That totally used to be me. By my late 20s and early 30s, I owned a beautiful apartment in Manhattan's NoHo neighborhood and a 100-year-old home on the North Shore of Long Island. I flew over traffic jams in private helicopters to the Hamptons and Atlantic City. I sat in 50-yard-line seats at the Super Bowl and right behind the dugout at Yankee playoff games. I dropped $10,000 on bedding — not a bed — bedding, $25,000 on my daughter's first birthday with a yacht cruising around Manhattan and another $25,000 on my birthday party with Naughty by Nature performing a set — all because I could.
So, what are the indulgences and guilty pleasures on Wall Street today? I put in a few phone calls and emails. In the spirit of full disclosure, more than a few guys pointed out that times have changed on Wall Street. "Guys aren't spending like they used to."
Still, you know they're spending, right? Here a few indulgent confessions from Wall Street:
$300 — Le Burger Extravagant
"I don't always go uptown," a buy-side trader said. "But it's so worth the trip."
Serendipity 3 offers one of the most expensive burgers in the world. The Japanese Wagyu beef is infused with 10-herb white truffle butter and is filled with premium ingredients. It's not on the menu — the order, which is always sure to impress a client, needs to be called in well in advance. And it's only to be outdone by the $1,000 golden opulence sundae.
$1,000 — Caviar
"Russ & Daughters is the only place I eat caviar," a portfolio manager said. "Once a month I treat myself to a little indulgence. It's like making love to the sea."
Some people go golfing or get a massage once a month — this guy drops $1,000 on caviar once a month.
For sure, it's a lot of caviar — 250g — but at $1,000 a month, that works out to $12,000 a year — just for his "grocery store" caviar bill. That's not even counting dinners at Caviar Russe, Petrossian or other fishy hot spots.
But hey, when you're making love to sea, $1,000 doesn't seem like that much, right?!
$10,000 — Toto Toilet
"I got it for the heated seat," a private equity guy said. "But it does a bunch of other cool stuff."
It's like a smartphone, but a toilet — yup that's right going No. 2 just got smarter. It also has heated seat, deodorizer and warm water sprays. It's the Neorest 750H Dual Flush Toilet with Actlight from Toto.
$15,000 — Ice Rink Birthday Party
"We went all out on the little guy's 10th birthday," a buy side analyst said. "We turned the backyard into a magical ice rink. We hired professional skaters to come in and teach all of the kids, but since I was spending all of the money I figured rather than rent — we should build our own rink."
$44,000 — Strip Club Bill
What do you get at a strip club for $44,000? We may never know.
"Honestly I don't remember the night," a trader said. "I think they slipped something in to my drink in the back room. And I didn't even know until I got the credit card bill, but I can't fight the charges because it'll draw to much attention to the night."
$50,000 — Field of Dreams
The complex took several months to build, but it includes a batting cage, full court basketball and a beautiful Wiffle ball field. And it's provided endless hours of neighborhood competition.
"The main reason I dropped this kinda cash on it is because I have two sons, and if you want to keep tabs on them, the best way to do it is to make your house the place to be," sales trader said. "I actually got a deal on this because I knew the right people ... It should have cost more."
That's right. $50,000 — and he thinks he got a bargain.