Joseph D. Altic, CFP®, MBA | Wednesday, March 28, 2018


How much money do you need to be happy?

This is the title of an article I am currently reading. My thought before I even read one word was: “It’s going to be different for everyone, you can’t have a general number and try to group everyone into that rule of thumb.”
I gravitate towards these articles at times seeking to find out what the experts (I always use that term loosely) are saying. Before I truly give my opinion on this topic, I understand first and foremost, the definition of happiness and what brings happiness is different for each person out there. (This is my disclaimer).

What the experts say:

The magic number that equals happiness has a range anywhere between $75,000 to as high as $100,000 annual income per year. This is based on various articles from the “so-called” experts. So at this point, we can either focus on this number or we can talk about reality.

The problem I have with these articles is that if you only focus on the number and finally get there, there is no guarantee you will be happy. I know I am stating the obvious but many times we all get fixated on a number or a material object that we are working towards and I truly believe that we think this will equal happiness when we accomplish it. Let’s be honest, it feels good at first but then the euphoria of that accomplishment eventually wears off. We are then left looking towards another number or goal that we think will equal happiness. I’ve unfortunately witnessed it become a vicious circle in some of our client’s lives. Ok, I might be a little off track…but hang in there with me as I believe I can make a good point.

What Joe says:

I’m not claiming to be an expert, but just speaking from my experience of working with clients over the past 20+ years I have found that they do all have one thing in common:

The happiest clients I have ever seen do not worry about an income number or money because they live within their means.

It truly reminds me of when I was a kid and I never really gave any thought to money. Like many of you I just lived while my parents provided me with the level of resources that was within their income range. I remember such a freedom at that phase of my life and it was very liberating. I have seen that same glimmer in many of our client’s eyes as they talk about the life they are currently living.

In Summary:

When you can create the mentality of not worrying about money, that kind of youthful financial freedom…that to me is where the number equals happiness. So, as I stated earlier… the number is different for everyone. The bigger question now is how do we make that happen?!!

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