Another day, another dozen $100k Tesla Roadsters passing by on 101. You hike the same hills as millionaires and billionaires, and share the same views during a relaxing day trip to the coast. You work amongst executives and entrepreneurs who have enough to retire on tenfold in the bank, yet are working and building something because they have something to prove to the world and their own egos.
But you are not the 1%. You drive a Honda. Or a Toyota. You work for the 1%. You have a life built on a dream that maybe your stock options will one day get you to that echelon of the Valley. Or make it so you can afford a nice $1.4M home in the Belmont hills (forget Hillsborough or Los Altos.) The older you get, the more you realize that the only way to make it outside of getting extremely lucky is to marry engineering talent or entrepreneurial genius. Or share a common bloodline with tech royalty.
That isn’t my life. I watch with envy as an acquaintances’ husband hits the jackpot in an IPO, their family likely set for life. Another friend of a friend, also married to an engineer, can afford to be a mother and work part time. I look around me at the women I know and they are either struggling to make ends meet or their husbands have impressive, stable, well-paid jobs at F1000s and startups where they are some of the most valued and thus retained-with-benefits employees.
Jealousy adds no value to life. But it is what it is. I’ve built my own career up and now make just over $100k per year (about $5900 per month) which is a lot, except it isn’t. I’d like to be able to afford a nice 1br rental but that would be $2.5k – $3k around here. Half my salary. Instead, I live with two roommates, and hate being at home. I try to save, but my future wealth entirely depends on the stock market. It seems so much smarter to just make it a business to marry into fiscal stability. Find a 40-something man who hasn’t been married or got out of a marriage without kids, and be his 30-something wife. Work still, of course, but don’t have such a huge gap between my networth today and what is necessary for the life I want to live here.
That’s a joke, to much extent. I’m not going to marry for money and I certainly don’t want to set any expectations for myself that I could be happy in that type of situation. But I also don’t know how long I can last in Silicon Valley without wealth. It’s been fine and wonderful in my 20s, I just don’t think I can survive here in my 30s and especially with a family.
It can be frustrating because I see the executives who make $200k+ per year, likely even more, and that will never be me. I see the woman who are married to their engineer husbands who don’t have to worry. And I see myself, not poor by any means, but not on a solid track to financial stability. My $230k of stocks and cash is a lot but not a lot. I could spend that all on an MBA tomorrow. I need to hit $1M to really feel like I’m on the base of the financial independence mountain, ready to climb. $5M is when I can stop worrying. The only way it seems to get there is to marry into wealth. And I’m not doing that. Am I stupid?