In today’s jittery economy, what does feeling rich even mean? According an article over at CNN Money.com, the most common definition includes “being able to live a comfortable life without having to work." That would certainly be my definition, having enough to live the life that will make you happy. How much is enough?
Well that’s where things get a little surprising:
“ ‘I’d like to have enough money so my family and I wouldn’t have to work anymore or worry about the necessities, and maybe travel a bit,’ said Deborah Veale, a Southern California resident visiting New York City.
“Veale said she’d need about $10 million to consider herself set.”
One women quoted in the article thought a “couple thousand dollars a month” would be enough, but another figured it would take about a billion.
I suppose the range of what is considered comfortable is a very personal thing, but $10 million? A billion? Is that really what it takes to be happy in retirement? I’d say that’s possibly a tad bit overkill, and according to this article in the New York Times, that much may even hinder your ability to be happy.
This brutal recession has caused people to spend less and save more. The personal savings rate is up to 6.4 percent now, up from the 1-2 percent range it had been for many years before the Great Recession. Many recent studies have shown this change in consumption patterns may bode well for happiness levels. The Boston Consulting Group recently reported that “recession anxiety had prompted a “back-to-basics movement,” with things like home and family increasing in importance over the last two years, while things like luxury and status have declined.” And that’s good news considering a slew of recent research showing that experiences that connect us to others make us happier than accumulating stuff.
It’s not just that the stuff doesn’t make us happy, it appears that such wealth actually “interfered with people’s ability to savor positive emotions and experiences, because having an embarrassment of riches reduced the ability to reap enjoyment from life’s smaller everyday pleasures, like eating a chocolate bar.”
How much do I need to be happy? Enough to live comfortably without worrying about a paycheck. Does having that make me feel rich? Yes, and with a whole lot less than a billion dollars.
This is a post from Retirement: A Full-Time Job