As I have gotten older and more and more financially established I have noticed something about the thought given to financial windfalls. I need a bigger and bigger number to make a difference in my life. My guess it is only natural.
When I first started this blog I had over $17K in CC Debt, something like a $13K car note (still have that same car by the way lol), what had to be $70K or so in student loan debt. With a negative net worth almost any financial windfall of a couple grand would have been amazing and anything over $20K could have been considered life changing. A Paid off car 2 years earlier would have felt unreal, or paying off most of the credit cards in a few months rather than a year or two would have been fantastic. I always joke that during college and law school I had NO money. I always found enough to party it up, but I never felt like I had a lot of it. While I have worked since I was 16 (even during college and law school) I didn’t have an actual job-job until I was 25 and done with law school. At that point in my life a grand or two would have probably would have felt life changing. If I was smart enough to invest it at that point that amount could have been worth a very nice sum right about now.
Over time, I paid off the credit card, paid off the car note and paid off the smaller of the student loan debt (remainder is at 4% – and only costs me $331/month to keep current) which leads me to today’s question – what amount would feel like life changing? and what amount would actual change my life? Those are two very different questions.
Last year, I got an amazing bonus. It came at the perfect time as I needed (even more) liquidity to close on my house, but even if I didn’t have a specific use for it I don’t think it would have felt life changing nevertheless actually be life changing as it wasn’t big enough to put a significant amount more down on my home.
Since by writing this post I am forced to provide an answer after 400 words – I think an amount which would be life changing would be $150,000 – $385,000. On the lower end I could buy a rental property (in my area with a good cushion) and begin that phase of my life. While on the upper end I could pay off my mortgage freeing up about $2,000/month after taxes. Would I take anything less? OF COURSE, that is why I work my ass off on a few different streams of income just for an extra $200, $500, $1,000 because I know over time I am making a difference for Future Evan and his family. I just wanted to give a lump sum number which would change my trajectory almost immediately.
What is your number? What would it take to change your life immediately?