the new normal

Residents of Greenwich, Connecticut, Learn How to Settle for Less

For a while it seemed like the landscape of Greenwich, Connecticut, long verdant with greenery and with money made at financial-services firms, would be forever altered by the financial crisis. Between the job losses and the crime and the (relative) abject poverty, the suburb to the north seemed en route to becoming a post-financial-apocalypse suburban ghetto, the kind of place where housewives in feather-bedecked mules would be forced to sell their last Valiums in high-school parking lots, just so they could afford Slim-Fast milkshakes. But now, bolstered by taxpayer money, financial-services professionals are flush again, and the community of Greenwich is returning to normal. Near normal.

After all, not everyone finds it so easy to bounce back to their old ways. Staring into the financial abyss changes you, don’t you know. And with the events of the past year and a half fresh in everyone’s mind, a new frugality is palpable in the Connecticut air. “Modesty is in, for the first time in a while,” Greenwich jewelry store owner Ron Arbusman tells McClatchy. For instance, instead of building 10,000-square-foot mansions, they’re building 7,000- to 8,000-square-foot mansions. And at least one of Arbusman’s customers has seriously modified his spending:

One of Arbusman’s clients buys his wife a Rolls-Royce every few years, and she was angling for a new one. “But he did not want to be flashy,” Arbusman said. The woman settled for a Mercedes S550 sedan, which starts at $91,600.

Now, if we can only get them to exercise the same caution when making financial decisions that affect the health of the economy as a whole, we’re all set.

No one complains about bank bonuses in Greenwich, Conn. [McClatchy via Business Insider]

Residents of Greenwich, Connecticut, Learn How to Settle for Less