Winning the lottery and unexpected
inheritances aside, what amount of money would it take it keep you
happy on annual basis?
Once again, we're not talking a
financial windfall that would allow you to buy your own island
country, but the amount that would allow you to wake up in the
morning and not immediately have your stomach start hurting as the
reality of life came crashing down.
For most of us, according to one recent
study, it's $161,000 a year.
I'm sure I've known people over the
years who had incomes that size. I've probably known people who had
incomes way above that. But for the most part, in my world, that's
an income that seems like a pipe dream.
But according to something called "Skandia International's Wealth Sentiment Monitor," on a
worldwide basis, $161,000 a year is what most of us think we need to
live a comfortable life that keeps us relatively worry free.
Now, this isn't a gauge of happiness.
Another study found that most people keep getting happy with more and
more money right up to around $75,000 a year. After that, I would
assume happiness depends on something beyond how much money is being
put in your bank account every two weeks.
The United States wasn't specifically
surveyed (we probably would've said we needed at least $10 million
a year), but the cheapest living people are in Germany. They claim
they only need $85,781 a year to be happy. The residents of Dubai, a
big oil place, claims it takes at least $276,150 a year to be happy.
I guess when you're flush with oil, you do have more expensive
When it came to overall wealth, the old "forget you" money, most people seemed to think $1.8 million in
the bank account would give them the kind of money they'd need to
live life the way they want to.
The dream of wealth is actually a dream
of freedom. We all like stuff, but just imagine waking up in the
morning and the world is yours to do what you wish with. No one to
answer to, no place to be, no worries at all. Would it matter if your
bank account had $10 million in it or $10?
I've always thought that people who
spend their life on the public dole (as they say in Britain) must
think a life of abject poverty (let's not fool ourselves on how
much they get; just enough to get by) is worth enduring if their life
is their own on a daily basis.
I often make the joke that if I was to
get $10 million, I'd buy everything I'd ever wanted, then live
off the remaining $9.5 million. That's just a way of saying that
when I really think about it, there really isn't that much I want
that my career in the newspaper world hasn't given me.
Yeah, a big house on the lake would be
nice and having a car less than a decade old would be a new
experience, but I doubt I could find enough to spend $10 million on.
Unless I bought one of those yachts that can hold up to 200 people.
But I don't think I know 200 people.
If there is a money God, my prayer
would be a simple one. Just enough money to pay the house off (always
have a place to live) and enough in the savings account so if things
went south, we'd be all right until we figured out how to get back
on our feet.
And that freedom thing. The freedom to
not have to do what I don't want to do. We're all free to do
whatever we want, as long as we accept the consequences. But the
freedom to not do what you don't to do? That's thing to strive
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