaries are a given, not something to strive to.

A bit of reality occured in the past weekend when I sat with a friend, Blair, in from NYC who'll probably devote most of her life hammering out injustices. We got to talking about her becoming a professor, when someone said [I think it was me too who said this] professors only make about $100k a year. "$100k a year!" Blair said - "that's a lot of money!"

And in a way, Blair is right. Check out this dose of reality, aka, "What Real Ontarians Make": http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/english/publications/salarydisclosure/2007/
That would be Ontario's public sector salary disclosure statistics. Note that not a lot of people actually make more then $100k.

Yet for some reason, amongst the Faux Hillary set, $200k doesn't seem like a lot of money. And why should $200k seem like a lot of money when the sadomasochistic in me and Maglet finds the both of us looking at houses on mls.ca on a given Friday night. Think $1.1 million for a semi-detached "fixer-upper" in the city's better neighbourhoods. How can a Faux Hillary only make $100k and return to his or her roots?

Maybe Chuck has it right? Maybe you do need $1 million a year to keep us all in the Pink of a Holt Renfrew bag? Le sigh... it makes my middling and recent bonus at work seem a bit laughable.


Anonymous said...

If you make over 100k a year you can afford a million dollar home as long as you take a longer mortgage and make some choices. Stop doing coke you addict.

Anonymous said...

In response to that first comment, 100k a year cannot buy you a million dollar home, I think your on coke!! With the rising cost of living in America its hard to buy nice things such as homes and cars. My parents make over 100k a year, while I do live a nice life style and yes our home is worth over 500k many of my friends parents make less than 50k a year. They are very poor!! They live in suburban ghettoes in rundown homes that are worth less then my Mercedes. While I have been blessed many are not. I think your just mad that you did not make it in life. Kids you need your education, stay in school, get good grades, and work hard, because when Im done collage I want to be making at least 500k a year. This is what people need to be making to live a good life like mine. While im not Donald Trump (and most are not)I live a good life, the life that most people want to live, and most unfortuanatly cannot.