#1 Expense: Manhattan-flavored Rent

From the New York Observer, 9/2/08

I live in a 500 sq-ft alcove studio in a really nice doorman building in midtown Manhattan, and I hemorrhage $2100 in rent every month for the privilege. If you’re not from NYC, you’re probably feeling really good about paying half as much for something 3x as big. But if you are from around here, you’re thinking “that’s not a bad deal at all”. This is, unfortunately, one expense that I can’t do much about, for a number of reasons…

1) I need to be in this very commercial, non-neighborhoody neighborhood for business reasons – I’m a massage therapist, and I work from home. Sure, I could save $300 and get a less central place, but I’d lose a LOT more than $300 worth of income each month. I’d probably lose at least that much per week!

2) As you can see from the table above, I’m actually paying about $500 below average for my deluxe apartment in the sky. In fact, it’s more like $560 because my utilities are included. I’d even take it quite a bit further than that in summer because I’m here all day every day, and that’s a lot of a/c.

3) Still not convinced? It would cost about half a mil to buy this place, so after a 10% down payment, the mortgage, condo fees and RE taxes would leave me with barely enough change from $4K to treat myself to a KitKat.

4) Living outside of NYC and renting massage space in Manhattan wouldn’t save me a darn thing. In fact, it would cost me significantly more because I’d have the added expenses of a monthly train pass and a car. I’ve priced it out a few times – I’m actually saving ~$1200/month by not doing this.

So as hideous as this whopping great expense is, it could be a whole lot worse. In about 2 months, I’ll find out how much worse it will be for 2009. The nightmares should be starting soon … I wish I were joking.

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