Rich People Problems

2012-35 STY Advice Illustration P IPAD
Illustration: Zohar Lazar


Introducing THR’s new advice columnist, Victoria Klein Wainscott, who really understands just how hard it can be to have it all

Introducing THR's new advice columnist, Victoria Klein Wainscott, who really understands just how hard it can be to have it all.

My husband is a big studio exec and we want our new nanny to sign an NDA. Are those enforceable?

I'm so glad you asked. Ever since the whole Schwarzenegger blowup, my nanny only has eyes for my husband. She has a 20-year-old pool-boy inamorata, so I suspect she may be angling for a possible free ride -- for the next 30 years. Listen, even if you're not Brad and Angie, who wants their most personal secrets -- how much Champagne you buy, how much your kid's wardrobe costs -- exposed? I have many lawyer friends, for obvious reasons -- and this is what I've gleaned from their advice: An NDA can punish a blabby nanny for spewing to the press, but it's very, very hard to persuade a judge to authorize a gag order (damn that First Amendment!). More likely, you'll have to settle for breach of contract damages. But chances are, they might have zero means of paying a judgment (and the salacious info already will have made Page Six). Which essentially means: Don't let the nanny hear anything you don't want out there.

The holidays are approaching. To me, that means year-end tax-free gifting. What's the proper way to gently nudge my parents, who aren't getting the message?

When you're on Santa's lap this year, make sure your rich daddy is around. Then speak up and say you want an IDGT. That's pronounced like "widget" without the "W." It stands for "Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust" and currently allows individuals to give beneficiaries a $5 million asset that's free of gift or estate taxes. Better act fast -- this level of exemption expires at the end of 2012, when it goes down to $1 million. And please, don't tell President Obama this, but don't worry about that $5 million limit! According to Laura Zwicker, who specializes in family wealth planning at Greenberg Glusker, if you have your eye on the $10 million mansion, all your daddy needs to do is form an LLC partnership, stick that asset into the IDGT and gift you the full membership interest of the partnership. The law says that your interest can't be valued at more than $5.12 million, but Zwicker notes, "Appraisals are works of art, not works of science." Voila. Your rich daddy is impressed you know what an IDGT is. And you'll end up with the best gift Santa ever gave.

I would like to be green but only in a luxury car. What should I throw my money down on?

I know what you're talking about. We've got a number of cars, but we leave the environmentally friendly ones in the front of the driveway because all our Brentwood neighbors have "gone green." (I thought it had something to do with food poisoning till I finally figured it out.) I consulted my good friend Matt Hardigree, who is editor in chief of, about the best green car that is both fun and efficient to pull up into the Spago valet. "It's hard to argue with a Tesla Model S," is what he tells us. "But at the rate they're building them, you might have to wait until the premiere of the fourth Avatar sequel before you can pull up to the red carpet in one. Fisker will be happy to sell you one of its $100,000-plus Karmas, but, like LiLo, they have a bad habit of catching fire in very public ways. Between the Fisker and the Tesla, I'd go with Model S. Maybe Elon Musk will invite you to go get sushi with Jon Favreau. If we're picking cars you can't own yet but can brag about, I'd go with the hybrid plug-in Porsche 918 Spyder, the sexiest green car ever designed. It makes loud V8 noises, will be as fast as any sports car and will be impressively expensive (about $845,000) when it comes out in 2013."

If I run out for a quick botox -- and arrive at a lunch bruised -- is there an excuse anyone would believe?

Well, this is a road well-traveled. Some people very close to me have had this experience, if you know what I mean. Here's a few tried-and-true tricks I've used (meaning, my girlfriends have used):

A. Cle de Peau concealer -- yes, the $68 one --covers pretty much anything outside of biker tattoos. But if that doesn't work:

B. You went to a breakfast, drank too much Veuve and OJ and walked into the ladies' room door.

C. You have a rare sinus infection.

D. Your husband was tossing and turning and wound up smacking you in the face when he was asleep (usually a euphemism for rough sex).

E. And the best one -- you've taken up boxing and your trainer was hung over and landed one on you.

More good advice: My pal Gregory Arlt, director of makeup artistry at MAC, says peach-based concealer hides the blues and purples of bruising.


THR's Victoria klein Wainscott with a concern (anonymity assured), send e-mail to richpeople