How Much Money is ‘Enough’ Money in a Year?
What is the balance between needing money, wanting it, or amassing more just for the sake of it?
Can you ever truly have enough money?
I, like most other people, really like money. Forgive me if that makes me sound exceptionally greedy or materialistic, but it’s true. Knowing that I can buy the things I need or want (within reason, of course) and handle those unexpected expenses without having to stress gives me great satisfaction and fulfillment.
However, as much as I hate to admit it, my desire to amass large amounts of cash has started to become a little addicting. Before you roll your eyes and brush me off as a money-hungry plutomaniac who can never have enough money, allow me to explain.
A little over a year ago, I abandoned the comfort and security of my full-time job (and a steady paycheck) in order to pursue a life and career as a freelance writer. Admittedly, I probably jumped ship from my full-time gig a little prematurely. I didn’t have much work or income lined up once I officially closed the door on my traditional position. So, to put it kindly, my husband and I were in dire financial straits for a while. When I was just getting my business started, I was bringing home somewhere around $50 per month. Unfortunately, that’s not an exaggerated figure, and we had a tough time trying to navigate life as a single-income couple — particularly when we were saddled with hefty student debt, car loans, and a mortgage payment.
But, we stuck together and made it through that particularly trying time where we barely had enough money to survive. I was fortunate that I was able to kick my freelance business into gear relatively quickly. But honestly, there were days when it felt like things were taking an eternity to get up and running.
Now, I’m proud of the fact that I make an incredibly comfortable living from my freelance work. I’m bringing home almost as much as my husband who has a degree in mathematics and a traditional full-time job. We aren’t millionaires, but we’re financially comfortable. I feel happy to be a contributing member of our partnership once again.
That period of time when were digging through the couch cushions for spare change was an incredible motivator for me.
But, now I find myself facing an opposite problem. Watching that total continuously increase in my bank account has become somewhat intoxicating. Now, I have a hard time turning down any opportunities to take on more work and bring in more cash. I just want that number to keep growing, and I’ll pretty much do whatever it takes to make it happen.
Picture one of those classic cartoon characters with the dollar symbols in his eyes, and you have a pretty good handle on my attitude right now.
So, what does this mean? Well, while I’m making great money, I rarely have any time to enjoy spending it. I work all hours of the day and enthusiastically nod “yes” to every project that falls across my lap. But, what do I do with that money? For the most part, it sits there—untouched and unspent.
Today, there’s a lot of talk about balance, particularly when it comes to walking the fine line between being a workaholic and being a lazy slob. But the financial side is something you hear less about.
This got me thinking — when is enough money truly enough for me? Is there a certain number I’ll hit in my bank account when I feel like I can finally slow down and start enjoying the fruits of my labor? Or, will seeing that number increase always feel this exhilarating — meaning I’m always going to be putting the pedal to the metal trying to earn more?
Maybe, there isn’t really an answer to this question. And, if there is, I’m willing to bet the answer is different for every individual. After all, we all have our own definitions of financial comfort.
So, I think where you draw the line in the sand is really a personal choice — not one that any article about effective balance or “30 Places You Need to Travel Before You’re 30” can make for you.
As for me? Well, I’ve decided I’m going to keep trucking along like this for a while—maybe for the next year or so. You could argue that now is the time we should be traveling and enjoying life in our young adulthood. But on the other hand, it’s also a great time for us to build up a solid financial security blanket, so that we can eventually start a family without worrying about money.