A Week In New York City On A $1.5 Million Salary

Photo: Courtesy of Stuart Weitzman.
Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: a managing director who makes $1.5 million per year. This week, she spends some of her money on Stuart Weitzman boots.
Occupation: Managing Director
Industry: Hedge Fund
Age: 35
Location: New York City
Base Salary: $200,000
Bonus: Ranges from $300,000 to $2,800,000. On average, my salary has been $1,500,000 the past four years.
Paycheck (2x/month): $5,000
Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $6,500
Loan Payments: $0
All Other Monthly Expenses
Preschool: $2,500
Gym: $50 for my husband's membership
Music Lessons: $240 for one kid's piano lessons
Cable & Internet: $120
Travel: $1,660/month. We allocate $20,000/year toward travel and spend ~$320/month renting a car to do mini-trips outside of NYC.
Term Life Insurance: $250. I have $6 million on my head and $1 million on my husband.
Metro Card: $121 for a monthly pass. I also spend about $30/month on taxis.
Donations: $415 to our alma maters and kid's public school

Day One

7:20 a.m. — Wake up and get kids ready for school. They need to be out of the door by 8 a.m. sharp, yet I can only get them out of bed at 7:30. I am fortunate to have my parents live with us, and my dad has breakfast ready when the family wakes up. He walks my daughter to school and my mom takes my son to preschool via subway. I normally leave home at 8:40 a.m., but today I have a global conference to attend at the Palace Hotel, so I'm out the door by 8:20.
4 p.m. — After six back-to-back meetings with different companies, I am exhausted. I walk back to my office, but it is hard to ignore the shops on 5th Avenue. I make a quick stop at Zara and buy two dresses. $150
5 p.m. — Back at my office. I check the Bloomberg terminal for stock prices and reply to emails. I have a full day of the conference again tomorrow and I have not prepared myself, ugh. I print out companies' presentations and analysts' reports to read tonight. I hate going to meetings under-prepared. I get home around 6:30 p.m. (it only takes 15 to 20 minutes), and that is considered late for me. Usually, I am home by 6. I make it a priority to have a relaxing dinner with my family 90% of the year. I usually leave before other people, but I hate face time. I read and play with the kids until 8:30. After that, I don't know where the time goes and am in bed by 10:30.
Daily Total: $150

Day Two

7 a.m. — I was a bit late to the conference yesterday because I never budget time for train delays. The stress was not worth it, so I leave at 8 today and eat breakfast at the conference. Standard muffin, fruit bowl, and coffee. At least it's free.
12 p.m. — Lunch break, buffet style. The Palace Hotel has surprisingly good food. I get raisin walnut bread, salad with crab meat, grilled salmon with fingerling potatoes, and asparagus. I'm also making sure to sample two types of dessert each day: the tiramisu was good, but the chocolate cookie is average. I eat while listening to a long presentation on the global biotech outlook for 2018.
3 p.m. — I stop by Stuart Weitzman at Columbus Circle. My feet have widened after having two kids, and now only SW shoes are comfortable for me. I love their stretchy boots, but I can never buy them on sale because my sizes are always gone by then. $707.40
6 p.m. — I take the subway home. Dinner today is Vietnamese spring rolls, yum — but my husband refuses to eat because it's fried food. More for me! (We mostly cook at home and spend about $800/month.) After dinner, my daughter goes to a swim class with her father. They don't come back until 8:30 because après swim, she is entitled to visit a dessert place. On swim day, both kids go to bed at 9:30 p.m. After that, I have just enough time to prepare myself for bed.
Daily Total: $707.40

Day Three

7 a.m. — There's a publishing party at my daughter's school today so I take her to school. I have no time for breakfast and am starving by the time the publishing party is done at 9:30.
10:30 a.m. — I discover that I need to attend a conference in early January. I am probably the last person to register, and it seems like the whole investment community will be there. Luckily, I get the last room left near the conference for $600/night. That same room will cost "only" $200 any other time. Unfortunately, all the business class flights are also sold out so I will fly economy. ($4,300 expensed)
12 p.m. — I plan to fly my family out to join me over the long MLK Jr. weekend. While I'm at the conference, my husband can take the kids explore the city for two days. Then I will join them for the long weekend, and we can take a day trip and a weekend trip to the beach. Flights for them cost $660, but hotels on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are "free" because I have lots of hotel points. (Otherwise, it would cost us $850 plus tax.) $660
3 p.m. — I have a meeting with the CEO of an insurance company followed by another meeting with a pharmaceutical analyst. After, I need to do a few write-ups on investment ideas I got from the conference yesterday.
7 p.m. — We meet up with a group of my husband's friends for dinner at a fusion restaurant in Union Square. The restaurant only opened a few months ago and the food is good; I overeat as usual. $160
10 p.m. — My son is still awake when we get home and because he napped earlier. I read to him and we both go to bed by 11 p.m.
Daily Total: $820

Day Four

9:30 a.m. — I have my first meeting of the day. Today is not too busy, only two meetings total, but some of my investments are not doing well. I need to finish up my write-up and Excel models.
12 p.m. — I attend a luncheon with Girls Who Code at Bank of America, and get seated next to a very arrogant male hedge fund managers, which kind of ruins the mood. Still, the speaker is passionate and funny, and I will definitely encourage my daughter to code. I can't really help her though because I got a C+ in my college coding class.
7 p.m. — I have a conference call with an overseas company at 7, so my husband takes the kids to our building's playroom where they can be loud. Later in the evening, after putting them to bed, I enjoy my time planning our trip to Asia next year. I've gone to a conference in Asia every year for the past 10 years, and this is the first time my husband will join me toward the end of my work trip. My flight and I hotels are expensed ($6,500 for the business class flights and $3,000 for the hotels).
11 p.m. — My husband and I are celebrating our 10th anniversary in 2018, so we "deserve" a trip without the kids. We'll spend three days in Tokyo, two nights in Hakone (known for their onsen, or mineral hot springs) at a ryokan (traditional Japanese house with homemade meals), and four days in Kyoto. It is so hard to choose a hotel because they are all rated highly by travelers. That's Japanese hospitality for you. I finally book my husband's economy flight ($1,100) and our accommodations in Hakone and Kyoto ($1,500). The hotels are not fancy, but are in a central location. $2,600
Daily Total: $2,600

Day Five

8 a.m. — I take my son to school today. His grandma said he has been fussing and did not want to go to school, but he seems very happy when I take him. He knows how to push our buttons to get what he wants.
12 p.m. — I am taken out to lunch by my favorite salesperson and good friend. We often go to 15 East in Union Square, and it is absolutely the best sushi place in New York. We do omakase at the sushi counter and chat about work, life, vacations, and girly stuff. ($200 expensed) My friend will also join me during my work trip to Asia, as she has for the last 10 years. She is nine years older with two kids but we are on the same wavelength. (And in fact, most of my friends are older than me.)
9 p.m. — After the kids are in bed, my husband books a car to drive to Maryland for Christmas ($800), and I book a one-night hotel stay in Washington, D.C. for my family and his sister's family. The hotels are surprisingly cheap and there are so many choices. I am a Hyatt loyalist and find two studio-suites for $203.50 each per night. $1,207
Daily Total: $1,207

Day Six

9:30 a.m. — After my daughter's piano lesson, my husband rents a car and we drive 45 minutes outside of the city to the Palisades Mall. We previously bought a multi-visit pass to Billy Beez, so we head there first. Our kids spend hours climbing in several story-high jungle gyms and bouncing around. $120
12:30 p.m. — We have lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. I always thought that place only had desserts, but boy, I was wrong. The menu is huge and kids must end the meal with two different slices of cake. $80
2 p.m. — After lunch, my daughter goes on the merry-go-round. My son is too chicken for it, but he loves the indoor Ferris wheel and I ride that with him. (The rides cost $20.) After, we go back to Billy Beez for more climbing, bouncing, and jumping. $20
4:30 p.m. — It's time to go home. I spot a newly opened Kung Fu Tea at the mall and stop by. I love bubble tea! Two drinks to go, please. $10
Daily Total: $230

Day Seven

10 a.m. — We take my son to a birthday party at a New York kids' club, and I bring a present ($30). The party lasts two hours, and the kids have lots of fun. Lunch is catered: pizza, sandwiches, and appetizers for the adults, and pizza and cake for the kids. $30
2 p.m. — We take the kids to a friend's apartment for a playdate. I bring a gingerbread house kit and all the baking ingredients ($20) since, apparently, my husband's friends do not cook or bake. The kids have a blast cracking eggs, mixing cupcake batter, and decorating a just-out-of-the-oven cupcake we make with lots of icing and sprinkles. They want to eat the gingerbread house too, but that would be too much candy, so I tell them no. My friend's building has a pool and we burn off our extra energy there before heading home. $20
7 p.m. — It's Grandma's (my mom's) birthday today and we celebrate at a restaurant. My daughter makes a beautiful birthday card and my son loves singing "Happy Birthday". We have a homemade birthday cake (Grandma loves baking!) that is better than most (even Magnolia) — but not Lady M level! The kids are in bed by 10. I am exhausted. $150
Daily Total: $200
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