Working Class Millionaires

Blast from the past. Look at the date.

Mr. Steger, 51, a self-described geek, has banked more than $2 million. The $1.3 million house he and his wife own on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean is paid off. The couple’s net worth of roughly $3.5 million places them in the top 2 percent of families in the United States.

Yet each day Mr. Steger continues to toil in what a colleague calls “the Silicon Valley salt mines,” working as a marketing executive for a technology start-up company, still striving for his big strike. Most mornings, he can be found at his desk by 7. He typically works 12 hours a day and logs an extra 10 hours over the weekend.

“I know people looking in from the outside will ask why someone like me keeps working so hard,” Mr. Steger says. “But a few million doesn’t go as far as it used to. Maybe in the ’70s, a few million bucks meant ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,’ or Richie Rich living in a big house with a butler. But not anymore.”

Mr. Kremen estimated his net worth at $10 million. That puts him firmly in the top half of 1 percent among Americans, according to wealth data from the Federal Reserve, but barely in the top echelons in affluent towns like Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton. So he logs 60- to 80-hour workweeks because, he said, he does not think he has nearly enough money to ease up.

You’re nobody here at $10 million,” Mr. Kremen said earnestly over a glass of pinot noir at an upscale wine bar here.

David Koblas, a computer programmer with a net worth of $5 million to $10 million, imagines what his life would be like if he left Silicon Valley. He could move to a small town like Elko, Nev., he says, and be a ski bum. Or he could move his family to the middle of the country and live like a prince in a spacious McMansion in the nicest neighborhood in town.

“I’d be rich in Kansas City,” he said. “People would seek me out for boards. But here I’m a dime a dozen.”

Silicon Valley offers an unusual twist on keeping up with the Joneses. The venture capitalist two doors down might own a Cessna Citation X private jet. The father of your 8-year-old’s best friend, who has not worked for two years, drives a bright yellow Ferrari. Temptations loom everywhere.

“Here, the top 1 percent chases the top one-tenth of 1 percent, and the top one-tenth of 1 percent chases the top one-one-hundredth of 1 percent,” he said.

I wonder if any of these cats rent self-storage units…

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He is referring to Atherton or PA? In most part of SV, people pretend to be poor, drive Hondas and Toyotas, some Lexuses and Acuras, very few BMWs, Mercedes, Audis and even fewer Porches, Tesla, Bentley, Jaguar…

They buy studio for …

That would be my Big Bro. He is finally now dressing two steps above a homeless person and he did buy his wife a top of the line Honda awhile back. Other than a huge house in Saratoga, you wouldn’t think he had any money. He works long hours and even goes in on some weekends if the properties don’t need tending to. Yes, he would laugh at anyone renting self-storage units…

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Laughing at poor people is considered bad manner.

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You obviously don’t know my Big Bro. Not only would he laugh at you, he would say you deserve it. We don’t pull punches, Sir. You get what you get in this world because of hard work or lack thereof. Period.

How insecure and greedy these people are. I’m in BA and I do not feel the pressure to work 60-80 hours for the sake of being richer than your neighbors

Plenty of PA residents live a modest life. You can live in Atherton and socialize with PA folks

But, is it actually real greed that drives these people though? Take my Big Bro for example. He rarely boasts about his net worth to anyone, only me, because we are chatting and you know how dueling brothers can be. And if anything, my Big Bro could care less about what his nose in the air Saratoga neighbors think of him…

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Many of us are single digit millionaires. It really is nothing in the valley. I think even 5m is not enough to feel secure. Something in the low 8 digits may do.

This goes back to my point that people born and raised one way will never change 100%. You simply can not change an animal’s stripes. People who survived the Great Depression continued to live quite frugally even if they eventually became filthy rich. I seem to recall reading about some old lady who died and despite her fairly squalor living conditions turned out to be a multi millionaire. I suppose you can argue if they are smarter or not, but to me, the smart ones know when to shut it down and go enjoy their rest of their lives.

Pride. Name. Some love name. Some love money. Some love women. Some have interesting hobbies.

But it sounds like some of these cats literally don’t do anything but work. My Big Bro is somewhat like that. No hobbies. If not work, he is working at his properties. PM, you crazy?

Baby boomers are workaholics.

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Really??? I thought $5M is the magic number but apparently $10M is the new $5M…

Come on, $5M can’t even pay for a decent remodeled home in the…Bayview!!!

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Only @manch’s home. The rest can go for less than a million :slight_smile:


10M+, we all have a lot more work to do.