My wife once asked me to get down to a figure for the dollars I think will be good enough for us. I calculated and calculated and calculated and calculated over a period spanning a few months. $75k a year seemed to fulfill our needs, $100k is what will give us a decent life. This was before our son was born. Then on another day, I felt it will be nice to have a million dollars in the bank for getting past bad weather days. On another day, I thought 10 million will be nice, that’s what is really needed, and I don’t need to worry about money after that. Another day, I felt I am getting greedy and $150k a year is what I really need to have a good life. And then, I was back again to a million dollars. A new day, a new number. I asked myself what’s going on – is this my state of affairs concerning money or everything else too?
What will keep me happy? How my life should be so that I am perfectly happy? – the honest truth; no filters.
Here is my picture of me being absolutely happy.
- I am young, full of vigor and vitality.
- I am rich – filthy rich.
- I am extremely knowledgeable and possess a high degree of intelligence.
- I am well respected in society.
- I have a happy family – my wife is happy and proud to be my wife, my children are happy and proud to be my children, my parents are happy and proud of their son, my wife is so full of love that she gets along well with everyone – including her in-laws, all the time. My friends are happy to have me as their friend.
- My looks are what is considered to be good looking in the place and time I am in. I attract members of the opposite sex wherever I go.
- I have affairs with no consequences – my wife still loves me; my girlfriends have no more expectation than what I give them. And yeah, my wife doesn’t get to have any affair because she is so fulfilled and complete being with me.
- I can eat whatever I want, listen to the finest of music, get to watch the finest of artists perform, buy the choicest of clothes.
- I have infinite amount of time. I never run out of time to do what I like doing.
Any one of the above is missing, I will no longer be ‘fully’ happy. In order to be completely happy, I will try to get the missing link and the chase begins.
Back to the original question. How much money do I need?
The truth is – I don’t know; rather I always know, and I am always right until I think again about it.
I keep gathering more people, more information, more ideas all the time that makes up my past, and then I forecast a future considering this past and put down an estimate for today; that’s what shapes my feeling about money (or anything else) now. It’s always a moving target, sometimes I need more and sometimes I need less, because I keep gathering more experiences and those experiences determine what I expect of my future; those experiences determine what I feel now about how much more (when I am materialistically inclined) or less (when I am a realist or spiritual) I need to feel completely happy.