How Much Money Is Enough Money?

Today’s article is by Catherine Alford, our regular Wednesday contributor.

Is This Enough Money?

Is This Enough Money?

I’ve thought about this question quite a bit, wondering how much money it would take for me to feel like I had enough. I know that over the past few years, I’ve developed a minimalist lifestyle, and I just don’t need much.

This wasn’t always true, but we have really altered the way we live since moving to the Caribbean, and I hope that we can maintain this way of life for a very long time, even after moving back to the States.

Essentially, our home is small. We don’t buy a lot of clothes. We don’t have a TV. Yet, I still get anxious every time my checking account dips below a certain number, and it makes me want to hustle more and more to get it high again.

When I think about how much we’ve grown and how much we’ve saved in the last few months, I can’t help but feel proud and a little more comfortable than usual. Still, I wonder if we have enough, especially when thinking about starting a family. Is the amount of income we currently bring in going to be at a level that can sustain us for the long run?

How Much Money Is Enough for Me?

I guess to me, having “enough money” means that I can comfortably pay my bills without worrying. It means I don’t have a panic attack every time I swipe my debit card. I know it’s going to work, and that I have a lot of room to spare. It wasn’t always that way for me, so I tend to appreciate those moments more.

At the same time, I do daydream about what it would be like to get a massive lottery payout and wipe out all of our student loan debt. I swear I would be one of those responsible lottery winners who would pay off all their debt, invest a ton of it, and stay quiet. I wouldn’t even move apartments, but I’d totally hire someone to help me clean the house every day!

It Varies From Person to Person

I suppose how much money all of us actually feel is “enough” will vary from person to person. Some people need huge savings accounts to feel comfortable. Some don’t worry about it at all. Some have so much money, they don’t care what they spend. Some spend their whole lives trying to become millionaires.

I feel like I personally don’t want the responsibility of being a multi-millionaire, high profile person. I’d rather just pursue my own goals, try to work for myself and bring in a reasonable income, save where I can, and try to become an “eventual millionaire,” that is, someone who can comfortably retire with that amount and spoil their grandkids with it.

So, enough about me. I want to hear from you. Do you have an amount in mind for how much money you think is enough money for you or your family? Let’s hear the number!

photo by: aresauburn™

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About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. She enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, www.BudgetBlonde.com.

Comments

  1. Do you mean annually?
    The more, the better for us right now. The more we make now, the sooner we can quit working for good! (It will be a long time still)

  2. It is certainly a lot more than I thought it would be when I was younger. Enough money is where you have enough to meet your daily responsibilities, have some fun every once in a while, and not constantly stress about it.

  3. A quarter million would allow me to keep doing what I’m doing but stop worrying about money on such a precise level, essentially because I would use that to completely pay off the mortgage and student loan, which would free up cash flow to a degree that I would not sweat the $20 or $30 expenses that now can cause me worry (when added up).

    To have no worries about money ever again would probably take $5 million or more so that I could retire, live completely off the interest and not worry about running out of cash in my lifetime.

  4. Housekeeper would definitely be one of my top priorities if I came into some serious cash :)

  5. Instead of focusing on the dollar amount I have, I spend my time working on my relationship with money. As I start to covet my material possessions less, the more financially comfortable I feel because I find I “need” and “want” less. I’m not advocating minimalism per se, but rather a healthy relationship with the items you spend your money on. By the time I want to retire I will have created a realistic and healthy relationship with money that will have me needing less than I would have otherwise.

  6. At the present moment, “enough” means equal or more than my projected monthly income based on last year’s year total income. Preferably more since last year’s income wasn’t that great. But truth be told, I’m starting to get my mind to think much, much bigger. What’s wrong with being a millionaire, or even better a multimillionaire right now. Not later. Now. I’ve always settled with enough…and hey I’m glad to have enough, but that’s the ceiling I’ve put on myself that I need to break through.

  7. I think it is a moving target! That is what may be enough today will not be enough in the future. For example, I think I need $X today to support my needs and wants, but as I achieve the goals, I want $Y.

  8. Bryce @ Save and Conquer says:

    My wife and I want more money each year so we can reach financial independence sooner. Unfortunately, my health has declined, so I am only able to work about 60% as much as I used to. My wife increased her hours from 1/2 time to 3/4 time, so as a family, we haven’t lost too much income, but it is noticeable. We are still on track to retire in 10 years.

  9. Daisy Coleman says:

    I have no idea what enough money would be for myself and my family as I haven’t got children yet. But now I am in my late twenties, I have started to look at money differently, I realise you have more to pay for as you get older so I need to think about saving rather than spending what I’ve got. So I now have a budget in a spreadsheet, I have cut down my outgoings, this covers essentials and some nice to haves every now and then, and anything I save I will keep for contingency or I may even pay off more of my mortgage. See how it goes. I have realised that money can spread quite far if you are careful.

    • “Money can spread quite far if you are careful.”

      So true. I like to make a game of it — it’s kinda fun to see how long I can make a single month’s salary last. Every month, I try to make it a day or two longer.

  10. If all our real estate was paid off, $2000-$3000 per month would be enough, but I’d probably try to make more just because we can and we won’t always be able to do that. I’d hate to look back from age 70, and think I needed more money.

  11. I like having something to work for. It would be nice to have enough money for .. well, everything, but that’s not realistic.

  12. I’ve been the type to get nervous when my checking account balance would dip below a perceived number. Usually it’s a few hundred dollars. I’m not sure how or why I am like this, but it’s just the way I am.

  13. You’re right the it varies for everyone. Although I have paid my student loan. I still feel that at the moment the more I earn, the better. I’m really inspired to achieve financial freedom. At the moment I have 5 side hustles that I am very happy about but I know there’s still a lot more to achieve so I can have a very comfortable retirement.

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