Getting by on a $100 Million Net Worth in NYC

Comfortable family living on a net worth of $100 million sounds totally doable - unless you live in NYC and as a divorce lawyer for Manhattanites I can (well almost) appreciate their struggle to maintain a New York City lifestyle. So, is $100 million enough? Maybe not.

In fact, a recent estimate suggests New York City high profile families need $190 million just to stay afloat.

But there ARE ways to enjoy a happy, healthy lifestyle in Manhattan on $100 million. With a little extra research, effort, and a dab of creativity, you can match your favorite luxuries for less.

Here’s why NYC Families Need At Least $190M

New York City is home to a reported 82 billionaires, more than any other city on the globe. Billionaires do just fine in America’s most expensive city, but those with a net worth of $100 million or lower may struggle.

A recent estimate suggests New York City families need a net worth of at least $190 million to maintain a reasonably stress-free lifestyle.

For a mid-life Manhattan couple with two teenage children, Town & Country Magazine laid it out like this:

Real Estate $40 million

  • Fifth Ave apartment (park view) $18 million
  • Furniture / Décor $2 million
  • Two vacation homes $20 million

Staff $190,000 per year

  • Driver $100,000 per year
  • Chef $45,000 per year
  • Housekeeper $45,000 per year

Living Expenses $3.2 million per year

Health / Grooming $150,000 per year

  • Wardrobe
  • Grooming
  • Personal trainer
  • Cosmetic procedures

Education $3.4 million

  • Private school Pre-K-12
  • Ivy league Bachelors
  • Study abroad
  • Music lessons
  • Sports activities

Incidentals $143 million

  • Inheritance $50 million ($25M per child)
  • Collectables (art) $20 million
  • Charity gifts $40 million
  • Travel $33 million

Most of the over 36,000 U.S. households that are worth at least $100 million could easily afford these basic items – and much more.

But the cost of New York City real estate, private education, staff and living expenses makes living on $100 million in Manhattan financially tight. If you’re worth less than $190 million, you might need to make some adjustments.

Tips on Stretching the NYC Dollar

Living in New York City on $100 million is rough, but it can be done with a little maneuvering. Here are a few tips:

Local private schools

Rather than send the kids off to Le Rosey or St. Albans, enroll them in a local private school like Collegiate or Trinity. With the best high school education in the nation, tuition is less than $45,000.

Jet ownership alternatives

Frequent flyer? Instead of purchasing your own private jet, check out some popular substitutes like NetJets, LinearAir or Surfair.

Smart vacation homes

Do your research on vacation home ownership. Bypass the spendy oceanfront Southampton estate for a rustic New England castle in Chatham, Massachusetts.

Sacrifice the view

Save around $10 million or more by forfeiting your Central Park view. According to Town and Country Magazine, the average asking price for an eight to 12-room Fifth Avenue apartment is $10.8 million (range $4 to $30 million). Apartments with a Central Park view always fall on the higher end (at least $18 million).

Maximizing Your High-Net Worth NYC Divorce

All this planning flies out the window if you are one of the approximately 28,000 New York City couples who will file for divorce in 2018. Especially if you’ve been married for over 10 years or have children.

When incomes are split, property division, asset valuation, child custody, spousal maintenance and child support can quickly shatter your lifestyle. Living on $50 million could send you right out of Manhattan.

New York is an equitable distribution state. As explained in our free eBook, The New York Divorce: NY Rules & Realities, equitable distribution doesn’t always mean splitting things down the middle. It means splitting things for fairness.

If one partner provides most or all of the child care, that partner could get 65% of the marital property – the apartment close to the school and pediatrician, a solid child support amount and a high spousal maintenance plan.

Meanwhile, the other partner could be left trying to foot the bill in NYC on a mere $35 million – a major lifestyle change and a lethal blow to the previously high net worth psyche.

Prenups can help, but can also be successfully challenged.

An experienced New York matrimonial and family law attorney who understands equitable asset distribution, New York real estate appreciation and asset valuation can be invaluable in helping guide your decisions.

Our Manhattan-based matrimonial and family law trial attorneys at Bikel Rosenthal & Schanfield, LLP use the best divorce-savvy expert forensic accountants, real estate appraisers, business valuators and other specialists to help us help you protect your financial future and lifestyle.

Questions about New York City Divorce? Call us today for a free, confidential discussion of your options. 212.682.6222 or CONNECT ONLINE


Dror Bikel

Dror Bikel co-founded Bikel Rosenthal & Schanfield, New York’s best known firm for high-conflict matrimonial disputes. A New York Superlawyer℠ and twice recognized (2020 and 2021) New York Divorce Trial Lawyer of the Year, Dror’s reputation as a fearsome advocate in difficult custody and divorce disputes has led him to deliver solid outcomes in some of New York’s most complex family law trials. Attorney Bikel is a frequent commentator on high profile divorces for national and international media outlets. His book The 1% Divorce - When Titans Clash was a 5-category Amazon bestseller.

To connect with Dror: 212.682.6222 | [hidden email] | Online

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