Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Heaven knows I'm miserable now

In a piece designed to bathe their less fortunate readers in the warm glow of schadenfreude, today's Wall Street Journal provides the headline advice 'Don’t Envy the Super-Rich, They Are Miserable'. Based on a much longer article in The Atlantic, the Journal gives a synopsis of a survey on the sorts of constant sorrow that are the heavy baggage of the wealthy.
The study of 165 households with an average income of $78 million shows, for example, that the typical respondent feels like they would require at least 25% more moolah to feel that they were financially secure.
"Miserable?" muses hedge fund billionaire John Paulson. "I don't know that I'd call myself miserable, but look at my face. Come on, there's a C-Note in it for you, so look at my face. This is not a happy face, but I prefer to call it glum. You know, I used to feel like I had the world on a string, but then I made the tragic mistake of acquiring vast wealth. Well, to other people it may seem vast, but to me it still feels inadequate."

"Last year I was really despondent. There I was, fifty-four years old, and I had less than seven billion to my name. I just barely made the bottom of the Forbes forty richest Americans list. Really, once you get past the top ten, it's hardly even worth being mentioned. All I wanted, all I prayed for, was an additional 25 to 50%. I really wanted the 50%, but sometimes life requires you to compromise. Well don't you know my prayers were answered, and when I closed the books on 2010, I had 12.5 billion in the hopper. It really was a great year for hedge funds."
"The point is, I was happy. For a while. I made number twenty on the Forbes list, and knocked that bastard Donald Bren down to twenty-first. He's seventy-eight years old, he'll never catch back up with me now. Still, somebody will. I'm worried about that young punk Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook? What the hell is Facebook? Jesus, what's the world coming to when you can make a fortune in something like social networking instead of real world commodities like hedge funds? I'm miserable just thinking about it."


  1. I loved this choice morsel from The Atlantic: "One respondent, the heir to an enormous fortune, says that what matters most to him is his Christianity, and that his greatest aspiration is “to love the Lord, my family, and my friends.” He also reports that he wouldn’t feel financially secure until he had $1 billion in the bank."

  2. I know how he feels. I've been experiencing some anxiety about a noise my minivan is making and I am afraid it will need a repair. Just think about how much more I would feel like that if I had 6 cars that all cost $80,000. Way more stressed, I can only imagine.