Have you ever asked yourself that question, thought about it, and given yourself an answer?
If you’re like most people, you don’t have a definitive answer.
Rather, your answer is simply “more money than I have now.”
I remember when I graduated from college and got my first advertising agency job earning $10,000 a year. It wasn’t a lot of money, but I was thrilled to get the job. At one point I set a goal: To make my age in terms of income. So, by the time I was 30, I wanted to be making $30,000 per year. And by the time I was 40, I’d be up to $40,000 per year.
When you’re making $10,000 quadrupling your income is quite desirable.
But, by the time I was in my thirties I was earning well over $30,000 a year. And by the time I was in my forties, I was earning six figures. Suddenly that little “make my age” goal seemed a little silly. What could I have been thinking?
I realize it’s all relative. And, when I look back, I was actually quite happy back when I was only earning $10,000 a year. I was working in a career I was excited about. I was newly married and we had a cute little apartment that suited our needs. I was able to buy my first new car and pay off my college debt. Yet today, I can’t imagine how I ever worked for so little money, or managed to live on it.
At the same time, as I look at my daughter who is a grad student supporting herself, I’m reminded that like her, I had a different attitude back then. The goal was to live life and make the most of it. The goal was not to make a million dollars.
That makes me scratch my head and ask, When did my goal change?
When did my focus shift from living and enjoying life, to making money?
I realize it probably changed once I started working in my career. Setting and pursuing that “make my age” goal, and all of the financial goals that followed, were more about climbing the corporate ladder and being successful than they were about making more money to improve my standard of living.
Don’t get me wrong, my standard of living did improve. But like many people, it was more because the more money my husband and I made the more things we found to spend it on. And at some point, I realized my attitude and values had shifted.
I’m in a different place now, although I admit I still don’t know how much money I really need, or want.
My answer to the question “How much money do I need?” is still relative.
But the answer is no longer "more." Rather, the answer is "enough."
Enough to pay my bills…
Enough to finance the relatively simple life we’ve adopted now that we’re no longer chasing success and money…
Enough to enjoy life…
Enough to sock the extra away so we can retire some day…
I know I probably need to set a number goal. But I suppose after chasing numbers for so many years, I’m rejecting that a bit. So instead I’m choosing to focus on living the kind of life I want to live, and ultimately I suppose I’ll figure out what that costs.
How about you?
Do you know how much money you need to be making to live the lifestyle you desire?
After spending 25 years in the marketing industry, Debbie LaChusa became so frustrated with its "be more, do more, have more" mentality that she began speaking out about it. She wrote a book entitled "Breaking the Spell: The Truth about Money, Success, and the Pursuit of Happiness" and created the Money Success Happiness blog all in an effort to help others learn how to stop chasing money, success, and happiness and instead discover the true path to a happy, healthy, wealthy life. To read the first chapter of "Breaking the Spell" for free, visit www.breakingthespellbook.com