The mind boggles: Wealthy couple finds it impossible to make ends meet on $450K a year

I have no sympathy for the wealthy and their annoying, aggravating problems.

Pesky road salt on their Cadillacs. Hard to find the right shade of mauve for their reading room. Darn pool boy won’t be able sweep the cobblestone walk until well after brunch. My, my.

But a “Financial Facelift” column in Friday’s Globe and Mail made me see red.

In it, Eric, a 41-year-old doctor, and his wife Ilsa, a 39-year-old dentist, find it virtually impossible to put a roof over the heads of their five children with their combined $450,000 a year income.

Just stop right there – $450,000 a year. That’s roughly 10 times the average Canadian income of $48,250 a year.

When it comes to work, the article states that Eric has his nose to the grindstone a mere two days a week:

He earns $200,000 a year working one day a week in a medical clinic. But his real love is teaching, which he does one day a week at a university; this earns him $100,000 a year.

In a pair of tweets Monday, the Globe clarified that information, stating he actually works either 80 or 100 hours a week, probably whichever sounds most reasonable compared to two lousy days.

But I digress.

The couple has already bought a $1.1 million building lot, and they can’t figure out how to afford the $1 million building fee and $800,000 mortgage.

“Two professionals should be able to afford a modest house,” Eric tells the Globe, “but we can’t get the numbers to work and would appreciate some help.”

Yeah, this guy needs help, all right.

See, that’s not all. Of course, the kids have to go to private school, and according to the couples’ monthly disbursements, that works out to $65,000 a year. They also have to pay their live-in nanny about $33,000 a year, and that’s another person they’ll need to account for in their new home. Throw in the $24,000 they desperately need for various vacations throughout the year, and the cupboards are nearly bare.

Oh dear. Poor Chip will have to go without a new sweater-vest this fall. The horror!

On a day when Oxfam announces that the richest one per cent of the planet are on the cusp of owning 50 per cent of the world’s wealth, a tale like this should force us all to the streets in bloody outrage.

Eric and Ilsa don't need more hours in the work week – they need to take a hard look at whether "modest" means millions of dollars for a home and expenses beyond the reach of most Canadians.

Because for those of us in the other 99 percentile, "modest" means just enough to survive.

The Surly Old Man is a real old man who is particularly surly. He will contribute only when angry.

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