If you hypothetically happened upon a windfall of money, how much would it have to be before it actually made a noticeable and lasting difference in your life? You can define any of the terms however you see fit, hopefully to avoid the responses questioning where the money came from or how to decide what “a difference” makes.
For background, I had a manager at a corporate coffee shop who, while counting the previous day’s profits and preparing them for deposit, would comment “Just one of these would change my life.” He was referring to the deposit bags, which held anything from about 1200 to 2000 dollars. How can that be enough to actually change someone’s life? I know what kind of money he made, and although it wasn’t nearly enough to get out of the middle class bracket, it WAS enough that he could easily have an extra 2k in the bank after saving for a summer. I was making less money than him, and had quite a bit more than 2k in the bank.
To answer my own question, I think a sudden windfall wouldn’t make a real difference to me unless it was more money than I could hope to acquire in a reasonable amount of time (a year or so) from working. 30k, for example, isn’t all that much more than what I could put together right NOW even without a windfall, and it would barely even dent my mortgage. I couldn’t get a car all that much nicer than the one I’m already driving. It would be money that just sits in an account somewhere not really doing anything except earning more money. On the other hand, 150k would be enough to pay off my mortgage. I’d be rich! I could retire way, way early (around 45ish if I was really disciplined) or I could immediately move to a much nicer place and have an even lower mortgage payment than i’m making every month now.
Final answer for me is “somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000”