I don’t suppose one is required to feel sorry for Silicon Valley’s millionaire working class economically exactly, but there is definitely something pitiable about seeing the Porsche and Mercedes stuffed into the minimum of parking associated with a 2000 sq. ft. 1950s tract house on a postage stamp lot.
California is in some respects a lot like Hell. Those condemned to reside in the Valley literally have its temperatures. And the great majority of the more favored, those cooled by balmy Pacific breezes, live like Sisyphus, in possession of real wealth, yet surrounded by conspicuously displayed examples of far greater wealth. Able to own a nice automobile, but still unable to afford a decent home.
â€œYouâ€™re nobody here at $10 million,â€ Mr. Kremen said earnestly over a glass of pinot noir at an upscale wine bar here. …
“People around here, if they have 2 or 3 million dollars, they donâ€™t feel secure,â€ said David W. Hettig, an estate planner based in Menlo Park who has advised Silicon Valleyâ€™s wealthy for two decades. …
Celeste Baranski, a 49-year-old engineer with a net worth of around $5 million who lives with her husband in Menlo Park, no longer frets about tucking enough money away for college for their two children… Yet like other working-class millionaires of Silicon Valley, she harbors anxieties about her financial future.
“I donâ€™t know how people live here on just a normal salary,â€ said Ms. Baranski. …
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.
But Mr. Koblas, 39, lives with his wife, Michelle, and their two children in Los Altos, south of Palo Alto, where the schools are highly regarded and the housing prices are inflated accordingly. So instead of a luxury home, the family lives in a relatively modest 2,000-square-foot house â€” not much bigger than the average American home â€” and he puts in long hours at Wink, a search engine start-up founded in 2005.
â€œIâ€™d be rich in Kansas City,â€ he said. â€œPeople would seek me out for boards. But here Iâ€™m a dime a dozen.â€
Read the whole thing