Full-time nanny, private school for two children and no financial breathing room: The Manhattan parents 'scraping by' on $400,000 household incomes
20:26 GMT, 1 October 2012
A mother who lamented her $400,000-a-year household income on an open parenting internet forum has sparked a backlash from women across America.
The anonymous woman, who posted her bemoaning thoughts on Urban Baby, a message board for city-residing parents, wrote about the high cost of private school, how she
and her husband would have to 'scrape' by on a $400,000 combined
income to cover tuition, while adding how unfair it is that parents who
make less money receive financial aid.
The Manhattan mother's post has sparked an economical and cultural online cat-fight between mothers, and mothers-to-be from New York to San Fransisco.
Too rich A Manhattan-based mother who lamented her $400,000-a-year household income on Urban Baby has sparked a backlash from women across America
The woman wrote on Urban Baby: 'I earn 200k and my DH [dear husband] earns 200k. Total HHI [household income] is 400k. We have 2 children. We could afford to send them to private school, but we would have to scrape and forgo a lot (especially since our HHI is only 350k after nanny) and we would not qualify for financial aid.
'However, if I quit my job and became a SAHM [stay at home mom], we would have a HHI of 200k, which would put us in the realm of financial aid (AND we could save the 50k+ cost of having a nanny).
'I am not going to quit my job to orchestrate this, but I resent the fact that private tuition is so high, in part because the people who pay are financing the tuition of the people who don't pay (including families with 200k HHI and SAHMs). This is all just so screwed up.'
Private schools in New York City can cost on average between $20,000 and $40,000 a year, per child.
'Private schools are the realm of the rich.
You want to swim in the big fish pond, you gotta pay'
Primarily funded by parents, alumni,
past parents and friends, the school financial aid system
assures that private schools are socio-economically diverse and that
access to them is affordable for many academically qualified students
who would not otherwise be able to attend.
The Parents League of New York writes:
'Parents will find that it is well organized, equitable,
thoughtfully administered and generous.'
While there is no cut-off to qualify for independent educational financial assistance (a private school's financial aid form calculates a family's 'estimated family contribution,' or how much it can afford to contribute towards tuition, which is different for each family and each school), the woman's post caused many to attack the fact that a $200,000 household income is considered 'poor' enough to obtain financial aid.
One user wrote: 'there is a mom here, living in a 2BR public
housing apartment near lincoln center and sending her 2 DCs [dear children] to a private school on full financial aid.'
A woman replied: 'this person shouldn't be getting this level of help. these things are luxuries, not rights.'
Urban Baby: A message board used by parents to discuss and ask questions related to parenting; it is anonymous in order to promote honest discussions
Another woman who joined the conversation and suggested that the original poster was living above her means and was 'insane' to believe she would be unable to live comfortably on a $400,000 income per year, was attacked by multiple Urban Baby users.
She wrote: 'We make $300,000 – 350,000 w/ 2 kids in private and save 50k a year. You're doing it all wrong.'
She was called a liar, with women insisting it would be 'impossible' for her family to save $50,000 a year on a $350,000 household income while sending two children to private school.
One user wrote: 'you don't live in NYC, you get help from grandparents, or you don't pay for school… or you were given a home and you therefore don't pay rent or mortgage.'
The woman wrote back: 'We purchased our apartment – nobody gave us a red cent. We help MIL [mother-in-law] who struggles….Yes- we are big savers. We do have a mortgage, but have investment income that throws off a higher rate… The fact that anyone thinks that 350k isn't enough to live in Manhattan is insane… we have a very comfortable life.'
In response to the woman's claims that she is able to save $50,000 a year, another user shot back: 'i'm not wasting my time with this one. she is clearly lying.'
Another user wrote, also in reply to the original poster: 'Private schools are the realm of rich people.
You want to swim in the big fish pond, you gotta pay. If you're pulling in $400K and you're “struggling” (which is insane to begin with), find a
way to economize. Stop spending so much cash on mani/pedis, fancy
clothes, fancy vacations, second home, etc.'
A woman agreeing with the original poster replied: 'Why so that I can sponsor lazy leech moms who
want to lounge around in front of the TV all day while their kids are in
a top private school our money subsidizes
'What I do with my money is
my own damn business. I surely don't want to pay charity to those who
essentially make the same money I do and can, but choose not to,' she added.
A final user wrote: 'Everything is a trade-off- grow up. Private school isn't necessary- I went to NYC public schools and turned out just fine. Maybe even great. We earn a lot less than you and are considering private school, but we're not at all materialistic so we don't spend money on clothes, gadgets, cable, cell phones, etc. If you prioritize school then you will scrimp and save for it. If you don't, then why bother You can't have it all.'
A 20-year-old college student, whose own mother uses the site, made the decision to weigh-in on the topic, writing 'One thing that ub [Urban Baby] has taught me is that there is no difference between MC/UMC [middle class/upper middle class] and hood rats. In some instances you are worse. the geheassigkeit [hatred] on this forum is astounding.
She added: 'Most of you are pathetic. I hope i don't end up like you in 15 to 20 years time.'
Urban Baby users responded, using name calling to drive home their points.
One wrote: 'You are so sad trying to talk to a bunch of middle aged mommies. Get a grip and go meet a guy. Geez. What a waste of time. Come back in 20 years.'
Another commented: 'Sad. She must have trouble attracting guys or something. There is NO WAY she would be wasting her time on here if she had something else going on.'
While someone wrote: 'Get back to facebook or instagram or whatever. Please.'