Could you weather the recession on $300,000 a year? A recent story in the Washington Post about a divorced Harrison mother of three doing just that has become a talker in the Lower Hudson Valley and across the country. Here’s our story on the community reaction to the original piece.
Laura Steins, a vice president at MasterCard in Purchase, opened up to the newspaper about the difficulties she encounters in this down economy as she struggles to maintain her $2.5 million home, a nanny and all the other trappings of an affluent life.
Readers were split between sympathy and loathing for the woman and her plight.
Weighing in on the disgusted side is this reader:
Tighten your belt, you snob, like the rest of us. … I’m behind in all my bills, dollar menus feed me. I got hit hard, wait until you get where I am, you won’t have a clue how to survive.
I have lived in Rye for 14 years and I know many very affluent people here, and regular Joes like myself. She doesn’t represent any of us, she just represents being a spoiled jerk, and many towns have those types.
While not quite oozing sympathy, one reader at least cut Steins some slack:
I feel sorry for anyone who believes happiness is measured in salary, status or address. I do not envy her life at all. I don’t begrudge her either. … One can maintain their lifestyle and still maintain their dignity through tough times. She choose her lifestyle.
And another wrote:
Interesting story, everyone has had to make changes, but come on. I can only hope to be so lucky that someday I am faced with the same difficult decisions.
Some readers were wondering how her employer feels about the story:
I wonder how MasterCard feels about her ‘complaining’ and revealing her salary and bonus? Does she not fear being laid off by them after making such riduculous statements?
Another reader took a different view of the situation:
The reason why Ms. Steins is ‘struggling’ has little to do with the economy. It’s because she made a poor financial decision in 2006 – she opted to keep a house that cost her $8,000 to $10,000 a month, or $96,000 to $120,000 a year, on an income of $150,000! … What made Ms. Steins think she could ever afford that house on that income? … Ms. Steins’ poor math helped create this recession. It’s people like her, making bad financial decisions, that got us all into this mess. We need to teach basic finance in schools and adhere to proper lending rules.