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Reality check: why Wall Street bankers actually aren't that rich

A busy day on Wall Street

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Wall Streeters make a lot of money. But how far does it go?

The New York State Comptroller has just released a report surveying the condition of compensation on Wall Street. On its face, the news is good, if you're a banker: the average pay package (that's salary plus bonus, typically) is up more than 16 percent, to $326,950.

Rich!

Right? 

Well, that's where the news is not so good. That $362,950 is the average — some make more, much more, and some make less. But once you apply what I'll call "New York City math" to that figure, the average Wall Streeter begins to look...downright strapped!

First, taxes: Uncle Sam and his state and local pals take $362,950 down to $265,326 for a married couple, filing jointly, with two dependents.

Assuming the average Wall Streeter lives in a recently-purchased Upper East Side co-op and puts 50 percent down on a $2.2-million three-bedroom in a doorman building, there's a $9,723 monthly housing cost to contend with — $116,676 each year.

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