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James Hong

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Thank god i'm not in this one

There was an article in the NY Times yesterday about how people in silicon valley who have millions of dollars don't feel rich. I was interviewed for the piece, but thank god i wasn't included. Perhaps I didn't sound whiny enough?

Of course, I doubt the people interviewed were actually being whiny.. it just sounded that way a bit (to me) because of the angle Gary was taking. But one thing i think people miss is that it is possible for someone to say "I don't feel rich enough" and to recognize that s/he is fortunate at the same time. I think the people in the story surely realize that they are more fortunate than most, and they aren't asking you to cry for them.. their only point is that they still feel the need to make more.

heck, i'll be the first to be honest and admit it. I am in a good enough position that it is silly for me to worry too hard about my financial well being, but out of sheer silliness, i do still worry. The truth is if you are reading this post, you probably fit that description too because worrying about the fact that you might not have enough is pretty much human nature, and if you are reading this post you are definitely better off than the average person in this world.

It's easy to speculate what life would be like, if only you had some arbitrary sum of money.. "oh man, if i had X dollars, my life would be so different and i would feel great about life, and i'd just retire." But what most people don't realize is that if they ever got to x million, they wouldn't necessarily be happier. The old cliche is true, money doesn't equate to happiness and retirement usually drives people nuts.

(However, I also believe that not having enough money DOES suck and does make your life more stressful and problematic. Nobody ever mentions that when they talk about how having more money doesn't make you happier.. having less DOES usually make one sadder.)

ps. if you watch the video of mr. steger on the article page, you learn that one reason he is so driven to make more is because his daughter had a kidney operation and probably won't be covered by insurance should it pop up again in the future... and he wants to make sure he has the money to pay for her medical bills.. that part didn't sound so silly to me, but that's more a testament about the state of our healthcare system than the real-world-disconnectedness of silicon valley.


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