News Article

Going (Upwardly) Mobile

Big spenders on ''thirtysomething'' -- A breakdown of expenses for fictional couple Hope and Michael Steadman

Hey, big spenders:thirtysomething's Hope and Michael Steadman may seem like the yuppies who have it all, but a hard look at the bottom line suggests that they'd better start pinching their pennies.

Income
Michael's income
Adweek's annual survey of national ad agency salaries suggests that a job like Michael's — creative directorship with executive responsibilities — pays a yearly average of $127,000. After taxes, the Steadmans are left with a monthly income of $7,000

Expenses
Living well
According to Century 21, the Steadmans' house, at 1700 Bryn Mawr Avenue in suburban Philadelphia, cost $230,000, assuming it was purchased five years ago. Their monthly fixed-rate mortgage would currently total $2,075
+Property taxes and homeowner's insurance add on $400
+With a four-year loan on Hope's 1990 Mitsubishi Montero, payments are $500
+Car insurance for the Montero and Michael's vintage Volvo $166
+Yard work, snowplowing, and home maintenance $300

Eating well
According to the USDA, a family of four that includes two preschool children rings up a monthly food bill of $541
+But since Michael and Hope aren't average (think of all those dinner parties, bagel brunches, and the briss), add on $300
+And that monthly case of Corvo Bianco comes to $101

Dressing well
Men's designer Alan Flusser says the first-year start-up for Michael's newly upscale wardrobe — Armani suits, Valentino ties, Cole Haan shoes, Trafalgar suspenders, a Ferre overcoat, and Flusser's own shirts — costs $755
+Hope's casual wardrobe, à la the Gap and J. Crew, costs $300
+And clothes for Janey and Leo — including sneakers in constantly increasing sizes, cost $200
+Dry-cleaning bills for Michael's spiffy new look add on $150

Parenting well
If 3-year-old Janey attends morning nursery school sessions at Philadelphia's Beginning Learning Center, monthly tuition comes to $300
+Toys, books, and nonstop recreation for the kids $200

Having it all
Entertainment — including trips, movies, VCR rentals, home electronics, gym fees, restaurants, and sitters-along with the occasional guilt — reducing charitable donation $600

What's Left
At the end of the month: Michael's lunch money $112

And now, the bad news: Sources at the show reveal the Steadmans' plumbing will go haywire, and they'll need to redo their kitchen. The cost, according to Remodeling magazine: $20,641.

Originally posted Nov 02, 1990 Published in issue #38 Nov 02, 1990 Order article reprints
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