How much money would it take to change your life?

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”

I’m so poor right now, $50 would make a noticable difference in my life

1000 bucks would be nice, but hardly life changing. It wouldn’t even trip the windfall category, really.

10 grand would be really nice spending cash or a car downpayment, but wouldn’t be life changing.

100 grand might be; it would depend on how much I thought a PhD would cost me, and how much privation my wife would be willing to accept.

A million bucks would definitely be life changing- I could go get a PhD, open the microdistillery I dream of, or a number of other small-business ventures.

10 million would be life-changing too- I’d just invest and live off the returns.
(note: the only reason to pay off a mortgage with a windfall is if you don’t think you can make a higher rate of return than your mortgage interest. e.g. if you make 8% annually and pay 6%, you pocket 2%. If you pay off completely, you don’t pocket that 2%)

250,000 would take care of everything existing, but wouldn’t be life CHANGING - just … life suddenly a lot less worrisome.

500,000 would be life enhancing. I can do a lot with a spare 250,000, and there are some hobbies that would be able to be indulged, and some interests that could be pursued with that much. Still not truly life changing.
To be life-changing, we’d have to equal or better my husband’s current salary so he could quit his job. To be fair, we’d need to cover that twice, so that we could hire someone else in his stead to replace him. (Family businesses SUCK.)

In addition, I’d move back to part time or volunteer work so I would have TIME for all those life-enhancing hobbies I mentioned, so we’d have to cover that also. While salary ain’t so much, govm’t-level benefits ARE expensive to replicate solo.

Finally, there would need to be established retirement accounts so we don’t worry about the future, and expense accounts to cover yearly taxes and insurance, so we wouldn’t be bothered by that either. Must also take into account the resulting higher tax bracket from said windfall, and all the other people who are needed to help us stay fiscally responsible and all their paychecks.

So… somewhere in the 20 million or so range to be truly set?

That would be life-changing.

Honestly, before my life changed we would have to have enough money for my husband to be able to be a SAHD while maintaining the same standard of life (and eventually for me to retire). (Runs off to do math)

About 1.5 million would make that possible.

(Actually, too much more than that would put us in a position where we both wouldn’t have to work which, since I love my job and we would drive each other insane might be more of a problem than a solution.)

A million dollars. With that, I could pay off my house (which isn’t all that much), buy a Robinson R22 or Schweizer 300CB, and have enough left over to maintain, insure, and fly them for years and years.

$300k would pay off all of our debt (Mortgage, grad school loan, a couple of other issues).

$3 million is my standard answer since it’s my retire tomorrow number. Right now I’m looking at buying some property to build a dream home on so if I could buy that and sell my upsidedown properties I’d be in great shape so $550K would change my life.

I’d still have the same job and drive the same truck but I’d live somewhere much nicer and would have no financial worries for the rest of my life.

Define “your life”, if it means your life, then any amount of money would change my life to some degree. If you mean change who I am…

Have to be in the billions, I would blow anything less, whether it be smart investments or cars and houses for everyone in my family. Having a billion plus is ultimate security…

Also, define “change your life.” $50 might mean a nice pair of pants, and now my life is changed - I have a new pair of pants. :slight_smile:

My husband and I often speculate on this during long car trips; I think the figure we came up with was $10 million so that neither of us would have to do a job we didn’t want to work at and could live comfortably without worrying about money. I think that was the tipping point where we’d be living well (but not too high on the hog) off of the interest without really doing much damage to the principal, even after all our debts were paid and all the expensive toys were bought.

New clothes wouldn’t do it for me. That’s why I have a credit card.

To me, ‘change your life’ means being able to indulge in your passion. My passion, which I haven’t been able to afford in too many years, is flying. Someone else may be passionate about traveling or SCUBA diving or rescuing lost animals. But for me I’d need enough to own my own aircraft (specifically a helicopter, though fixed-wing would be handy-dander) and be able to fly and maintain it.

$5,000 would be enough to drastically change my life. I’d buy a car and clothes which would make more of a difference than you might think.

$110,000 would pay off our debts (mortgage and car), that would be very freeing (which is a big change). My quit work forever amount is a million and that would be even better.

12k would pay off my student loan balance. 40k would pay off my current car and let me get a really nice new one. 300k would buy me a good, new home and the ability to relocate to the west coast. An additional 10k would be a nice starting cushion while looking for a job.

As little as 12k would make a positive change in my life, but I wouldn’t say being freed of my student loans is life-changingly drastic. I’d say my minimum life-changing windfall would be about 50k, but 500k would be drastic.

I have enough now to live my life the way I want, which is a healthy lifestyle. No amount of extra money would change what I do. Too much extra would be a burden that would take too much of my time. At some level, I’d be looking for ways to give it away and enjoy helping others privately, that is anonymously.

Experience tells me that bad news travels fast while good news takes the very slow boat. Windfalls are very rare.

It’s all about debt for us as well - $180,000 would do it. With no mortgage and no “consumer” debt, we’d be able to move on to the things we want to do in terms of investing and growing our take-home pay. That’s huge.

I have zero debt and am on a path to retire at age 50… I am semi retired right now at 39… meaning I can basically do what I want, but I need about another 500K to 1m before I can live comfortably for the rest of my life.

Is the idea not to go over? Then I submit $10.00USD for my bid.

100K would allow me and my wife to move- pay off our current mortgage and buy a new house elsewhere.

For a small scale change, still need to work and pay attention to how I am spending money, but not begrudge a dinner out, I’d say somewhere in the $10k neighborhood. That would pay off my credit cards. Bonus for the $60k number as it would pay off my student loans and all of my consumer debt which would free up more than $500/month.

For a medium scale change, no money worries, but still need to work, I’d put the number around $200k. That would pay off all of my debt. Then my entire salary could be devoted to enjoying life and donating to causes I care about.
For a large scale change, no money worries and no need to work, I’d say the net after taxes would’ve to be in excess of $5M. Assuming a 5% rate of return, I’d have more than enough to live on, have a horse or two, and be able to volunteer for a ‘job’.
As for “The Lottery Changed My Life” scale of change, then that is 20M. That would let me just go on with life and really not pay attention to a damn thing that didn’t interest me.