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A Guide to Living Like the 1% (On a 99% Budget) A Guide to Living Like the 1% (On a 99% Budget)

A Guide to Living Like the 1% (On a 99% Budget)

by Bess Kalb, Peter Steineck

March 31, 2012

Follow this handy guide and we guarantee you’ll realize there is virtually no difference between an über-wealthy lifestyle and your wretched, student- loan-bedraggled existence! Leave your unpaid bills and untreated medical conditions far, far behind. All the adventures and accoutrements of the 1 percent are at your grubby, calloused fingertips.

 

WORK

ENJOY YOUR INHERITANCE
 
Keep a penny in a jar with a little bit of water, salt, and baking soda. Wait two weeks. This is your old money. Casually allude to it in conversations.
 
MAKE STRATEGIC INVESTMENTS
 
Bundle mortgages with other loans and debts into col- lateralized debt obligations. Rating agencies will give these CDOs AAA standing. As an insurance policy, sell credit default swaps to speculators to bet against CDOs. Sell billions of dollars of worthless CDOs to oblivious investors. When the CDO market collapses, run out of cash. Get bailed out. Collect your bonus.
 
Call your kid’s allowance her “Series A” funding round.
 
Put a dollar in an envelope and send it to the IRS. You just paid your taxes in full! Receive a 50-cent refund in four to six months.
 
FIND A PET CAUSE
 
Become desensitized to internal guilt and external human suffering by cultivating a laserlike focus on raising awareness for a single animal welfare charity.
 
 

SELF-CARE
 
STAY FIT
 
Explain to a doorman how difficult it is to find time to get your Pilates in. Tell him you’re “a little jealous” of his arm workout. Tell him you’re “not even kidding.” Laugh and laugh. Pat him.
 
EAT RIGHT
 
Mix fresh sawdust into a quinoa salad. Visualize Gwyneth Paltrow running through a dewy meadow at sunrise. Now your lunch is macrobiotic.
 
Preface every item of food in your refrigerator with the sort of delicate adjective one would normally use to describe a human infant—new, sweet, baby, young, soft. Follow that up with a pastoral place of origin or body of water—La Faux Ferme, Aix en Monsanto, Dreck Bay, Happy Fish Sea, etc. Bon appétit!
 
Have a frenemy read you the nutrition facts off a package of food. Now you have a nutritionist.
 
 
GET SOME WORK DONE
 
Use double-sided tape and a child's headband to give yourself a “mini brow lift.” Wear a gauze bandage around your head and tell your friends it was worth every penny.
 
TREAT YOURSELF
 
Have a “bliss” day at a hotel spa. Waltz in wearing your own robe and flip-flops. Rotate for six hours between the Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room. Pack your own sandwich and share with your lounge mates. All they’ve had all day is cucumber water, poor things!
 
 

SHELTER

SLEEP LIKE A LOBBYIST
 
Print out a picture of Abraham Lincoln. Tape it to your wall. Well done, you. Lincoln Bedroom.
 
GO TO THE TOP
 
Write “Penthouse” on your building’s roof access door. Tell your guests it's a post–Philip Johnson dis- solution into open space. Sigh and explain that “the view is spectacular” but the downside is “absolutely no privacy,” but “what’re you going to do?”
 
YOUR HOME IS YOUR CASTLE
 
Drape a blue plastic tarp over anything. Apologize for the “incessant renovations.”
Disassemble your Ikea bookshelf. Throw out a plank. Reassemble it. Refer to it as “custom.”
 
Bonus! Dress up your roommate in a tool belt and hard hat. Ask if you can get him some water or coffee. When he responds, look puzzled and walk away.
 
 

SOCIAL SKILLS
 
JOIN A SECRET SOCIETY
 
Pinky swear with a white person. Look at each other’s butts. Pinky swear again.
 
HAVE AN ESCAPE PLAN
 
Take a cardboard cutout of Dick Cheney into someone’s cellar. Eat freeze-dried beef stew and drink distilled water. Say, “Looks like it worked, compadre.” You are now prepared for the apocalypse.
 
 
GUARD YOUR EMOTIONS
 
Practice your “remorseful” face in a mirror until you only experience a facsimile of human empathy.
 
Mention that you haven’t appeared in the society pages because you’re “intensely private.”
 
TALK THE TALK
 
Refer to every living president by a diminutive form of his first name.
 
Do you have a first name? Perfect! It’s long for “Trip.”
 
Lunch is “a lunch.” Dinner is “a dinner.” Marriage is “a marriage.”
 
 

TRAVEL & LEISURE
 
HIT THE LINKS
 
Run your fingers through a bath mat covered in pesticides. Have an enemy dislocate your shoulder. Yell at a teenager. Golf!
 
TAP THE ART MARKET
 
Hang out in a museum with a glass of port and tell passersby how little you paid for that Damien Hirst back in the “boom ’90s” when he was “just a London brat!”
 
JOIN THE JETSET
 
Flatten four large cardboard boxes and arrange them around a reclining chair. Set several alarm clocks to “ding” irregularly. Put a vacuum cleaner in a nearby closet. Switch it on. Take a swig of Benadryl. Rest a champagne glass on an unsteady surface above your abdomen. Sweet dreams, first-class flier!
 
A DAY ON THE WATER
 
Buy a little boat. Refer to it as your “little boat.”
 
Spin around and around. Ask a friend to intermittently douse you with salt water. Stand in front of an industrial fan. Spin around some more. Have your friend shout, “Ready about?” And, “Duuuck!” Get punched in the head. Drink a glass of white wine. Vomit. Exclaim, “Wasn’t that marvelous?”
 
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA
 
Tickets to La Bohème are expensive but dating an alcoholic graduate student isn’t!


 
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