I have the good fortune to spend part of each week in deepest Dorset, working from a ‘home office’ (AKA corner of a room containing a computer). Following a lengthy personal observation of former bankers who have escaped the City to hang out in the English countryside, I’ve come to the following conclusion: they’ve often hedged their careers with wives who work for the government.
Take my son’s tutor: an ex-primary school headmistress married to a former Merrill Lynch banker who now owns one of the local Dorset bars. Or there’s the female friend who works as a consultant psychiatrist in a Somerset hospital and is betrothed to a former equity derivatives structurer-turned house husband. Or the relative who was once a headhunter and is migrating with his teacher-wife to the outer reaches of Devon.
At times like this it helps to live with someone whose income depends upon a different set of economic circumstances to your own. Dual-banker households and dual bonuses are all very well when times are good, but they’re bad news in a banking downturn.
Just how bad they can be was illustrated by a recent article in The Times, concerning an MD who was forced to forego a 500k deposit on a 3.25m family home. His spouse, who worked for the same bank, had lost her job. And he himself wasn’t expecting to receive much in the way of bonus.
Admittedly, the MD in question may not have been able to afford a 3.25m pile were he shackled to a primary school teacher, but hospital consultants can earn up to 174k working for the NHS alone.
In the current climate, risk-averse single bankers looking for lurve are therefore advised to hedge their own career situation with a member of the medical community.
However, less risk-averse singletons may want to go long on a banking comeback and devote themselves solely to their employer – if and when the market comes back they will then have a choice of partner from any profession. Also to be found in the West Dorset countryside is one of the most successful bond saleswomen of the mid-80s – now married to a horse trainer.