Confessions of an Overnight Millionaire
New York magazine|April 12-25, 2021
“I constantly ask myself, Do I deserve this money?”

Since July 2020, nearly 750 companies have gone public, raising more than $200 billion and minting thousands of new paper millionaires. Amid the frenzy, one millennial tech worker on the verge of unexpected wealth shared what was going through her mind.

When I joined my company, I theoretically knew there were only two exit paths—an acquisition or an IPO. And a third, where the company implodes, like WeWork, but you’re hoping for one of the first two. I didn’t really think about it when I signed on. I thought that I’d make a little bit from an IPO, maybe $200,000. You don’t think much about $200,000; it’s not life-changing. After I joined, people would say things like, “I think I’ll retire off this money.” I thought they were delusional. Then, last year, a friend called and said, “Are you ready to be a millionaire? Check the news.” That’s how I learned my company was IPO-ing. I had no idea. I would be making north of $6 million.

It’s not purely a celebratory time. It’s a stressful time, too, because of the constant decisions. The amount of money is so large that if I make a 5 percent fuckup, that’s hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I’ve been interviewing wealth managers, and honestly I couldn’t be less impressed. If I were a wealth manager, I’m exactly the client I would want. I’m young, and I could be a client for 50 years. So these people should be thirsty, but they’re not. The wealth-management firms are old school— I don’t think they’re designed for people like me. I was video-chatting with one guy, and he didn’t know how to do a screen-share properly, so he was showing his entire screen, including windows that I probably shouldn’t have seen. And I was like, I’m going to trust you to oversee my millions? I was asking another, “How do you evaluate a tech stock?” You can’t just look at the financials—you have to look at the market, how the technology is unique. There’s a lot of industry understanding they lack. They’re using principles from the 1990s.

There are things that rich people do, and hiring someone to manage your money is one of them. I’m wondering, Is this something rich people do because other rich people are doing it? Is this industry a farce?

The money is and isn’t life-changing. At this point in my life, nothing is going to change. What would I do differently? I’m only having as much fun as my peers are. I don’t know why I would buy a Tesla, which is the common reaction people have. I don’t want to buy a house. San Francisco feels like it has peaked and is going downward. I walk my dogs at 10 p.m., and I don’t feel fully safe, and I think that’s unsustainable.

I’m not a generous person; I’m incredibly frugal. Now, my floodgates of generosity can finally open. My sister’s love language is giftreceiving, so I got her a candle from a local boutique. The shipping cost $10. Normally, I wouldn’t pay to ship, but now I’m like, No matter. I’ll pay the $10. It’s been a lot of minor expenses. Like, I bought a boutique cheese from the farmers’ market for $15. Before, I’d be like, That’s a ridiculous amount to spend on cheese. I don’t even like cheese that much.

I’d say my dogs’ lifestyle has changed more than mine. They’ve gotten a food upgrade, a special prescription diet that’s low sodium. It’s $70 a bag. The average pet food at the supermarket is $15. And they’re on supplements: a fish oil, a probiotic, one for joint health. This all happened recently.

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