Save. Spend. Splurge.

At what point are you wealthy?

Nelson from FU says point blank that Wealth = Money, and he hates it when people twist the definition to include having a great life, friends and so on.

I agree and partly disagree because I am someone who believes that although wealth equals money, you don’t necessarily need to have it to be happy.

I don’t assume that everyone needs to be wealthy to be happy.

Still, he brought up an interesting point I’d like to go over:

At what point are you “wealthy”?

If you have $100,000 in India/Or Some Third World Country, you’re filthy rich because you can live like a queen for $10K a year or less.

If you have $100,000 in NYC/L.A./Some Expensive Place, you’re part of the working poor (being facetious here, but that’s what everyone seems to believe).

In addition, it depends on factors like your age and lifestyle.

If you’re a baby with a trust fund of a quarter of a million ready to do some serious compounding interest for the next 80+ years of your life, you’re wealthy, but if you are a senior citizen about to retire with only a quarter of a million to draw upon, you aren’t.

Then lifestyle — if you are someone who lives happily on $20,000 a year, doesn’t really see or feel the need to own a car, let alone a fancy one, or a huge house, and are content to do so, you will be wealthy on your own terms with a lot less.

Conversely, someone who lives comfortably and happily on $60,000 a year, with all the luxurious goods of life at her disposal will need more money to be wealthy.

At this point, all we have to go on are net worth benchmarks, really, based on age and income, but it doesn’t take into account your lifestyle or goals.


Currently I don’t feel wealthy. I know, it sounds ridiculous considering my position, but I don’t.

I feel comfortable.

Secure, even.

…but not wealthy because I have been living off this reserve for a few years and I need to work to bring in more income so that my net worth stops stalling at the $200,000 mark.


When I can:

  • Take annual trips of $10,000 – $20,000 for 3-6 months of the year and travel
  • Buy anything I want (within reason) without having to think about its cost and my budget
  • Not have to worry about getting another contract soon to continue paying for my life

I have the first two pretty much covered – I can take trips and buy what I want within reason without really freaking out, but #3? Still elusive.

I am still having to hunt down for work to pay for my life, and until I can say that I really don’t need to work or take another contract again until I am 100, I am not wealthy.

The thing about money is that it’s tricky — it can be good and it can be bad, depending on how you use and look at it.

My uncle once told me:

With money, a lot is good, more is better and too much is never enough.

Truer words were never said.




  • Jason

    Growing my net worth has always felt pointless, to me that’s not wealth. What I care about is my TIME. So, I’ve focused on growing my passive income so that I can take as much time as I want to see the world, visit friends, etc.

    To me, this freedom is true wealth.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      So at what point will you have enough passive income?

      • Jason

        This is a great question – how much is enough? I guess I want to first get to the point where my passive income equals my normal expenses. But, I don’t think this is really enough in the long run. I think once I have 2x my expenses (pre-tax), that’s a good point for me to take some time off, re-examine things and see what it is I really want to do.

  • Lisa E. @ Lisa vs. the Loans

    Personally, I’ll know I’m wealthy when I can spend on what I really want without being worried about the cost of it all. Yes, that is super vague – but when I think of what wealthy means, that’s what I imagine!

  • Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life

    I guess I won’t know how much it takes to feel wealthy until I get there. But as long as I have this stress over not having enough to make major purchases like a home or have to do work I don’t like just for survival, I’m not sure I can say I’m really wealthy.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I think there are four levels for me: Survival, Comfortable, Secure, Wealthy.

      I am level .. probably #3 right now, “Secure”, although if I keep spending I will drop back down to Comfortable.

  • Debbie M

    Most people don’t feel wealthy, no matter how much wealth they have, because they can easily imagine having more.

    Me, I feel rich in some ways and poor in some ways. I feel poor when I buy ordinary food instead of polite food (organic, free-range, etc.) just to keep in my budget.

    But I feel rich in many, many ways–I have a big emergency fund, so I don’t have to worry about cash flow and I have everything I need and almost everything I want. Plus I get to retire in 39 weeks and 3 days.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      Same here. When I can’t buy what I want — organic raspberries at $5 a pint, I feel rather poor and I think to myself: When I am rich, I am eating berries EVERY. DAY.

      !!! Congratulations 🙂 You are so close to retirement and you are financially secure which is all anyone can really ask for.

  • Liquid

    Those are some pretty good advice from your uncle 🙂 Right now I would consider myself to be comfortable as well. They say you are the product of 5 of the closest people around you. I think I will feel wealthy when I have more money than the 5 people closest to me 🙂 This can get tricky if family members are included so I would only compare myself with 5 of my closest friends or acquaintances instead.

  • Bridget

    I think I’ll feel wealthy when I have at least $2 million in the bank. I don’t know what it is about that number, it’s just my “it”. I feel like that will give me a lot of freedom to live the lifestyle I please (I won’t quit working or anything, I just feel like I can really enjoy my money if I have such a lump sum in the bank)

  • AdinaJ

    Wealthy? Probably never, unless I win the lottery or something. But I feel pretty damn fortunate right now. My family is healthy, we have a comfortable life, and I’m definitely grateful about that.
    I like your uncle’s saying 😉

  • tomatoketchup

    I’ll feel wealthy when I have enough invested to live off of 3% of my stash indefinitely. For me, the total number is around 2.5 million. 3% of that per year would be more than enough to cover my basic expenses while leaving about 20 to 30 grand a year for travel.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      Oh that’s a good benchmark. Does that include factoring in inflation?

      • tomatoketchup

        @save. spend. splurge.: I think it would provide a nice buffer against inflation since I probably wouldn’t spend all of that amount every year. And a 3% withdrawal rate is pretty conservative which should hopefully allow the principal to grow slowly. Oh- and social security will also help once I hit real retirement age.

        I do like my line of work, so even after I hit my number I’d probably still work at least part time so I wouldn’t get bored.

        • save. spend. splurge.

          You’re just like me then. I don’t want to really retire. I want to semi-retire because I’ve already had a taste of doing nothing for 2 – 4 years in long stretches and I’m about to climb the walls.

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