Bloomberg’s morning’s news reported that of 1,300 Wall Street executives canvassed about their 2008 bonuses, or lack thereof, 36% said they were disappointed in the amounts–expected more. Stop already!
While I certainly know on my pulses that I have worked harder this year than in any other, I am a fee-only Certified Financial Planner; i.e., my compensation is a direct percentage of my clients’ quarter end balances, so my “bonus” is, that I make more money when my clients do; conversely take a compensation haircut when their portfolios drop, as it should be. No conflicts of interest, no trips to Hawaii or Super Bowl tickets for selling a boatload of a particular company’s annuities.
A bonus in a Wall Street firm however is a compensation component in typical or boom market conditions. When the entire marketplace–Wall and Main Street–is suffering, and Wall Street firms are either flying the white flag out front or re-organizing their corporate structures to allow them to cut ahead in the TARP–Troubled Asset Relief Program–bread line, HOW can we understand this dis connect?
It was soon explained deeper into the article; 89% of those unhappy respondents had 5 years or less experience. Aahh yes.
May I suggest to people who are either so young or inexperienced that they have to carry a towel to wipe the wet behind their ears to log onto and re-read the text of Obama’s Inaugural address, or better yet, to some of his or McCain’s campaign speeches. The words “pitch in” come immediately to mind. I also remember Obama’s call for all of us to “pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off”. (I believe that was a historic throwback to exhort people to remake themselves after the great Depression.)
Trained PhDs and accomplished senior executives are taking welding classes and testing for their commercial driving licenses as we speak, since welding and truck driving are more “sure” jobs in economic downturns, while inexperienced Wall Streeters are moping about their “less-than-desired” bonuses.
Having spent the last 30 years in the financial services business, managing money for mostly retired clients (predominantly mature women) I can assure you that markets DO operate in cycles. Women tend to understand cycles.
Yet to expect a constant stream of reward, reward, reward out of an industry which for the last 5 months has been bleeding risk, risk, risk, is to be blind to the very interconnectedness of the financial and economic systems, for one, and all of society for another.
My parting words for these poor Wall Streeters: These are times for sacrifice and humility, not even more in-your-face greed! Buck up already. Read some of your dusty history books for some perspective on entitlements. Get over yourselves and consider something greater, despite how very much that may stretch your tiny minds.
I know, now you want to know what I really think…