Have you ever asked yourself that question, thought about it, and given yourself an answer?
If youâre like most people, you donât have a definitive answer.
Rather, your answer is simply âmore money than I have now.â
I remember when I graduated from college and got my first advertising agency job earning $10,000 a year. It wasnât 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, Iâd be up to $40,000 per year.
When youâre 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 âmake my ageâ goal seemed a little silly. What could I have been thinking?
I realize itâs 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 canât 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, Iâm 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 âmake my ageâ 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.
Donât 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.
Iâm in a different place now, although I admit I still donât know how much money I really need, or want.
My answer to the question âHow much money do I need?â is still relative.
But the answer is no longer "more." Rather, the answer is "enough."
Enough to pay my billsâ¦
Enough to finance the relatively simple life weâve adopted now that weâre no longer chasing success and moneyâ¦
Enough to enjoy lifeâ¦
Enough to sock the extra away so we can retire some dayâ¦
I know I probably need to set a number goal. But I suppose after chasing numbers for so many years, Iâm rejecting that a bit. So instead Iâm choosing to focus on living the kind of life I want to live, and ultimately I suppose Iâll 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