In Discussions, For Beginners, Money

What amount of money would have changed your life?

I am not talking about a billion or a million dollars. I want specific amounts because there are things you want to pay or buy and you have price tags on all of that.

Of course, a billion would change everyone’s life but that is not what I am after.

A specific amount can go a long way.

I was thinking about this the other day, and if I went back in time, I could see that different amounts would have made a big difference.

When I was a kid, $20 was a lot of money. Like a lot. If I had $20 I felt rich, but if I had $100.. OMG I felt like a baller.

But for me, it would have really been $60,000.

As I got older, and graduated, I knew for a fact that $60,000 would change my life because it was the exact amount of money I owed in student debt. I thought that if I had that, I would start over from $0.

I could start from fresh, take what I learned to heart about not wasting my money and being more frugal, and I would have done better.

I have read articles that have stated that even a mere $500 can change people’s lives.


It pays for a bus pass for instance, so that they don’t have to take into consideration a job as being too far from where they live to be able to get to work if they have to walk.

$500 can cover someone’s payday loan they took out because they needed the money to stop their electricity from being cut off.

Sometimes, being in deb is not their fault.

Sometimes it is circumstances, of course, bad decisions that arose from a lack of knowledge (not to be confused with “smarts” as the two are very different), and even $500 could be a big amount to someone to change their lives for the better.

Now, I think if I had enough for retirement ($1 – $2 million) in cash aside from my house and car being paid (which by the way THEY ARE), it would change my life in that I would stop thinking about whether I am getting extended on a contract or not.

It would change my life in that sense but even if I didn’t have that money, I would be fine.

That money I am working towards saving would if it were given to me, would not change my life to the point where the impact of such a change, and the intensity of the amount would be that I would stop deciding between whether I get to eat this week or keep the roof over my head.

I think for people who are so money-focused as the small part of us are (let’s face it, there aren’t many personal finance (PF) geeks out there), it can sometimes feel very obvious to state things like:

Prioritize your spending and spend on what matters to you

Save aside 10% – 25% of your money for retirement because even a year makes a difference

Get out of debt as soon as you can if it is crushing your spirit (especially with high interest rates)

Invest your money, don’t let it sit in a savings account.

(This is how to invest your money)

Etc, etc, etc…

I forget this sometimes because all of this is now second nature.

It is a part of me, how I live, and how I see my money. I cannot forget what I have learned, and I think that shows in my net worth how much I have profited and benefited from this knowledge.

If you’re stuck, sometimes it is best to start at the beginning. You don’t know what you don’t know.

Start budgeting, start tracking your money, and then go from there.

Baby steps lead to more learning, and before you know it, you’ll be saying phrases and facts, fully confident in what you are saying.

As for what amount of money would change your life – consider that as your new money goal.

If it is like me, retirement savings of a million or two, then that is what I should be (and am) working towards, without forgetting to also live while achieving those goals (e.g. shop, eat out, gifts to others, travel, etc).

Life isn’t just about reaching those money goals – it is also about enjoying and spending your money to live your life.

My partner is far more on the extreme of saving – a single-minded focus on retiring as soon as possible; and I am on the other extreme where I am spending a little more than I should be saving based on my money goals (or not? I feel like I am the type who will never retire fully..)

There is no need to swing into extremes of super saving and living on bread crusts, versus spending everything because you could get hit by a car tomorrow and what would all that saving have been for?

You can’t predict life, but you can follow a plan, a strategy and make sure that you aren’t giving up too much of one to achieve another.

So. What amount of money would change your life?

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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6 Comments

  1. Minh Thuy

    My number is a good $500 000. With this I will be able to pay off my student debt ($58 000), put a considerable chunk ($350 000) into my mortgage (just bought an investment property recently, so bringing down some of the interest is a bonus) and put some some extra into superannuation ($50 000), Though I’m tracking well for my age, I could put a bit more in there. And with the remaining, $42 000 use it to build a business online. Figures can be shifted around a little.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      That sounds very good!

      Reply
  2. Financial Orchid

    HCOL west coast dweller here. My FI # is closer to $5MM unfortunately as I still want to upgrade dwelling down the road. Not too worried about active income anymore tho.

    Reply
  3. Sarahn

    My number is currently about $40k. It’s the amount that’s projected to still be owing on my mortgage when my contract ends in April 2019.

    But then; that payoff is pooled savings with set purposes/goals so it’s likely more, my magic number!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Mortgage debt seems to be a big one.. I have been informally polling people.

      Reply

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