Wednesday, August 8, 2007

This is NOT going to be me!

Okay, I discovered this article at Fiat Lux, a really entertaining blog discussing things on Silicon Valley. Her post entry directed me to this article in the New York Times called:

"In Silicon Valley, Millionaires Who Don’t Feel Rich" I read the article eagerly, wanting to know what millionaire DO feel then . . . and learned that some of these folks in Silicon Valley must be out of their ever-loving minds.

No one knows for certain how many single-digit millionaires live in Silicon Valley. Yet nearly all of them still have all-consuming jobs, not only because the work gives them a sense of achievement and satisfaction but also because they think they must work so much to afford their gilded neighborhoods.

That certainly describes Tony Barbagallo, 44, who over the last two decades has collected around $3.6 million in stock and options from companies he has worked for.

Taxes have devoured about 40 percent of his stash, Mr. Barbagallo said, knocking that figure down to $2.2 million. Over the years, he has tried to live off his salary, but not always successfully. To limit their monthly expenses, he and his wife Catherine bought a ranch house far from Silicon Valley, in the town of Moraga, for $750,000 — by Valley standards a modest sum. But they spent $350,000 on extensive remodeling — causing them, not for the first time, to dip deeply into their nest egg.

What da' . . . . I'm sorry, but this is fully ridiculous.
1. You have several millionaire dollars and you can not find ways to live within your means?

2. To live within your means you decide to buy a modest house in . . . in Moraga?
Moraga, though not as expensive as Los Altos, is still kind of up there. I mean, if you really wanted to live modestly, there is Berkeley, there is the Oakland Hills (Piedmont, Montclair), there is El Cerrito . . . there are sooo many other places in the Bay Area that you could live well and modestly. Moraga would not top that list.

Okay, 3. You buy a $750,000 house and THEN spend $350,000 on renovations? Why didn't you just buy a $1,000,000 house in Silicon Valley in the first place? And what type of renovations did you make, 18-Karet gold renovations? Using 18-karet gold contractors? I mean, I personally know people who have built a 1,500 square foot house -- yes, in the Bay Area -- for that amount. Did ya try to cut costs in anything you did? My god!

Note to self: Become a general contractor (it's not difficult - I've researched it thoroughly because I want to build a home myself one day) and look for Silicon Valley millionaires that just bought a house. Damn, I wish someone had told me about this earlier!


Umberto Milletti has fantasized about downsizing his life to ease the financial pressures he feels despite a net worth around $5 million. In 2000, when his stake in DigitalThink, the online learning company he co-founded in 1996, was worth around $50 million, he bought his family of four a five-bedroom house in Hillsborough, an upscale suburb south of San Francisco. After his net worth fell 90 percent, though, he found the house more of an albatross than a dream.

“We could move,” Mr. Milletti said. “But if you do that, then you’re admitting defeat. No one wants to go backwards.”

So he works 60 to 70 hours a week at InsideView, an online sales intelligence company he co-founded in 2005, in part to prove that his first success was not a fluke — but also to meet his monthly nut, which includes payments on a seven-figure mortgage.

MY COMMENTS: Admitting defeat? This is not Monopoly, this is LIFE (okay, there is a game called LIFE , I know, don't leave comments about this). I think Robin Leach did us a miss-service because these people are acting ridiculous.

  • What is wrong with living a middle-class life and having hunks of cash in the bank?
  • What's wrong with telling your neighbors to mind their own freakin' business and NO you like your Toyota Camry just fine, thank you.
  • What's wrong with telling your kids that NO they can't have the latest and greastest, even if their friends parents let them do it . . . tough nuggy. Life ain't fair - live with it.
  • What's wrong with telling people NO. No, I don't want to donate to your cause. No, I don't want to get a six-figure car - yours is nice, I'm happy for you. No, I'm not buying you that crazy expensive gift - you better be glad with my congratulations and warm blessings and be done with it. Just plain "No" to everything. What's wrong with that?


I don't feel insignificant . . . hell, even when I had two nickels to my name I didn't feel insignificant. I think that these people have issues with their self-worth. I think that even if they made $30 million tomorrow, they would still feel unworthy and needed to keep up with their buddies.

Their gauge of success is how they can one-up their neighbors and friends. Not how happy their family is, how much time they can spend with their family, how comfortable their home is for them (instead of being a showcase to make friends envious of them).

Truly, this is a sad state of affairs we are witnessing.

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