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Working class millionaires – 10 million doesn’t cut it

You know most of us
struggle to get by or so it seems.  We work long hours, spend probably
a couple of hours a day commuting, maybe get two weeks off in August if
we’re lucky to get away to a beach or mountain somewhere … and all
this to take home a salary that can just about cover a mortgage (not
even that if you work and live in London) and generate a pension.

That’s probably good enough for most. 

But
then you get a lucky break and you find your stock options day has come
in.  You’ve suddenly shot up from being a five-figure salaried android
to being an eight- or nine- figure plus High Net Worth
Eeeennnnn-durrrr-veeed-you-elle, an HNWI for short.

Fantastic.

So what do we do? 

Jack in the job, buy a boat and sail the world until the tan is so deep there are no white bits left …

Nope.

We carry on working sixty, seventy or eighty hours a week as a working-class millionaire ‘cos we’ve not got enough.

Gordon Bennett, give me a break.

What am I on about?

American’s
silicon valley slummers who made it to upwards of $200 million total
assets but carry on working because they haven’t made it yet.

This
all came out of the New York Times last week, who ran a report on
working-class millionaires and the fact that $10 million doesn’t cut it
anymore, not when your hedge fund manager mate next door has just gone
and booked himself a $20 million trip into space for his holidays and a
Lear Jet for the backyard (although after the events of the last few months, some of them might be on the unemployment line too by now).

Talk about keeping up with the Joneses.

A
few case studies in the report included Hal Steger who, at 51, has
banked over $2 million and paid off his $1.3 million house.  He is in
the top 2% of American families with a net worth of $3.5 million and
yet Hal carries on working 12 hour days as a marketing exec for a tech
start up in Silicon Valley, as well as ten hours over the weekend.

“I
know people looking in from the outside will ask why someone like me
keeps working so hard,” says Mr. Steger, “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.”

Another case in point is
Gary Kremen, founder of Match.com, who’s worth $10 million but still
works 60 hour or more weeks.   “Everyone around here looks at the
people above them,” said Mr. Kremen.  “It’s just like Wall Street,
where there are all these financial guys worth $7 million wondering
what’s so special about them when there are all these guys worth in the
hundreds of millions of dollars … you’re nobody here at $10 million.”

The report was one of the most read on the NYTimes website last week, and created over 9,400 blog responses.  These include "Can you imagine having $10 million in net worth and still not feeling wealthy?" at MoneyandHappiness.com; "I cannot stand the Luxury" at TheMonarchy.org; and "Keeping up with the Joneses" at Naeem’s Blog.

But the comment I liked the most came from Wobblie in Washington DC who states "$10 MILLION IS PLENTY OF MONEY! YOU’RE NOT F***ING POOR, SO STOP YOUR F***ING WHINING!"

Totally with you there Wobblie.  Now lend me a tenner …

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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