This NYT SundayReview section about "wife bonuses" last weekend got a lot of people buzzing and generated a few twitter wise cracks: "There is no such thing as a fixed-price contract," one hedge funder tweeted. An anonymous trader tweeted "Are wife bonuses subject to clawback provisions?" and "Are wife bonuses taxed at capital gains rates?"
A wife bonus, I was told, might be hammered out in a pre-nup or post-nup, and distributed on the basis of not only how well her husband’s fund had done but her own performance — how well she managed the home budget, whether the kids got into a “good” school — the same way their husbands were rewarded at investment banks. In turn these bonuses were a ticket to a modicum of financial independence and participation in a social sphere where you don’t just go to lunch, you buy a $10,000 table at the benefit luncheon a friend is hosting.