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Lesley Stern

Lesley Stern

Posted: September 10, 2009 02:50 PM

How To Live On $0 A Day: Rich Corporate Executives Have Problems Too, You Know


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During these difficult financial times, most of us have been focused on things like paying the bills, keeping a roof over our heads and feeding the children.

Being an empathetic person, I thought it only fair to devote a little attention to the 1% of the population who helped create this situation, yet are still employed and living like pashas. Let's not forget that this is a time of fear and uncertainty for them too.

Sure, their concerns are different than yours or mine. But I'm sure to them, the worry that their excessive wealth and lavish lifestyles will inspire envy, larceny and angry hordes is just as excruciating as the worry of becoming homeless is to the rest of us.

So, Hank, Larry, Lloyd, Bob, Ben, Ken, Vikram, and the rest of you guys, here's my advice to you on how to get through the recession.

I know this is going to be difficult to hear, but you're going to have to pretend to make some major sacrifices.

Planes, Yachts and Automobiles

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Nothing enrages the people whose money bailed you out more than to see you in a shiny new corporate jet. Especially when they're trading down to shopping carts. Instead of giving up your luxurious jet or putting it in storage, antique it. You'd be amazed how a few dings on the nose, some dice hanging from the rear view mirror and some old "Free Huey" bumper stickers can take your jet from "rich corporate bad guy" to "just another jet from the hood."

Consider hiring someone to paint some camouflage on your jet, yacht, limo or hummer so it doesn't attract the wrong kind of attention. With a pentagon quality paint job, you might even be mistaken for a military vehicle and garner love and respect rather than simmering resentment. Another plus, you'll actually stimulate the economy by hiring a painter. Make sure you hire American for a change. It's a wonderful opportunity to appear to contribute something meaningful to America's no longer working class.

Better Homes and Gardens

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A few well-placed props can make a 85 million dollar estate a place you can feel safe showing to the impoverished masses (from the other side of the gates, of course). Park a rusty, dilapidated pick-up truck on the front lawn and let the garden go. A burning trash can or tires are always a nice touch. The neighbors might object, but it'll keep the robbers and lynch mobs away. Or just put a foreclosure sign out front (FYI, I have one you can buy for $19,843.02 or $536.12 a month at 33% compounded daily for the rest of your life).

Perfecting The "Waif" Look

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Fortunately, your trophy wife can still spend a fortune keeping up with the latest designer trends and look like she dug her wardrobe out of the dumpster. Several designers are coming out with "recession chic" lines for the winter (check the latest WWD or Vogue in the plastic surgeons waiting room). Stay away from anything with a prominent designer logo (I know it kind of defeats the purpose of buying a designer label, but be strong). For those ubiquitous Ralph Lauren and Izod logos, have your seamstress whip up some St. Vincent de Paul or Salvation Army labels for a cover up.

Finding Inner Beauty

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Speaking of plastic surgeons, now's a good time to get those implants (chin, butt, boob, pec, whatever) you and your family members have had your eyes on. In a time where the chasm between the haves and have nots has never been wider, putting all your money in your body instead of on it is the healthiest thing you can do. Another plus; If a revolution should occur and your fortune is pillaged, you'll still be able to hold on to hundreds of thousands of dollars of your assets -- nobody has figured out how to repossess a pound of flesh (or silicone gel). Yet.