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The New Trophy Nanny

Paul O'Donnell, Special to CNBC.com
Monday, 2 Apr 2012 | 2:03 PM ET
Child with money
Michele Constantini | PhotoAlto | Getty Images
Child with money

You’ve spied them tending children at the playground at the park: elegantly coiffed women wearing clothes that must have run as much as the average mortgage payment, yet too young to be their frolicking charges’ mothers.

A recent New York Times Magazine story cleared up the mystery with a story on elite nannies, who command salaries in the mid-six figures, not counting the Christmas bonus or the rent for a Central Park West apartment.


For that kind of money, Adam Davidson of NPR’s Planet Money reports, the modern Mary Poppins is expected to bring a serious bag of tricks: Proficiency in Mandarin, gourmet cooking, and horse grooming are among the skills likely to bump up the compensation package.

An elite nanny knows how to work a jungle gym, too. “A lot of families, especially new money, are really concerned about their children getting close to other very affluent children,” Cliff Greenhouse, president of the high-end nanny agency Pavilion, tells Davidson. “They find a superstar nanny who already has lots of contacts, lots of other nanny friends who work with other high-profile families.”

In Greenhouse’s stable is a “drop-dead beautiful” nanny whose “presentation is such that you’re proud to have her by your children’s side at the most high-profile events.”

Read “The Best Nanny Money Can Buy.”


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  • A reporter and editor, Robert Frank is a leading authority on the American wealthy for CNBC.