Karen Fawcett, a partner in FWB & Co., a Georgetown interior design firm, has found the recession troubling, but distant from most aspects of her life.
"We know people who went to Harvard and Yale who are out of work," she says. "My clients may still drop $20,000 and buy the window treatment, sofa, rug, but they'll wait until they're sure they have the money for the wonderful armoire."
She and her husband, Chip, an assistant director of the D.C. Recreation Department, earn about $80,000 a year. With a live-in housekeeper, a spacious home with a swimming pool in the Kalorama section of Northwest and their son at the Maret School, "we are flush by most standards," she says. "I have always lived well. I'm not someone who wants for a lot of material things."
Yet, her salary no longer goes for European vacations or clothes, but school tuition and braces. "We're spending every dime we make and more. We do not save money now and that concerns me."
She no longer serves $12 bottles of French wine when they entertain, which is frequently, but "a nice, but not extravagant" California wine.
She added a second job, as a publicist for a financial services firm, because the recession has meant less interior design work.
She says she feels "very grateful that we are exceedingly lucky, having money and jobs and careers that we like. I feel a certain amount of guilt when I read in the newspaper about the hard times."