Faces of the New York Economy; Big Earner, Big Spender, Little Burden

Discussion in 'Luxury and Lifestyle' started by dealmaker, May 3, 2019.

  1. dealmaker


    Faces of the New York Economy; Big Earner, Big Spender, Little Burden

    PHILIP G. POTTER, who develops investment products for high-net-worth clients of Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, Discover & Company, likes to think of himself as an ''uberconsumer.''

    Last year, he spent his bonus on a 50-inch TV and a $3,500 Rolex watch. He wears custom-made $800 suits, custom-made $80 shirts -- always with white collars and white French cuffs -- and $200 shoes. He is ''totally wired,'' as he puts it: His home phone forwards messages to his pager; he answers them over a tiny $800 cellular phone.

    A member of what he calls the ''young affluent'' class, Mr. Potter, 25 years old, represents the icing on the cake of New York's economy.

    Though he declined to say exactly how much he earns, he allowed that depending on his bonus, he may well make ''just over the goal line'' of six figures this year. That would put him into the highest city tax bracket, meaning that City Hall will take at least $3,300 from his paycheck.

    He spends at a rapid clip, whether at stylish restaurants in his Park Avenue South neighborhood, at downtown clubs like Lucky Strike or the 10th Street Lounge or in replenishing the Bombay Sapphire and single-malt Scotch in the bar at home.

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    Besides the rippling economic effects of tipping waitresses and buying drinks for his friends -- he drops $300 into the pond on an average weekend -- Mr. Potter's spending returns sales taxes to city coffers.

    Yet he asks little of the city. Single, childless, healthy and young, Mr. Potter uses virtually no services; he rarely even rides the subway.

    Moreover, like so many young people, his money stays in Manhattan. ''I never leave the city,'' he said. ''I just don't want to. I'm so in love with the city, I start getting withdrawal symptoms the moment I go over a bridge or in a tunnel.''

    His devotion to the city flows naturally from his work. ''New York is where it's at,'' Mr. Potter said. ''You need to be sitting down the hall from the division manager, not in a branch office in Minnesota. I wouldn't be able to do anything like this except at the headquarters.''

    Mr. Potter graduated from Yale in 1994 with a degree in physics, and after a short stint at a hedge fund, joined Morgan Stanley that November. He acknowledges that he has never been through a sustained market downturn but says he is confident that he would survive any Wall Street bloodletting.

    ''I can continue to come up with new products, to add value,'' he said. ''I'm not responsible for getting money. Getting it's hard when the market goes down. But there will still be products to sell. It'll just force me to be a little more creative.'' DAVID M. HALBFINGER

  2. I started reading the article without realizing the year it was written (1997).
    I was chuckling at the “big NYC spender” with his custom clothes, top shelf liquor, and Rolex.
    When they got to his “goal line of six figures this year” I LOL’d.

    100k in NYC now gets you clothes from Old Navy, draft domestic beer at some smelly shit hole, and a Casio watch.
    dealmaker likes this.