Execs Dining On “Dollar Menu”

Suddenly, the McDonald's "Dollar Menu" has become an appealing option for penny-pinching New York executives.

Droves of execs are feasting on McNuggets and fountain drinks to save money, according to a report in the NY Post.

"You've got to save when you can," John Castellaneta, an executive who works in lower Manhattan, told the Post. "I've got two kids in college."

McDonald's hamburgers have replaced five-star steaks as the meal of choice for frugal execs feeling the squeeze of a national recession. 

"You hear all the news going on [about the economy], and you want to save money. This is good value," sales-account exec Mark Drapala told the Post. "I get the Number 2 meal for $5.45. I don't Super-Size it."

Wall Streeters are gobbling up McDonald's stock as much as its hamburgers. McDonald's net income increased 80 percent from 2007 to 2008 - and its shares rose 11.22 percent from January 2008 to January 2009, while the rest of the market bottomed out.

Eating habits aren't the only lifestyle change in the world of high paid executives and bankers. Some of Wall Street's elite are battling relationship issues at home thanks to layoffs and reductions in income.

Manhattan divorce lawyer Raoul Felder told the NY Times that cases involving financiers always stack up as the economy starts to slip, because layoffs and shrinking bonuses place stress on relationships — and, he said, because “there aren’t funds or time for mistresses any more.”

The securities industry paid its New York City employees $18.4 billion in bonuses for 2008, compared with nearly $33 billion in 2007, according to tate Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

The decline is the largest on record in dollars and the largest percentage decline in more than 30 years, but the bonus pool is still the sixth largest on record.

The drop in bonus money means that lavish shopping trips, full-time nannies and unlimited spa visits are a thing of the past for some Wall Street wives.

Many women are sharing their experiences about the recession and its effect on their relationships in a support group called Dating a Banker Anonymous. The group, founded in November, helps women deal with the stress in their relationships brought on by the nose dive of the Dow Jones Index and the collapse of companies like Lehman Brothers

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