“Another day, another dollar.”
I remember when I was a kid I thought, “If I had a million dollars, I could do anything.”
Later in my life when I started making very good money I asked a friend, “How much money do I need to stop working, ten million?” His response was, “You can’t live the good life on 10 million!”
So now it was 2014. I have made lots of money, donated a ton to charity, created a pretty nice life, but I still cannot answer the question, “How much is enough?”
Sure, it would be easy to give some smart-ass answer like, “You can never have enough money,” or something to that effect. But I think this answer and viewpoint misses the point entirely.
Those of you who know me, understand that I don’t like to look at things from the “usual” viewpoint. I feel that in order to add value and justify the air I am breathing I have to offer a unique perspective. So, here it is:
“How much money do I need to make” or “How much do I need to retire” or any such similar question is, in my humble opinion, the wrong question. In fact, I believe it is impossible to answer. A question that is impossible to answer gives you a very predictable response – “Brain Freeze”.
Think of this as one of those logic questions on an IQ test. A lot of times the answer is “Uncertain” because there are too many variables.
The same goes for how much money you need to make. The real answer is “Uncertain”. Once you start to think about it, I think you will agree. There are simply too many variables. Do you want a private Jet? Do you plan to support your mother-in-law after she retires? Will you want to give to charity? Will your daughter want to go to medical school? Will your son need rehab? LOL. You get the idea.
Some people try to paint a sort of still picture of what your life will look like or could look like. There are unlimited pictures, ranging from, “What would I need to get by – house, food, etc.” to “ I want a Jet, houses all over the world, fast cars, millions to charity, etc.” The error is that it is a “still picture” and will never contain all of the possibilities of how your life will go, where you will take it or what might come up that you did not expect. Remember, you are going to change, learn, experience more things, and create new viewpoints. And when you do, your goals will change with you.
I think the answer for most of us will be,
“I am going to need more than I planned on.”
So, one part of my answer is, “Stop worrying about it and don’t put a number on it.”
The next part is, “Don’t plan to stop making money.”
This second part is really the most important part. I could talk about it for hours and may someday, but for now I will give you a brief comment.
“Having your number” is a form of STOP, END OF GAME. It implies that you are never going to make any more money. You are never going to produce anything again worth being paid for. To me, that sounds like being dead to some degree. Sure, it is fine to create a target and shoot for it. I think you should, and I do it, too. But, don’t say that is “the end”. By the time you get there, inflation is going to be higher for sure. So that million you thought you needed will have turned into ten and then into a hundred. As you win one game, you will, no doubt, want to play another.
My opinion is that you should set many targets, create many numbers!
Depending on your current situation in life, maybe your first stop is 250,000. OK, get to work. Next stop, a million; after that five million…on and on. Or perhaps you made your first million only to find (like I did), “Whoa, that ain’t gonna cut it anymore”. So, set the next target and go for it.
The main thing is to decide to keep going, keep creating. You will get smarter as you go and find more ways to make money by doing less. You will make investments; some will win and some will lose. Try to make sure more win than lose. But, if you conceive that you can continue to produce valuable things, you will not only continue to make money, but I believe you will LIVE longer!!
The next time someone asks you, “What’s your number?”, tell them that’s the stupidest question you ever heard!! It’s like asking, “When do you plan to stop eating cake?”
You have way better things to do than to worry about a meaningless number. And, if you feel you really need an answer to the question, than I recommend the answer, “infinity”.
Hey, it seems we had it right all along when we were kids!